Swami Anubhavananda graced our house on Wednesday 24th April, along with Sri Paramananda and Swamini Radhikananda. Sri.Subash and Smt.Sumana escorted them to our place. They gave us the pleasure of their company for a brief while and partook breakfast in our place. A few photos taken on the occasion can be viewed at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sam-sekar/sets/72157633317385250
Earlier on Monday 22nd April I attended a satsangh in the house of Smt.Aarthi and Sri.Suryaprakash at Holsworthy wherein Swami Anubhavananda was the chief guest. I had earlier come to know about him through his booklet “Time Management” which was published under the auspices of Chinmaya Mission, when he was a senior Acharya in Sandeepany Vidyalaya, Powai. Later I had listened to a few of his videos in You Tube. I liked his deceptively easy-going way of explaining complex things with a smile and a joke. So I looked forward to meeting him and hearing him in person.
It was a small gathering of the students of Veda chanting and their family members to which I got invited as Rajam and Suchie were attending the chanting classes. Swami Paramananda and Swamini Radhikananda also attended the satsangh. After receiving Swami Anubhavananda, whom I will hereafter be referring to as Swamiji, with Purna Kumbam honours we chanted Bhruguvalli portion of Taittreya Upanishad. After the welcome address of Sri Krishnamurthy, Swamiji started his address. As no set topic was given for satsangh, he used the Bhruguvalli portion itself as a starting point for his address on Tapas.
Bhruguvalli starts with Bhrughu approaching his father Varuna seeking knowledge of Brahman. Varuna does not teach him straight about Brahman but gives him a few hints for Brahman, the annam,the prana, the eyes and the ears, the mind and the speech and also the clue that it is the One from which all are born, by which all are sustainted and into which all merge at end. Varuna prescribes Tapas as the sadhana for reaching the understanding. It is this word Tapas , that Swamiji took as the subject for the address. First he explained that the Tapas Bhrughu did for knowing Brahman is Jnanamayam tapas, which requires concentrated analysis by a focussed mind,refined by the six-fold dicipline of sama(mind-control), dama(sense-control), uparati(diligent observance of one's duty), titiksha(forbearance), shraddha(faith) and samadhana(single-pointedness of mind) and then briefly spoke about the pancha kosa viveka the analysis involved. Then he went on to discuss tapas in general. In Himalayas the tapas that Mahatmas do is one of subjecting oneself to physical privations. Even the fasting we do as vrata is a form of tapas, if we do not overload ourselves in anticipation or compensate for it later by overfeeding. Where we forego something, we hold dear and we feel we cannot do without, for the sake of a higher goal is also a form of tapas.
What can be a higher goal than the discovery of our own innate divinity which releases us from samsara, our feeling of inadequacy, smallness and helplessness in the face of the challenges of life. The sacrifice we make must also be high to match the goal we seek. Swamiji here quoted verse 30 of Ramana Maharishi’s Upadesa Saar which runs as –
अहमपेतकं निजविभानकं। Ahamapetakam nijavibhanakam।
महदिदं तपो रमणवागियम्॥ Mahadidam tapo Ramanavagiyam॥
The destruction of the Ego leading to the shining of Self is indeed the greatest tapas. These are the words (teaching) of Ramana.
The destruction of ego is to be achieved through our giving up our identity with our body. What we call our body is what we have acquired from our parents and we discover it is not even under our control as we get old. This shedding of identification with our body as Self can be achieved only slowly through constant practice and steadfast dispassion. Dispassion is not hatred but loving it knowing its true nature that it is a temporary acquisition to play our allotted role in life, to be cast off when the play is over. So have love for your body as you have for everything else in God’s creation but not adoration of the body or attachment to the body or identification with the body as Self. You can start externally by getting over your dependence of objects and of people, the feeling that you cannot do without them. Replace your dependence on them to dependence on God only, through total trust in God. This confidence in God’s Grace will build up your self confidence to overcome temporary setbacks and will gradually lead you to the goal of shedding dehabhimana, so long as you keep your goal clearly in mind. When you have the firm conviction that you are not the body, then insults, real, reported or imagined will not disturb you and praise also will not excite you. Ramana Maharishi in verse 10 of Updesa Saar says:
अहमि नाशभाज्यहमहन्तया । Ahami nabhajyahamahanthaya।
स्फुरति हृत्स्वयं परमपूर्णसत्॥ Sphurathi hrt svayam paramapurnasat ॥
When the ego is destroyed, the liimitless full existence that is Self shines by itself as “I”.
When once the Real Self is discovered as true “I”, one will also start singing in pure bliss like the person singing Sama gana, at the end of Bhrughuvalli. With this happy note of blissful singing of a fulfilled mind, Swamiji concluded his address. After dinner and distribution of prasad personally by Swamiji to each one of the attendees, the satsangh came to an end.