Monday, January 22, 2018

Welcome to the 2018 Sripanchami issue of e-Sanai

by Sri Sandip Dasgupta

Welcome to the Saraswati Puja issue of e-Sanai.  This is the special day on which our Sadguru Sri Sri Babathakur had come to our world to bless us all with His own unique realization – The Science of Oneness. Just like we pray to Maa Saraswati for wisdom on this day, let us pray that we strive to learn at least a little bit of the “Science of Oneness” that our Master has given us.  In this editorial, I will quote some of His sayings that were delivered in Delhi on March 11, 1988.

According to Sri Sri Babathakur, Gurus are of various grades:

a)     A Guru who simply gives Diksha.

b)    A Guru who tells us how to function and live life (Shiksha) in this Samsara.

c)     A Guru who does both (a) and (b) above.

d)    A Guru who does not give Diksha or Shiksha.  Such a person just points us to the very essence of all of us.  These people are very hard to recognize – but one gets totally harmonized when one comes in touch with such people.

Sri Sri Babathakur further went on to say that in the first stage of the spiritual world, the seeker declares that “He knows nothing”, “Nothing belongs to Him” and “I don’t belong to anybody”.  A wet matchstick doesn’t really light quickly – and we need to dry out the matchstick by means of heat.  Similarly we need to remove our state of “ego” by the “Knowledge of Oneness”, so that the matchstick can ignite quickly and we can use the matchstick to burn the fire.

On this auspicious day, let us resolve to reflect on His teachings and apply them in everyday life.

Joy Babathakur! Joy Babathakur! Joy Babathakur!

Importance of Knowledge

The following is a translation of a story (#204, Chapter 1) appearing in ‘Golpe Atmovidya - Volume II'.  The story was rendered by Sri Sri Babathakur on March 15, 1973.

Sri Sri Babathakur shared the following story during a Satsang. Once upon a time, there were a couple of plays taking place in the cities of Comilla and DaccaOne was named 'Plabon' and the other 'Shankhopanjo'. Both of were based on equally good books. People in the two cities began a dispute over which was the better play, their argument soon reaching its peak. There lived nearby an old Mokhtar (i.e. head of the provincial government), full of wisdom.  The Mokhtar was assigned the responsibility of settling the argument. He took a matchstick and set the two books on fire in front of everybody.  Observing this the people present there asked him, “Why did you do this”?  The Mokhtar replied, ”These two books are the reason of quarrel and turmoil among you all. That is why I destroyed the books!”

Stating the importance of the incident, Sri Sri Babathakur said, “Ignorance is the seed of turmoil in the world. It creates confusion in a man in many ways, and the mind of a confused man is always disturbed and restless. It is because of this ignorance that he is unable to use anything in a correct manner. As a result there are errors in his use/ application of anything.  Consequently man has to suffer the fruits of his mistakes. Due to a lack of knowledge, man has to suffer the fruits of ignorance.  Again it is only through knowledge that a man can get rid of ignorance and become error free.  Knowledge protects human beings from all kinds of danger. There is nothing as pure as Knowledge, and nobody as true a friend as knowledge.  Ignorance is bondage and knowledge, liberation.  Ignorance is death and knowledge is nectar.  Ignorance is dual, a devil and a monster.  Knowledge is God.”

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Light of Perfect Knowledge

by Sri P.C. Lahiri

A few days back, I was in a house gearing up for an important family function. One of the jobs entrusted to me was to clean the recently bought attractive big sized glass mugs with undulating deep self-design on the outer surface which had stickers all over them.  The simple job of cleaning a few big glass mugs led me to an enriching and valuable experience.  A well-lit kitchen area near the sink was assigned to me to accomplish the task.  I tried to pick on my experience of watching the Master (Prajnanpurush Sri Sri Babathakur) clean and dry the plain glass tumbler in which He used to drink water.  Needless to say, He was very meticulous, scientific and all-concentration in His approach to any work, whatever might be its nature. This is a very important lesson that we all have to imbibe to be at ease (not dis-ease), happy and simultaneously successful in life in all situations and under all circumstances.

As a first step, the paper stickers took some time to be partially removed by the use of fingers as the gum was quite strong. Then I used a tooth brush soaked in hot soapy water to slowly remove the remnants of the sticker and gum.  Once removed, each mug was raised to eye level to clearly check the removal of stains. When satisfied, the mugs were cleaned all over with hot soapy water followed by normal tap water. Then they were kept upside down one by one on a piece of water-absorbent kitchen cloth. A clean dry cloth was used to dry the outer and inner surface of that mug which was first kept on the kitchen cloth. Then I held the mug up against the bright ceiling light to check for any remaining stains.  Lo and behold, a few gum stains still remained on the outer surface. It woke me up or so I thought.  I went back to the earlier exercise of using the tooth brush soaked in soapy water on each mug to carefully brush out the stains that were visible in the backdrop of ceiling light. After cleaning and drying the first mug it just occurred to me that I should see it in the backdrop of brighter sunlight instead of bright kitchen light. To my utter surprise very fine gum stains were still visible on the outer surface. Then I checked, cleaned, dried and again checked one mug at a time to finally complete the task to my satisfaction by which time the ladies of the house wanted me out of the kitchen as fast as possible.  I had used up five of their dry kitchen towels and taken one hour of their precious kitchen time.  I apologized and left the kitchen.

The first inspection done at the eye level in the kitchen revealed something that needed removal and got removed.  The second inspection performed against the backdrop of the bright kitchen ceiling light revealed something more and finer. Finally, the last inspection against the backdrop of brighter sunlight outside the kitchen revealed the finest stains that could possibly be identified through naked eye inspection without the use of an instrument. The brighter the light, the more the revelation and the knowledge of what needs to be done.  We, the common people, learn about life science and spiritual science in the same way.  In the present time and age, the first Guru (parents) takes care of the physical body after birth, teach us the basics of life/world and then hand over the child to the second Guru. The second Guru (teachers or shikshadatas) start from the base created by the first Guru and train us to make a living by the use of our inner/outer faculties (indriyas) vis-à-vis the outer world.  Training in spiritual science gets imparted through the third and fourth Gurus but only to those of us who aspire for it. There are millions in this world who get connected only with the first two Gurus. The knowledge/training received through contact with third and/or fourth Guru is the subtler and subtlest Knowledge.  In the light of that Knowledge, a student is not only able to truly appreciate the contribution of the two earlier Gurus but also move on to reach the desired goal in any sphere of life.

There are a few instances of orphaned or abandoned children who directly came under the umbrella of the third or fourth Guru as they never got the opportunity to be with the first and the second Gurus. Such Gurus being perfect from all angles (Perfection-personified) filled in for the first two Gurus and guided the child forward to his/her Ultimate Destination. These instances are very rare and also depend on the strong will and dedication of the follower. Not all will agree with me that such souls are very fortunate. I have no intention or capability of casting any aspersions on the first two Gurus but have only this to say that blessed are those who get an all-in-one Guru from birth. They move towards perfection through all their actions from day one as they are guided by a perfect scientist who has experimented Knowledge. Whereas others go through a process of many years during which they are guided by scientists who have experimental knowledge, in other words these scientists are themselves going through the evolutionary learning process. It is like the guidance received from a student of a higher class. Such guidance is helpful no doubt but not perfect.

If I had done the cleaning job in the light of the knowledge received by observing the Master clean His glass tumbler, then I could have perhaps completed the task in one go. That would have saved lots of time and energy. But due to my lack of experience, proper follow-up on Master’s training and the baggage of previous learning, I tried to do the task partly my way rather than wholly His way. So it is evident that anyone who has only been trained by a perfect Master has no other training to cloud the perfect Master’s training. Such a person by dint of receiving the Light of Perfect Knowledge from the beginning itself shall learn faster and execute better.  We are fortunate too to have come in contact with a Perfect Master but have to make right use of the Light of Perfect Knowledge imparted by Him.

Friday, January 19, 2018


by Smt. Susmita Devi

Parenting is no joke...It takes parents (or guardians) quite some self-control to remember that on a daily basis in their own behavior. Never forget, that children are prone to imitate their elders or respected personalities like a spiritual Guru.

A physical elder family member functions as a guide in ordinary life of the innumerable do’s and dont’s of society. A Guru in physical form is indispensable to guide an individual in spiritual matters. So both physically and spiritually, guidance is needed while growing up.  My physical father took up his role while a child and Sadguru Sri Sri Babathakur took over when I came to India.

A few of my physical father’s advice and guidance are still remembered:

·            ‘Ruminate a bit and find the ‘silver lining’ to disagreeable events’. He repeatedly made me remember that ‘nothing is so bad that it is not good for something’. That’s what I today would call ‘Blessings in disguise’.
·            ‘It is easier to solve problems in a satisfactory way through cooperation or an attitude of give-and-take than to be stubborn’.
·            ‘Be forgiving, congenial and unselfish to the extent possible and, as far as possible, curb negative instincts consciously.’
·            ‘Look people straight in the eyes when talking to them’.
·            ‘Face people’s opinions with an open and respectful mind. Your opinion might not always be right for everyone.’
·            ‘Reflect on how any incident can be tackled before acting. If possible, the choice should be the one, which would not hurt the opponent unduly.
·            ‘Think twice before giving angry or hurtful replies. That would be the most constructive way to react (a variant of the old proverb ‘Count to ten before retorting’).
·            Be aware that every thought and action, good or bad, is bound to include a consequence.’
·            Firmly refuse to listen to slander and do not spread it. He added: “If you perceive you are victim of slander, you better ignore it if you think yourself justified in your words or deeds. If you realise there is some truth to it, the correct yourself.
·            If you can’t get what you want, you must want what you can get. Manage with whatever is available to you.
·            It is better to be without bread than to lack ideas on how to create means for getting your bread. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability.
·            Don’t hanker for what is not yours or not possible for you.
·      Don’t start what you have no intention to finish properly. It is better to say no than to do something half-heartedly with a mediocre result.
·            Success is never built on slapdash work. 

It was, unquestionably quite tough to abide by his recommendations, but I came to appreciate the lessons later in life as I valiantly tried to put them into practice.
The above instructions from my father have been implemented as well as I could. Sri Sri Babathakur’s teaching, later in life, have also been followed according to my capacity. Below are quotes from the book ‘Nectar of Wisdom’: 
Sri Sri Babathakur said: “One thing you can do is to ask yourself the following questions and then live accordingly”:

·         Be good... yes, but how?
·         By doing good.... yes, but how?
·         By thinking good ... yes, but how?
·         By living in the highest good, which is ‘Pure Consciousness or Self”
He continued to direct our attention to how one could develop true discrimination and Realization of Self through certain attitudes in life, which were:

·         Depend on one’s own Existence
·         Try to remember one’s own True Nature
·         Avoid the sense of duality
·         Rely on one’s Self only and on nobody and nothing else

Having uttered the above four points, He again warned us against trying to impart the ‘Science of Oneness’ to one who is:

·         Antagonistic
·         Back-biting
·         Criticizing others
·         Of fault-finding nature
·         Motivated by self-interest
·         Prone to self-importance
·         Trying to rule over others instead of himself
·         Unwilling to listen to the ‘Science of Oneness’ 

“These points symbolize a shield for one, who follows the ‘Science of Oneness’, which is the true Knowledge, not any conditioned knowledge”’

The above directives (as heard from my parent and from Sadguru Sri Sri Babathakur) are essential to follow, as far as possible, for a seeker of Truth.

Work Done Properly Becomes an Act of Worship

by Sri Ajit Halder

The author was inspired to write this article by the well-known proverb ‘Work is Worship', and a careful reading of its title will establish its connection with the age old proverb.  Also the title word Work with its mundane connotations does point at the word Worship which carries with it a much holier, spiritual characteristic.  An elaboration of the proverb ‘Work is Worship' may read like this: ‘Proper work is what is needed to worship one’s chosen deity or a holy person’ and the title is a close reiteration of this statement.

We note that the important words of the title are Work, Properly and Worship and in the context of this article, they have deeper significance than what their lexical meanings may convey.  In order to focus on their wider implications on the theme of this article, further elucidation of those words will be attempted in following paragraphs.

‘Work’ is a commonly used and understood expression which stands for various forms of activity that we do all through life.  Because of the varied nature of the work that one does or the experiences of what others do, it is most likely that the quality of the work done may either be good or bad.  Bad, wicked work intending to cause violence, inflict bodily harm or anguish to a person is to be despised and not to be accepted as an act of worship.  But work done to revere, venerate or adore a chosen deity or a holy person is accepted as a true worship. Also, the work executed for the welfare of fellow humans or as a service offered for the benefit of the nation merits to be praised as a noble act akin to worship.

The word ‘Properly’ is derived from the noun Proper which means appropriate, correct, fit or suitable to the purpose for which we are engaged in doing a particular job.  So ’Properly’ in the present context means our endeavor fittingly or appropriately suited or adapted to the task of worshiping our chosen deity or an adored and honorable person.

The next word to be discussed is ‘Worship’.  Some action which helps to undertake an act of worship implies feelings of tenderness and adoration of a chosen deity or of the good qualities of a person.  It is usually expressed in words or accomplished through the performance of a ritualistic ceremony.  Since the act of worship is the main thrust of this piece and since to a Hindu, worship takes a multitude of forms, it will be covered in greater details later on to bring out the many facets of this act.

In order to emphasize the role of work leading to an act of devotional worship, some further comments on Work are included.  The utterance ‘Mera karam hai mera Dharam’ denotes that my good work is my religious duty. To perform the sacred duty satisfactorily, I need to work with a high level of passion, with interest, with involvement and with joy for it to be counted as a religious work.

The Sanskrit verse that extends the notion of work is: ‘Karmanyeva Adhikaaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadaachana’. It is taken from the second chapter Samkhya Yoga of the Gita and is an oft-quoted verse which translates to "You have a right to perform your prescribed action, but do never expect to receive any rewards of your action".  The above-mentioned verse is about Karma (action) and the reader’s attention is drawn to the fact that any action undertaken involves two aspects: the cause responsible for the action and the effect which is an unavoidable outcome or any rewards resulting from that action.  This cause-effect scenario is invariably associated with the execution of any act.

The end part of the verse reads as ‘…Maa Phaleshu Kadaachana’ and its meaning “…do never expect to receive any rewards of your action” poses a dilemma on the question of receiving any rewards upon the completion of an act.  To tackle this issue, it is proposed to broaden the purport of the phrase ‘Maa Phaleshu Kadachana’ by including God’s blessings as the rewards one might expect.  This will be shown in Italics and underlined in the proposed version of the translation which will now read as: ”do never expect to receive any worldly i.e. material rewards of your action, but expect to receive God’s blessings as rewards”.  We hope this enhanced interpretation of the phrase will resolve the conflict.

In the Gita, Sri Krishna urges Arjuna to fight his own cousins, not for personal gain, but as his kuladharma, which is to carry out his duty as a Khatriya prince. Once he understood this, Arjuna's work became an act of worship.

Worship comes from the word “worth-ship” so the word worship means to show that someone is worth adoration.  The adjective ‘spiritual’ will add a new dimension to the notion of worship as the word spiritual means something nobler and holier in its purpose.  Spiritual Worship involves invoking the presence of the Divine and one needs mental preparation and a respectful attitude prior to engaging in spiritual worship. This type of worship through work done with reverence and in joy can't only be ritualistic; it is a matter of the heart a well.

In the preceding paragraphs an attempt was made to offer an extensive explanation of the words in the title.  Now comes the moment when we should concentrate on the practice of worship which is the focus of this article.

The art and practice of worship

Every one worships some-thing or some-one. The practice of worship has been performed for thousands of years and the Vedas describe mantras and procedures on how to conduct worship with rituals and prayer. Inspiration to worship usually comes from three sources: personal desire, the wish to propitiate a deity, or show regards to a holy person. 

It should be pointed out that within Hinduism, worship includes a wide range of practices.  We list below the principal acts of worship. Some of these ritual practices are performed individually with Bhakti (devotion) and some as a congregation in the temple or in religious festivals.

Principal types of rituals in worship

1.         Upasana - sitting near the deity or guru in devotion and adoration.

2.         Puja – ritual worship

3.         Prayer

4.         Bhajan or Kirtan – hymns and chants

5.         Aarti – the greeting ceremony with lamps

6.         Prasad – offering and eating sacred food

7.         Pravachan – talk on the scriptures, also listening to spiritual discussions by a saintly figure

8.         Pilgrimage to holy places to have a sight (darshan) of a deity or an audience with a holy person.

It is clear that a range of options are available to engage in the act of worship.  Most devotees will choose his/her preferred method or combine it with some other modes of worship. Whichever type of worship one selects, if the act of worship is done with devotion, he or she will achieve the desired objective.  We have chosen Puja and Prayer from the above list of rituals as we consider these two to be the most practiced methods for the act of worshiping.

Puja is a ritual performed by the Hindus to host and worship one or more deities with offerings in a shrine at home on a daily basis and in temple ceremonies and annual festivals.  Some basic items in the preparation of a puja will include: Asana (the seat offered to the deity); Pushpa (flowers); Naivedya (foods such as fruit, sweets and betel leaf offered to the deity). Dhupa (incense) with Dipa (lamp) is burned before the image and the deity is invoked with other items as well.

Prayer is the communication of the human soul with the Lord (who created the soul), and it helps to improve one’s spiritual well-being.  Prayer provides a deep connection with one’s chosen deity, God or a holy person.   In our endeavor to make Prayer effective for the purpose of worshiping, and to express one's thoughts and emotions, we seek guidance and ask for wisdom.  We can do no better than remember the words, advice and writings of Sri Sri Babathakur.  Wise sayings of Sri Sri Babathakur like those given by the Prajnanpurush to his devotees will surely help in our act of worship.  We quote two of His sayings:

(a) ‘Prayer is a state of heart and soul. True prayer is neither a process nor mere emotion nor only a composition of well-arranged words, but also it is one of the characteristics of the inner nature of the indwelling soul.’

(b) ‘Most humble, simple, intense and sincere prayer to God, out of strong urge for the Divine or Self -Realization, is said to be of Sattvic type. It elevates the mind and makes the heart pure, noble, submissive, devout, joyful, cheerful and loving; and it is free from hypocrisy, selfish and evil desire, personal interest, egoism, expectation, imagination, thirst for enjoyment, suggestive dictation etc. by Sattvic prayer one becomes a perfect devotee of God and is able to realize Him within and without as all in all, all in One, One in all and One in One.’

We conclude this article with the following observations:

First, we mention what Swami Vivekananda did to advocate for a human-centered worship (rather than purely a God honoring service), for he believed in the principle which may be expressed as ‘Serving humanity is an act of worshiping Divinity’.  With this motto Swami Vivekananda added a social dimension to the religious practice of Hinduism.

Secondly, to receive divine blessings, most devotees make elaborate preparations for a puja with varieties of flowers, many types of fruits and lavishly decorating the mandap.  But Sri Krishna advising Prince Arjuna and through him the entire humanity, utters in verse 25, Chapter 9 of the Gita;

‘patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati/
tad aham bhakty-upahritam ashnaami prayatmangham//’

In English the verse means - ‘If a worshiper offers Me with love and devotion only a leaf, a flower, fruit or plain water, I will accept it as one’s puja offering.  This will surely serve as an inspiration to worship since God advises that no elaborate arrangement for worship is needed.  Worship is to honor one’s deity with extravagant love and adoration, and it truly involves the worshiper’s heart, mind, and soul.