Letters - Q & A
People from all walks of life wrote letters to Swamiji, asking various questions about vedanta and spirituality. He would promptly answer each and every letter with great precision and minor details. One wonders, from where did he find time out of his busy schedule to reply to everyone? Not only did he reply, but he also understood and answered each of the questions seriously, according to the quest of the seekers, with a love of divine mother and Guru. Swamiji's letters are like a book on vedanta which he, the Master, preached relentlessly for over 44 years. The Central Chinmaya Mission Trust (CCMT) has compiled some letters in book form called "Vedanta Through Letters" Vol. I and II.
Here we have presented three randomly selected letters of general interest from the book. Periodically we will change them. It is our earnest hope that after reviewing them you will find swamiji's approach and vedanta appealing enough to induce you to take up further studies of spirituality and vedanta. You will find Swamiji's books and video very helpful to guide you in this endeavor. You can order your copy of "Vedanta Through letters" from Chinmaya Publications. Phone# (215) 396-0390
Q: A SANYASI'S only work is to be in SAMADHI. He must remain in his humble KUTIA!Why do you come to the towns and cities? Go back to your KUTIA in the Himalayas. Meditate and pray for us, the SAMSARINS, and for the world, the SAMSARA. (Writes Sri Chandramohan Sen from Calcutta.)
Priya Atman, Immortal Self!
Black flags cannot frighten a Sadhu; rather he welcomes every black flag waving, every curse, every insult! To a true Sanyasin respect, adoration, worship, prostrations -- these are terrible trials; for, these are nourishments to the never-dying Ego. The rebirth of Ego within is the fall of the Sanyasin. So then, wave thy black flag aloft; cry down the efforts of the Sadhus. But to send them back to their Kutias there is only one method; be thyself perfect. Get out of the Samsaric mire. Wipe your face clean. Spread cheerful smiles of joy where today there are ugly tears of sorrow! And the Mahatma goes back to the Kutia; but not till then!!
Now to your letter in more details. Not even the Sruti has dared to lay down rules for the Sanyasins of realization. To say that a Sanyasi aught to do this or that, and to declare certain don'ts for a saint is like promulgating state-ordinance for the convenience of a handful of law-makers!! A Sanyasi knows no law; he is beyond all laws; he has so completely renounced his "I-ness" that what he does is the expression of the Divine Will. Perfected Saints alone are the Executive Officers of the Absolute Will.
Yet, sympathetically understanding the general import of your letter, Chinmaya answers your doubt. It would appear that you are against Sanyasins crowding the cities and towns, and thus falling off from the traditional grandmummy-description of the Jatadhari saints in the Himalayas doing Tapas or sitting in Samadhi.
Great indeed is the loss -- it is true. A Sanyasi among the masses trying to bless the generation through Seva is doing only a fraction of what he could bring about by the spiritual waves of Divine influence generated during his hours of meditation. Yet -- Priya Sowmya, the Sadhu in meditation is only one part of the whole; the other part is a receptive world of Samsarins.
The world today has become gross. People have so completely turned materialistic that they in their preoccupations with the hourly tussle in life -- in their sweating strife to earn and maddening hurry to spend -- in their extraordinary lust and bloated greed -- in their vulgar selfishness and colossal vanities -- in their stupid values and thoughtless pursuits, they have come to find neither the leisure nor the capacity to wait for, tune in and receive the subtle Divine Waves that the Himalayas beam out perpetually upon them!! If Chinmaya comes to you in the city the "Himagiri Station" is not off from the air; it is a 24-hour relay broadcast station.
Probably your radio knowledge will make this idea more clear to you. The Delhi Broadcasting Station is everyday on the air; if Chinmaya cannot receive it here in his Kutia it is because he has not the radio receiving-set with with him. But, because of his not hearing the music, to deny radio waves in the ether above his Kutia is but a colossal stupidity and a lamentable ignorance!! Have a radio-set, tune in to the required wave-length, and thus intercept the ether waves. Similarly, the Mahatmas in Samadhi are even to-day sending out, day and night, Spiritual Waves of Light, Power, Wisdom and Grace; but the gross generation is not receiving them. To teach them to become receivers so as to tune themselves at will to the various required wavelengths is the urgent need of the times, if we are to avert the imminent catastrophe to the rational animal called Man.
The ulcerated world has to be taught as to how to expose their seriously affected head and heart to the curative spiritual rays of the Himalayas. This is the exclusive job of the specialists -- the Sanyasins. They alone can do it; they alone have the knowledge and experience in this Religion of Real Living. Chinmaya is down amidst you, only to help you, to serve you, to save you.
Once you have leamed the art of living the Inner Life of Perfection you shall become the powerful receiver that you really are. Then Chinmaya shall go back to meditate and pray for the Samsarins and the Samsar. Now the Sadhus' prayers of "Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu" are futile. Honestly, you have become worse than the rock that forms the wars of the Sadhu's cave. For, even the rock, bearing the cave in which Vasishta in his time lived and meditated is famous today. Vasishta Guha, 18 miles higher up from Rishikesh, is attracting pilgrims -- because that.rock had the Sat-sang of the Mahatma in Samadhi, and gained in its glory. People have become grosser than the Vasishta Guha stones! Now allow Chinmaya to serve you please!
Hope the letter is clear. The theme is so grave that it refuses to be treated in a mere letter form. These are ideas --merely suggested. You must ponder over them, analyze, scrutinize and dive deeper into their bottomless treasure- house of rich significance.
Q: Swamiji, I am 38 now. If what you say be true I have made a terrible mistake in that I depended upon relations, husband, children, money, home, friends and sense objects, "the outer world" as you say, for my happiness. Now your call is to "detach" from these and take to God. Yes, I shall. But how am I to know that the Swami, who is preaching the New Values now is right and the world that taught me the false values is wrong? Don't you see, Swamiji, I can't afford to make yet another mistake. (Requests Sreemati Manorama from Muzzafarnagar, U.P.)
Priya Atman! Om Namasivaya!
Your marvellous question. Chinmaya admires your intelligence and courage. The aspirant in you has with the questions, proved herself, to be a worthy student. How few have your honesty to open up their sincere doubts. Bravo! Never, never hesitate to approach a Mahatma with all your doubts. Doubts are the various milestones on pilgrim's path to Truth, and once all of them are covered he has reached the Truth.
Dear mother, you have slightly hastened to conclude that you have this doubt! Had you yet an unshaken faith in `the world that taught me the false values' you would not have cared at all to pen this letter. Your own experiences have proved to you that at the moment of your great trials the `false values' did not protect you. They deserted you and you found yourself helpless in your despairs!
So then, the world and its values are not reliable. This, you know from your own bitter experiences. The Swami is offering you another set of values, and declares that all these that we perceive through our senses, mind and intellect constitute the Great Grand Game of the Lord who is seated in our own hearts. It is admirable of you to ask so candidly, `how am I to know you are right!'
Certainly you "can't afford to make yet another mistake" and you should not. That is the anxiety of the Srutis and the Smritis when they with loving insistence force us to detach ourselves from the false changing values of life and command us to accept the True Etemal Values of LIFE.
The Life Divine is today an unknown thing to you. It is a distant Land and a life that looks strange and bewildering when compared to the present drearmland of the Samsara. Now, how to ascertain whether the life in that unexplored, little-known world of Godliness, is more perfect than the painful existence here, now?
The recent war would be the best analogy for you. You know that there was a war in Europe some years ago, don't you? You know that the Germans fixed their flags all over the continent and half through Poland. You know that they were at last defeated by the Allies. You know of the great discovery, the atom bomb, and how maliciously inhuman it is, to use it in war. You know that the world's Gold is cornered now in America; that.....and so on. You have known all these, haven't you?
Yet, you have seen nothing of these: You have experienced nothing of the pains of the defeat or the joys of the victory. Yet you know it all-HOW?
"From newspaper reports; and, the entire community of people around me believed it, talked of it, discussed daily upon its implications. I had seen wounded soldiers and heard their stories. Moreover we are even today experiencing its distant shocks in our day-to-day financial, social and political life." -- Is this not your answer?
If this be your answer, you have correctly enumerated the usual sources of all knowledge as (1) personal experience or personal contact of people who had the experience, (2) reports of experiences lived by others, (3) company of believers and their daily discussions.
In the Life Divine too the sources of proof and knowledge cannot but be the same.
Sat-Sang is the company of believers and listening and reacting to their daily discourses.
Saints and Sages have given their reports to us in every scripture and religion of the world -- some rare giants of heroism had, at intervals in the History of Man, visited the thick of the Experience and had come back to report to the world of what they saw, heard, lived and experienced in the Land of the Beyond.
You sought the wounded soldiers; similarly, seek and you shall find, even around you some who face their daily lif, with a smile and a mysteriously charming courage. Talk to them with as much sympathy and true sincerity as you did when you warmed yourself into the confidences of the disabled soldiers. You will then hear from these rejuvenated champions of the Life Divine, their own experiences in the new world of Devotion to God, unknown to you.
Along with these (Sat-Sang, study of scriptures, listening to the true messages of devotees and their experiences) if you start yourself living the Divine Life, then yours shall be the daily experience of the blessings of the Lord even in your simple domestic life.
The abuses of others would then be but a rare music -- Divine Sweetness to your ears!
The pains of life automatically turn into the Joy of Existence in the Devotees' hearts!
Despairs turn into fulfillment of hopes at the magic touch of selfless love of God.
Bereavement and losses might blow wild, blasting and wrecking everything around you; but, you would be ever living quietly in a safe island, undisturbed by these storms, You will Rediscover yourself as even enjoying the scenes of life's captivating strength and ferocity.
In short, a Divine Lifer lives in the world; but he is not of it.
A true "Divine-Lifer" is a holiday maker upon this planet; he merely looks on and observes the life and its joys and sorrows as lived by the Natives. In himself he lives, rarely identifying hirnself with his surroundings. The joys of the world are not his -- the sorrows of the world he knows not.
He, the Divine Lifer, knows that his is only a pleasure trip to this strange globe of impermanence where a mad Emperor, His Majesty Ego, runs wild among the fantasies of his own deranged brain and laughs and weeps alternatively!
Now that you are here,won't you like to enjoy the sights of this magic-land? You sought a mental identity with H. M. Ego, and you are now as much mad as the mad Emperor. Take some rest. Regain your breath. At the refreshing waters of devotion comfort yourself. Om Shanthi! Shanthi!! Shanthi!!!
As you cool down you will realise for yourself what a sad, tragic, stupendous mistake you had made. To be again the holiday maker is to love the Real LIFE . . . The life of a Jivan Muktha. To dance in the embrace of the Mad Ego is to sigh and weep the days of life! . . . the Life of a Samsarin. Make your choice. Now, here.
You must be in a position to know whether you are actually living a mistake, or would be living a mistake if you accept the Swami and his "New Values."
Please give yourself a chance. Don't condemn yourself to remain in the wretched dung-ridden, back-yard of life.
Start Japa Kirtan and Mantra-writing as already advised and come up the ladder of perfection to enter the Hall of joy -- LIFE. Om Namasivaya. Om. Om. Om. Om. Om.
Jai Jai Jagadeeswara! Salutations!!
Recently, due to a terrible stomach pain, I got into a taxi to reach Dr. Rama Rao to consult with him. The taximan assured me that he knows Rama Rao well and took me to his house. While the taxi was madly rushing through the gate, I did look out and read the board of 'Rama Rao. With full confidence, I entered the house. The secretary informed me that Rs. 25 is the consultation fee. I paid the moeny. She guided me to his room. When she left, I elaborately explained my problem, and Rama Rao patiently listened to it all. Then he got up from his seat and held the door open. I walked out and he followed me. I was sure that he was taking me to the porch and, with a pleasant smile on his face, with his long, pointed fingers he stretched out his arm and showed me the opposite house accross the road and said, "Swami, that is Dr. Rama Rao. I am Lawyer Rama Rao."
I lost my Rs. 25, but I was grateful to him, because had he prescribed the medicine, I would have faithfully followed him, and perhaps would have come to a great tragedy.
My dear Latha, why are you bringing economic, social, and political problems to the doors of religion? What can Mother Sruti do, except stretch out her wrinkled arm and show to you the politician and the economist, and say that, "'I am in charge of values, but they are responsible for the arrangement of things and beings in the world"?
I know that you are completely despaired of the politician and the economist, that you have no faith in them, that you are convinced that they are useless. But they are not avaflable for the discussion, while this poor Swami is available. Therefore, you are sending out your kicks meant for them, care of me. My answer is that, "I am out . of station, address "Not known."
With Prem and Om
Thy Own Self,