How to benefit from a Saint's association?
This is the transcript of a discourse given by Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj.
Sat Sattya Sattya Ho Govind Radhey
Sang Sattya Sattya Ho To Lakhya Dilaa De
You are no doubt familiar with the word 'Satsang.' 'Sat' means 'Saint,' and 'Sang' means 'Association.' If 'Sat' (Saint) is 'Sattya Sattya', (a true Saint), and the 'sang' (association) with him is 'Sattya', (true), then the ultimate goal of God-realization can be attained. The Vedas say:
Tadvijnanaartham sa Gurumevabhigachhet
samitpaanih shrotriyam brahmanishtham"
A true saint is one who possesses theoretical knowledge of scriptures and a practical experience of God. A genuine saint is one who can impart to us the theoretical knowledge of Vedas and Vedic scriptures. Furthermore, he must have attained darshan of God; he must possess the treasury of divine-love-bliss. If he has a check book but nothing in the bank, what can he give to us? If he only talks about God but is not surrendered to God; if he has not attained the divine love of God, then he is feeding his ego by merely talking about God. He is not a true saint.
Now, what is true 'sang'? This is where we have gone wrong. In the course of innumerable past lives we must have met saints countless times. Countless times! Saints are always here on earth, and we are also eternal. So all the saints we hear about - Tulsidas, Soordas, Meera, Kabir, Nanak, Tukaram, Adi Shankaracharya, Nimbarkacharya, Madhvacharya, Vallabhacharya - we have seen them, we have heard them, we have met them. We were living during their lifetime. We visited them, we heard their lectures, but we did not gain any spiritual benefit from them. Why did we not gain anything? We said to them, "You are not a true saint." They said to us, "You did not do true sang."
For making spiritual advancement we need two things. We need a genuine saint, and we need to genuinely associate with the saint. It would be insane for us to think that we have never met a true saint. We have met even God during His innumerable descents to earth; how is it that we have never met true saints? We have met them, but the mistake we made is that we did not associate properly with them. The question is: How do you associate with a saint?
We have three possessions: body, mind and soul. Scriptures say that all three must associate with God and saints.
Yaahi sarvaatm bhaaven yayaa syaahyakuto bhayah (Bhagavat)
God says that we must offer all that we have in our possession. It is true that everything we have is impure, yet we must offer it anyway. God doesn't expect us to offer Him divine goods from Golok. He says, "Offer everything you have." Of our three possessions, the mind is the main possession. There are two forms of the mind: mind and intellect. The gyanis (impersonalists) say that the mind has four forms. However, only two are important, and these have been identified in the Gita.
Maiyeva man aadhatsva mayi buddhim niveshaya
"Arjun! Offer your mind and intellect to Me." Arjun thought, "I have only one thing; the mind, but my Lord is asking me for mind and intellect." Yes, yes, there is only the mind, but there are two states of the mind. When it is thinking, it is called the mind; when it is making decisions, it is called the intellect.
The Vedas say:
Buddhim tu saarathim viddhih manah pragrahameva cha
Indriyaani hayaanaahur vishaya gvamstesu gocharaan
Atmendriya manoyuktam bhokte tyaahur manishinah
God says, "I have given you a chariot." What is in the chariot? First of all, there is the chariot itself. Then there are horses pulling the chariot. In the mouth of the horses there is a rope; the reins. Then there is a driver. There is also a passenger who is seated in the chariot.
The chariot is our body - the human body which is attained through the greatest fortune; horses are the sense-organs; rope is the mind; chariot-driver is the intellect, and passenger is the soul. God says, "I have provided you the chariot so that you may come to me. You don't have to get dressed up; come as you are." We have been traveling in the chariot for countless lives but still we have not reached God. And God's house is not far; it's very near. As soon as we turn the chariot around and go in the other direction, we will reach God. All we have to do is to turn around. We simply have to surrender to God. We have been going away from the direction of God. It's like someone who wishes to go to Allahabad, but instead of going in the east, he is going west towards Lucknow.
Justam yadaa pashyantya meeshamashya mahimaanamiti vitoshokah
The Vedas say, "Turn around. Take a right-about turn or a left about-turn, but just turn around. God is standing right behind you, waiting for you." But we do not wish to turn around. We have accepted one another as mother, father, son, wife and husband, and we are seeking happiness through these people. We are begging door-to-door, and the ones we are begging from are beggars themselves. And all the beggars are fooling us. Each one is saying, "Come to me; I will make you very happy." Mother, father, wife, husband, son, everyone is saying this. They are deceiving us. We are being kicked around everywhere in the world. Sometimes we do realize that no one can give us happiness because everyone is selfish, but this knowledge doesn't remain with us for very long. We quickly go back to the world, searching for happiness.
Thus, it is the mind and intellect that must associate with the saint. And of these two, the intellect is the main one. The poor mind is just a servant of the intellect. It merely does what the intellect tells it to do. Write this down in golden letters. You people say time and time again, "Oh! My mind doesn't want to think of God; my mind tells me to go to sleep; my mind is telling me to go away from here." Granted the mind is telling you to do all this, but you must learn to control the mind with the intellect God has given to you. Even a little child controls the mind with his intellect.
Let us say that a child is going to school. On the way to school he sees hot jalebi being made in a sweet shop. Seeing the fresh jalebi being made, the child's mouth starts watering. He wants to eat the sweets, but he has no money with him. He thinks to himself, "Go ahead; steal the jalebi." Then he thinks, "No, no, if I am caught I will get a beating. Keep walking to school." The child looks longingly at the hot jalebis but keeps walking to school. What has he done? He has controlled his mind. He could have said to the mind, "Hey, tell the hand to pick up the jalebi." But he could not give this order to the mind.
Out of all the works we do in the world, there are very few that the mind wants to do. We do most of our work despite the fact that the mind does not wish to do it. Now let me talk about you people. You have left home to come here and do sadhana. You have great devotional feelings, and I accept that you have renounced a lot to come here. But despite this, when the early morning bell is sounded, you get out of bed not because your mind wants to, but because you have to. You reason to yourself, "I must get up. If I don't, I will get a scolding from Maharaj Ji." You get up forcibly. Even at home, the child gets out of bed because Mommy or Papa wakes him up. He doesn't like to get up, but he does so anyway. And Mommy and Papa themselves don't want to get out of bed. They do it forcibly. Papa gets out of bed because he has to go to work; Mommy gets out of bed because she has to make breakfast.
All day long you are engaged in doing many works you don't want to do, and you have to put up an act. You welcome someone who comes to your house, but you do so half-heartedly. You do it because you have to, not because your mind wants to. The fact is that even if your Guru tells you to render some service, you do so reluctantly. It can be said that 99.9% of your work is done because you have to, not because you want to. Because the mind is your servant, it has to do what the intellect instructs it to do. The mind cannot revolt against the intellect. God has given us great power in the form of the intellect, with which we can control the mind. But we accept defeat. We do what the mind tells us to do. We should do what the intellect tells us to do. Have the intellect govern the mind; do not allow the mind to govern the intellect.
Now let's talk about our intellect. Our faulty intellect has not allowed us to associate with saints. Our intellect decides - I have a B.A. degree; I have an M.A.; I am a Ph.D.; I have lived a long life; my hair did not turn grey by sitting in the sun; I have seen the world; I have lots of life-experience; how can I blindly believe that Tulsidas and Soordas are saints? Our intellect has always criticized saints - why does he sit like this; why does he stand like this; why does he wear these clothes; why does he talk like this? We always did this. We criticized even God; why would we spare the saints? We did not listen to the saints. Saints, God and scriptures say that God snatches away the world from the one He graces. But we did not accept this truth. We thought, "This cannot be. The receiver of God's grace becomes a billionaire. If he is childless, God gives him a child. If he doesn't have a mother, God provides him with a mother. If he is fatherless, God gives him a legal guardian." In other words, we think that when God graces us, He gives us worldly property. However, God and saints say the complete opposite. So a fight ensues. A fight between the knowledge of God and Godly saints, and our intellect. We don't care what the Vedas say or what is written in the Bhagavat; we disagree.
I ask you; how many people are there in India who would accept that when God graces an individual he snatches worldly property from him? Even amongst all of you, I don't see a single person who would agree with this. There is no one amongst you who would happily accept insult, physical illness, loss of wealth or death of a loved one as a sign of God's grace. The reason is that your intellect is faulty. The faulty intellect does not allow us to associate with a saint. We may say in words that we accept what God and Saints say, but in our heart of hearts, we say, "I don't agree with you." And if you don't agree, then you are not associating with a saint. Associating with a saint means accepting his words fully from the heart.
How many of you would feel fortunate to be scolded by your Guru? You would not feel fortunate. On the contrary, you would get upset. Of course you will not tell the Guru off externally, but internally you will be annoyed with him. He scolded me in front of everyone. I would not have minded if he had scolded me in private. How much you love respect! You want respect despite the fact that you are a slave of lust, anger, greed, attachment and ignorance. You are not prepared to hear even your Guru scolding you.
This means that your intellect is not associating with the saint. Once your intellect starts associating with a saint, the mind will follow automatically. The intellect must become ecstatic upon hearing the Guru's instruction. The intellect must accept that it isn't when the guru praises you that he is being merciful to you. Rather, it is when the guru scolds that he is being merciful to you. If you can accept this, it means that you are surrendering your intellect, and now you will certainly make great advancement on the path. Until this point, you are only fooling yourself by thinking that you are surrendered to God or Guru. And even if you are surrendered, you are 1% surrendered or 10% surrendered. You ask yourself, "Am I fully surrendered?" The answer comes from within, "Yes, I am." Whom are you asking? I am asking the intellect. Why are you asking the faulty intellect? Why would the intellect give a judgment against itself?
So, if you truly associate with a saint, it will not take you long to reach your destination. The Guru says, "Chant 'Mara Mara' and you will reach God." We ignored millions of lectures based on the Vedas and Vedic scriptures; are we going to accept a Guru if he says that we will attain God by chanting Mara Mara? The Guru said, "Keep saying Mara Mara until I return," and the disciple said, "Yes, Guru Ji." He did not question the Guru. He didn't ask, "Why should I say Mara Mara? How long should I go on saying Mara Mara?" No such questions! He simply followed the Guru's instruction and became Valmeeki, the saint. All due to self-surrender; all due to true association.
Your Guru throws a flower or a bead necklace in your direction. You should feel extremely fortunate. You should feel ecstatic; thinking that you have received His ultimate grace. Instead you are thinking, "Hmm! I got an ordinary necklace; the person next to me got a nice one." What are you thinking? The intellect is very spoiled; it has been spoiled for countless lifetimes. This is why it is not willing to surrender itself. This intellect is ever-ready to judge saints. The Guru asks, "Why are you sitting like this?" The devotee answers back immediately, "What else should I do? How else should I sit?" And even if you don't say this out loud, you think it in your mind. You think adverse thoughts. You all do this. And after making a mistake you don't realize your mistake. You don't even resolve to not repeat the same mistake.
So, if you ever do true 'sang', if you ever associate correctly with a saint, you will quickly reach your goal. I shall describe 'sang' in greater detail some other time.
- The Essence of Hindu Philosophy
- Why do we want happiness?
- Benefits of Chanting God's Names
- Words of Caution for Aspiring Devotees
- How to benefit from a Saint's association?
- Goal of the Human Life