Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Hari OM
Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
The text under study is BHAJA GOVINDAM, song of despair of time-wasting, by Sri Adi Shankaraachaarya.

The often contentious issue (in India at least) of itinerants making themselves out to be 'godmen' can cause some heated debate. Certainly, in all societies today, we have those who are genuine in their destitution, but there are many who actively behave in certain manners in order to 'sponge' off society. That said, when it comes to walking the path of the sanyaasin, should one become truly Self Realised, then the matters of the world truly have no more bearing upon us and this can sometimes lead to what appears, to the majority left in their delusion, as aberrant behaviour. The subject is addressed in this verse.

yaegI yaeginyaeijticĂ…aae
rmte balaeNmĂ…avdev.22.
Yogii yoganiyojitachitto
Ramate baalonmattavadeva ||22||
The yogin who wears but a patched shawl
Who walks the path that is beyond merit and demerit,
Whose mind is joined in perfect yoga with its goal,
Revels (in God-consciousness) and lives thereafter as a child or as a madman.

It is not that the Realised master is actually mad or returned to childhood - but can resemble one or other in their behaviour. Reason is that the ego has departed. There is nothing there which feels it must fray with the world.

Childlike in the sense that, like children, the Realised might react to the world with an outburst of emotion but that it is over and forgotten within minutes. There is no sense of carrying the world with them. A man of perfection lives in the moment and each moment is complete unto itself for that one. There are no regrets for past, nor anxiety for the future. In this way, there is a revelling in the present and a spontaneity which might be envied.

Equally, those we brand as 'mad' appear to live in a world entirely different from our own perspective. There they may have images and perceptions and experiences that we simply cannot fathom. In the same manner, the Realised might walk among us as if on a different plane. Due to our lack of understanding, we label them as madmen, not knowing that they see us completely, but have no attachment to us. Such a one lives amidst us and may even conform to regular life, but still their head is above the clouds of likes and dislikes, ego, vanity, joy, sorrow…

Such people seem always to be at peace, tranquil, content. There is no merit or lack, there is not good or bad, pleasure or pain in their world - the world which belongs to us all and which might, in other contexts be called as the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a state of mind available to all who strive along that path and which removes all fear, or ego-based awareness; indeed, one must become as childlike as possible in order to enter it! Not child-'ish', note; for that is selfish and petulant. Rather, we are talking the innocence and lack of inhibition that is present before the world takes hold. We can do this in this very life. We do not have to wait for death to enter that kingdom!

Many such masters, once Realised, revel there continuously and care not for home or clothing and can, thus, appear to become more like a vagrant. A key difference between this one and a true vagrant, however, is the total lack of fear, lack of concern for self, and a blissful nature emanates from them. The vagrant may move around as rats or stray dogs might; the master moves around as if floating.

If we are lucky, we will find a master who chooses to remain 'grounded', who is able to float when he wishes, but is willing to re-enter our 'space' in order to assist us along our own path; to set an example and lay out the map for us. The Rsis of old were such as these and the various true gurus who have emerged over the centuries all such… and they exist today. Swami Chinmayananda was one such, our current Guru-ji is one such. True gurus do not necessarily have to be wearing orange robes or sacred beads though. They can come in the form of street sweeper, or a carpenter, a poet or a lumberjack. Any who understand their connection to the wholeness of creation and who choose to reside in that union irrespective of what society thinks of it is to be admired, even held in awe and certainly in respect… yet, so often, we condemn them to the sidelines.

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Hari OM
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