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WHY YOU ARE CALLED RADIANT ATMAN

By

SRI SWAMI CHIDANANDA

Radiant Atman! Beloved children of the Divine! Day after day, when you assemble here in proximity to Gurudev's spiritual presence in this Samadhi Hall, you chant kirtan, you repeat guru stotra, you recite santi path and you go into silence. And this period of silence and physical stillness we term meditation.

At this stage of one's Yoga life, our interior is regarded as being constituted of three factors during this process called meditation. First, there is the object of meditation, which is Divinity; it is God, it is the eternal, the infinite, the ever pure, the reality behind all appearances, who existed when nothing else existed. The second factor is the process of meditation—a continuous unbroken flow of attention and thought upon the object. These two factors are clear. But the third factor, the meditator, is not so clear. Who is meditating? What is one's feeling about oneself as a meditator? With what consciousness, what purpose, what bhava, are you meditating?

At the end of this period of meditation you are always addressed as children of Divinity, always. Why are you addressed thus? Has it any connection with your meditation? What was behind this great, unvarying practice of Gurudev? It derives from Vedic times: srunvantu sarve amritasya putrah (Listen, all ye children of Immortality). You are being addressed in a similar manner, and there is a connection between this address and what should be the fruit of your meditation.

Calling you by epithets like "Radiant Atman" or "children of the Divine," is a pointing out of what should be achieved during your period of meditation—the transcending of your consciousness, beyond its present state of identification with a passing personality, into a higher state of becoming rooted in your true identity: "I am an immortal, radiant divine being, part of the Cosmic Spirit. "I am beyond time and space. I have neither body nor mind. I have no birth or death."

Gurudev used to say: "Nothing exists, nothing belongs to me. I am neither body nor mind. Immortal Self am I." That was his formula; it was his negative description. It is the neti, neti way of expressing the Reality. But, Gurudev took it one step forward. He gave a positive description: "chidananda hum, har hal mem satchidananda hum ajarananda hum, amarananda hum, kaivalya kevala kutastha ananda hum, nitya suddha, siddha satchidanand hum—I am this, I am eternally pure, I am eternally perfect. I am existence-consciousness-bliss absolute. I am ever free, I am unshaken as the Himalayas, as Mount Meru. I am the Being that is firmly established in a certain state of consciousness. I am the unchanging. I do not move."

Those who had the good fortune to live in his times will be able to recollect the transforming impact he had when he stood up and roared with his great voice: "chidananda, chidananda, chidananda hum, har hal mem almast satchidananda hum (Knowledge-bliss, knowledge-bliss, bliss absolute. In all conditions I am knowledge-bliss-absolute). How his face shone! With what great force and emphasis it came out of him! He said it as a divine injection. So, he affirmed and asserted in a positive way what you are."

Sometimes in meditation our bodies are motionless, but within us there is turmoil, vikshepa and chanchalatva (tossing of the mind and restlessness). The mind is going all over the universe. There is no longer that serene process of the meditator, the meditation process and the object of meditation being harmoniously connected in one single unified state,—a continuous, unbroken state of flow from the meditator towards the object of meditation, like the river Ganga flowing towards the ocean. Sometimes it is not there. The body may be motionless, but the mind is not motionless.

Whereas, the very purpose of your being addressed as Radiant Atman, children of Divinity, at the end of your meditation is to make clear to you that just the reverse should be the case. Your body may be involved in a hundred different movements, in continuous activity, but within you there should be a firm, unshaken state of being established in kutastha atma svarupa, established in That which is unshaken. It is like Mount Meru.

Within you there should be a state of being firmly established in your own Self-awareness, atma-sthiti. Within you there should be this absolutely unshaken, firm state of being rooted in Reality, an unshaken firmness of Self-awareness of yourself as an eternal, unborn, ever-perfect divine Spirit. If this unshaken firmness of Self-abidance is there within you, then a hundred thousand activities can go on all around you, and you will not be affected. You will not move one hair's breadth away from that which you are, that which is your eternal, unvarying state of being. For, it is Reality, and it cannot change. It is not subject to change.

Thus being established, move along in the world doing all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the beings you can, at all times and in all places. Constantly elevate your entire life into the same level as your own eternal being—not allowing your being to be dragged down, but by the power of your established Self-abidance, uplifting everything, elevating all through each and every movement of your life. Eating, drinking, sleeping, sitting, standing, breathing—everything should be drawn up, elevated and kept upon that state.

This should be the condition. This should prevail: abidance in the Self within, allowing the body, mind, senses, hands and feet to engage in activity without any prejudice to that continued Self-abidance. That should be your status. That should be your state, your interior.

If you thus abide firmly within, if you are rooted in your Self, then all the movements of your life, your selfless service, service to the Guru, service of mankind, will all result in making your whole life and its movements refined, subtle and sattvic. And, ultimately, you will be able to elevate your entire life to this same higher dimension. You will spiritualise everything. Nothing remains gross; nothing remains secular. Everything becomes spiritual. All activity becomes Yogic activity. Your life becomes a spiritualised life.

Thus it is that you are reminded day after day: You are not this body and mind. You are not a mere jivatma with birth and death. You are the eternal, the kutastha atma, ever free, ever pure, ever perfect, ever full. In this awareness you should abide, and let the body be made to engage in noble activity, sublime selfless service. And through the power of your inner Self-abidance, elevate and uplift even the outer activity to a higher plane of divinity.

The great Sankaracharya has given us the formula of transforming every activity into a glorious adoration of the ever-present, all-pervading Divine: yadyat karma karomi tattad akhilam sambho tava aradhanam (Whatever actions I do, they are all worship of Thee, O Lord). Ponder this and transform your life into Divinity. May God's grace and Gurudev's kripa enable you to do this now and here.


Last Updated: Sunday, 17-Oct-2004 08:51:46 EDT
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