Not Work But Sadhana For Self-Realisation
Sri Swami Chidananda
Message from the book Forest Academy Lectures on Yoga.
We should not regard the anniversary celebrations of the press just like anniversaries celebrated by all institutions at the commencement of every new year of their existence. I shall explain the unique significance of this institution to recall which we are assembled on this great day.
By merely staying here on this holy spot on the banks of the Ganges one gets Eternal Bliss and perennial peace. In this great place we have the blessed good fortune to serve a God-realised sage. This work is equal in merit to the great Yajnas which the great Rishis in days of yore performed and the Tapas (austerities) they practised. Only the form and the name are different but the essential inner spirit is the same in the case of both. The seekers living in those ages were able to do a particular kind of Sadhana, Tapasya of a certain kind, Yajna of a certain kind. Such practices are not possible nowadays. The physical body of the average man of today is considerably weaker than that of the people who lived in the previous Yugas. Our great ancestors often lived for thousands of years. In this age even though the life-span is considered to be a hundred years, most people do not reach even half that age. The great Rishis, in their compassion, have prescribed a very easy Sadhana for us: we can easily realise God by doing a little bit of Japa and engaging ourselves in the ceaseless service of God-realised souls. During the period of our work, we should keep mentally repeating the Lord’s Name. Hath-me Kam Mukh-me Nam: the hands to work and the lips to the repetition of the Lord’s Name. “Work is worship” is the great ideal placed before us by Gurudev. If you have this Bhavana, the work that you do is not work but a great Sadhana for Self-realisation. It is Yajna. It is Tapasya.
Do not be bothered about the exterior form of the work. Try to understand the inner significance. The musician shakes his head and body in the process of singing. It is not as though he is sitting and shaking his body. His main object is to create sweet music. Similarly, even though from the external point of view you are composing, printing, binding or reading proofs, you are in reality doing a great Sadhana. The great man who does Puja in the Mandir the great Sevak who serves Swamiji personally in his Kutir, the great Yogi who meditates on the Ganges bank for four hours a day and the great worker who operates the printing machine or composes or binds the books–all of them are engaged in doing the same meritorious Sadhana that will yield the highest fruit of Self-realisation. The foremost thing here is the Bhava. If your Bhava is that you are doing every work for the purpose of attaining God then your work will be transformed into Sadhana. It may be that for the purpose of earning your livelihood you have taken up a job. But if you have this sublime Bhava, you will not only get your salary, but you will eventually attain Moksha, too!
People generally say that here we are engaged only in dynamic work: it is so only for the man whose eyes are open, but who does not really see. Arjuna was seeing Krishna everyday; but till Krishna gave him the Divya Chakshus, he did not realise that Krishna was all-pervading Divinity. Similarly, even though all that goes on here is dynamic work, with the proper inner Bhavana, we will see that it is all Sadhana for Self-realisation. If you go to a power-house you will see only dirt and grease everywhere and all the workers are dirty wearing clothes soiled with oil and grease. But the effect of all this is that for hundreds of miles around there is light and all kinds of wonderful comforts and conveniences due to the electricity produced at the powerhouse. Their work dispels darkness in thousands of homes for miles around. Similarly, through all the work that you are doing here, Gurudev’s message spreads far and wide, shedding light where there is darkness, bringing peace to where there is disharmony, ushering in happiness where misery reigned. These are Swamiji’s ideals and his mission in life and this is the work that you are doing as his instruments. This is the Lord’s work: the work of saving people from the clutches of Maya and of enabling them to realise their Self. And that is the work Gurudev is doing.
You have all done intense Tapasya in thousands of lives: it is only due to that you are enjoying the privilege of serving Gurudev. You are engaged in Vishwa-Kalyan Yajna or Lok-samgraha. You are all highly evolved souls. This great good fortune only one in millions can get. May you all enjoy the Highest Bliss.