Christmas Message from the book Awake! Realise Your Divinity!
We are fortunate to have conceived of a way of life where each day starts with the Divine Name, prayer and divine contemplation. By the grace, love and goodwill of beloved and worshipful Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji, in this holy ashram of his there is scope to constantly be in a state of God-remembrance, to start the day with God, fill the day with God and end the day with God. For in this God-filled atmosphere, in every direction, one encounters something connected with God. In numerous places, with numerous persons, upon numerous occasions one is brought into bhagavat-chintana, atma-chintana, tattva-chintana, one is brought into the remembrance of God, into awareness of our higher goal, into awareness of a greater reality, and into the awareness of a deeper purpose in our life, into the awareness of the significance of our human status.
In this Iron Age, when adharma (unrighteousness), bhagavat-vismriti (forgetfulness of God), vimukhi-drishti (view against God), atyachara (irreligious conduct) is the order of the day, consider the meaningfulness of this unique God-filled way of life. Consider the normal trend of Kali Yuga and consider the trend of your life. And to whom do you owe it? What is its value and how best to utilise it? How best to benefit by it?
These are things which should be very much on our minds as we approach the advent of the New Year and the advent of a great avatara, a great descent of Divinity, who proclaimed: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven” and “What availeth it a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” He proclaimed the secondariness of all things in comparison to the attaining of God, the attainment of the great Goal, which is the fulfilment of the central destiny of man, the central purpose of life.
His greatest commandment was to adore God with all your heart, with all your mind, with your entire being. Let your life be whole-souled devotion to God, parabhakti. He not only proclaimed this message, preached this teaching, but He lived this teaching. He was perpetually and continuously engaged in doing good, helping others, relieving suffering. At the same time, inwardly, He was permanently rooted in God, perpetually in a state of God-communion inwardly. He literally lived, moved and had His being in God.
He was the epitome of the Gita jnana upadesa. In Him we find the very embodiment of Gita jnana and the Gita yoga. “Yogasthah kuru karmani (Perform action, being steadfast in yoga), mam anusmara yuddhya cha (Remember Me and fight).” Be rooted in God and do good to your fellow beings. He taught this and said that the secret of this is to always be in a state of prayer within.
Prayer is a state of being linked up with God. Prayer is a state of being connected in spirit with God inwardly. The apparent outer part of you flows outwards towards prapancha, towards samsara, towards the aneka, the many, towards the manifestation. The superficial part of you is ever moving outwards because the mind and the senses are outgoing; whereas, simultaneously, the essence of your being is constantly moving inwards towards God, constantly flowing Godward in a continuous, unbroken stream.
Even as the rivers keep on flowing towards the ocean or the sea, even so your antah-chetana, your inner spiritual consciousness, is in a state of constant flow towards the source and origin of its being. Inwardly your life is God-oriented. It is a continuous, unbroken flow towards God, a current of consciousness flowing towards God unceasingly. Externally, to fulfil obligations, do your duty and play your part, you apparently flow outwards. But that which flows outwards towards prapancha, towards samsara, towards the many, aneka, is not your real being. It is something temporarily added on to you that flows towards prapancha because it belongs to prapancha. Your real being that belongs to God ever keeps on moving towards God. Your authentic, true life, genuine life, is a constant Godward flow–through remembrance, through prayer, through invoking His Name and grace. “It is not by bread alone that man lives, but by the Name of God.”
Thus Jesus taught us this yoga of God-centred living in the midst of activity. And He Himself personified this state, the outer state of constantly doing good and the inner state of constantly being rooted in God through prayer, remembrance, the Name and dedication.
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Thus He taught His disciples to pray. “Thy kingdom come” means “May Your kingdom come into my heart. May You reign over my heart; not anything else–not gross passions, not selfishness, not worldliness, not desire, but may You be the monarch of my heart. You who are the ruler of Your kingdom, establish Your kingdom here, as it is already established there in the inner dimension of the Spirit, the unseen world of the Spirit.”
That was the call to the Lord–to come and take charge. “Rule over me. Rule over my life. Be my centre. May You alone prevail and not my ego, not my ego-consciousness, not my ignorance, ajnana, not my avichara, not my lack of perception, but Your wisdom, Your light, Your divinity. Let that alone prevail in the interior of my being. Let me be thus filled with God, filled with Thee, filled with Divinity.” That was the prayer.
Upon the eve of the advent of this great teacher, let us try to know, assess and understand the meaning of His teachings and the place of His teachings in the living of our daily lives. This would be the most significant and important part of our celebration of the day of His advent. Let us try to find out the place and role that His teaching has to play in our lives as spiritual beings, leading a spiritual life in a spiritual atmosphere, in a God-filled atmosphere.
This then is the sharing, in the presence of beloved and worshipful Gurudev, as we begin yet another day. Every day is new. It is not like any other day that has passed. Let it, therefore, be to us an upward ascent, onward progress, moving in a Godward direction towards the Goal Supreme!”