The Great Goal And Its Attainment
tavàmçtasyandini pàdapaïkajenive÷itàtmà kathamanyadicchati
sthite.aravinde makarandanirbharemadhuvrato nekùurasaü hi vãkùate
TODAY is the glorious day of the celebration of the Mother’s Victory. It is a day of Vijaya, when all the gods rejoice and all mankind is in an exuberance of joy; for they have received the Supreme Assurance that so long as they turn to the Mother in their extremity and distress, there will be no lack of support and of strength. For, Mother is the champion of those in distress and those who seek refuge at Her divine feet. She is Strength Infinite, Maha-Shakti; and as such we have but to turn to Her and no more will weakness persist in us. The supreme victory over all the forces of darkness, ignorance and nescience is achieved and we shall be partakers together with the Mother of joy of Vijaya. Vijaya-Dasami is a supreme day of confidence, strength and courage for all seekers.
On this day all aspirants and those in quest of God have the greatest strength and courage for by the annihilation of all the forces that stand in the way of the fullest manifestation of divinity, Mother has thrown open the gateway as it were to the abode of Para Brahman. The worship of the Mother upon this supreme day is the worship of Maha-Maya in Her purest and absolute Vidya aspect. Till now, during the Navaratra, we worshipped the Mother in Her different aspects as She is manifest in this phenomenal world of human affairs. But when we come to Vijaya, we transcend the Mother in all Her external and Vidya-Avidya aspects and we gaze into Her face as the Pure Vidya-Maya, the Para-Shakti, to gaze at Whom is verily to gaze into the Infinite and the unfathomable depth of Para Brahman Himself.
For, we started at the very commencement of this worship by declaring that Mother is none else than the Para Brahman. The Supreme Being is Itself the Mother. Therefore, in Her Pure aspect as Vidya-Maya, She is Para Brahman Itself; and it is in Her radiant and all-glorious form of the Vidya, the radiance of Atma-Jnana, that we offer our salutations and adorations to the Mother upon this Supreme and blessed day of Vijaya Dasami.
On this day there no longer exists any element of the lower nature. There is no Asuric Sampat at all. There is no trace of demoniacal nature. All that is darkness has been completely annihilated. It has vanished. There reigns Mother and Mother alone in all Her supremacy. She is once again that mass of infinite consciousness. To invoke Her in this radiant, all vigorous aspect is to plunge ourselves in the supreme worship of the Transcendent Being. Thus, now, we start our worship and adoration of the Supreme Being, reaching which man has no more to go this round of painful birth and death. That is the abode of everlasting light from where there is no more return to sorrow. There is no more pain. Once for all we reach that supreme abode which is beyond all sorrow, all pain and all delusion. That is the supreme goal of the aspirant, the seeker, of all human beings, in fact, for this human birth has been given to us for that purpose of the highest attainment and for that purpose alone. All other pursuits are delusions and the one purpose of attaining the Supreme Being is the sole meaning, end and aim of this invaluable and precious human birth.
Guru: The Embodiment of Supreme Power
Upon this glorious day, let us take the opportunity of looking into one very great secret of the spiritual life. We have considered the Mother in Her threefold aspects of Durga, Lakshmi and Sarasvati, as She is manifest as different movements in this phenomenal existence, as different qualities in the aspirant and also as different forms of living and different phases of man’s life and activities. But all this has been more or less in an impersonal way. She is also manifest in a special and an occult form; and this occult form of Her is in the nature of a divine personality. The manifestation of the Mother as our divine preceptor is a rare secret that is revealed to the heart of the spiritual seeker only through the Grace of the Lord, of Mother Saraswati. This secret of the direct personal manifestation of the Mother in Her supreme aspect of Vidya-Maya and Vidya-Shakti is the Guru to the disciple. She is the Sat-Guru to the seeker. To a spiritual seeker, that spiritual being whom he has accepted as his spiritual preceptor and the Guru is in the completest sense the visible personal manifestation and embodiment of the Supreme Divine Mother. Upon this conception of the Divine Mother rests the entire foundation of the seeker’s spiritual life. Upon this rests the entire philosophy in Hindu culture. This is a unique conception the parallel to which cannot be found in any other culture upon the whole earth. This secret of seeing the Supreme Being as embodied and manifest in the visible personality of the Sat-Guru is at the very bottom of the success of the aspirant’s spiritual quest. Thus, to every circle of spiritual seekers that particular personality whom they have surrendered themselves to and whom they have accepted in the core of their hearts as their spiritual guide, is the Supreme Embodiment of Para-Shakti, he is Brahma, he is Vishnu, he is Maheshvara, he is Shakti, and he is the Akshara Para Brahman Himself. This is a truth which no aspirant who is earnest in his quest for the Eternal can afford to lose sight of or miss or forget even for a single moment of his spiritual life. For him the human aspect of the Guru’s personality should vanish; in its stead there should stand before him only the radiant embodiment of the Supreme Divine Power. This is an earnest reminder and a prayer to all aspirants and all seekers throughout the universe, be they of the East or of the West. This is a reminder also of the attitude which they should adopt towards their Sat-Guru, be they the followers of any spiritual personage whom they have accepted in the inmost core of their hearts as their spiritual Guru.
For, the degree and the measure by which we shall be fully aware of this special manifestation of the Mother in Her purest Vidya-Maya aspect in and through the living personality of the Guru, to that degree and in that measure will be the unfoldment of the divine knowledge in our consciousness; to that degree and measure will be the success of our spiritual realisations. Therefore it is that again and again the aspirant and the seeker who has surrendered himself at the feet of his Sat-Guru is reminded to worship the Guru-God; and the Slokas which all aspirants repeat every day embody this great secret and this highest truth:
Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshvarah
Guruh Sakshat Param Brahma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namah.
Dhyanamulam Gurormurtih, Pujamulam Guroh-Padam
Mantramulam Gurorvakyam, Mokshamulam Guroh-Kripa.
Tvamhi Vishnur Virinchistvam Tvamcha Devo Mahesvarah
Tvameva Shakti-ruposi Nirgunastvam Sanatanah.
Guru is Brahma. Guru is Vishnu. Guru is Siva. Guru is the Supreme Brahman Itself. Prostration to that Guru.
The form of Guru is the root of meditation. The feet of Guru are the root of worship. The teaching of the Guru is the root of all Mantras. The Grace of Guru is the root of Salvation.
Thou art Vishnu. Thou art Brahma. Thou art the god Mahesvara. Thou alone art the form of Sakti. Thou art the attributeless Eternal.
What is the real form of Guru? What should we feel he is?
Yasyantar Nadi Madhyam Na-hi Kara-charanam Nama Gotram Na Sutram
No Jatir Naive Varno Na Bhavati Purusho No Napumsam Na Cha Stree
Nakaram No Vikaram Na-hi Jananamaranam Nasti Punyam Na Papam
No Tattvam Tattvamekam Sahajasamarasam Sat-Gurum Tam Namami.
In these glorious utterances we have a little of the great secret of this manifestation of Divine Vidya-Maya revealed to us.
The Quintessence of Great Scriptures
Upon this glorious day of Vijaya our worship of the Divine Mother in Her victorious Vidya-Maya aspect, this in reality constitutes the adoration of the Supreme Para-Brahman as manifest and embodied in and through the spiritual personality of the Sat-Guru. We have worshipped the Mother in various ways. Today we have specially tried to adore Her in the form of the written word, the lofty scriptures; the Vidyarambha with the reading of the Gita, the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavata, the Ramayana, etc. Therefore, it will not be out of place to just mention in a few words what this approach to the Mother as the written word, as the scripture, She actually means to us. As I have tried to explain, Svadhyaya means a very special process to the aspirant. But it is also a practical way of life. The Svadhyaya is meant to mould our aspirations, our aims and ideals and our day-to-day living and actions also. Therefore, these scriptures—Gita, Brahma-Sutras, Bhagavata, Ramayana and the Mahabharata—contain a number of valuable lessons to us upon the spiritual path.
In a word, what is the great call of the Mother through the Bhagavad Gita? In the Bhagavad Gita, Mother has one supreme admonition and call, Tyaga. Gita means Tyaga; it is the scripture of the secret of renunciation. It says the one method of realising the Supreme is to renounce all that belongs to the phenomenal world—renounce your Kartritva-Abhimana, egoism, attachment—to feel the whole universe is the Virat-Svarupa and that all your actions are worship of the Virat. Anasakti and Tyaga are the supreme admonitions given in the Gita.
In the Bhagavata we have the positive side. Renounce this phenomenal world; detach the mind from everything that belongs to this perishable world and have supreme love for the Lord. The one word which sums up the entire message of the Bhagavata is Love: love for the Lord. It is the radiant essence of pure Prem. It is Rati for the Lord. Gita teaches complete detachment; Bhagavata says: attach thyself to and whole-heartedly give thyself in complete oneness of love at the feet of Bhagavan.
The Mahabharata sums up the one ideal of sticking to Dharma. The Message of the Mahabharata is: even if life is to be sacrificed, do not deviate from the code of Dharma. Stick to Dharma even then. By Dharma one will be able to purify one’s heart and life.
In the Ramayana the practical ways in which Dharma manifests itself in all the spheres of man’s life are given. For, the Ramayana is a scripture which places before us concrete and practical living models of the ideal man of Dharma. It is a scripture which puts before us the moulds of the ideal husband, the ideal son, the ideal brother, the ideal wife, the ideal servant, the ideal seeker and the ideal king. The ideals of all these aspects of man’s life in their detailed aspects are given in the form of concrete models in the various divine personalities of the Ramayana. If a man wishes to cultivate Love of the Lord and to live a life of Dharma, how then is he to conduct himself in his various aspects? For this the Ramayana gives the pattern upon which he may mould himself so that he may live a life of Supreme Dharma.
In the Brahma Sutras we are given the ultimate reason for all these things. It shows the supreme goal for which man has come. It says: the one purpose of this life is to reach the imperishable, that which is eternal bliss and to this end all these things are the means. Through the means you reach that Supreme Abode, reaching which there is no more return into the world of pain and death; for, the ultimate conclusion of the Brahma Sutras is that once having reached the Para Brahman through Dharma, Tyaga, Bhakti, Na Punaravartate the Jiva returns no more. He is once for all established in the transcendent, infinite consciousness, immortal existence, the eternal bliss, and perennial peace.
This is the goal. Yadgatva Na Nivartante Tad Dhama Paramam Mama says the Lord in the Gita. Having reached that Abode, man does not return to this world.
It is of the nature of Supreme plenitude. Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham. That Bhuma is the goal of man in this world.
Knowing which nothing else remains to be known. Yasmin Jnate Sarvamidam Vijnatam Bhavati.
Obtaining which there is no greater thing to be obtained. Yam Labdhva Chaparam Labham Manyate Nadhikam Tatah.
That is the glory, the supreme splendour of the transcendental state which we are all here to strive for, to attain and to enjoy eternally. Thus, they have given us the goal and the ideal. The goal is Self-realisation. The means are the Tyaga of the Gita, the Bhakti of the Bhagavata, the Dharma of the Bharata, and the ideal life of the Ramayana.
We have gone through these supreme scriptures, to bring to our minds in its most vivid and intense form the aim and goal of human life, the means of its attainment and the practical pattern of the spiritual aspirant’s life if he should attain the end through these means.
Upon this day of the Vijayadasami which culminates the nine-days worship of the Supreme Divine Mother, let us all pray to Her that She may illumine our hearts as Buddhi, as Smriti. Let us all pray to Her that as Smriti She may ever keep alive these great truths in our hearts so that we may base our entire lives, mould our entire lives and conduct our entire lives upon a vivid consciousness of these truths. For mysterious is Her power as Bhranti and Maya that even though we know these truths we hear of them again and again, and we try to remember them, yet somehow in the twinkling of an eye, She makes us forget them; She makes us be only aware of these external objects of the sensual world. We forget those great truths the moment Her veil is thrown over our consciousness. We become conscious only of things to indulge in and things that give us momentary pleasure and bind us to this external world of names and forms.
Therefore, we must pray again and again: “Mother, manifest to us as the Vidya-Maya. May my consciousness be illuminated by Thy Vidya-aspect.” As we have seen just now, while reading the Devi Sukta, She is everything—Nidra, Kshudha, Chaya, Trishna, Bhranti, etc.,—at the same time She is Buddhi, Daya, Matha. We should, therefore, fold our hands, bow at Her feet and pray: “Ha, Mother! Manifest Thyself to me in Thy illuminating aspect and save me from the aspect of Thy Avidya-Maya.” She will be propitiated; She will be pleased; and She will open Her radiant eyes upon us; She will smile upon us. Then all our delusion, all our sorrow, all darkness will come to an end; and we shall see Her as the Satchidananda Para Brahman.
These ten days we have tried to touch an infinitesimal fringe of the garment of the Mother. We have tried to see if we may understand a little atom of the Nature of the Mother. We may go on speaking for hours and hours through all eternity, yet we shall not be able to gain even a fraction of an idea of the unknowable nature of the Mother. All scriptures, all sages from eternity, have failed to express Her in Her entirety. Therefore, it will be presumptuous for us to think that through a few words, we have understood even a little fringe of the garment which the Mother has thrown over Herself and through which She hides Herself. What we have known is unto the grain of mustard; what remains unknown of the Mother is like the vast shores of the oceans. But, it is the love of the child that would make it approach the Mother and try to grasp Her hand and to know Her. Therefore, these ten days our attempt at trying to speak about the Mother has not been in the form of an endeavour to know Her—if She reveals Herself, then only can we hope to know—it is an attempt at a little flower-of-feting, a little worship at the feet of Divine Mother. Worship has been carried on during these nine days in is various ways. There has been music, songs, dance, decoration, Puja; and as one part of the worship, we have offered our adorations in the form of Her own aspect as Vak, which She Herself has given to us. We have tried to adore Her with words. And, upon this supreme day of Vijayadasami, we conclude this worship through words by offering at Her divine feet and praying to Her: “Mother, accept even this. Thou art love. Thou art compassion. Thou art illumination. Thou art release. Why to say all this? Suffice it to say: Mother, Thou art Mother. Therefore, as Mother, accept this humble offering of love at Thy Feet and may we all be blessed by Your Grace. Smile upon us, Mother; banish the darkness of Thy Avidya-Maya. Confer upon us all seekers at the Lotus Feet of this Divine Personality, our Gurudev, the radiance and illumination of Atma Jnana and the bliss of Satchidananda”.