A View of Santhigiri Ashram

A View of Santhigiri Ashram
Lotus Parnasala and Sahakarana Mandiram , Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Way of Direct Knowing


The Way of DirectKnowing

(The Sacred Words of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru)

Thesolar system, as we know, consists of nine planets like the earth, each havingits own dimension. We reach the ‘generative character’ of the moon aftercrossing the earthly plane and four or five more celestial orbits. The journeyto the sun is only after reaching there. The course of an ordinary soul is insuch a way that it never become capable of reaching the sun.

Wehave among us many who had been worshippers of the sun. The world is sustainedby the sun, so we have a notion that by worshipping the sun we might gain greatmystical powers. But there are certain layers (spiritual dimensions) to reachthe sun. There is no possibility of reaching there, except through (these)layers. Only after reaching ‘Isvara Sannidhaanam’ (spiritual sky beyond theabode of celestial gods) one would be able to go there.

Thereare the spiritual skies (sannidhaanams), namely - Iswara, Daiva, Brahm and Parabhram. It is not easy for a soul to cross thesespiritual skies; it can dangle only under it. Our ancestors weren’t able to crossthese spiritual skies, and therefore, the course of their souls is obstructed.It is after seeing this spectacle (of obstruction) Prophet Mohammed said, ‘O’Almighty! I, who believed that nothing exists except You, what is being shownto me now?’

Whatis this force (of obstruction)? Many souls (of those) who followed the path ofyoga exist in the atmosphere as ‘yogabhrashtas’ (souls fallen from the path ofyoga). They subscribe to the doctrine of ‘soul truth’. These souls stand there blockingthe progress of other souls. We should understand this and have a wish for theemancipation for these souls who are stranded thus unable to cross this (hindrance).We can give them liberation. You must understand this and convince yourchildren too about this. Otherwise they will fall into a very ordinary life. Ifthese souls are liberated, our ancestral lineage who worshipped the pantheon(devi-devas) will get rebirth, otherwise bereft of birth and death, these soulswill get stagnated there. You who live as a family – father, mother andchildren should become virtuous by (your) life. Only then the virtue of your ‘formertradition’ will be gainful to you. You have no knowledge about the struggle of earningthe honor of the family through (your) life. Each one of your life style islike a craving for something or other.
Ifyou continue in this state, you will not set right anything. What can the parents do if the children inthe family do not reach a dignified status through their life? When he or she(son or daughter) goes to make a family, what virtue can be brought in thatfamily? They can only eat the pain.

Iknow souls who had been struggling hard through many generations and births forthe sake of attaining some virtue. After being born among us, they go backlosing everything; such a karma (path of life) remains with us. If we want toearn this virtue, we should make available the beneficence the souls of ourancestors require, as (our) dharma - duty. Only if we could liberate them, canwe pass through ‘this ‘mandala’ (sphere of blockade). Thus we must strive (hardenough) in order to pass through at least ‘isvara sannidhanam’ - thesuper-celestial abode.

Ifwe are unable to gain achieve this, there is no use of accepting sanyasa(renunciation) going in the path of devotion (bhakti). To receive the goodnessthrough our children for our family and society we should get this kind of knowledge.You – father, mother and children should live in one faith, a single faith tillyour last. This life is not only for earning money. It is not enough that we earnmoney, competence and wealth. When ignorant of you get money and competence,pride, arrogance and insolence will possess you and you will jump into thekarma (course of action) that displays any type of insanity.

WhatI was trying to tell you is this: salvation should be given not only to ourmanes but to the spiritual beings worshipped by us previously, whoever be it, adeity, a rishi (seer) or sanyasi (sage). Our children should realize this muchand they should be made to perform it. Having no means for livelihood in ourplace, people here migrate to other places, work hard and earn some money. Ifthey live showing off this earning, they will become like an empty shell; thiswill be the fate at the end.

Thefather wants to show the children that he is the ‘father’ (authority of thefamily); the mother wants to show them that it (the status of life) is not dueto fathers’ ability. Then the children have their own rivalries. Our way ofliving creates such axes of ruin. We must put an end to this way. For thateither a big government system should come enforcing the method to teach thechildren. Punishment should be meted out to people who do not teach in that method.

Anotherpoint is that most of the people teach and bring up children for a job. No onethinks that for how many people jobs can be given, say after fifteen years. Couldany government, howsoever big it might be, give employment to all those who geteducated in the country? If we look at the state of affairs in the country, bythe education being given here, the children would become like dried ginger, dryingraw. There will be nothing here even to eat and drink. Only when such a crisisoccurs, would all people learn just to look back. Then they will think: forwhat do we teach (the children) spending so much money. This attitude will comesoon. This situation will arise within thirty years. By the time today’schildren turn forty, the administrators will not be able to control the people.In the meanwhile if there is a war, calamity or plunder, some devastation willtake place or a stage will come when none will be able to do anything. Why am Isaying this? All people should have a long view of the future.

Weconduct Gurupooja (cleansing of harmful spiritual and ancestral influences) here.With that there will be a little beneficence. But if you do not nurture thatbenediction perfectly, you too will be there with those who are thus destinedto be ruined. If you are unable to do anything, when you get an opportunity toshare our love, respect and competence, the beneficence earned will all belost. Gurupooja is the earning the right to share this beneficence with ourchildren. Therefore, no error should happen in the tasks undertaken. Those who acceptand keep this virtue with love and reverence do see the Guru in vision at thetime of death. There have been several incidents here, wherein people wait forGuru (at their death bed) to die until Guru comes before them and they wash Guru’sfeet and drink that water.

Allgurus do not come like that. Then what comes (at the time of death) may be theevil spirits in the place of guru. If (the power) what comes is a yogi or karmi(who followed the path of action), they too would be standing in place of theseevil powers. These yogis and karmis are not entitled for mukti - liberation.But they will be witnessing the ritual of the washing of Guru’s feet by thedying person. With that, these forces, that have been restless for ages, willget the right to be born in this Guru lineage. Whether they take birth or die,by the end of this yuga, it is certain that they will become the authorities ofsatya yuga.

Thosewho have performed Gurupooja will understand this easily. For they have had theexperience of having seen the visions of such yogis, karmis, jnaanis (seers)and bhaktaas (devotees). Those who had seen thus also have the knowledge aboutthe potentials and limitations of such powers. It is only after seeing thus theybegin to believe that this Guru is truth. They have the visionary experienceand knowledge about the minutest sands of this knowledge. Liberated of birth inthe ‘characteristics of colors’ and established in ‘pure intelligence’, in thatstate of transformation, they can reach up to the awareness of the Conscious Principle(chit). This is darsanam (mystical vision) in its fullness. 7444 suchrealizations constitute one ‘stage’ (avastha). When that state is reached, the Guruwill try to bring us up in the aspect of a ‘far sighted seer’ (deerghadarshi).After that, the effort of evaluating the profundity of this vision, one by one,is extremely strenuous. This evaluation commences on the basis of (our) karma(actions) in the matters known, seen and heard by us and also according to the ideologicalstate of our mind.

‘Theman, who abounds filling the firmaments of the three worlds, ascending it, hasnothing else to perform. But, the Light that shines after the disappearance ofthe ‘three-fold cosmic perceptions’ will not yield to false seers’ (SriNarayana Guru).

Itis this aspect we have to take care.

Thewhole characteristics of our mind from its origin have already been ingrainedin us. Now we have to be shown of the things to come. We can evolve only as perthe evolvement (qualification) of the person showing it. That is why it hasbeen ordered that (one) should not go without a guru.

Inorder to envision the Truth that lies beyond the fourth spiritual stage, onehas to reach the position of the Trimurti (trinity gods). After seeing thataspect, one has to reach what is called ‘the light abode’ (vettaveli). When onereaches there, Guru is indispensible for guidance from there. If Guru is notthere, (he) will try to define the ages and maintain it standing from whateverposition reached. The ages are four, isn’t it? Therefore, if there is no Guruto divulge the true time length of the chaturyugas (four yugas–satya, treta,dwapara and kali), in the authoritative aspect, we would become nothing.

Thekarma (work) of evaluating the significance of a chaturyuga is beyondintelligence. It is standing from the Trimurty stage one has to see this aspectof ‘light abode that abounds and fills the borders of the three worlds’. Fromthere when one moves still ahead and looks ascending above, there lie stilllarger ‘realms’! Along with that, we could also see the paths we havetraversed. We can see the paths we have covered in any ages. But for evaluatingthat age, the person who has seen this should have transcended the realm of theTrimurty.

TheTrimurty are the Gurus of the ages which belonged to them. They are standing inthe subtle. Guru is the one who cuts this subtle binding. The subtle is therefrom a dust of sand to the ‘Immutable Absolute Realm’ (akhandam). We have to thinkwhether this Absolute is related only to the world or does it exist beyond thattoo. There are various ‘Immutable Absolute Realms’. What is the way to go intothese Absolutes? Guru is that way. Otherwise, one can only stand stunnedreaching one such Absolute. The importance of Guru lies here. This Guru shouldbe the one who has transcended all these Absolutes. It is not enough that heexperienced and understood that ‘endless infinity’ but should be the ‘authority’of a course of action of accomplishing and understanding it.

Disciple:It is only a ‘perfected life’ that is brought as a Guru – isn’t it?


Disciple:If so, why is it necessary for this Soul to start all over again repeatingeverything remaining in the human body?

Guru:A soul might take birth as a blade of grass; it evolves and evolves and growsto become all the trees in a big forest. In the character of trees it becomes abanyan tree, mango tree, akil, sandal tree, etc. and it is from there it isevolved to a different womb. Each blade of grass and each tree when it evolvesthrough its time, that soul, standing in the atmosphere, comes back in adifferent form. Just like a mango sapling grows and spreads it branches, humanbeings also sprout, grow and spread out. We see this expansive evolutionary actionin its subtle and gross effects.

Disciple:The human being comes after birds and animals, isn’t it? Or was everythingcreated at the same time?

Guru:At first the bird, then animal, after everything the human being.

Disciple:These creations happened at the same time?

Guru: Thehistory of a same age is shown in different periods. Everything would not beshown at the same time. Error will result if it is shown in that manner.

Disciple:Is Darwin’s theory of evolution authentic?

Guru: Itis authentic. But those disputing the theory of rebirth will find it difficultto agree with.

Disciple:But Darwin does not say that the soul transmigrates; he says the living beingsevolved from one to yet another.

Guru: Ofcourse, that indeed is correct. It is our duty to explain it further. Whenepochal changes occur, the characteristics of mist, rain, sun and darkness allwill change. Only if the characteristics of these changes are considered, onecould conclusively talk about what is beyond. It is to make it understandablethe ‘colors’ (aura) are being determined. Confined to that color, get the explanation.

Disciple:Is color not external?

Guru: Whatis in the external is present in the subtle too. Don’t we speak about thesubtle body? That subtle body exists in the subtle plane. It should be seen assumingwhat color it exists. Thus seven colors should be seen. Then the karma (theway) that combines the seven colors should be seen. There is a specific way to bifurcatethese seven colors from the white. (Thus) by the grace of God, the course ofthat Soul (the life of such a Soul who has become the authority of colors) isbeing given to us. Such a Soul - where, in what and when all has worked, thatis another course. The ‘Streamof Light’ that ascends in this way is called ‘the Light that shines upon the disappearanceof three-fold cosmic dimensions’.

Disciple:Will a soul who comes perfected in this life itself see this completely?

Guru: Itwill see. It has to end thus seeing, even though it might have seen this in allbirths, since this soul has got a new cage.

Disciple:Is it that sitting in this cage, all the old will be repeated? In case an errorhappens (sitting) in this cage, would it not whatever was correct earlier becomedeviated?

Guru: Itmight get deviated. That is why it is said that even if (one soul might have) reachedthe abode of Brahma, it might fall down.

Disciple:Does it mean that the Guru, even after coming as the perfect One, when residesin this cage, the suffering He undergoes is the same as that of ordinarypeople?

Disciple:He has to suffer even more.

Disciple:Was there any period in Guru’s life when there were no sufferings?

Guru: Howmany years have you been with me? Have you ever seen any comfort in my life sofar? What I am trying to say is this. Would you understand when I say that youought to do this or oughtn’t to do this? Your consciousness (jeeva) has notgrown to that extent; therefore, (you) are getting confounded remaining there. Arational thought will come there then. This is how you perish getting bedeviled.As a result, there will be untimely demise to the great work. It is a verydifficult subject. A zero watt bulb will not give light in the day time, isn’tit? The light will be on, but practically it is of no use. What is the use ofsaying everything is our ‘handiwork’? Reaching whatever level we work, only tothat extent our knowledge will reach. It is here I said that mistake hashappened.

Shouldn’twe get out of this? As for you, you have ‘bhagavan’ (god/s) and ‘bhagavati’(goddess). And why didn’t you reach the perfection of knowledge and luck? Isthere any family or a person who has thus reached it? Is there any karma (a wayof action) which will help you to reach at least up to the abode of Iswara?Whatever level the medium of your worship has reached and exists, you cannot gobeyond it. At the most, you can reach up to that.

(Janmadinaspecial issue 2002, pp 29-32)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

How Can We Deny the Truths of Nature!

Gurucharanam Saranam

 How Can We Deny the Truths of Nature!

(Guruvani- The Sacred Words of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru)
We have behind us the experience of many Ages of worship, knowledge and teachings. This process has been going on thus over the long passage of time. At one point it is written (in the scriptures) that somebody lived for 10,000 years, doing penance. Can it happen in a human life? What is meant by this is the ‘karmagati’ (the karmic propensity) of the soul earned through several lives of penance. Now, someone has left this world earning the quality of evil in the soul. Thus, how many billions do you think exist till date in the unfathomable account of the Hindus, who speak of 330 million deities?  Like this, how many myriads of epochs and their karmas have we passed to reach here? 
A Yuga or Chaturyuga speaks of a big time calculation. Seventy one such chaturyugas constitute a Manvantara.  After the passage of six such manvantaras, this is the 7th manvantara. The karmic residue of those bygone manvantaras, resulting from what was learnt and heard, and from the actions performed knowingly or unknowingly, is absorbed into this Nature. Do you belive it? It is true. Nature has photographed this discussion of ours seated here today. Is it so or not? How should you view this? You should not say that it is not there. It is there. A non-existent thing has no name. Something is being discovered by somebody all the time. What is discovered is given a name and such identification has been going on. In that case we have behind us the karma denoted by the name we lived with, grew and decayed. Do you believe it to be so?
There are our ancestors who evolved a worship system based on a name and made us worship that identity. The question is whether you have to be aware of the fact that these ancestors and what they worshiped are behind us. It is a fact that these ancestors would have carried into their birth the propensities from previous lives which had gone into their blood and marrow through their thoughts, potential and actions. A part of that ancestral karma gets transmitted to our souls as well. I ask whether you have any doubt about this. Then how do we get rid of it? There are many things that your parents, ancestors or elders have learnt, professed or taught you logically. But this is nothing. There is the karma (of worship) of those who invoked and made us invoke (a deity) knowingly or unknowingly. Where could it go?
The rationalist has gone one way and the liberationist the other way.  Let them go. There are many of us between them. What is the way out for those? There is this area where you, others and I have worked. I am asking whether we have the right to say that this area does not exist. Doesn’t this natural reality of the particles of karma that went before us and will lead to other karmas after us exist? This is my question. It is indeed there in Nature. If it is so, should we not think like that? It is to transfer my experience to you. These are not empty words. It can be seen. That is what is called experience. 
I am giving the example of your own children as proof of this experience. I have not brought them from my house. Aren’t they staying here now? This is a confirmation after you have received the experience (spiritual vision) that what I say is based on what is revealed. The reason behind a disease is seen, and what is seen is communicated. In other words, our ancestors and we ourselves pursued different ways of worship and did good and bad. Our body is the natural result of the experiences and actions of these souls. How can one nullify this? Our first question is whether it is understood or not?
 Disciple: Yes, it is true.
Guru: Then how should we know that? I am explaining this in a way that you may understand. This is to give you my experience. For example, take Narayana Guru, Sri Sankara, Chatambi Swami, all of whom took birth in Kerala. There are some people who have faith in them, with or without awareness. The faith and the karma that attracted that faith and the teaching behind that faith also exist. Is it not? Shouldn’t we know this, or not? Thus, for observing such a truth in the world, we need someone to give this knowledge to us. What kind of a person should that be? 
Disciple: It should be a Guru. 
Guru: Yes, it should be Guru. It is Guru behind all this creation. All this is Guru indeed. Guru is there in everything.
Disciple: Yes, the Guru of spiritual realization.
Guru: When you say spiritual knowledge, mostly it is, as l mentioned earlier, a spirituality practised by tradition. The person who could judge on this is the one who has known all principles in detail, and realizing the harm and damage, wishes to enlighten us. Only such a person could enlighten us. Would it be alright to practice gender discrimination, keeping away women and making it a men’s privilege? That means we have not even thought about what rights women have. Somebody please tell me if you believe that all mothers - women who have lived as mother, wife, daughter or sister - have suffered. Only if you ask me could I explain and help you realize. But if you say, ‘No, I am a rationalist and nobody could enter my house’, I have nothing to say. 
This is elucidated by the Guru who gives the knowledge of the realms in this solar system as well as the complexities of all spiritual planes including those relating to the human and celestial worlds and that of the Supreme Being. Did you understand? If not, I shall tell you. That is why I am asking. You should understand this clearly. You are youngsters. What shall I do if you go somewhere and return as owners of karma causing regret - having spent your time in ignorance?
Are we not earning hapless karma that leads to self-delusion? How do we change this? If what has been so far transmitted is found in them despite our agreeing or otherwise what are they to do? You should certainly understand this. I am not referring to things which do not exist, but only about those that exist. That too only what I have seen. You need not doubt this at all. This conviction should come to you. Otherwise it would not be proper to say anything. Suppose you take it to be a tall story - my words will be lost on you entirely. Only if you believe could I tell you something about it. You have faith, I hope. To talk to you, I am putting in an effort as I am not keeping well. Why am I, in this state, talking to you about this? Grasp you must - that is why.

There is a reality in this nature that could show you the spiritual planes beginning from the plane of the evil spirits to the plane called ‘Vetala Nagaram’. This plane makes you realize the nature of ‘Vetala’. And then, there is ascension to the celestial, deva plane. From there you go to the Rishis. From there you ascend to the plane of formless form - and you are shown how it is and how it is not. What does it matter if you, somebody else or I accept or reject it? When we stand behind its existence, shouldn’t be there a medium to show you its primordial form, the reason behind its decadence, the ways in which the decadence set in, as well as the existence in time and space of that ‘karmagati’. Then do we have to believe it? We will experience the truth of it only when we act with the conviction that there is truth in what we believe.
Now, what am I telling you this for? I am telling you this for a purpose. Foreseeing the mistakes that we are likely to make unless we pursue that path of truth, we need to take the correct step. Otherwise we would pass away from this world in ignorance, transferring the mistakes to the children we see growing up in front of us. In this nature the souls of the dead start taking birth after a gap of one or two generations. Thus the deviant souls are born again. If you say it is not so, there is no use of my speaking. We take birth here and live and ultimately leave. How we were in our childhood, how we are now and how we change with the passage of time! We are the witness through these changes. Is there then an entity present through the cycles of innumerable births and deaths? If it is there, what is it? Isn’t this your question?
The consciousness by which you are able to see - in jagrat, swapna, sushupti (awake, dream and deep sleep states) - where did the knowledge come from, that makes you aware that you slept well during deep sleep and in dreams? The joy in our body and the peace in the soul that we got become the source of that knowledge. Isn’t it? Even in sleep, consciousness convinces us. What can one say if someone argues, ‘how could you say this, you who were sleeping last night?’ is this something of our making? 
This is not rationalism, but the ‘ism’ of what is. We should at least accept the ‘ism’ of what really exists. Then we might turn to the ‘ism’ of what is not. Am I right or wrong? Therefore let us understand what is real. Later you can try to learn what is unreal. We can learn about what does not exist. We should learn all aspects from that source of knowledge that shows all that exists. Through whom shall we learn this? 
I do not say that all of you know about it. But all people can hear about it. Some people realize it in their soul. It is there and it is true. Beyond this also there is something else. I could tell you only if you believe in this manner. I need to go into this further only if you believe in whatever has been said so far. We have in us the knowledge and ignorance inherited through the actions and inactions of our ancestors. Isn’t it? We are attempting to realize the truth and falsehood with these inherent limitations.
What does the Vedantin say? This does not exist, this is passing; everything is therefore subject to destruction, and all this is illusion - maya - caused by God. Could he chop his body and discard it? If the body does not exist, why does he carry this stinking body, bathing, clothing and covering? Even so, he goes about saying that he has nothing to do. Isn’t it? May I ask you where this pundit and this illiterate, who dissect words and interpret, uttering ‘soham’, would reach?
What is the use of my speaking something if you do not realize this?  You at least think that is a man you have faith in. you can give him whatever name you wish to. We should get the virtue of this soul - the fulfilment of experience expressed through the medium of his body and soul. No matter whatever way it is - through learning or otherwise, knowingly or unknowingly - he has attained this. I do not say that I could show this to all of you. The reason is the ancestral karmic background about which I mentioned. We are the continuation of that karma accumulated through many births and deaths. We should exercise our will and get what virtue we need to earn in the soul and should remove its haplessness.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Difference between Guru and Deities

Gurucharanm Saranam

The Difference between Guru and Deities

(Guruvani - The Sacred Words Spoken by Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru)

What is the range of the term ‘Guru?’ From someone who does a job to a person engaged in the virtuous work of (imparting) self-realization comes under the definition of Guru. Leaving the field of occupation, when one reaches the spheres of pranamayam (energy sheath), jnanamayam or vijnanamayam (knowledge and wisdom sheaths), mere bookish knowledge becomes inadequate as instructions are to be sought here. 

The lack of punyam (virtue) in the soul gets expressed as various diseases in the body. This has to be cured by employing different methods. Textual knowledge does not help in this. Where textual knowledge does not help, that path of dharma, which enables one to seek merit (punyam) through action (karma), helps. Such dharma has influence on the soul as well.

The dynamic of action being such, action without dharma hinders the soul and the body in course of time. A person follows his basic instincts and propensities (vasanas) accrued from past births. 

Some may do more good deeds and some tend to do bad deeds more. Sometimes, the individual is not in a position to distinguish between good and bad. Therefore when he does a bad deed, taking it to be a good one, his entire activity turns bad. 

Unless one confesses to Guru about one’s negative karma, no solutions can be found and one comes to a dead end. In an excess of devotion (bhakti) some resort to strange deeds and invite people’s displeasure. Yet others imagine themselves to be persons of still higher attainment and would act and even move like a yogi or mystic.     

In course of time, the activity of such persons loses clarity. It becomes incomprehensible (even) to themselves. They will not be able to assess for themselves whether the path of initiation (upadesa margam) or the path of concentrating on a favourite deity (ishta devata sampradayam) is suitable for them. Beings in the subtle plane start manifesting before a person who follows either of these paths for some time. 

 Such manifestations would be according to the evolution of the soul of the devotee. If there is a manifestation, the devotee will be full of zeal in his pursuit. His devotion (bhakti) would also increase. He would start getting visions in the waking state of consciousness (jagrat), dream state (swapnam), profound sleep (sushupti), the higher fourth state (turiyam) and a still higher state (turiyatitam). 

The inner visions start with the elementals, go on to lower beings such as matan, maruta and mantramoorti, and to apparitions of mystics such as yogi, jnani, karmi and so on. Demonic beings capable of creating powerful movements in the five elements are among them. 

These are the ‘lords’ in some households and ‘gods’ in some others. The devotee who has visions of them might even get the feeling that these ‘lords’ and ‘gods’ are pleased in his presence. He would then feel proud that he has attained certain heights. He might get visionary experience in dream as well as in the waking state. He would become respected in the locality. In terms of the soul’s growth, some of these persons get stuck at this stage.

If there is no Guru to guide, at this stage a situation may arise which invites the displeasure of family and neighbourhood. They could say bad things about him and he may even be physically beaten up. Since the devotee has extrasensory experiences, he would still cling on to his object of worship. He would carry on as if his experience is spiritual. He would indeed have many matters to present as authentic! As indicated above, there would also be deeds to his credit that ought to make those around him believe (in him).

Those who follow the path of worshipping a favourite deity like matan, maruta or mantramoorti would sprinkle holy ashes, engage in tantric rites and initiation rituals, in order to earn people’s respect. These are minor tricks inspired by the deity itself. The devotee and those who believe in him get caught and even incarnations could be wasted this way. This could have happened in past births also (to the devotee). 

The practitioners of such devotion might take to wandering, and their end might come on the roadside somewhere. Yet others would practice yoga, initiation through mantras and worship of favourite deities and just pass away (without much progress). 

Some work towards altered states of consciousness like pratyaharam and dharana related to the samadhi state. Striving thus, they earn certain spiritual experiences as well as perceptions of life. As they are meticulous about their personal cleanliness and bodily purity, they will be held in high esteem at home and outside. 

As they go forward, the lack of merit (punya) in the soul as well as the needs of the body will block their progress. Here things get mixed up. Correction and direction can be received at this stage only from a Guru; Guru becomes inevitable here. That is the depth of the riddle that is Guru.

When visions, as indicated above, are received, and 7444 of them realized, an aspirant attains one ‘stage’. If an individual with a healthy body and punya in the soul strives relentlessly and consistently, it would take 18 ½  years to complete this one stage. 

Even such completion would take an aspirant (if he is a beginner in spiritual life) only to ‘Vetalanagaram– the realm of powerful but dark (tamasic) beings. If a mistake is made at this level, one would stagnate at the same level through many births and deaths without progress. The line from the Gurugita, “aneka janma samprapta karma bandha vidahine” (the one who burns up the bonds of action of several births), could be reflecting this cycle of birth and death. 

An aspirant could fall into such error whichever path he takes – be it jnana, karma or bhakti. Some who have come up in the jnana path also have written about this.
Sri Narayana Guru’s Daivachintanam refers to the same experience. It is from his spiritual knowledge that he draws and speaks. To get out of the negative, one must pursue the positive, he says. But he does not make it clear as to how to go about it. 

It is one among millions and millions of tyagis (seekers who lead a life of self-sacrifice) who becomes capable of getting such a perspective. Many souls incarnate and depart in a variety of ways. In all this there would be truth also. The truth, in words of dharma, is in the correction by discriminating between right and wrong.

A person who completes 70748 visions of this kind will evolve to a high plane (daivasannidhanam) moving closer to the Supreme. Until and unless the human race realizes the value of this great and inexplicable astral process, no one can even guess what the plight would be. Even the rationalists turn out to be exponents of futile efforts in this field.

More dangerous than these aspirants and rationalists who create perverse karmic streams are those poets and thinkers who present a world vision based on intellect, without an inkling of the gross-subtle-cause-effect(sthoolam-sooksmam-karanam-karyam) relationships. The above mentioned rationalism (yuktivada) and liberationism (muktivada) have led to the philosophy of people like Charvaka. These people have a handicap. They don’t have the maturity of awareness that can lead them to their own liberation. But we keep in mind that they have the skill to open up the storehouse of knowledge of the entire world.

The effort in this area is of two types of devotion -- without using intelligence (mooda bhakti) and devotion born of knowledge (jnana bhakti). Of these, the second group pursues the path of jnana bhakti and will not have any touch with real spiritual experience. 

The subjects that their intellects absorb and the writings of those who are in tune with them are of intense value to themselves; everything else would be senseless to them. But legs tire equally for the person who is chased, and the person who chases. Both will fall pathetically in the end. Rationalism and liberationism have only this much of essence. 

But the real liberationist is not in these lists. The author of Gita has qualified him with great words: the one who combines intelligence with spiritual power – “budhya yukto yoga balena chaeva.”

Some of the scholars who enthrall people with their textual knowledge are projected as jnanis by some (other kind of) rationalists. There are also persons who are stuck in unthinking devotion (mooda bhakti) till the end. These are the type of people who were described earlier as scapegoats of the sorrow that is Vetalanagaram. People of textual knowledge, no matter how great they are, are slaves to this realm of the spiritual world.

The aspects of gross-subtle-cause-effect (sthoolam-sooksmam-karanam-karyam) are related to the soul’s karma and dharma. The Guru who lends gross-subtle-cause-effect to the soul’s karma and dharma should be a bold doer with direct spiritual knowledge and should respect and consider the five elements (panchabhoota), five senses (panchendriya), five sheaths around the soul (kosas), the individual soul (jivatma), the Absolute (Paramatma) and dharma.

Without Guru, the aspirant may reach the aberrant state of the liberationist/rationalist whose action does not bear any fruit.

Thiruvalluvar does not seem to have discussed dharma, artha, kama and moksha but he has made references based on them. It is not possible for an ordinary person to function without these.

As far as liberationism and rationalism are concerned, they do not rise up to any conceptual height. It does not help to forget the fact that at this point every one falls. Reason and liberation are two ideas which deserve special and serious consideration. Such consideration is a way to freedom.

The dharma of Guru is eternal and inscrutable. Guru is the giver of vision (knowledge) pertaining to the level of the atom, the indivisible totality (akhandata) and the object of one’s worship. 

He possesses the clarity of knowing the past, present and future. He can impart that proof to others as well; he causes recurrence of their life situations, to reach a corrective solution. 

The difference between Guru and deity is immense. A life without realizing this is fruitless. The deities worshipped devas and devis - are nothing at all in comparison with the visionary disciple of such a Guru.