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"Religion"

Sometimes at the holy time of dusk, I am blessed to sit at the feet of my Guru. It is very intoxicating. As candles are being lit, He is very inwardly absorbed and He speaks to us of God. He tells us He does not have much use for “religion”. He simply encourages us to have the direct experience of God.
He sometimes says religion is just the cultural clothes that men have put over God and it sometimes veils God.
 
As Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya used to say-
 
"Exchange unprofitable religious speculations for actual God-contact. Clear your mind of dogmatic theological debris; let in the fresh, healing waters of direct perception."
 
My Guruji also has showed us how the great Sufi mystic Bulleh Shah had sung-
 
When I acquired the knowledge of love,
I dreaded the mosque.
I fled to my Lords dwelling,
Where a thousand sounds reverberate.
When love revealed its mystery to me,
The parroted words vanished.
Inside and out, I was cleansed.
I saw my Beloved wherever I looked.
I am tired of reading the Vedas and the Koran!
Obeisance has only abraded my forehead.
God was not in Mecca, nor any holy place.
But whoever finds Him becomes brightly illuminated.
Burn the prayer rug, break the clay pot,
Divest yourself of rosary, bowl and staff.
The blossoming of love is strange and wonderful.
 
From the Song of Solomon:
 
By night on my bed I sought Him
whom my soul loveth; I sought Him,
but I found Him not.
I will rise now and go about the city
in the streets, and in the broad ways.
I will seek Him whom my soul
loveth; I sought Him but I found
Him not.
The watchmen that go about the city
found me; to whom I said "Saw ye
Him whom my soul loveth?"
It was but a little that I passed from
them, but I found Him whom my
soul loveth; I held Him, and would
not let Him go, until I had brought
Him into my mother's house, and
into the chamber of Her
that conceived me.
 
Mirabai Sang
 
Without Krishna I cannot sleep.
Tortured by longing I cannot sleep,
And the fire of love
Drives me to wander hither and thither.
Without the light of the Beloved
My house is dark,
And the lamps do not please me.
What shall I do? Where shall I go?
Manomohan (Krishna), The Charmer of hearts,
Fills me with delight, When, my Lord
Will you come to laugh and talk with me?
 
From the Gospeal of Shri Ramakrishna:
 
M, being at leisure on Sundays, had gone with his friend Sidhu to visit several gardens in Baranagore. As they were walking in Prasanna Bannerji’s garden, Sidhu said:”There is a charming place on the bank of the Ganges where a paramahansa lives. Should you like to go there?” M. assented and they started immediately for the Dakshineswar temple garden. They arrived at the main gate at dusk and went straight in to Sro Ramakrishna’s room. And there they found him seated on a wooden couch, facing the east. With a smile on his face he was talking of God. The room was full of people, all seated on the floor, drinking in his words in deep silence.
 
M looked around him with wonder and said to himself “What a beautiful place! What a charming man! How beautiful his words are! I have no wish to move from this spot.” After a few minutes he thought “Let me see the place first; then I'll come back here and sit down.”
 
On the way back to Sri Ramakrishna’s room the two friends talked. When they reached Sri Ramakrishna’s door again they found it shut, and Brinde, the maid, standing outside. M, who had been trained in English manners would not enter a room without permission, asked her, “Is the holy man in?”
 
Brinde replied “Yes, he’s in the room.”
 
M: “How long has he lived here?”
 
Brinde: “Oh, he’s been here a long time”
 
M: “Does he read many books?”
 
Brinde:”Books? Oh, dear no! They’re all on his tongue.”
 
M. had just finished his studies in college. It amazed him to hear that Sri Ramakrishna read no books.
 
M: “Perhaps it is time for his evening worship. May we go into the room? Will you have to tell him we are anxious to see him?”
 
Brinde: “Go right in, children. Go in and sit down.”
 
Entering the room, they found Sri Ramakrishna alone, seated on the wooden couch. Incense had just been burnt and all the doors were shut. He entered, M, with folded hands saluted the Master. Then, at the Master’s bidding, he and Sidhu sat on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna asked them: “Where do you live? What is your occupation? Why have you come to Barranagore?” M answered the questions but noticed that now and then the Master seemed to become absent minded. Later he learned that this mood is called bhava, ecstacy. It is like the state of the angler who has been sitting with his rod: the fish comes and swallows the bait, and the float begins to tremble; and the angler is on the alert; he grips the rod and watches the float steadily and eagerly; he will not speak to anyone. Such was the state of Sri Ramakrishna’s mind. Later M. heard, and himself noticed, that Sri Ramakrishna would often go into this mood after dusk, sometimes becoming totally unconscious of the outer world.
 
M: “Perhaps you want to perform your evening worship? In that case may we take our leave?”
Sri Ramakrishna: (still in ecstacy) “No----evening worship? No, it is not exactly that.”
 
After a little conversation, M. saluted the Master and took his leave.
 
“Come again”, Sri Ramakrishna said.

The Night of Union


Each night I pray is a happy night for me,
Because the messenger of my Friend is near to me.
Everyone loses his light when night comes.
For me, my light comes when time for prayer comes.
Day of separation gone, the night of Union arrives;
O day, please end, let the night remain!
O Friend, so long as You abide, no sorrow can I have So long as I live:
You are my Lord and I a slave!
Each moment, Friend, when I come in front of You
Happiness is allowed and pain and sorrow forbidden!
- SANAI GHAZNAVI - Sufi Mystic ( AD 1131)
Translated by Mahmood Jamal

Freed From All Ties

The land surrounding the Panchavati (at Dakshineswar where Sri Ramakrishna lived)was not even then as it is now. It was full of pits, ditches, low lands, jungles, etc. There grew an Amalaki tree among the wild trees and plants. It was a burial ground besides being a jungle. Therefore people hardly went there even in the daytime.If they went that way at all, they never entered the jungle. So, going there at night was out of the question. No one ventured there for fear of ghosts. We have heard from Hriday that the tree grew on a low piece of land. So, anyone sitting under that tree could not be seen from the high land outside the jungle. The Master used to sit under it for meditation at night.
 
One night, when the Master started for that place, Hriday followed him without his knowledge and saw him enter that jungle. He did not go farther lest the Master should be annoyed. But in order to frighten him he threw stones and some gravel so that they fell round about him for some time. Seeing that this did not bring the Master back, he could not do anything but return to his room. He asked the Master during his leisure the next day, “What do you do when you enter the jungle at night?” “There is,” replied the Master, “an Amalaki tree there. I sit under it and practice meditation. The scriptures say that anyone who meditates under an Amalaki tree, with whatever desire in his mind, gets it fulfilled.”
 
As soon as the Master sat for meditation under that tree after that event, there happened from time to time various kinds of disturbances like stone-throwing, for a few days. Although he knew that it was all Hriday’s doing, the Master never mentioned it to him. But Hriday could not feel at ease when he found that he could not dissuade him by that means. One day he entered the jungle with a silent step shortly after the Master had gone to the tree and saw from a distance that he had put off his cloth and the sacred thread and was sitting at ease in meditation. When he saw this, he thought, “Has uncle gone mad? It is only mad people that would do so. If he wants to meditate, let him do it by all means; but why does he throw off the only cloth he has on?”
Thinking so, he immediately approached him and said, “What is this? How is it that you have put off your thread and cloth and are stark naked?” When thus shouted at a few times, the Master gained his normal consciousness and heard Hriday put those questions to him. He said, “What do you know? Thus freed from all ties, one should practice meditation. From his birth man labours under ‘eight bondages’, of hatred, fear, shame, aversion, egoism, vanity, pride of noble descent, and obsession with formal good conduct. The sacred thread also is a ‘bondage’, for it is a sign of the egoism, ‘I am a Brahmin and superior to all.’ When one calls on Mother, one should discard these ‘bondages’ and call on Her with a concentrated mind. That is why I have put off these. I shall put them on again when I return at the end of meditation.” Hriday was aghast to hear these words which he had never heard before and unable to say anything in reply, left that place. A little while previously he had thought that he would convince his uncle of his mistake in various ways and scold him, but what he actually did was nothing of the kind.
- Swami Saradananda, “Sri Ramakrishna - The Great Master”, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
 
"Tradition established, under directions of the holy Babaji, is that Kriya has to be obtained directly from a Kriya Yoga Guru and to be handed down from the Guru to the initiate in a continuous chain. A Kriya Yogi can only act as a Kriya-Guru when allowed to do so under permission from his own Guru.
 
Disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya used to be told to keep the teachings a closed secret and not to talk about it even with friends and relations who were not initiated into the secrets. So religiously this direction was followed that in cases even Kriya performers living as neighbours over twenty years did not know each other as members of the same spiritual fraternity."
 
- Sri Sailendra Bejoy Dasgupta, Chapter 5, Kriya Yoga

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"Dadu"

Sri Sailendra Bejoy Dasgupta

1910-1984
Yoga Niketan

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