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Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014



EDITOR: Swami Nirliptananda
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Kamal Persaud, Nandai Kowlessur


Om Day Gayatri Yagna 2

The Hindu Cultural Heritage 3
By Swami Nirliptananda

Hinduism 6
By Swami Vivekananda

Peace of Mind Through Hinduism 8
By Dr.. Ruth Reyna, M.A, Ph.D, Indologist

Vedic Culture And Philosophy 9
By Stephen Knapp

Hindu Perspective of Religious Freedom 15
By Professor Arvind Sharma

Speaking of Science 16

The mind As Healer Of the Body 17
By Indranil Basu Ray,M.D

Necessity of A Living Guru 20
By Swami Purnananda

Phillipines Typhoon Relief 20

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Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014


Om Day was graciously celebrated at the ashram for Hindu unity and World Peace. The
programme started with a cassette recording by students of the Bhavan which was inspired by
Swami Nirliptananda for the OM Day programmes. Everyone sat quietly and meditated on the
theme Awake! Arise. The 5 Mins. Cassettes recording was excellently done and another part with
a variation is also recorded on it. A copy of this is available on request.
That was followed by reading of few verses from Chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami
Nirliptanandaji. He explained that protection of the weak and innocent has been the eternal ideal
of Hinduism and even God takes birth from age to age to fulfil that purpose when the need

He also gave a talk explaining how the world is moving towards a more unifying ideal and there
is also a stronger reaction to violence than before. He made particular reference to the appeal of
yoga that atttracting people from different faithgroups and the Global Oness telephonic
confereance recently to which about sixty thousand people tuned in. It is an indication that people
are disgusted with organised violence and are trying to find a way out. We of the LSS realised
this and started the Om Day as a means to influence others to work towards achieve to achieve
peaceful coexistence since the year 2000. We were influenced by the declaration of Jagadguru
Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj who said that this is an age of Global Oneness (Mahamilan).

That was followed by a 5 mins chanting by Swami Mukundanandaji who is on a visit. Swami
Nirliptanandaji read few verses from chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita and commented on them. He
emphasised that yoga was developed by the warrior caste (Kshatriya) in Hinduism and although
historically Krishna was speaking to Arjuna at that time which is very ancient to us today yet he
was speaking about it as very ancient in His time. Yet Yoga today is very popular as people are
searching for peace of mind in a world full of anxiety and stress.
In the year 2000 many organisations started one off projects but OM DAY was started with a
vision and a high objective to work for a transformation of man as Acharya Swami
Pranavanandaji Maharaj wanted.

Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014


by Swami Nirliptananda

Hinduism has not been founded by any particular individual. It is not the experience of one man,
of one prophet or one saviour. The 'vision' of one man may after all be an illusion but when that
same experience has been verified in the lives of thousands of others as in Hinduism, it cannot be
logically incorrect.

Hindu culture is rational, scientific and spiritual. When we turn the pages of our scriptures, be it
the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Gita, we always
find a spirit of earnest enquiry followed by the most profound logic and reasoning. In fact, the
Gita which expounds the essentials of Hinduism begins with Arjuna's refusal to follow tacitly the
advice of Lord Krishna. In the Gita itself is the recommendation that an aspirant must be humble,
always ready to serve and armed with questions ( tat vidhi pranipatena pari-prashnena sevaya).

Basic to Hinduism is the scientific law of cause and effect (karma) i.e. a person is responsible for
his own destiny ( ). Hence there is the incentive to live a pure and noble life. If, however, one
fails in this life to reach the Goal, he is the given another opportunity by being born again
(reincarnation) to strive more than before for self-perfection.

The immanence of 'God' is a fundamental principle in Hinduism. This means that within
everything (not only man) is the spiritual essence (Atman). Hence the whole of Hindu culture is
permeated by a deep spiritual outlook and in it there is no place for an eternal Hell or Satan. With
reference to the soul (atma) it is said in the Gita that fire cannot touch it, wind cannot dry it, and
water cannot wet it.

A black priest in America urged his black congregation to repeat the Hindu greeting Namaste
and explained to them, When I say Namaste to you, I am recognising the divinity within you.
And when You say Namaste to me you are recognising the divinity within me. When each of us
recognise the divinity in each other we are not going to kill the other! Just expand that to include
the whole creation and what you have is WORLD PEACE in its truest sense. But what religious
leaders and political pundits are talking about are only empty slogans.

Hindu scriptures are not the language of the lips - they are the expressions of the Soul. The Vedas
(four in number) which are the oldest scriptures of the world, developed a system (varna
ashrama) of life which evolved the most civilised and tolerant society the world has ever seen.
Many barbarians who came to loot and conquer were ultimately conquered by this superior Vedic
culture. Macaulay brazenly introduced the English language in India that the Hindus would hate
their heritage. But Hinduism has transformed Macaulay's weapon into an important instrument
for transporting Hindu culture to English speaking countries of the Western world.

As a result the greatness of Hindu scriptures has been appreciated by prominent thinkers in
different parts of the world. Schopenhauer wrote about the Upanishads: "From every sentence
deep and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high and holy and earnest
spirit... In the whole world there is no study so elevating as that of the Upanishads.

Commenting on the above statement, Max Mueller said "Schopenhauer was the last person to
write at random or to allow himself to go into ecstasies over so-called mystic or inarticulate
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

thought. And I am neither afraid nor ashamed to say that I share this enthusiasm for Vedanta. . . "

About the Gita a great art critic, Aldous Huxley, said"... The Gita is one of the clearest and most
comprehensive expressions of the Perennial Philosophy ever to have been made. Hence its
enduring value not only for Indians but for all mankind." The Gita has been translated in almost
all the important languages of the world and that too without any missionary effort of the Hindus.
Similar opinions can be quoted about other Hindu scriptures as well. And these opinions are
expressed by those who had a comparative knowledge of world cultures.

The world's debt to the Hindus is much more than to any other nation. The mathematical lore,
which is now universally used, went from India to Egypt, then to Europe. Professor Basham,
formerly of London University, said that without this system of mathematics "most of the great
discoveries and inventions of which Europe is so proud would have been impossible".

Two hundred years before Galilio, Arya Bhatt discovered that the earth rotates around its own
axis daily. The Hindus were evolutionists thousands of years before Darwin. Being influenced by
the Bible which says that creation took place about eight thousand years BC, Darwin concluded
that man was evolving from a savage to a more civilised being. According to Hindu Rishis the
apex of civilisation was in Satya Yuga when man lived by truth. From then devolution started
which continues to the present day (Kali Yuga) when man has lost all faith in truth. Falsehood
and hypocrisy are the symbols of modem civilisation.

This decline in moral values has been equated with the life span of the universe as well by our
Rishis. Scientists also tell us that the universe is like a clock. Sometime in the distant past it was
wound up to its full and a winding down process has been going on from then which would
ultimately lead to its destruction (pralaya).

About Hindu's discovery in Medicine and Surgery, Prof. Basham said: "... the compendia of
Charaka and Susruta are the products of a fully evolved system which resembles those of
Hippocrates and Galen in some respects and in others have developed beyond them." He further
said: "... Indian surgery remained ahead of European until the 18th century, when the surgeons of
the East India company were not ashamed to learn the art of rhino plastic from the Indians."

The whole world was startled by the discoveries of the ancient Hindu cities of Harappa and
Mohenjodaro which date back to 3000 BC or earlier. According to Sir John Marshall, these were
well-built cities with a relatively mature culture, a high standard of art and craftsmanship and a
developed system of photographic writing. The deciphering of Mohenjodaro-Harappan script
which had so long baffled scholars, has now been done and it has been established that the
Mohenjodaro/Harappan civilisations were Vedic.* The myth of the so-called Aryan invasion of
India which was perpetuated by some scholars with vested interest and was responsible for
fundamental distortions of Hindu history has been destroyed.

Without the mathematical lore, in particularly the invention of the numerals, and one to nine and
the zero we would be still crawling on the earth!

Above all these great achievements stands the great language of the Hindus. Sanskrit (in
Devanagri script) is the language of the Gods, the music of the Soul, the vehicle of a great culture
and the pride of the Hindus.

Max Mueller and Taylor proclaimed it as more perfect than Greek and Latin. Whitney gives it the
first place among the Indo-European languages; Dublin called it "the mother of our mother's
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014


Prof. Basham said: ... there is no doubt that Panini's grammar is one of the greatest intellectual
achievements of any ancient civilisation and the most detailed and scientific grammar composed
before the 19th century in any part of the world." He further remarked that "It was only on the
discovery of Sanskrit by the West that a science of phonetics arose in Europe."

The Hindus made other spectacular achievements in the field of astronomy, ship-building,
classification of the animal kingdom, philosophy, sociology, politics, the science of warfare and
in advancing the atomic theory and the theory of the creation of the universe which are supported
by modern science.

It appeared as if nothing had escaped the enquiring minds of our forefathers. Their long quest for
perfection ended with the supreme most discovery - the knowledge of "that which makes
everything else known." This was the discovery of the true relationship between man and the
Absolute expressed in the formula AHAM BRAHMA ASMI (I am Brahma). It is this happy
rationalistic identification of the inner essence of man (ATMAN) with the cosmic principle
(BRAHMAN) that resolves the problem of man's mortal existence and not the unscientific
recommendation of a physical resurrection which is comparatively very primitive.

The Rishis were not satisfied with simply knowing that man is immortal. Finally they developed
systems of Yoga and assured man that if he followed them and lived according to Dharma his life
would certainly become sublime and he would ultimately realise the true meaning of his

Today this spiritual science of yoga is knocking at the doors of dogmatism all over the world and
urging man to face the fact that not merely by blind faith but by a sublime way of life and
personal experiences alone his existential problems and personal dissatisfactions can be resolved.

Hindus have produced so many volumes of literary works full of wisdom The 4 Vedas, The
Upanishads, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, law books and others. These works must have
taken thousands of years to complete. The implication is that without a stable society that would
not have been possible. To have a stable society there must have been law abiding and peaceful
citizens and that requires, a justice system, and people who were satisfied with the economic
conditions etc. One may not be wrong in supposing that India had been a prosperous and
peaceful country for thousands of years and that can be verified from other sources.

Swami Vivekananda had said, I am the proudest man. I am not proud because of
myself. I am proud because of my ancestors. The further back I go the prouder I

Swami Vivekananda is the last person to make such a claim unless he had discovered for himself
the truth about the Hindu heritage and not because of what someone else had said. And he was
not prepared to compromise that truth. This cannot be said of most researchers who have to earn
their bread. What we need today is honest inquiries and the truth must be admitted in order to
educate others. In this way knowledge can bring humanity closer together otherwise prejudice
creates suspicions and divisions that keep everyone apart.

*Indus script can now be read - issue no.1 0
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

By Swami Vivekananda

(continues from issue 55)
There are other tendencies peculiar to a soul caused by its past actions. And a soul with a certain
tendency would by the laws of affinity take birth in a body, which is the fittest instrument for the
display of that tendency.

This is in accord with science, for science wants to explain everything by habit, and habit is got
through repetitions. So repetitions are necessary to explain the natural habits of a new-born soul.
And since they were not obtained in this present life, they must have come down from past lives.

There is another suggestion. Taking all these for granted, how is it that I do not remember
anything of my past life? This can be easily explained. I am now speaking English. It is not my
mother tongue, in fact no words of my mother tongue are now present in my consciousness; but
let me try to bring them up, and they rush in.

That shows that consciousness is only the surface of the mental ocean, and within its depths are
stored up all the experiences. Try and struggle, they would come up and you would be conscious
even of your past life. This is direct and demonstrative evidence. Verification is the perfect proof
of a theory, and here is the challenge thrown to the world by the Rishis. We have discovered the
secret by which the very depths of the ocean of memory can be stirred up- try it and you would
get a complete reminiscence of your past life.

So then the Hindu believes that he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce, him the fire cannot
burn, him the water cannot melt (or make wet)- him the air cannot dry. The Hindu believes that
every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose centre is located in the body
and that death means the change of this centre from body to body. Nor is the soul bound by the
conditions of matter. In its very essence it is free, unbounded, holy, pure, and perfect. But
somehow or other it finds itself tied down to matter, and thinks of itself as matter. Why should
the free, perfect and pure being be thus under the thraldom of matter, is the next question.

How can the perfect soul be deluded into the belief that it is imperfect? We have been told that
the Hindus shirk the question and say that no such question can be there. Some thinkers want to
answer it by positing one or more quasi-perfect beings, and use big scientific names to fill up the
But naming is not explaining. The question remains the same. How can the perfect become the
quasi-perfect; how can the pure, the absolute, change even a microscopic particle of its
nature? But the Hindu is sincere. He does not want to take shelter under sophistry. He is
brave enough to face the question in a manly fashion; and his answer is: "I do not know how the
perfect being, the soul, came to think of itself as imperfect, as joined to and conditioned by
matter." But the fact is a fact for all that. It is a fact in everybodys consciousness that one
thinks of oneself as the body. The Hindu does not attempt to explain why one thinks one is the
body. The answer that it is the will of God is no explanation. This is nothing more than what the
Hindu says: "I do not know."

Well then, the human soul is eternal and immortal, perfect and infinite, and death means
only a change of centre from one body to another. The present is determined by our past
actions and the future by the present. The soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth
to birth and death to death. But there is another question; Is man a tiny boat in a tempest, raised
one moment on a foamy crest of a billow and dashed down into a yawning chasm the
next. Rolling to and fro at the mercy of good and bad actions- a powerless, helpless wreck in an
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

ever-raging, ever-rushing, uncompromising current of cause which rolls on crushing everything
in its way and waits not for the widows tears or the orphans cry? The heart sinks at the
idea, yet this is the law of Nature.

Is there no hope? Is there no escape? Was the cry that went up from the bottom of that heart
of despair. It reached the throne of mercy, and words of hope and consolation came down and
inspired a Vedic sage, and he stood up before the world and in trumpet voice proclaimed the
glad tidings: "Hear, ye children of immortal bliss! Even ye that reside in higher spheres. I have
found the Ancient One who is beyond all darkness, all delusion. Knowing Him alone you shall be
saved from death over again."

"Children of immortal bliss"- what a sweet, what a hopeful name! Allow me to call you,
brethren, by that sweet name heirs of immortal bliss - yea, the Hindu refuses to call you
sinners. Ye are the children of God, the sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfect beings. Ye
divinities on earth - sinners! It is a sin to call a man so; it is a standing libel on human nature.
Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion, that you are sheep; you are souls immortal,
spirits free, blessed and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant,
not you the servant of matter. Thus it is that the Vedas proclaim not a dreadful
combination of unforgiving laws, not an endless prison of cause and effect, but that at the
head of all these laws, in and through every particle of matter and force, stands One "by
whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the

And what is His nature? He is everywhere, the pure and formless One, the Almighty and the all-
merciful. "Thou art our father, Thou art our mother, Thou art our beloved friend, Thou art the
source of all strength; give us strength. Thou art He that beareth the burdens of the universe;
help me bear the little burden of this life."

Thus sang the Rishis of the Vedas. And how to worship Him? Through love. He is to be
worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and the next life." This is the
doctrine of love declared in the Vedas, and let us see how it is fully developed and taught by
Krishna, who the Hindus believe to have been God incarnate on earth. He taught that a man
ought to live in this world like a lotus leaf, which grows in water but is never moistened by water;
so a man ought to live in the world- his heart to God and his hands to work. It is good to love
God for hope of reward in this or the next world, but it is better to love God for love's sake,
and the prayer goes:

"Lord, I do not want wealth, nor children, nor learning. If it be Thy will, I shall go from birth
to birth, but grant me this, that I may love Thee without the hope of reward- love unselfishly
for love sake."

One of the disciple of Krishna, the then emperor of India, was driven from his kingdom by his
enemies and had to take shelter with his queen in a forest in the Himalayas, and there one day
the queen asked him how it was that he, the most virtuous of men, should suffer so much
misery. King Yudhishthira answered:

"Behold my queen, the Himalayas, how grand and beautiful they are; I love them. They do not
give me anything, but my nature is to love the grand, the beautiful, therefore I love them.
Similarly, I love the Lord. He is the source of all beauty, of all sublimit. He is the only object to
be loved; my nature is to love Him, and therefore I love. I do not pray for anything; I do not ask
for anything. Let Him place me wherever He likes. I must love Him for loves sake. I cannot trade
in love." (concluded)
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

By Dr. Ruth Reyna, M.A., Ph. D., Indologist

The Sanctity of Labour

In the early days of the Indo-Aryan culture each man accepted his place in life according to that
to which he was born, carried on the duties of that state and lived and died in tranquillity,
knowing that he had accomplished his assigned role as an integral part of the Cosmic Being. As
each accomplished his tasks with disinterested devotion, the work of the idealized society moved
smoothly. The idea of a spiritualized, typal society arose from the principle that each man has his
own essential nature (svadharma) which reflects some element of the divine nature. Everyone is
born to his own place in the divine display of creative power that is the world, and it is his first
duty to live up to his role and to make known by his appearance and actions just what part of the
divine plan he is. The Bhagavad Gita exhorts: "One should not give up the activity to. 11 which
one is born" (18.48). All other duties are alien to one's nature, and should one break loose and
intrude, upon another's duties, he would become guilty of disturbing the sacred order of the

Although the ideal of caste has passed into history, the truth of one's innate plan of life according
to one's abilities as well as the warning of the Gita still remain and in our present society the
latter has come to pass. Moderm society is no longer representative of divine plan but of the
avarice of man. Many are they who insist that they must have and are entitled to a college
education only because someone else has one. They pursue this hotly out of sheer egoism and
because it is not their svadharma they fail miserably. Failure leads to discontent, discontent leads
to blame on others, discontent and blame with the work we do, we feel miserable; but if we lead
to riots, processions, inane shouting, do not identify ourselves with it, we do not feel for the
destruction of property and disturbed spirit. The misery is true of those who labour.

No longer is labour pursued as a fulfilment of self and accomplishment of divine plan, but one of
selfishness and egoity. Many are they who discard their own native abilities to attempt that which
they cannot accomplish, blatantly disregarding the ill contribution they make to society. "Society
be damned!" they say. "Divine Plan be damned!" they say. "I have to get ahead in this world
before someone else beats me to it!" But what do they mean by "getting ahead" - more money for
cars, radios, TV's, excursions abroad, less working days and more leisure. They believe that
society owesthem a debt and that, therefore, they should be paid cheques. without labour. Strikes.
ensue, riots, destruction, and mayhem, and disturbance of spirit.

All of this chaos need not be, for peace of mind may as surely be gained through labour (Karma
Yoga), action, as through devotion (Bhakti Yoga). Hinduism maintains that 'Work is Worship'
which is evidenced in many verses of the Bhagavad Gita, the working man's sacred text. Sri
Krishna advises, "He, who hates money, is friendly and kind to all, who is free from egoism and
sensual pleasures., is forbearing, ever content, steady in meditation, self-controlled and has firm
conviction, with mind and intellect fixed on Me, he, who is thus devoted to Me, is dear to Me"
(Chap. XII, 13-14), and has peace of mind.
There is, however, a condition laid down for gaining tranquillity and liberation through labour.
Karma Yoga is the knowledge of that secret of work. Vast amounts of energy may be lost if we
do not know how to utilize it. The secret is renunciation of the fruits of labour. "Work
incessantly, but give up all attachment to work," Vivekananda admonishes. "Do not identify
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

yourself with anything. Hold your mind free. All this that you see, the pains, the miseries, are but
the necessary conditions of the world. Poverty and wealth and happiness are but momentary; they
do not belong to our real nature at all. Our nature is far beyond misery and happiness, beyond
every object of the senses, beyond the imagination; yet we must go on working all the time.
Misery comes through attachment, not through work.

The Gita stresses renunciation, as only through renunciation and not through enjoyment can one
attain peace (Chap. XII, 12). But it also points out that complete renunciation is not possible for
everyone and advises one, therefore, to work according to one's 'Svabhava' and 'Svadharma'
(inherent nature and ability) instead of feigning renunciation (Chap. Ill, 8, 35). But all actions
must be without expectation of results. This is Karma Yoga, union with the Divine through his

The attainment of peace of mind and tranquillity of spirit through labour entails the making of
certain changes in the self, the taking on a certain attitude toward the self, an identity come to a
real, living awareness. "First have faith in yourself. Do not look up to the rich and the powerful
men who have money. The poor have done all the great and gigantic work in the world. Be
steady, and above all be pure and sincere. Have faith in your destiny" (Vivekananda).

A man's destiny arises from his personal dharma. Dharma is not a duty imposed from outside, but
is man's inward harmony resulting from his spiritual evolution through past lives. Dharma is not a
potency residing in the action performed, not something added from without, but is a property
belonging to the being of each individual thing and man, in consequence of which, each man
reacts in his own unique way to the outside world. By fulfilling his dharma, his role in life, man
marches along the path of progress until he attains the supreme dharma of all beings, namely, the
realization of Truth. As an absolutely important entity, integral to the individual, dharma cannot
be changed or destroyed in parts, and only dissolves as the entity itself fades from the world of
maya and realizes itself as the undifferentiated Brahman, for "verily, that which is Law (dharma)
is truth(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I.iv.14.)


By Stephen Knapp

(continues from previous issue)

In this way, The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me [Lord Sri Krishna] verily attains the highest
happiness. By virtue of his identity with Brahman [the absolute spiritual nature], he is liberated;
his mind is peaceful, his passions are quieted, and he is freed from sin. Steady in the Self, being
freed from all material contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage of
happiness in touch with the Supreme Consciousness. (Bg.6.27-28)
Such a liberated soul is not attracted to material sense pleasure or external objects but is always
in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited
happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme. (Bg.5.21)

This happiness, therefore, is the goal of all people, and is the highest level of happiness which is
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

attained when one understands his or her true spiritual identity and becomes spiritually Self-


It is generally accepted that it was the Persians who invaded India during the 6th century B.C.
who gave the name Hindu for a society of people who lived in a certain region of India near the
Sindhu river, later known as the Indus river. In Persian, the letter H and S are pronounced almost
the same so they mistook the S in the word Sindhu as H and then started calling the people
Hindus and their religion as Hinduism. Thus, the name is actually a misnomer since there are
many schools of thought and views of God within the umbrella term of Hinduism, each with its
own specific name.

Dr. Radhakrishnan has also observed about the name Hindu: The Hindu civilization is so called
since its original founders or earliest followers occupied the territory drained by the Sindhu (the
Indus) river system corresponding to the North West Frontier Province and the Punjab. This is
recorded in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, the Hindu scripture which gives their name to
this period of Indian history. The people on the Indian side of the Sindhu were called Hindu by
the Persian and the later western invaders. This indicates that the name is not based on religion
or theocracy, but is merely a name based on the particular locality of a people. This could also
mean that numerous people, even tribals of India, Dravidians, or even the Vedic Aryans are all
Hindus. Again, in this way, Hinduism can accommodate different communities, rites, various
gods and practices.

Other originations of the word Hindu may be given, but they all essentially show that it was a
name indicating a locality of a society, and it had nothing to do with the religion, philosophy, or
way of life of the people. This is why some followers of Sanatana-dharma or Vedic culture do not
care to use the name Hindu, including gurus, to describe their spiritual path, even though it is
based on the Vedic system.

The more correct term for the Vedic process is the Sanskrit word Sanatana-dharma. This is a path
and a realization. Sanatana-dharma means the eternal nature of the living being. Just as the
dharma of sugar is sweetness, and the dharma of fire is to burn and give warmth, the spiritual
being also has a dharma. That dharma is to serve and love, and that love ultimately is meant to be
the relationship between the living being and God and all other living entities. When that love
and spiritual realization is attained, then the living being regains his natural Divinity. To attain
this stage, one can follow the path of dharma. Thus, dharma is also a code of conduct. This,
however, is not a dogma or forced standard, but it is a natural training that brings people to a
higher level of consideration and consciousness. Thus, the whole of society can develop in this
refined manner to a higher level of awareness and understanding of our connection with each
other, with nature, and with God.

The Manu-samhita recommends the following characteristics to be developed. These include
fortitude, forgiveness, self control, non-envy, purity, sense control, the ability to discriminate
between good and evil, learning, truthfulness, and absence of anger. So we can imagine how
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

much nicer the world could be if everyone developed these qualities. So Sanatana-dharma is also
the path to attain our natural spiritual qualities.

Dharma also means the natural laws that sustain and hold together the whole universe. So dharma
is also that which brings harmony and unity, because that is how the universe, along with society
in general, is maintained and preserved. In this way, Sanatana-dharma is also the path that allows
the individual to realize his or her spiritual position and true identity, and also brings the ultimate
stage of harmony and balance to each person, to society, and to the whole planet. This is the
Vedic process. It is thus a Universal Truth in that it can be applied anywhere in the universe and
at any time in history, to any people or culture, and it will produce the same results for all. This
brings us to our next point.


Since Sanatana-dharma is a universal process and applicable to everyone, then naturally anyone
can practice the principles of it. Anyone can and should be allowed to participate in the process.
Furthermore, anyone who is looking for the ultimate spiritual Truth is already one who is
following the path of Sanatana-dharma. So you could say that anyone who is sincerely looking
for such Truth with an open mind is already on the spiritual path, at least on some level, and is
thus also a Hindu or Sanatana-dharmist, a follower of Sanatana-dharma.

The point is that there is one and only one God and one Absolute Truth. The very first of the Vedic books
named the Rig-Veda proclaims, Ekam Sat, ViprahBahudhaVadanti (There is only one truth, only men
describe it in different ways). So a Jew or a Christian or a Moslem who is in search of the Absolute Truth
is automatically on the path of Sanatana-dharma. However, if they get stuck with accepting nothing more
than their own local traditions, this may hamper their growth in understanding a broader range of the many
aspects of the Supreme that are described in other scriptures, such as those of the Vedic literature. So a
persons progress depends on how far he or she really wants to go in this lifetime, and how they approach
various levels of knowledge to understand the Absolute Truth.

So those who may be accepted as followers of the Vedic tradition generally accept the following: A) The
Vedic literature presents knowledge of the Absolute Truth and is the authority on the Vedic tradition; B)
There are various ways to realize different aspects of this spiritual Truth; C) God can appear in different
forms; D) We are given more

than one life on this road of Self-Realization; E) That ultimately we are responsible for accepting the path
we take and the progress we make.

To clarify this last statement, even if you accept the path of Christianity and believe that Jesus will save
you, Jesus also said that faith alone is not enough. You must show your faith by your works, and your
works will show the true state of your desires and consciousness. Otherwise, if by faith alone you go to
heaven yet remain full of material desires for earthly things, do you think Jesus would force you to stay in
heaven? No, he would let you go back to earth, to where you heart is, to try and satisfy all those desires
because that is your state of consciousness. So your spiritual advancement is still up to you.

(To be continued)
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014


Br. Devbrat With students from the dormitory Crossing the recently built bridge over the
Who accompanied Swami Nirliptananda during Courentyne River in Berbice, the Easter
His preaching mission in Guyana part of Guyana, neighbouring Suriname

The scenic beauty along the Essequibo River on our way back to Parika after a programme
at the Triveni Temple in Bartica where. There is a large number of little islands in this river

A large number of religious and cultural programmes have been organised in temples and homes
and during his stay there have been one or more functions each day. Swamiji also gave a lecture
at each of them. There has been participation by others with devotional songs, music and havan
yajna. Swamiji travelled up and down the country from West to East and was able to meet a
large number of people and leaders. He also established an anti-conversion project for which he
received a lot of support. It is a practical project and any interested can contact us. It is an
ongoing verture.
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014


Temples in Berbice Children participation A devotee offering obeisance

Swamiji with some devotees of Crane Village temple WCD and other temples in the area.

Triveni temple in Bartica. A typical Hindu Home in the Caribbeanwith red flags

Swami Nirliptananda visited Gurdwaras in Canada and New York during his visit. On the left
He is in the Gurdwara in Canada where he presented a copy of Sevashram News with the Om
DayReport. On the left he discussed the ashrams Indogenic religious programmes with a
member and he was presented with a copy of their holy book . There is a feeling that there
should be more interactions among the different communities.
The Sikh community he met are happy to know of the work we are doing in the UK. They agree
that those belonging to the Indogenic religions are developing closer relationship with one
another . As we all share a common heritage. Working together is important for our future
Sunday satsang at the Trinidad
branch of the Sangha
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014


Left: Swami Bishwanathananda, Swami Shiveshwarananda, Lord Shiva Sri Sri Guru Maharaj

Swamiji speaking at a temple in NY. Speaking at Divyadham in New York.

L to R Swami Ganeshananda,Swami Vidyananda With Swami Pushkarananda Swamiji with little Balrama
Swami Nirliptananda, Swami Shivamritananda of the Toronto branch the son of a devotee in Canada,
of the Sangha. At a familys home. I can listen to you all night,
remarked a member.

Hindu Forum of Britain celebrated Divali in the House of Commons on 30
October 2013. Left:
Swami Nirliptananda, Spiritual Commissioner of HFB, with the executive Members. Right: R H
Gopie, Swami Nirliptananda, Swami Mukundananda, R.Seenath .The HFB is the largest Hindu umbrella
organisation in the Uk with 300 affiliated members. It was initiated by Swami Nirliptananda 12 years ago
in response to the attacks Hinduism and the Hindu community faced in the UK and from abroad. A well
organised unit with different committees and dedicated volunteers it was able to lift the profile of the
Hindu community in Brittain within a decade. It is to the credit of Hndu Forum that a closer relationship
has been establised between the Hindu community and British MPs, one of the MPs has said.
With Swami Shiveshwarananda
who is in charge of Divyadham
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

Oral Testimony for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,
Professor Arvind Sharma
Source: 18 September 2000
I would like to begin by using Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
displayed prominently on the Website of the Commission, as the basis for advancing three
propositions: one, that the concept of religious freedom articulated in Article 18 presupposes a
certain concept of religion, a concept associated with Western religion and culture.

Two, that a different concept of religion associated with Eastern and especially Hindu religion
and culture leads to a different concept of religious freedom; and three; that unless human rights
discourse is able to harmonize these two concepts of religious freedom, ironically, but not
surprisingly, the clash of the two concepts might ultimately result in the abridgement of religious
freedom in actual practice, India representing a case in point.

The concept of religious freedom as embedded in Article 18 presupposes that an individual can
only belong to or profess one religion at a time. If one believes that one can only belong to one
religion at a time, then, it stands to reason that religious freedom would essentially consist of
one's freedom to change such affiliation by the voluntary exercise of choice. In parts of the East,
however, one encounters a somewhat different concept or notion of religion, as illustrated by the
contemporary reality of Japan. According to the 1985 Census, 95 percent of the population of
Japan declared itself to be followers of Shinto--excuse me--and 76 percent of the same population
declared itself Buddhist. To turn now to India, it is well-known that most modern Hindus do not
regard the various religions of Indian origin: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, as
mutually exclusive religions. If the Indian census takers did not insist that one can only belong to
one religion, significantly a British and therefore

Western legacy, I would not at all be surprised if the Indian religious statistical reality began to
resemble the Japanese. Now, what could the concept of religious freedom possibly mean in the
context of such a concept of religion? I would like to propose that it would imply the idea of
multiple religious participation, multiple religious participation, rather than the idea of religious
conversion. Mahatma Gandhi was once asked what if a Hindu comes to feel that he can only be
saved by Jesus Christ? Gandhi's reply may be paraphrased thus: so be it, but why should he cease
to be a Hindu?

Thus, in the Eastern cultural context, freedom of religion means that a person is left free to
explore his or her religious life without being challenged to change his or her religion. I can now
advance to and advance the third proposition. According to one concept of religion, described
earlier as Western, freedom of religion consists of freedom to change one's religion when faced
with a religious option. According to another concept of religion, described earlier as Eastern,
freedom of religion consists of not having the need to do so when faced with such an option.

Recent events in India indicate that the simultaneous operation of these two concepts can lead to
religious volatility. India's religious culture is heavily imbued with the Eastern concept of
religion. India's political culture relies heavily on the Western concept of it. The tensions now
building up in India seem to lend support to this third proposition.

In the second part of my presentation, I would now like to examine the Hindu attitude towards
conversion in more detail in view of its centrality to the Hindu understanding of religious
freedom. I shall confine my discussion to the range of opinion regarding conversion found in
Hinduism to the modern period; that is, in the post-1800 period.

Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

During this period, two attitudes in the main towards conversion can be clearly identified: one, in
modern Hindu thought and for most modern Hindus, the idea of conversion from one religion to
another does not make much sense. This opposition or aversion, rather, is rooted in the new
Hindu doctrine of the validity of all parts to the divine. If all parts are valid, then conversion from
one religion to another does not make much sense.

Two counter-arguments against this position may now be immediately considered. If all religions
are valid, then why object to conversion from one to the other? And sometimes, it might be in a
person's interest to change his or her religion to ensure one's spiritual progress, like changing
lanes on a highway, without wishing to trivialize the point.

Now, one new Hindu response to the first point would be that conversion as referred, a fact
already alluded to by Professor Embree, often involves cultural violence. And so, if all religions
are valid, the relevant question is not why not change but why change? If it is not necessary to
change, it is necessary not to change.

As to the second, one new Hindu response urges that if all religions are valid, this makes all of
them members of a fraternity, so if someone feels that one's spiritual progress will be speeded up
by adopting another religion, there is no harm in doing so. But does one have to abandon one's
religion to adopt another?

Now, second, some modern Hindus also believe that while conversion from Hinduism, like
conversion from any religion, is undesirable, yet, conversion to Hinduism in India should be
tolerated and even encouraged. According to them, the conversion of Hindus to Islam and
Christianity, especially during Islamic and British rule took place during Hinduism's times of
troubles, and therefore, such reconversion is now valid, as it represents the righting of a historical

If the first position may be described as the new Hindu position, then the second position could
be called the Hindu nationalist position. It should be noted, though, that both the first and the
second positions are equally opposed to conversion from Hinduism.

I would now like to refer back to Article 18 as I conclude, for it constitutes the bedrock provision
for religious freedom in human rights discourse. It should not come as a surprise in the light of
what has been said that according to most Hindus, Article 18 does not help ensure genuine
religious freedom among religions; does not help ensure genuine religious freedom among
religions because it seems to stack the deck in favour of the proselytizing religions, which
recognizes the right to change one's religion, but it does not equally emphatically recognize one's
right to retain one's religion.
It seems to recognize one's right to proselytize, but it does not equally emphatically recognize
one's right not to be made an object of proselytization, the right to be left alone.

(from "The Hindu" dated 16th October 2013)
(Confirming the cases of Prahlada and Pareekshit that foetuses learn because their auditory faculty is the
first to develop in the foetus has now been proved by aFinnish group.
Foetuses learn, memorise words
Can babies learn while still in the womb of their mother? It has been long believed more as
folklore that they can and do. It is with this belief that mothers-to-be and family members sing
lullabies and soft songs to the baby even before birth. Some support for this long-held belief
comes from a recent study by a Finnish group published in the September 10 issue
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

of PNAS (U.S.). Titled Learning-induced neural plasticity of speech processing before birth, it
suggests that as a child in the foetus is exposed to speech, its brain responds, records and
remembers some words.
How does one do such experiments and arrive at solid conclusions? First of all, note that during
the foetal period, the growing babys brain develops progressively and extensively. As the brain
develops, new neuronal connections called synapses are made. This helps in efficiently
recognising, analysing and recording complex information. In other words, the baby is growing
not just in the body but in the brain as well.
Of the five senses sight, touch, smell and sound it is sound that comes largely from outside
the womb. Smells from outside cannot reach the womb since the smell molecules cannot easily
cross and enter the womb and the foetus nose. The eye is still developing and in any event, the
foetus is confined within the dark and crowded space. Touch perhaps if the pregnant mother
or others caress the bulky stomach, the developing baby within it almost certainly feels it and is
perhaps comforted, while a jolt can be quite disturbing and even dangerous. And even if the baby
were to utter sounds, the experimenter sitting outside can record it more as a series of vibrations
in the womb and to make sense out of it could be a problem. But one could produce sound from
outside and check whether the baby in the womb registers it. Thus the sense of hearing of the
foetus is open to experimentation. The way the Finnish group did it was to recruit 17 expectant
mothers. And five to seven times a week, they were exposed to the simple three syllable sound
ta-ta-ta (each time for about 4 minutes) sufficiently loudly so that the sound would pass the
intra uterine walls. The foetus could hear (not too loud as to be threatening).
They then did the same experiment five days after their birth. The same ta-ta-ta was played,
but once in awhile the tune was deliberately changed to ta-TA-ta so that the pitch changed (and
other similar mismatch sounds). Electrodes were stuck to the babies skulls to monitor their
electroencephalograms (EEG). Whenever the pre birth ta-ta-ta was heard, the EEG recording
showed the babies to register the sound of the word but when the mismatch word ta-TA-ta was
played, the babies responded right away, revealing that something was wrong (as if hey, this is
outside my known vocabulary!). In contrast, 16 control babies who had not heard these pre-
birth ta-ta-ta recordings did not show any such mismatch response when they heard the ta-
TA-ta mismatch sounds.
These results suggest that babies could learn syllables and remember words they had heard
before birth, while in the womb of their mothers. Since the onset of hearing in human infants is
around the 27 week of gestation, it would seem that any words or sounds they are exposed to
earlier than this period might not be registered. Also note that the researchers used low pitch
sounds and not high pitch. Low pitch sound travels and crosses materials better: elephants in
woodlands and whales in oceans communicate among themselves using low pitch sources.
One question is how long would these pre-birth memories last. Experiments towards this would
be of interest. And another is whether such in-the-womb training can help children with
potential problems of language acquisition or dyslexia. The Finnish group believes that words or
songs played during pregnancy might prove helpful. Lastly, erudite readers will already have
thought of Greek mythology or of the example of Abhimanyu in Mahabharata who, while in the
womb, heard his uncle Lord Krishna explain to his mother Subhadra the details of
the chakravyuha strategy of Dronacharya, and how to enter it. Even before Krishna could finish
telling her how one gets out of the chakravyuha she fell asleep and Abhimanyu could not
register this vital piece. And the result, sixteen years later, for Abhimanyu was disastrous. Well, I
need to ask this question in this context does the pre-birth memory of words last 16 years?

Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

Exploring the mental impact on physical health


All things by immortal power,
Near or far, Hiddenly
To each other linkd are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of star.


Karanth was a citizen of Shankargarh, a small seaside village on the eastern coast of India. He
lived in 800 B.C. He was a sad man. After the death of his wife, all his sons and daughters
forsook him because of his miserly habits. Morose with the happenings around him, he grew
sadder day by day, until he fell seriously ill and passed away. Told and retold through the
centuries (no doubt in more entertaining terms) by village storytellers in India, this tale of
Karanths sad mental state, which caused his fatal illness, is illustrative of Indias time-honoured
wisdom and practical knowledge about the power of the mind on illness and disease as well as
health and healing. A New Paradigm for Western Medicine despite more than 50 years of
revolutionary research in medicine and molecular biology by Western-based science, our
knowledge about the human brain and its functioning has remained elemental. Little or nothing of
what we traditionally call mind has been thoroughly understood. In particular, the idea that the
mind and the body have a medically significant relationship where the state of the mind
controls the wellbeing of the body is relatively new to Western medicine. However, this
concept has been an integral part of Ayurveda, traditional Indian medical science, for ages.
Ancient texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads and other scriptures considered to be the
foundations of Indian philosophy, propounded this principle. Practicing physicians and surgeons
of ancient India, such as Charaka and Sushruta, emphasized the importance of the right mental
state for healing, holding that the state of ones mind governs the entire existence of the human
being, including ones physical health. Modern medicine traces the origin of certain diseases
called psychosomatic illnesses to mental states such as fear, anger and anxiety. But until
recently deeper mind-body links, where variance of mental states directly affects body
functioning on a day-to-day basis, were not seriously considered by human biologists. Over the
past few decades there have been several scientific explorations that support the contention that
mental states like happiness and sadness have a direct consequence on the bodys ability to fight
diseases. The actual physical and biochemical changes occurring in the brain and the body the
elusive hidden links that intricately connect the mind and the body have been deciphered to a
certain extent. This has led to a new paradigm of thinking. The Role State of Mind Plays in
Immunity For instance, if a person with a common cold today presents him or herself before a
doctor within weeks of a personal tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one, the doctor is unlikely
to dismiss these two events in the patients life as disconnected and merely coincidental. The
human body is bombarded daily by a wide variety of bacteria and viruses. To fight this ever-
present menace, as well as non-infective diseases such as cancer, our bodies have a highly
specialized immune system. It consists of an army of blood cells that have varying capacities for
neutralizing invading microorganisms either by devouring them or by releasing chemicals that
deactivate them. Some are highly cells such as T (Thymus-derived) cells and NK (Natural Killer)
cells that directly kill both cancer- and virus-infected cells in the body. Anything that depresses
the function of these blood cells can make one vulnerable to infections like the common cold or
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

other viral infections of the respiratory tract. Losing a loved one is among the most intense of
emotional losses anyone can face. A landmark study conducted in 1975, R.W. Bartrop, M.D., and
his colleagues at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, studied the effects of
bereavement by following the lives of surviving spouses and charting changes in immune
function during mourning. Immune and hormonal measures were taken. The conclusion: At eight
weeks, T-cell functions were significantly lower in the bereaved spouses than in age- and sex-
matched controls.

In other studies, even day-to-day stresses like losing a job have been found to decrease T-cell
activity and render one vulnerable to a wide range of diseases and infections.
Happiness and Inner Peace Increase Immunity While depressed mind decreases immunity, a
happy mood has now been proved to enhance the bodys capacity to ward off disease. Sandra
Levy, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburghs Cancer Institute, monitored 36 women
afflicted with highly advanced breast cancer. Her study of those that survived the longest showed
that one of the two most influential factors was a high level of happiness and joy (measured by
scores on a standard questionnaire).

The study also showed that the prognosis in breast cancer patients depends on the activity of the
NK cells (which directly devour cancer cells); and also that stress causes release of certain
chemicals in the body that decrease the activity of the NK cells thus augmenting the cancer. It
is therefore not surprising that research on various relaxation techniques that promote inner
peace, including meditation, suggest that they can measurably assist the mind in enhancing
immunity against cancer. (Steven Locke, M.D., director of the Psycho immunology Research
Project at Harvard Medical School, described more than 200 studies on the treatment of cancer by
mind-body methods in his book Psychological and Behavioural Treatments for Disorders
Associated with the Immune System published by the Institute for the Advancement of Health,
1986.) The connection between happiness and health became clearer when scientists discovered
that serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with elevated mood and a sense of wellbeing, also
activates the immune system particularly the NK cells. Further research has identified hundreds
of different biomole-cules that work as chemical messengers running from the brain to the
immune system cells and vice versa proof of a well organized and highly efficient
communication system that mediates the action of thoughts, feelings and moods on bodily health.
Met-encephalin is another chemical, which, when released in the human brain (by the amygdale),
produces euphoric moods. It has been discovered that this chemical, apart from being released in
the brain, is also released into the bloodstream. Investigators were initially baffled by the mystery
of nature indulging in this seemingly wasteful production of excess chemicals that got washed
into the bloodstream, apparently serving no useful purpose. Later it was discovered that met-
encephalin also stimulates our immune system upon entering the bloodstream, by activating T-
lymphocytes. Combined with other studies that document how our moods and emotions trigger
the release of neurochemicals such as met-encephalin, this demonstrated a specific mechanism
whereby a happy mood increases ones capacity to ward off disease. How Environmental Factors
Affect Moods and Immunity Until very recently, doctors might have scoffed at the suggestion
that waking up to see a cloudy and overcast sky through windows could depress immune function
in a patient. But the intimate connections between environment, mind and body were established
concepts in ancient Indian medicine. Ayurveda gives immense importance to the environment
and what the five senses perceive, believing that this can have an effect on the human mind,
which is invariably translated to the body. In 2002, the Lancet medical journal reported that
exposure to bright light immediately increased brain serotonin, while dark and cloudy days
depleted serotonin levels. That sunny hospital rooms expedite recovery in severely depressed
patients is an objective proof of this age-old concept.

Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

Mind: The Ultimate Power Source Eastern philosophies, which are the fountainhead of
knowledge on meditation, have always considered the mind an immensely powerful force to keep
the body healthy and also destroy physical diseases. They unabashedly declare that man is made
by his belief; as he believes, so he is. Today, modern science is beginning to pay attention as
evidenced by therein advanced medical clinics of visualization, meditation, relaxation techniques
and other ways of activating the power of the mind. Promising results with a variety of diseases,
for example cancer and asthma, have been documented. The new science, called
psychoneuroimmunology, which endeavours to study the interactions of mind, brain and body is
still in a formative stage. However, given the fast pace of research, the day isnt far off when
healing by mental power will be accepted as a scientific proposition and not a metaphysical
experiment as it is now. Research proceeds apace in many biological labs around the world to
further delineate the intricacies and harness the power of the human mind the most mysterious
object in the universe.
About the author: Dr. I. Basu Ray is a physician with extensive medical training in India, Canada and the United
States. He has been a full-time

Birth Anniversary Celebration of Swami Purnanandaji Mahila Sevashram (Philipines) vulunteers
Maharaj at the ashram 24
Nov 2013 . packing food for distribution to typhoon
Extreme right: Swami Mukundananda 2013 victims - organised by Devi Gumahin
Necessity of a living Guru
By Swami Purnananda

Questioner Mr. Ken J. Thompson, Ilford, Essex
Q. Is it possible to realise God by only reading and understanding the Bhagavad Gita or such other
scriptures, and by following ones own inner Guru or inner Light?
A. The Gita itself has encouraged and emphasised the necessity of having a Guru. In chapter 4:34 it says;
Seek that enlightenment by prostrating, by questions and by service; the wise, the Seers into the truth
will instruct you in that knowledge. However, what category of God-realisation are you referring to?

Q. As much as one comprehend?
A. Then, ones inner Light can be as dim as that of a candle which can hardly show any path. And also,
one with lesser ability may remain satisfied with such a tiny aspect of God-realisation, which can hardly
be worth of its name.

Q. It may be very little but would that be possible without a Guru?
A. Yes, if one is satisfied with very little, one may not need a Guru; reading of the scriptures and the
inner Guru may suffice. Yet, the importance of a Guru cannot be totally ignored.

Q. Why?
A. Let me explain: to be satisfied with a tiny aspect of God-realisation means contentment with a little
learning which, according to the English poet, Alexander Pope, can be a dangerous thing.

Q. How can little learning be dangerous?
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

A. It can be fatal in many ways. One way is this: while one may not like to accept guidance from a Guru,
the same person himself may later be only too eager to become a Guru. That is the tragedy with little
learning and that would be the end of a persons spiritual advancement.

Q. Please explain this point in more detail.
A. Yes, here is an example. Virochana was the representative of demons, and Indra the representative of
the gods. Both went to their common Guru, Brahma, to learn Self-knowledge. Brahma taught them: You
are the Self Thou art That. Go and serve that Self.
Virochana with his demonical background and upbringing understood Thou to mean his physical body
instead of the true Self, and interpreted the whole thing in his own way. He went back to his demonical
people and preached his own philosophy, that the physical body was the try Self and, so, it alone should be
served and taken care of. This is called materialistic philosophy. If this sort of misinterpretation can
happen even with the direct words of a living Guru, how much more can it be with an inner Guru or inner
Light, which is not visible. But Indra, with his godly upbringing and background, went back to Brahma,
for he was a bit confused, and stayed under his Gurus guidance for 108 years. He was able to realise the
true Self.
This example shows how even a living Gurus word can be taken in a wrong way, and also that
due to ones little aspiration one may not have the courage to go into the depth of the teaching or
ask the Guru, who is a living person, for further light. In this case, the inner Light can hardly
help. Or to put it in a rude way, it is not the inner Guru, but the inner ego that shall put one in a
worse pit.

Q. Do you mean to say that the average man does not possess any inner Light?
A. What you call inner Light can sometimes be really faulty. In fact, what you mean by inner Light is
known to Hindus as conscience and discrimination. But without discrimination, conscience can be very

Q. Is it not a fact that Buddha stressed on ones inner Light for guidance?
A. But, it is also a fact that, in Buddhas organisation, the first mantra is; I take refuge in the Buddha.

Q. What will be the position of one who chooses the wrong Guru?
A. Yes, you are quite relevant in asking about the position, if a Guru is found unworthy. Much depends on
the depth of aspiration on the part of the disciple. If the disciples hankering is very weak, then finding
fault even with a genuine Guru (just like one with a genuine hunger will find fault with the food) can
easily frustrate him. On the other hand, a disciple with lofty aspiration even being deceived by an
unworthy Guru will not leave off his effort for spiritual life. He will leave that unworthy Guru and will
continue to search for a better one.
There is a very good example about a saint by the name Vijoy Krishna Goswami who lived in India in the
latter part of the last century. He travelled from one corner of India to the other in search of a true Guru.
That means to say that God in His kindness is looking after our spiritual interest and will assist in our

Q. And what will happen if the Guru dies?
A. The answer is this: the spiritual Guru never dies. Only his physical body disappears. The Gurus spirit
and teaching will always protect the disciple. Besides, many great Masters have often left their competent
disciples and worthy organisations to assist the others who desperately need help.

Q. What more do you have to say in this matter?
A. To have a living Guru implies humility. And humility is an essential factor in spiritual matter. Of
course, this humility towards ones living Guru may sometimes imply a bit loss of freedom.

Questioner: G. Lal, Lancaster, England.
Q. Some time ago the topic of Guru was discussed in this journal [No. 44I but I have got the impression
that it was not adequately dealt with. I would like to ask a few questions in this respect: Is it absolutely
necessary to have a human Guru? Ramana Maharshi, for example, did not have a human guru. How
would you explain this?
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

A. It is not proper to discuss that which is purely a personal matter. The Maharshi, as you say, might not
have taken the assistance of any human Guru, but there were others who took Buddha, Christ,
Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and many other great saints.

Q. Why is it that people in the West do not usually like to have a Guru?
A. I would not put it that way. I would rather say that there is a class of people both in the East and in the
West who would prefer not to have a human Guru. There are various reasons for this. To many, it is
repulsive to bind oneself with a human being.

Q. Do you really bind yourself to your Guru when you accept him as a spiritual guide?
A. Yes, to some extent one makes oneself obligated. Sometime one has got to cut down ones freedom.
Unrestrained freedom is not for human being, especially in the ethical, moral and spiritual sphere. If one
is serious in ones spiritual aspiration, to lose a bit of freedom to the spiritual teacher is not so important.
This, in fact, is a universal truth in all spheres of learning - secular or spiritual. In educational institutions,
there are restrictions, which are to be observed.

Q. Isnt there a difference between the obligation to a Guru and the obedience to a school teacher?
A. The spheres only are different. My analogy was to show that unrestrained freedom is not possible in
any field of learning.

Q. One may not disagree in having a Guru; but does one have to surrender ones individuality?
A. This depends entirely on the kind of Guru one has got. The sincerity of the chela also has to be
considered. If the Guru is a false prophet and the chela has no high aspiration (a chela usually becomes
like him. Like attracts like is a universal phenomenon.) none should surrender to the other - both will fall
under their own weight. If a Guru is a mediocre, the chela must be considerably obedient to him. But, if a
Guru is a Self-realised person or a God-incarnated person, there should be no limit of self-surrender to

Q. How can one recognise a Self-realised Guru?
A. Through ones good luck.

Q. It is said that the Buddha was totally against himself being worshipped or venerated?
A. This is not true. Perhaps, no man in his lifetime was adored more than the Buddha. The Mantra:
Buddham Saranam Gachchhaami - I take refuge in the Buddha - is of utmost importance to all Buddhists.
There are many references in the Pali Canon, which imply that the Buddha was worshipped. In fact, there
are passages, which referred to the Buddha as having been worshipped by the gods. If he were considered
fit to be worshipped by the gods, how can one justify the claim that he was not considered fit to be
worshipped by man or that he was treated like an ordinary man. There are many epithets attributed to
him, which show that he was not treated ordinarily. The name Buddha itself is an indication of this. The
number of images of the Buddha that exists in viharas, rocks and temples shows that he is still considered
much more than a great man. People do not make images of a person unless there is something extremely
remarkable about him. The Buddhist sacred Mantra is about twenty-five centuries old.

Q. Some Buddhists claim that the Mantra means, I intend to use the example of the Buddha to guide me
in my search.
A. This translation seems to me somewhat a distortion of what is implied in Buddham Saranam
Gachchhaami. Anyway, if just an intention is intended, there would hardly be the need to give that much
importance to the phrase. Yet, it is being used as a form of Mantra by constant repetition. The real
meaning is: I take refuge in Buddha. When one takes refuge in a person, or intends to make him ones
example one cannot have ones own way.

Q. No other teacher seems to stress the need to curbing ones freedom in religious practice as you do?
A. It is not a matter of curbing ones freedom but the acceptance of an important fact. When one is among
people on the same level as oneself, then individuality and individual freedom are important. But in the
presence of a man of Self-realisation, they automatically fade into insignificance. It is only because of this
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

fact that one feels elevated in the presence of a highly religious person. A Self-realised person is able,
when his chela meets with some obstacles, to save him from it.

Q. What happens after the Guru dies?
A. The kind of Guru I referred to never dies. He is Eternal; he is Truth; he always protects his disciples.

Q. But this description can be attributed to God alone?
A. A guru of that exalted position is identical with God.
Q. Well, a very relevant question comes at this point: cannot God in His infinite mercy directly help a
person? Why through a Guru? Is not God everywhere?
A. Is not electricity everywhere? But one cannot use it. Once a circuit is made the same electricity is
available to everyone. In a crude way, the Guru is a sort of a circuit through whom one can know God.

A. By dying he does not disappear. His spiritual power can always assist the chela. The chela can still
continue to talk to his Guru though he is invisible and his prayers can be answered. During times of
spiritual crisis one can be immensely helped if ones mind is open to a holy man who has pledged to help
him directly or indirectly! To a sincere seeker this is indeed a great solace!

Q. Does it imply that anyone can get his assistance though he was not lucky enough to meet the Guru
when he was alive?
A. Anyone can get his assistance provided he comes in contact with the FOLD of that great Guru - that
contact will act as an initiation though not directly from him. The Fold he has left is a reservoir of his
spiritual power. Gurus of high spiritual attainment can do this.

Q. Does this mean that one must have a deep, almost blind faith in ones Guru?
A. If your spiritual aspiration is not merely skin-deep and spiritual practice is not confined to an
intellectual level, then you must have an unshakeable faith in your Guru.

Q. Does not this sort of submissive attitude encourage passivity?
A. No genuine Guru would like to see his disciples indulge in passivity. He would rather see him worn out
in intense activity than rust in idleness.

Q. How can one find such a Guru?
A. If one is upset even by the thought of obeying a Guru who may not be highly spiritually enlightened,
how can one expect to have darshan of a God-incarnated Guru?

Q. But, there is a saying that when a disciple is ready the Guru appears?
A. This does not imply a passive attitude. You have got to follow all relevant teachings to be fit to meet
such an exalted Guru; and obedience is the main pillar of those teachings. The Guru appears before those
where his teachings will not fall on barren soil.

Q. But, is it not a Gurus task to prepare the chelas soil?
A. It is. Yet the chela must be prepared from before to some extent before he can get an exalted Guru.
When the disciple does not see far he would not be able to confront his own weaknesses.

Q. How can the Guru help?
A. When the Guru with his yogic power discovers the psychological difficulty of the disciple, he will
create a favourable surrounding so that the disciple, in spite of his inner weaknesses, can to a great extent
safely pass through the odd circumstances, provided he obeys the Guru.
Of course, a Guru can only protect him from being totally ruined. To a certain extent, a persons life is
affected by his own karma and he must reap the fruit thereof. But with the Gurus guidance, a disciple is
able to tide over the difficult periods, which may have otherwise been disastrous.

Q. Your description of how the Guru helps his chela sounds rather mythical and imaginary?
Issue 58 Sevashram News July 13 March 2014

A. You must have read of how Nerappa helped his disciple by making him do very hard work, when the
disciple could not bear the hardship any longer and decided to leave his Guru and return home, he found
himself in great difficulties which he ultimately overcame.

Q. Assistance can be available only when the Guru is alive. What happens after his demise?
A. When the Guru is in the mortal body, it is easier for the disciple to avail himself of the opportunity.
Even then, if the disciple is not always alert, opportunities may come and go; he will remain where he
was. Even after his demise. the Guru can create such favourable circumstances. If the disciples karma is
good, he would appreciate the Gurus invisible assistance and utilise the opportunity to make his life

Q. One has to be very lucky in order to have such a Guru?
A. Anyone can be lucky if he treads on the right path and has the patience to wait.

Q. Doesnt this require great faith?
A. Yes, unshakeable faith, based on facts - the fact of a teachers ideal life and the fact of the disciples
sincere aspiration to learn. Also one must know what sort of person he is going to accept as his Guru - not
merely one or two apparently bright or dull instances in his life. But more important would be his own
honest search for Truth. Almost all his success depends on his own attitude. A very good description of
what should be a disciples attitude can be found in the Bhagavad Gita 4:36. A brief translation is: learn
that wisdom by showing reverence, humble enquiry and by rendering service.

Q. Why service? Does the Guru demand something from the chela?
A. Service represents a disciples willingness and preparedness to do something for his Guru as a token of

Q. In what other ways can such a great Guru help his disciple?
A. When you meet and accept a Guru, you will understand that this is not the first time you are in touch
with him. For many, many incarnations you have been following him and he, too, has been following you
in order to help you in your spiritual pursuit most times, perhaps, unknowingly to you as a mothers
good wishes follow her dear child from place to place wherever he is, even if he takes no notice of her.

Q. I am afraid you are again introducing imaginary thinking?
A. I am not. In some of the Jaatakas, the Buddha has mentioned some personalities who had been in close
contact with him for quite a few incarnations. This has been supported by a Guru of similar status who
told one of his disciples when, at their first meeting, he was chosen out of fifty young men and that he, the
Guru, was visualising as clearly as in a mirror how the disciple was with him in few of his past lives.

Q. Yet, I feel a sceptical mind will doubt the truthfulness of these stories?
A. I wish to emphasise that scepticism has no place in spirituality, neither is this discussion meant for
sceptical people.

Q. Another thing: what about those Gurus who are not so exalted but quite honest and may be on the way
to liberation? Cannot they help others?
A. Why not? They are in a position to help others; even they cannot be easily found.

Q. Should not they be properly respected?
A. Undoubtedly. As has been hinted earlier, it is after passing through the hands of these about-to-be-
liberated Gurus that you can be lucky to find God-realised ones.

. Q. How about the false Gurus?
A. They do not deserve to be called Gurus.

(To be continued)