A visitor had given Bhagavan a piece of paper on which he had scribbled in pencil a number of questions. When I went into the hall about 3 p.m., Bhagavan was trying to decipher them and turning round to me said, “Here is a question paper.”
Question 1: How to get rid of credulousness? The visitor’s problem was that he starts with some ideal recommended to him, but when others come and recommend other ideals, he feels inclined to believe them and give up his old ideals.
Bhagavan: Yes. Yes. Our whole trouble is that we are credulous. We believe in everything except the reality. We must give up all our false beliefs, and that is the only thing we have to do. Then the reality will shine by itself.
Question 2:I start with great keenness towards some ideal. But gradually I get slack. What should I do to prevent it, and what is the reason for this happening?
Bhagavan: Just as there must have been a reason for your keenness at one time, there must be a reason for getting slack also later on.
Question 3: There are a number of spiritual teachers, teaching various paths. Whom should one take for one’s Guru?
Bhagavan: Choose that one where you find you get shanti or peace.
Question 4: What is the best way of dealing with desires, with a view to getting rid of them -satisfying them or suppressing them?
Bhagavan: If a desire can be got rid of by satisfying it, there will be no harm in satisfying such a desire. But desires generally are not eradicated by satisfaction. Trying to root them out that way is like pouring spirits to quench fire. At the same time, the proper remedy is not forcible suppression, since such repression is bound to react sooner or later into forceful surging up with undesirable consequences. The proper way to get rid of a desire is to find out “Who gets the desire? What is its source?” When this is found, the desire is rooted out and it will never again emerge or grow. Small desires such as the desire to eat, drink and sleep and attend to calls of nature, though these may also be classed among desires, you can safely satisfy. They will not implant vasanas in your mind, necessitating further birth. Those activities are just necessary to carry on life and are not likely to develop or leave behind vasanas or tendencies. As a general rule, therefore, there is no harm in satisfying a desire where the satisfaction will not lead to further desires by creating vasanas in the mind.
Question 5: What is the meaning of ‘Om’?
Bhagavan: ‘Om ‘ is everything. It is another name for Brahmam.
I was looking into the January issue of Vision and came across a story about Kulasekhara Alwar. Having heard during a kalakshepam that Ravana had taken away Sita, Kulasekhara identified himself so much with the situation in the story that he thought it was his duty as a worshipper of Rama at once to hasten to Lanka and release Sita, that he ran up and had entered the sea to cross over to Lanka, that then Rama appeared with Sita and Lakshmana showered His grace on him. I remembered another version, that Kulasekhara started on a campaign with his army to succour Rama, that meanwhile the Bhagavatar doing the kalakshepam, sensing the situation, passed on at once to Rama emerging victoriously from the battle, killing all his enemies, etc. Bhagavan also thought the version I had in mind was the correct one and that the matter referred to Rama’s battle with Khara and Dushana and not with Ravana for Sita.
Bhagavan looked up a history of the Alwars and told us that both incidents are found in Kulasekhara’s life. This led me to make the following remark, “Some Maratha Saint also did a similar thing. He leaped up to the roof, I think.” Thereupon, Dr. S. Rao asked Bhagavan, “I don’t know that story. What is that story?” Thereupon Bhagavan said, “Ekanath was writing the Ramayana and when he came to the portion in which he was graphically describing that Hanuman jumped across the ocean to Lanka, he so identified himself with his hero Hanuman, that all unconsciously he leaped into the air and landed on the roof of his neighbour. This neighbour had always a poor opinion of Ekanath, taking him for a humbug and religious hypocrite. He heard a thud on his roof and, coming out to see what it was, discovered Ekanath lying down on the roof with the cadj an leaf in one hand and his iron stile in the other, and the cadj an leaf had verses describing how Hanuman leapt across the sea. This incident proved to the neighbour what a genuine bhakta Ekanath was and he became his disciple.”
After a pause, Bhagavan also related, “God appeared in a dream to Ekanath and asked him to go and repair the tomb of Jnaneswar. When Ekanath went there accordingly, he found a contractor ready to do all the work and take payment at the end. The contractor opened a big account, in which all expenses were entered, with the names of all the workmen and wages paid to them. Everything went on systematically and when the work of repairs having been completed, the accounts had to be looked into and the contractor paid his dues, the contractor and his big account book totally disappeared. Then alone Ekanath came to know God was his contractor and did the work. Such things have happened.”