A Devotee asks Sri Ramana Maharshi: How to overcome regrets?
Maharshi replies: By practice. D.: What kind of practice?
Maharshi: Meditation. D.: Mind is not steady while meditating.
M.: It will be all right by practice. D.: Shall we add prayers, etc.?
Maharshi: Yes. (from Talks #377 p. 356, 22nd March 1937)
The Lord, Who is in all things, Is NOT in all thoughts!
"Of the strong, I am the strength devoid of desire and attachment,
and in (all) beings, I am the desire unopposed to Dharma, O Arjuna!" Bhagavad Gita 7:11
"I am that strength which is necessary for the bare sustenance of the body. I am NOT the strength which generates desire and attachment for sensual objects as in the case of worldly-minded persons."
Swami Sivananda Saraswati Commentary
This most important verse within the Gita, is also to many the most overlooked and disregarded. For those who fall into this category, the reason is obvious. And their anger when contradicted is also most telling.
In our "modern" times, the fast-food approach to spirituality and religion is a most sought for commodity. This mind-set, technically referred to as Neo-Advaita, is in traditional scripture referred to as pramada - spiritual death. Although the Gita's fundamental philosophy declares that the Atman does not ever die, the human capacity to reveal and awaken the consciousness of the Atman can be crippled unto death.
The ancient Saintly King Bartruhari, who became an enlightened Sage, used the word pramada in the correct spiritual sense indicated by the Sage Sunat Sujata. He proclaimed:
“Peetva mohamayeem pramada madiram unmatta bhootam jagat”
“This world (its inhabitants therein) has become mad after having drunk the wine of negligence (pramada: laxity towards the spiritual goal), which being of the form of moha (delusion),
has overwhelming power to delude you.” 1
The Sage Sanat Sujata is indicating that the presence of pramada brings about a spiritual death. For the spiritual madness that at first manifests as a fever of willful and angry indifference to the consequences of inattention to and negligence of God, is rendered deadly when it becomes habitual. This madness and anger literally destroys our faculty of discrimination, which before our “disease of pramada” was our guiding light on the path to Godliness.
Sri Krishna clearly states this truth in Chapter 2:63 in the Bhagavad Gita:
“From anger comes delusion; from delusion the loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination;
from the destruction of discrimination he perishes.”
This is not to be defined as forgetfulness of the Self, unless one admits to a willful and belligerent forgetfulness. It is clearly distraction, willfully averting our attention from the consequences of bad habits.
Realization of the Self, as declared by Sri Ramana Maharshi to be the sole goal of life, comes when we overcome and conquer the obstacles that stand before us as enemies in the guise of seemingly insignificant habits. Therefore Bhagavan declares in no uncertain terms:
“The obstacles that hinder realization are habits of the mind (vasanas), and the aids to realization
are the teachings of the scriptures and of realized souls.” 2
The secondary meaning of pramada is procrastination and a distracted laziness, it means not taking any immediate action to rectify this most soul-stripping heedlessness.
One may say: “God’s grace is always there, so somehow I will get back on my spiritual feet.” But the fatality of staying “dead level” without motivation to rise up comes upon us as pramada gives birth to it's only-begotten son. This offspring of pramada is known in Sanskrit as duragraha. Duragraha means the adamant determination to do that which you know you should never do.
The compound spiritual fracture of being indifferent to God and habitually partaking in negative action with utter disregard for the negative consequences creates a karmic bloodletting fatal even to the strongest constitution.
Regardless of whatever label we choose to call this effort of removing bad habits, whether it be deemed purification, removal of defilement, awakening, being in oneness or even becoming still, it should be known that Bhagavan said it is “effort that instills purity” and stressed that without it the goal of vichara (enquiry) will not be reached.
In direct reference to this Sri Muruganar, one of the foremost direct disciples of Sri Ramana Maharshi, heard the following profound statement from Bhagavan and recorded it that our doubts might be cleared:
“Know that the wondrous jnana vichara is only for those who have attained purity of mind by softening and melting within.
Without this softening and melting away of the mind, brought about by thinking of the feet of the Lord, the attachment to the “I” that adheres to the body will not cease to be.” 3
Can this “thinking of the feet of the Lord”, prescribed by Bhagavan, be anything other than exactly what it says? Therefore, should we not get busy here and now to “fight the good fight” for spiritual attainment?
Let us leave our battle cry to the General of our forces:
Devotee: “Are we to keep anything against a rainy day; or to live a precarious life for spiritual attainments?”
Maharshi: “God looks after everything.” 4
1. Mahabharata 5.41-42.
2.Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 13, p. 5.
3. Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar, Avadhuta Foundation 2004, p. 186.
4. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, #377.