Bapuji In California On Tapas
August 14, 1977 pm:
[Bapuji translated by Gurudev]
[Bapuji chants Govinda Gopala]
Beloved satsangis, lovers of God and guru, there are different subjects that I’m discussing here. It is not possible for you to absorb them fully into your life, but to whatever extent, whatever smaller aspect you can bring it into your life, would be of great benefit in your spiritual progress.
The subject that I’m going to talk about now is tapa, means austerity. Tapas is one of the five niyamas. The word ‘tapas’ is so profound that to talk about it in front of average person is almost like an insult. And yet the average person in the society can accept a portion of it according to his own capacity. Without tapas or austerity, the life can not be properly molded.
The purpose of tapas or austerities is the purification of the body and mind. Whether the individual is leading a worldly life or a sannyasi life, both of them have a need for purification of the body and purification of the mind. The meaning of tapas means ‘to heat.’ You purify your body and mind in the fire of self-control. It is called ‘tapas.’
Whoever has progressed in any specific field, it is the result of their tapas in that field. In the beginning, I discussed about svadhyaya, the study of the scriptures and repeating the name of the Lord, when “svahapurn” [?] surrender to the Lord. Now I’m talking about tapas, the austerities.
In Patanjali Yoga darshan, the tapas, svadhyaya and ishvarapranidhana is included in Kriya Yoga. So, this is why I have described in detail all these three aspects of Kriya Yoga. Those three are invariably necessary in the practice. In the one tapas, has three different branches. There are three tapas. One is physical tapas, means austerities, speech austerities and mental austerities.
For the physical austerity, it is said in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, in this shloka it is said to worship the deva. Now, the deva, deva is not personified in front of us. Then how can we worship that deva that is not present? There are two different ways you can offer the puja.
Puja means worshipping ceremony. There are two ways you can do the puja. One is if you have idol of the deva. Then you can worship the idol or you may in your imagination have mental puja of God. When you are worshipping with the aid of a statue, everything becomes much easier because such a puja becomes meditation.
By having the idol in front of us, we can go through the stages of puja very systematically and enter into it much more deeply. Because of the presence of the idol of a deva, naturally the thoughts and association with the divinity naturally comes in the mind of the devotee. Just as the flag on top of the temple which is located on top of the high mountain constantly flutters, similarly, the person who is trying to meditate without the aid of a symbol and idol in front of him, his mind constantly flutters with that flag.
So, after the worship of the deva comes the worship of Brahman. In sanskrit it is said that everyone is born sudra, means at a low level of consciousness, but only when he is given the higher samskaras he is born again. So here it is said that, worship the one that is twice born, who has been given the samskaras of the higher quality.
Those who are twice born, they have the right to wear the sacred thread which is the sign of those who are twice born. So, if you look at the statue of Lord Brahmeshwara, you will find a thread going across his chest. And that is called Brahmasutra, or that signifies twice born.
In ancient India, Brahmans are the learned spiritual class. The Vaishnava means the business class. Kshatriya means the warrior class. They were all considered as twice born. Among these three, Brahman was considered to be the highest kind of twice born. And sudra was the lowest consciousness. So this when it said, serving the ‘dvija’ means twice born, is serving the entire society, humanity.
Teachers could be many, but guru could be only one. And this is about the worship of the guru. It is mentioned here. In the West, the hunger for the spiritual growth has started, and so many people are in search of gurus. They are searching guru so fast that they just pass by the guru really fast too.
Today, one guru, tomorrow, another guru. Today, one ashram; tomorrow, another ashram. Today, one yogi; tomorrow, another yogi. Today, one scripture; tomorrow, another scripture. This is not proper. If you really want to satisfy the spiritual hunger, you’ll have to be little more steady and still.
In my ashram in India always there are three, four guests from foreign countries. They all say that, “We are in search of guru.” I said that you must see the guru, be in close touch with him and the guru should be in close touch with you. Then you have love among each other. Then guru will give you the knowledge.
One thing you must remember very clearly is that first there must be love between guru and a disciple. Then only the knowledge would be fruitful. The love should be so much that the disciple should feel that the guru means God himself. Then only would such a knowledge become fruitful.
One foreigner had come to me with a long list of many ashrams and gurus. He says, “I have collected the names and addresses of the most famous yogis of India. So I’m planning to see each and every one of them.” Then I said, “Why don’t you finish that list?” You get started for that. Within two months he returned after visiting as many places as he could.
He lived in different ashrams different periods; some places, two days, three days, one hour, two hours. The knowledge that you want to learn is called brahmavidya. In the whole world, there is the highest knowledge. It is called brahmavidya because that is the one who gives birth to all the knowledge. In order to attain to such a knowledge, what kind of disciple should be there and what kind of a guru should be there?
This brother had gone like a horse, like had run in the race course and come back. So he ran through ashrams and had come back. “Now I want to be your disciple only.” I told him that, “What you are saying is not proper. You stay here for a short time and then what you decide is proper.” Always this approach is necessary. You must be aware that if you had made one guru without understanding, you can change that . But to change guru often is improper.
Those who change the gurus often, you can say they are very restless. No matter where they go, they will not be able to digest anything. So, when you go to guru, live with him, with love. And then it says to worship also the ‘vidvan’ [vedavid?], one who knows the scriptures. Now here it is asked to worship all this, or do puja to all this. And now we’ll see, “What is puja?” Bapuji says that there is a cup of milk…
Bapuji says, there is a cup with milk and there is a cup without the milk. This cup without the milk that wants to receive the milk from this cup, and it stays below this cup with the milk, and so this empty cup is worshipping the cup that is above it or doing puja to cup that is above.
Be humble. One that does not have something unites with one that has something. As a result, one that has something begins to flow into the one that does not have. So the worship is of the higher quality, the higher character. Individual cannot be worshipped. The worship always happens to the character of the individual.
If there is a safe, if that safe does not have wealth in it, there is no need to protect it. But if this safe has a lot of money in it, then it needs protection. So, when we worship someone, we are not worshipping the individual. We are worshipping the character, which is like a wealth in the safe.
So in the physical austerities, the worship of the deva, of the dvija means twice born, and the bhagwan means the learned man who is knower of the scriptures, guru. The fourth one is guru. So, purification of the body is also austerity of the body, and that purification means “shaucha” in sanskrit.
The relaxed state of the body is also called tapas of the body. Normally, when you meditate, you meditate keeping the body straight. In this condition, when the spine is straight, the good thoughts begin to flow into us. This is why it is called that ‘sarul’ [?] means the body kept relaxed, in natural position, and yet straight from the spine.
Another tapas of body is the observance of celibacy. Just as the energy, steam energy is created in the steam engine with the fuel and water together, so also in the body the energy is created by the food that we eat. Even in an inert engine you can create a tremendous amount of energy with proper method.
We are the children of God and we also have tremendous amount of powers. Only if we connect ourselves with God, like the train carriages connect itself with the engine, the tool that gives that power, which connects us with God is brahmacharya, celibacy. Among all these steps all the tools that lead us to the higher spiritual growth or dharma, among them, the first one is brahmacharya.
One who cannot observe celibacy properly, he can never truly become a dharmic [?], means spiritual person. In one place in Bible, Christ has said to his disciples, some people are impotent from birth. And to some the society makes them impotent. And there are some who become impotent for the purpose of attaining to the Lord. In Bible, they call it Eunuch. And there are some who become Eunuch in order to become devotees to reach God.
So, this means that one who gives up, male you gives up the female, or female who gives up the male, they have given up, that is highest self-sacrifice. But then you will have to practice the true celibacy. As long as the true celibacy is not observed, one can not progress along the path towards the God. Whoever have become the saints, they have to whatever extent possible, they have observed the brahmacharya.
I would say that the sainthood of the saint depends 90 percent on celibacy. That is why most people cannot attain to that stage of sainthood. Only if we love God can we progress. And therefore, the saints have devised many tricks too. So the Sufi saints have devised one thing. They said, “God is like the most beautiful woman worth loving.” And then they begin to love God.
There was a great yogini named Mira in India. She considered Krishna to be her husband. That is the connection of ‘bhava,’ or one’s feelings toward God. In life, brahmacharya is absolutely necessary. For those whom brahmacharya or celibacy is not possible 100 percent, they should keep self-control as much as possible. If everyone does this, becomes swami, who would serve this world?
There should be some with the hair. [Laughter makes gestures, laughter]. But remember that, have small determinations and firm determinations and continue to grow slowly. Lord Hari is such a diamond that no poor person can buy it. And yet that diamond of the Lord, any poor can at some time get it. Only thing is you have to offer the love to him.
And then comes nonviolence among the austerities of the body, and that is not to hurt anyone physically in any way. After that comes the tapas or the austerity of the speech. Those who want to become sadhaks, or those who want to practice the austerity of speech should not speak a sentence that would create a disturbance in others.
Speak in such a way that it must be the truth. And that truth must be always with the favor or helping of the other. It should be for the betterment of the other. So, we are talking about the austerity of the speech. So, svadhyaya. or repeating of the mantras is also included in this tapas of the speech. This is austerity of the speech. It is needed every moment.
All our connections with others have been made through the proper language. And improper language separates us from all our communications with others. When we speak the harsh words
towards others, the others have a hatred and the others run away from us. And when we speak pleasantly and lovingly, that attracts the people and brings togetherness.
There is one specialty of these tools of spiritual growth. That is, you can not practice all of these yamas and niyamas all at once. That’s all right. You pick up only one and start practicing that. Pick up the one that you find the easiest and that you find easy enough to practice in your life.
Your speech is really very useful. The individuals who are successful in their respective fields, it is the speech that plays an important role. If you want to maintain peace in the home, you must take a vow of speaking lovingly. In other words, that you cannot truly speak lovingly if you at the same time take the vow to be able to digest the most poisonous words, or most insulting words. They go together.
You cannot practice one without the other. If you do not have the capacity to digest the harsh words, the sweet words will go away. We can speak the sweet and loving words only when we are able to digest the harsh words. I feel that most of our unhappinesses are born from the wrong speech. If we make our crooked language straight and simple, I feel that the happiness will come and sit beside us. Not just beside us. It will come and sit on our lap.
This is very easy to hear. It is very difficult to practice. Then Lord Krishna talks about the austerity of the mind in the third shloka. This shloka is explained. Bapuji is explaining, means the joy in the mind. Mauna [?] means the silence of the speech. No disturbance in the mind, the balance of the mind and the control of the mind.
It’s a purification of the heart, of the feelings. All these are included in the austerity of mind. If you want to bring the bliss and the steadiness in the mind, you have to follow all this. Whoever follows the austerities of the body, of the speech and the mind, without that attachment to the results, such austerities are called sattvic austerities, means pure austerities.
The best saints practiced such a tapas, or purification, or austerities. So, whatever tapas is practiced for one’s own worship, recognition and respect, such a tapas is called moving, means not permanent, and it is called rajasic tapas. And there is third kind of tapas, austerity, and that is called tamas tapas.
By that you can create tremendous amount of energy. But such a sadhak gives a tremendous amount of pain to his mind and to his body. There are some yogis in India who raise their arm and keep it up for the rest of the life, day and night. All their life. Their legs become big. There are some who lie on the bed of nails. Thus, they give tremendous amount of pain to their body. Seeing it in one way, they do have tremendous amount of will power and they do attain the desired fruits.
It is called ‘dhragya,'[?] means obstinacy kind of desire. One that is the desire for the truth and towards the truth. Opposite of this is ‘dhragya.’ So they approach their tapas in this manner. About four years ago, a Mahatma had come to see me. He used to stand day and night. Both of his legs had swollen. He could not sit even if he wanted to. For 12 years he had done this tapas. He was just standing. This is not an ordinary thing. But that is tamas austerity. That does not give the proper, desirable progress.
So, there are some individuals who are stubborn and dull, and such people are given these kinds of tools to grow. They can’t study scriptures. They cannot purify their feelings or heart. They just hold onto one thing and just hold onto it forever. These kinds of austerities in scripture are considered to be useless austerities.
There are many different kinds of tamas austerities. Some of the tantrics, they do tapas of the very impure nature. Through all these tapas, you don’t get much. Among all these tapas, purification tapas, sattvic tapas is the highest one.
Don’t believe that the worldly people cannot practice austerities. I believe that the scientists belong to the family of yogis. They can do great austerities. In order to do the research work in one field, they give whole life. He does not even think or remember the world.
And finally, after searching everything, he finds one thing or so. So the saints are in search of only one thing, and that is God. After attaining to him, there is nothing that remains to be attained. For a scientist, after searching out one thing, he has millions of other things to find out still. This much is the difference. But such a scientist is also a tapasvit [?]. Today this much is enough.