Saturday, April 30, 2011

“Determination with true mind becomes infallible power.”

(The Art of Listening to Satsang)

There is a question. A gentleman says, while listening to satsang (spiritual discourses) people are also writing the divine name (e.g. Ram Ram) and some are also doing japa (repetition of divine name) with beads. I wonder how they are able to do two things simultaneously. Is there greater gain in doing so or not?

Answer: If while sitting to listen to a discourse, and at the same time you are also doing japa (divine name repetition), then will you be able to listen? One cannot do two things well at the same time. Attention will only be in on one thing. There is nothing wrong if it happens automatically, i.e. on its own the divine name repetition (japa) starts. But to listen, to hear attentively where the attention is only on listening continuously with no gaps or intervals (niranter), listening single-pointedly, listening with an unbroken flow like the continuous pouring of oil (tail dharaavat) is an art. You have asked me this question and reminded me of things, therefore I am telling you. Yes there is a definite art of listening. If you listen in that manner, you will have immense gains. After studying for many years, one person said I have finally learned to study. He said look at the Teacher (Guru) with great attention, watch the eyes and listen. Doing so, the essence of what is being said will get absorbed in.

Many ask a question and you can see there is no desire to listen. At the very minimum after asking do not be stuck in your own thoughts. You will be either able to listen to satsang or do japa. Not both. Pay attention, if you pay attention, you will be only able to hear one thing. You should not be able to hear the vigor of the Gangaji's flow in the back ground or the winds blowing or anything else. Your mind will not be on anything else. If you pay attention to your breath or anything else, how can you truly listen attentively? Do you not get time to write the Divine name (Ram naam) in your homes? It seems that you are here and doing nothing else. Might as well be busy in writing the Divine name, thinking this time is useless, extra and rather dispensable (phaaltu). Deep within, you are of the impression that this time is simply being wasted. If you have this attitude how can you gain anything from satsang?

Sincere listeners even know what is going to come next in these discourses because they have been listening for many years and have been very attentive. New persons cannot grasp quickly, but listening attentively he is able to gain knowledge very quickly. Therefore whatever work you are doing, do it by engaging fully in it. If a man does a single task attentively and does that work alone, then he will acquire the same discipline in his spiritual practices (sadhana), and when he meditates then too it will be single-pointed, and his mind will very quickly become engaged in God. Whatever work you do, give attention to that alone. That way your habits will improve and whatever you do will be with perfect concentration and interest. It is pride that often makes one say – `I cannot do it.' A life time goes by and I have often seen that mothers have not even learned how to serve food, let alone cooking. They over serve and end up with over-weight children. Therefore it is my sincere request to you to be attentive to whatever you do. Any work – whether it is reading or listening, or talking, or writing, or any other task.

Many complain that we cannot do this or that. Here try this simple exercise and see for yourself how quickly you can engage your mind. Sit silently, and with only your mind (i.e. no use of beads `mala', no loud counting etc.), do japa (divine name repetition) silently "Raam Raam Raam Raam" , until you do one mala (108 times). Counting silently only within. If the mind wanders in between, stop and start all over again. Try to see if you can do just one mala. (i.e. 108 times).

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