August 19, 2006
Hartford, WI

Chapter 1 of Gunatitanand Swami Ni Vato contains short, but powerful statements that encompass the nectar of Swami's spiritual knowledge. Of particular importance are the first vaata and the last vaata of the chapter. Hariprasad Swamiji recently requested devotees to read both these vaato twice daily, once during morning pooja and once before sleeping!

Swami Ni Vato 1/1:
One should continuously engage in the delivering and listening to talks on the glory of God and His saint. Maharaj has come here with His Akshardham, paarshads (divine liberated entities) and all His powers. He is exactly the same. He whom we wish to attain after death, we have attained during this life and there is nothing more left to attain. If this truth is not understood properly, the jeeva remains weak. Once this is understood, the jeeva will no longer consider itself weak and will acquire a different mettle. Also, there is no greater endeavor than to understand the glory of God. Without understanding the glory, even countless other endeavors will not enable the jeeva to attain spiritual strength. The means to understanding this glory is association with bhagavadi (devotees), and without it the true glory of God cannot be understood.

Swami Ni Vato 1/343:
An aspirant engages in discourses, sings bhajanas and talks about God, but does not believe, "I am not this body." Therefore, 24 hours a day remember, "I am not the body, but I am the aatmaa, who lives in the body. I am brahma, akshar, and within me Paramatma Parameshwar Purushottam Himself is eternally present." What is His greatness? He is the cause of all avatars, the cause of all causes and is above all. And His manifest form is the one I have attained. In this statement, both Saankhya and Yoga are incorporated.

Dinkar Uncle explained that these two vaato respectively represent the accelerator and brake of our spiritual path. Both are equally necessary. The first deals with the mahimaa (glory) of God and His saint. Once the soul understands this glory, it gains spiritual strength. Thus, this vaata is the accelerator for the soul's spiritual progress, but without proper understanding, this acceleration can be misapplied and the aspirant may transgress spiritual disciplines. Hence, the last vaata provides the brake, by instilling the understanding that we are not this body, but the eternal soul.

Jaga Swami was the author of the first chapter, and the first vaata has special significance and is given special focus by all gunaateeta saints. The vaata describes not only the glory of God, but also of the present gunaateeta saints. Once the aspirant understands that the infinite God is present in the saint he has met, then strength is gained and faults are overcome. Once, a long-time devotee asked Papaji, "We served Shastriji Maharaj and Yogi Bapa for a very long time. When there was no one else, we supported them. But why do we not have spiritual attainment and bliss like you?" Papaji replied, "Your service is not fruitless. The effects will definitely sprout in time. But, when you served them, you considered them to be helpless saints. You took pity on them, and thus you remained spiritually weak. When we served them, we considered them to be supremely divine and that God worked through them. We served them with this glory, considering it to be our great fortune. Thus, we gained spiritual strength!" The devotee immediately accepted this and repented for his misunderstanding. From that day forward, even in his advanced age, he served all the devotees with humility and understanding of their glory. Thus, with this understanding, the soul gains strength.

The last vaata of the first chapter explains that while the soul may engage in discourses, devotional songs, and spiritual talks, there needs to be an understanding that we are separate from the body. By seeing others as souls, our soul consciousness is strengthened. Practically, this means to see God in all and think and speak positively. Gunaateeta saints speak and act from this consciousness, thus their actions are directed toward our souls and have profound impacts. Once when Mukundjivan Swami (Guruji) was a young saint, he experienced that leading devotees explained Yogi Bapa in different ways. Some explained that he was an ordinary saint, but Kakaji and Papaji explained that he was supremely divine and that God worked through him. Guruji wanted to resolve this dilemma once and for all and so asked Yogi Bapa about it point blank. Yogi Bapa replied, "Well, I am a simple saint. I did not even study much. But Dadubhai (Kakaji) is a double-graduate and is very intelligent. What he says must be right!" The statement revealed Yogi Bapa's divinity and touched Guruji very deeply and resolved the dilemma.

Gunatitanand Swami says that by thinking this way, both philosophical systems of Saankhya and Yoga are incorporated. In the Saankhya philosophy, the aspirant identifies the self as the pure soul and views the world, its constituents, and the entire cosmos by their relative values. Since each element is subject to destruction, while the soul is pure, limitless and eternal, the aspirant falsifies the world. While Saankhya is, in essence, a detachment philosophy, Yoga is the opposite, an attachment philosophy. An aspirant of Yoga deeply attaches to God. However, both are necessary for complete understanding. Thus, Gunatitanand Swami has said that this vaata encompasses the best of both philosophies.



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