THE SUPREME GREATNESS OF DIVINE NAME
The world is passing through a terrible crisis these days. The aggravation of material greed, as a reaction, set ablaze the fire of universal want and unrest in the form of a conflagration. Through the dominant influence of the present material civilization, and the ideal of enjoyment fostered by it, even the spiritual world has been affected by an internal demoralization. The heart trembles at the sight of the moral degradation passing current today in the name of religion. The number of people possessing faith in God, and devoted to their duty for the good of humanity, is rapidly dwindling. Nations and states are organizing themselves for their mutual destruction; each of them is engaged in the hateful attempt of clogging the wheel of progress of its rival and thus bringing down and crushing the latter. The satanic elements in man, of which hypocrisy is the foundation, are developing at an exceptionally rapid rate. Gross attachment to things of the world and desire for their enjoyments have clouded man's power of discrimination and bid fair to bring him down from his natural moral level. Lured by the glitter of modern civilization, which is the mother of evils like hypocrisy, immorality, false pride, malice revengefulness etc., humanity is proceeding to commit a spiritual suicide. The votaries of religion are engaged in the false attempt to enhance the worldly prestige of their respective faiths by blotting the existence or undermining the position of rival faiths and beliefs and by idle attempts to confine within narrow limits the pedestal of God, who is all-pervading, the dearest objective of all, the root and heart of things.
There is no limit to the fraud and hypocrisy that are being practiced in the name of religion. The world is engaged in fighting over externals forgetting God, the Divine Name and the essence of religion, which is also divine. That is why there is no growth of religious spirit observable anywhere and people find happiness constantly eluding their grasp. They fondly believe that God is confined only to the temple or ark built by them.
In this chaotic state of society there is need for some general non-sectarian rules the observance of which may help all people, irrespective of race or religion, to grow in spiritual life. The seven points mentioned below are being placed before the reader for his/her consideration. Believers in God can adopt them in their daily life and conduct without any difficulty. If they do so, it may be asserted with confidence that their highest good in spiritual life will be assured.
1. God's Name should be constantly remembered, repeated, mentally or orally and chanted through music at regular intervals.
2. No sinful act should be attempted under the protection of the Divine Name. Those who commit sin under the shelter of God's Name are guilty of the highest form of sin.
3.(a) There should be no desire to gain any worldly object in exchange for repetition of the Divine Name. 3.(b) The spiritual force of the Divine Name should not be applied even for destruction of sin.
4. Regarding the Divine Name as the dearest object of life, it should be resorted to for its own sake.
5. Hypocrisy should not be practised. Hypocrisy displeases God. The hypocrite comes to grief without fail.
6. The teachings of Gita should be adopted in order to develop devotion to God and devotion to right conduct and duty.
7. Other religions or faiths should never be criticized or attacked with a view bringing them down in public estimation. Seekers of bliss will find participation in such controversy highly injurious to their spiritual life.
We shall now proceed in deal with these seven points one by one –
1. Believers in God, to whatever religion they may belong, believe also in the Name of God. It is through this name that people are reminded of the transcendent Form of God. His supernatural qualities, glory and grace. Just as the darkness of the world is dispelled immediately the sun appears on the horizon, in the same manner all evil, all sin attached to the heart of man is destroyed as soon as the Divine Name is remembered and uttered. People may call God by any Name with which they are familiar and to which they are used. It makes no difference.
2. But, while taking the Name, people generally commit great blunders in certain respects. Through their excessive attachment to objects of enjoyment as well as their ignorance, they are persuaded to believe that inasmuch as their sins are invariably destroyed through repetition of the Divine Name, there can be no objection to committing sin whenever it becomes necessary. Misguided by this lineof thought, far from giving up sin, they begin to stain their heart by new acts of sin under the shelter, and with the support of the Divine Name. A litigious person takes a devotee, sincerely devoted to the Name, to the Law Court to appear as a witness and says, "Look here, friend, when you are examined by the Court, please depose on the lines I indicate to you". The witness imagined he would be required only to tell the truth; but now he discovered that litigant desire him to corroborate a falsehood; he rebels and refuses to bear false witness. the litigant, then, argue with him – "Why should you have any objection to this? Don't you know that the Divine Name washes away all sin? You are a devotee, you chant the Name daily, how can this slight deviation from truth harm you? The spiritual power of a single utterance of God's Name is so great that man cannot commit sin enough to match it. This is the practice I follow whenever there is occasion to do so." The witness replies, "Friend, this is impossible for me; if you follow this practice, this is your look out." The purport of this illustration is that those who commit sin placing their reliance on the power of the Divine Name, or of prayer to God, to destroy sin are guilty of a serious spiritual crime. They make the Divine Name a help and support to the practice of their wicked acts and in exchange for the Name they seek to procure sin. If damnation does not overtake people of this type, who else are there on the earth worth being damned?
3. (a) People whose heart craves only for things of the world commit another great blunder. In exchange for the practice of the Divine Name, they seek from God riches and property, children, family- happiness, worldly prestige, self-aggrandizement and satisfaction of other desires of that nature. They do so because they do not know the true value of the Divine Name. It is not sheer foolishness to waste the power of the Name for securing the frail, transitory and insignificant objects of worldly enjoyment, when it has the capacity to give one undisputed authority over the entire kingdom of the divine king of kings? The objects of worldly enjoyment come and disappear, they never permanently stick to anyone. All enjoyment, again, is mixed with suffering. It is, therefore, neither a real gain nor a real loss when such an object of enjoyment is secured or lost.
(b) Those who repeat the Name in the hope that their sins will be eradicated thereby cannot also be said to be possessed of much wisdom. For sins may be destroyed even by working out their effects through suffering. The Name which delights the Paramatma, the dearest object of our soul, which, again, is the symbol of His grace on us – is it not error to apply that sacred object to the work of mereeradication of sin? Those who do so, do not really know the worth and value of the sacred Name. When the sun rises, is it any more necessary to approach it with prayer to remove darkness? On its appearance on the horizon, no place is left on the earth where darkness can linger.
4. The Name of God should be repeated as an indication of our unconditional Love for God. Whether we realize God or fail to realize Him, let us not forget the Name in any case. The happiness of a lover when he meets the beloved is not as great as when he is engaged in his remembrance without break. If on realization of God there is likelihood of a break in the remembrance, the true devotee willdesire that realization may wait, but that the remembrance may grow more and more, and that there may be no break in it. This is God-Love in its pursuit form.
5. There should be no element of show in the repetition of the Name. There has been an excessive growth of display of spirituality or hypocrisy in the present-day world. It has become difficult to detect from what worldly motive even renowned preachers of religion speak when discoursing on a subject. All must attempt to save themselves from this evil of hypocrisy. To display a virtue, which one does not possess, for acquirement of prestige and social position, or for the attainment of a worldly object, is hypocrisy. Through the vain attempt to practise a fraud on God, the hypocrite in reality cheats himself. God Who sees through everything can never be bluffed; but the cheat who attempts to serve his own end by deceiving the world suffers great fall. Sin becomes an integral part of his nature. He loses all aversion for sin. How can such person ever attain the highest truth of religion known by the Name of God-Realization? Man should therefore, do his best to save himself from this terrible evil.
6. Even when the above points of view have been properly appreciated man will require the guidance either of a universally recognized scripture for an understanding of the mystery of God and for determining his own conduct and duty, or of some excellent unfailing spiritual discipline the adoption and practice of which will automatically lead him to his spiritual goal. From the Hindu standpoint four books may be mentioned which will pre-eminently serve the purpose of guides in the spiritual path. these are – (1) the Upanishads, (2) the Srimad Bhagavad gita, (3) the Bhagavata and (4) the Ramacharitamanasa of Goswami Tulasidasa (By the Upanishads the ten principal ones, viz., the Isa, Kena etc., are to be understood). The spiritual value of these books is so great that they can help all men to reach the true and final spiritual goal. The Upanishads and Gita have received the appreciation of the entire intellectual world. Great thinkers of the West have acknowledged their teachings to be worthy of being universally adopted. If one does not find it possible to study all these four books, he may fall back on the Gita alone, the smallest of them, which contains all the instructions one may require for his spiritual growth. The Gita has been translated into all the principal languages of the world; its teachings are of universal application. One who has no other book to study, can make this single book, the Gita, his guide in spiritual life. The teachings of the Gita, may be summarized as follows:-
(a) Knowing that all that exists belongs to God, do your duty for God's sake maintaining your equilibrium both in success and failure, renouncing attachment to the fruit of your action, and taking your duty to be a command from God; and meditate constantly on the transcendent Form of God, of which His Name, His attributes and His glory are integral parts, completely surrendering your mind, body and speech to Him, or -
(b) Knowing that the world being as unsubstantial as water in mirage or as a dream, the Gunas born of Maya play on the stage of Maya (Delusion), and thus shedding all authorship or sense of "I" in regard to action of the mind, the sense and the body, establish complete identity with the Paramatma, the all-pervading Form of Existence, knowledge and Bliss. In this state there should be no sense of reality of any other substance apart from the one, indivisible Paramatma.
This is action without attachment and the Yoga of Knowledge as taught by the Gita. This is the Universal Religion. All people irrespective of race, nationality or social status possess in the right to practise this religion.
7. Therefore, without casting reflection on the religious beliefs of another and renouncing evil impulses like jealousy, enmity and vindictiveness, a person should move in the world constantly contributing to the happiness of those he may come in contact with in his everyday life. Those who attempt to prove their own faith to be perfect and that of others to be imperfect, do not know the real truth about Paramatma. (God). If I take a stand in opposition to a faith, try disparagingly to expose its weak points, I must be prepared for the same treatment in respect of my own faith. Thus indirectly I expose my own faith to dignity and insult. By that action I really limit the jurisdiction of my God and of my faith, and detract both from their all pervading and universal character. The Divine element is present in every religion in one form or other; therefore a reflection cast on a faith is as good as an affront to God Himself.
Therefore, a person who does not enter into any undesirable and bitter controversy over religious faith and beliefs, who regulates his daily life according to the teachings of the Gita, who repeats the Divine Name without any show or hypocrisy, who does not use this Name as an incentive to commission of sin, or for attaining objects of worldly enjoyment, or even for eradication of sin, frees himself in no time from evil propensities like lust, anger, mendacity, duplicity and the like, and becomes endowed with Sattvika virtues like Truthfulness and Ahimsa (harmlessness), His mind soon overcomes the attraction for the gross enjoyments of the world and engages himself in meditation on God, and through such meditation he is blessed with a realization and direct vision of the form of God he has been worshipping secretly in his heart. The Divine Name is endowed with such unique supernatural power that its remembrance, utterance or even hearing drives away sin. Those who constantly repeat the Name, chant it to others, or sing It in chorus do good not only to themselves but to many other souls. Therefore, it is the common duty of us all to take refuge under the sacred Name, and engaging ourselves in the constant remembrance, Japa (mental or oral repetition) and chanting of Divine Name, persuade others through love to join us in this noble work.
(Courtesy: Wavelets of Bliss The Divine Message, by Hanumanprasad Poddar)