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The remembrance of everything should merge into the remembrance of One

Seminar 18th September 2005

The topic of the seminar is a part of the sentence of the Master who while explaining the form and content of the Prayer in the Commandment Two, that reads “ The remembrance of everything should merge into the remembrance of One- the Ultimate, resounding all through in every particle of his being.” Master adds that “This may be known as complete annihilation of self.” There are two aspects to this statement of the Master – one remembrance and another Prayer. The purpose of both is to annihilate the notion of separate self.

Anything to be remembered should be something that we know already. This knowing itself is based on the principles of learning. Learning looked at from a different perspective is itself nothing but the recall aspect of the process of memory. Memory depends on the principle of associations. An organized system of associations may be considered as memory. The goodness of the memory depends on a) the persistency of the associations and b) The number of such associations. Master in his infinite mercy grants us the awareness of Oneness during meditations and both the parameters for development of the good memory mentioned above are fully satisfied when we gain a peep into Oneness due to the effect of Pranahuti enabling us to remember the One. When Master said that every one of us is moving towards the Homeland he was only informing us to recall or remember our Origin the nature of which is revealed to us during meditations.

In the third Commandment, Master has asked us to fix our goal as “oneness with God’. Here in this passage we are asked to remember that One in all aspects of life and in every particle of our being where our self is totally annihilated. This leads to the most persistent question as to what we mean by God. Putting it straight the question is God the Oneness? Or is Oneness the God?

Of course, Oneness is not God to persons who think of God as a patriarchal figure taking a personal interest in their conduct, behaviour and therefore their fate. Even then in many faiths the concept of God is held to be co-terminus with God. One widely held notion of God is that it is everything. Some people are of the idea that while they say God is everything it implies that God is Oneness. The fallacy in this is obvious in as much as it ignores the distinction between the aperceptual (God) and perceptual reality which is at the heart of our vision.

To say God is everything is to say that He is the SUM of all that exists and have the possibility to exist. Since this leads to the possibility of constituting infinite sets, it is saying that God is infinite. We know that all that exists and has the possibility to exist is in a constant state of flux. So this thought though theologically maintained by many faiths and is praise worthy by itself, has the implication that God is also illusory or He has also to be in a state of flux; which is anathema.

Further saying God is Oneness though preferable as it asserts His Universality and preserves His reality unfortunately that puts Him outside the category of that which can be known. More over to say God is everything is really saying that He is also finite with boundaries because everything exists in a given boundary and is subject to space and time. We can go on endless continuing this enquiry of whether He is One or He is everything and in either case we will meet some illogical conclusions. That many are satisfied with such illogic is not a matter of concern for us.

The concept of God can be broadly categorised into three. Outer God, Inner God and the God of contemplation or meditation. ( We are not considering here the ideas of God as Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Archa and Antaryamin which were brilliantly presented by Dr. K.C.Varadachari in his book ‘ The Idea of God‘) The outer Gods are human creations to explain and account for what we do not understand at various points of time. They were created to explain the forces of Nature and generally were born out of a sense of fear and helplessness against fury and are masculine, paternal, and unsympathetic. They are God the Creator, the King, the Father, the Judge and the Old Man up above. Many such Gods were thus born as the circumstances warranted and many were replaced and some died also as they outlived their utility. In the Vedas, the relative importance of the Gods like Agni, Indra, Varuna, and Vishnu changed according to the circumstances. These Gods cannot be the One and are not Oneness who is to be remembered as they are themselves not steady and permanent.

The inner Gods are usually feminine and maternal. They are born out of adoration. Some inner experience that is emotive and aesthetic in nature makes persons feel such Gods. Also the emotional needs are sought to be met by such Gods. These are the Ammas, Devis and Mothers. Their origins lie in emotion than in physical or physiological need though both outer and inner Gods are human responses to forces of Nature as perceived by the devotees. The dawn suggests awe and a God (Ushas) is born. If the dawn by itself is the object of worship it ends in Sandhya worship but if that dawn suggests the preceding condition at mid night when everything is in dormant condition and deep quiet it helps to know the roots. Saints, Babas, Mothers living or dead, real or imaginary are not necessarily female but are feminine. The devotees seek tender care, kindness, a caressing and caring individual and this emotional need creates and sustains gods of different types and names in different ages. They are multifarious and manifold and get changed during time. They are not One and no one can remember them as Oneness.

Meditation gives an awareness of a different type of God. The experience of inner luminosity and many times such luminosity fading into gray accompanied by a sense of non-being suggests the presence of a reverential ‘Suchness’. This many considered as God who dwells within every living or non living existence. Meditation in such a case as in Natural Path is metaphysics that is experiential where we attempt and succeed in realising our true essence in particular, humanity in general and Reality in its core and depth. Every meditation is examined from the premeditative and post meditative states of our consciousness. We incorporate the insights we gain from such an examination into our wisdom. We then find that the ‘Suchness’ is not only within but is everywhere. The awareness grants us a conviction that we are one with all that exists or rather all that exists is One. The ‘Suchness’ itself is something that is neither an awareness or perception nor a non awareness or a-perception, however, makes us directly be aware of Oneness of all that exists.

Oneness of existence is not possible in external perception as differences are real. By getting to know about, and this is all that any physical science can do, we may arrive at Advaita but the direct perception or direct knowing is possible only through Meditation. In the awareness of ‘Suchness’ there is a perception of Oneness. We are aware that the Master takes us out of time and enables us feel eternity. This condition that is imperienced compels us again and again to seek for the same; or rather the Oneness gets remembered and that is for remembrance sake and such a remembrance has nothing else to seek for.

The One that is sought for is not the explanatory Gods or the category of Gods mentioned above. All that we are able to remember of ‘Suchness’ is that it is irreducible. It is the unperceivable, unknowable and the essence of being. It is a process intrinsic to Presence by which, Presence transforms, organises and perceives. That is called ‘Tam’ by the Master. It is as stated earlier a-perceptual and base of all that IS. When we say God is Oneness and the greatest of all we do not mean he is greater than something else, because there is nothing else for It/Him to be compared with. It means that He is too great to be perceived by the senses and too deep to be understood by the intellect. Too great, indeed, to be known by anything other than Him. Only God knows God. This is the God or Oneness that we imperience and which we want to remember. That is we are trying to remember the One who is one with us always!

"Remembrance is a commitment we make with ourselves to remember. The phenomenon of remembrance is one of the most remarkable faculties of the human imagination and must be distinguished from routine or rote memory, which can be involuntary. One’s heart should always be filled with the remembrance of Oneness or Master. Forgetfulness and negligence are the main weaknesses of human beings. The only remedy is that the believer should develop God-consciousness and be constantly aware that the, One or Master is watching from within. All acts of worship aim at drawing our attention closer to God within.

But we must be clear that the remembrance of Master is not restricted to certain acts of formal Meditation or worship. The point is that one should always remember Him: one needs to remember Master standing, sitting, and lying on his sides. A true disciple who remembers Master can exclaim that he knows “when my Lord remembers me.” This may surprise some but if we remember Masters’ assurance in several places that when we remember Him the remembered cannot be far away things are not difficult to understand. This is what I understood of His assurance “Remember Me. I will remember you.”

We have taken note of the important and blessed nature of the remembrance of Master. By the same token, one’s neglect of it is fatal, bringing disgrace upon oneself. Those who forget Master naturally do not draw His attention. Then they wander in the web of their self creation. One’s disregard for Master culminates in the ruin of the self. It is worthy to note that everything in the Nature/universe is preoccupied with remembering and glorifying Master. As one is engaged in remembering, praising and glorifying Master, one becomes at one with the entire universe or Nature and then the gate for all goodness and success is opened and one lives in tune with the Nature as commanded by the Master.

The remembrance of Master should permeate one’s life in every respect. It should not be restricted to practicing the routine meditation practices at the appointed hours. Moreover, the remembrance of Master is not confined to utterance and speeches about Him but one’s whole mind and process of thinking should be constantly imbued with the remembrance of the Master. The remembrance of Master that is most rewarding involves our thoughts and prompts us to think about our answerability according to the Law of Karma. This, in turn, motivates the measures needed to protect ourselves against the repetitive incarnations or rebirths. By constantly practicing the thought that all our actions and thoughts are in fact ‘His’ we stop formation of impressions in our psyche and thus prevent the need to enjoy the Bhog arising out of such actions and thoughts and consequently reduce the chances of rebirth.

Besides the acts of purifications and meditations we need to cultivate the habit of reading the Masters works and much contemplation has to be done to arrive at the real meaning of his messages as they apply to our individual lives. His words and messages though are Universal have a very personal relevance for the discerning aspirants. It is common to hear the sadhakas telling that they feel the words in their hearts and also feel absorbed so much that they are not able to read his works for a long time. They say that their eyes droop and they enter into the states of Samadhi. The words of the Master are thus an effective means to live in constant remembrance.

Our other modes of remembering Master are reciting the supplications or Prayer prescribed by him and dutifully performing the prescribed prayer at 9 P.M. for the good of human fraternity. These constantly remind us at every stage of life that we should turn wholly to Master and maintain close relationship with Him. These supplications should not be merely uttered; they should be reflected in our thoughts and actions.

There is urgent need to make all aware of the Divine Presence within. Such attempts were made earlier and even now by many well meaning persons. But the real essence of our system is that we are given a taste of that Oneness. Thus those, which are a matter of faith and belief in other systems, lies in the realms of experience in our system. We need to know that our system is not the same as any in the act of remembrance of Oneness or God. The others believe in the One while we live with that One in constant remembrance. In day to day life it is not rare for us to come across persons who have their faith in odd and mysterious Gods. One who is firmly established in the act of remembrance will have to stand up to them and ask them to remember the One who is within and is remembering us more assiduously.

The point here is that constant remembrance of Oneness or Master facilitates one’s engagement in the mission of the Master. We should not let our properties or our children divert us from the remembrance of Master/ Oneness lest we lose our act of remembrance. An effective method of remembering the One along with attending to our children and property suggested by the Master is to do our duties and responsibilities as trustees and not owners. We need to note the trusteeship suggested is essentially a means for constant remembrance and is not just an aspect of Vairagya.

Essentially the remembrance of Master consists of living for His cause. Ideology apart, when the transitory nature of existence including that of our own gets generated, fear grips us and prayers for preservation of all that is dear to us including our life, forms the basis of prayer. But when the love for the Master develops and grows in us and we start living for Him and His cause we see the benefits of remembering God and we tend to do everything that would please the Divine. One of the interesting ideas we have from religions is that we offer something to the Divine so that it may remember us and grant such wishes as we pray for. Real offering is of course very useful but we should know what it is. One of the great Occidental Saints said while praying to God "You have no idea how hard I have looked for a gift to bring You. Nothing seemed right. What is the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean. Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient. It is no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these. So I have brought you a mirror. Look at yourself and remember me. "Such are the cases where the Divine has no alternative except to grant union.

Charity is noble because it pleases God and we start spending generously for the sake of pleasing Master. The Commandments of the Master are all the prescribed duties of worship to train us to prepare against and to remedy human weaknesses. We can attain the goal of self-purification by fulfilling these duties properly. Man is liable to be swayed by the glitter of worldly life; he is drawn to amass wealth and may develop a strong love for it; the remedy for this is to share and even sacrifice and spending for the pleasure of Master and in His cause. Similarly, man is vulnerable to the base desires of the self. He is gratified by eating, drinking, living to excess in luxury, and indulging in his lower appetites; the remedy lies in moderation and practice of meditation on points A and B as directed by the Master. However the main point to note is that we remember Him so that He is pleased and we become cynosure of His eyes. Then we are not far off from the goal.

Remembrance of Master is to the heart what water is to fish. The fish cannot live with out water and the heart cannot be lively without the remembrance of the Master. Remembrance is sustenance for both the heart and the spirit. If the servant is deprived of it he becomes like a body which has been deprived of food. Remembrance of Master has other uses as well; it drives away all negative feelings and depressions. Master once wrote to me when I was feeling depressed that it is not proper when He is there with me. Our remembering Him is pleasing to the Master the most beloved.

Remembrance has many spiritual gifts to offer. Remembrance from the heart, adorns it with delight and joy, fills the heart and face with light, and cloaks the one who remembers Master with dignity, gentleness and freshness. Happiness is the goal of life as stated by our Master. Finding us joyful also enhances Masters’ remembrance of His servant. Even if this were the only reward for the remembrance of Master, it would be mercy and honour enough, for such a heart is always aware and free from wrong actions. Although remembrance is one of the easiest forms of worship, the mercy and honour that it brings cannot be achieved by any other means.

Remembrance of the One invariably keeps us away from all other thoughts and that is what Master says when he said all remembrance merges in his remembrance. That is a safeguard for us against evil forces. Envy and hatred make our hearts hard and heavy. Remembrance of Oneness or Master is a sure remedy for hard hearts. A person who is not kind and soft hearted is as good as dead. That is why many saints said that "The difference between the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not is like the difference between the living and the dead." Continual remembrance of Master is a means which prevents us from talking in the wrong way, such as backbiting and spreading tales and their like. When we are not remembering Him while talking, we should note that we are talking incorrectly.

Remembrance of the Oneness is characterised among other things by the following principles:

1. Longing: If we experience that same longing and thirst for union with Master as the one who is getting drowned then we are sure to realise Him.

2. Peace of mind: If we have the peace of a frozen lake, then too we will realize Him.

3. Humility: If we have humility of earth, which can be molded into any shape then we will know Him.

4. Desperation: If we experience the desperation that causes a person to seek death and feel we cannot live without seeing Him, then we will see Him.

5. Faith: If we have the complete faith in the Master that we would wash our prayer carpet in wine without questions because Master said so -then we will know Him.

6. Fidelity: If we have the fidelity that our breath has in keeping us company till the end of our life -even without our constantly feeling it, both in happiness and suffering, never turning against us-then we will know Him.

7. Control through love: When our love for Him drives away our lust for the things of the senses, then we will realize Him.

8. Selfless service: If we have the quality of the selfless service unaffected by results similar to that of the Sun, which serves the world by shining on all creation -on the grass in the field, on the birds in the air, on the beasts in the forest, on all of mankind with its sinners and saints, its rich and poor -unmindful of the attitude towards it, then we will reach Him.

9. Renunciation: If we renounce for God everything physical, mental and spiritual, then we will have Him.

10. Obedience: If our obedience is as spontaneous, complete, and natural as light is to the eye or smell to nose, then we shall reach Him.

11. Surrender: If our surrender to Master is as wholehearted as that of one who, suffering from insomnia, surrenders to sudden sleep without fear of being lost, then we shall reach Him.

12. Love: If we have that love for Him that Saint Kabir had or of our Master had to his Master, then we will realize Him.

To a large extent these methods are mentioned in various traditions. Our Master in fact does not mention these specifically. He asks us to develop Universal Fraternity. That is all Humanity is treated as One unit. This is the Oneness that is to be remembered by us always. He asks us to attend to our family duties and responsibilities in life in a spirit of trusteeship. Thus he is asking us to remember Oneness of our origin and purpose. The remembrance of the One is the greatest joy that is known. In fact the realms of splendour are all remembrances of the Master in various shades.