by Swami Krishnananda
For a few minutes we withdraw our minds and place before our mental vision the great divinity whom we are adoring at this auspicious moment – the commencement of sacred Guru Purnima, known as Sri Vyasa Purnima – Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, whose words sustain all sacred literature in the world, who stands before us as a great example of tapasya, a paragon of righteousness and omniscience. Blue is the colour of his body, as we have been told in scriptures like the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. Blue is the clean sky when we look at it with open eyes. Blueness is supposed to also be the colour of the body of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Blue is the body of Sriman Narayanaya. Blue is the ocean, which characteristic represents the quality of unlimitedness – infinity. Infinite is the power of this great master yogin, Bhagavan Sri Vyasa. Vyasochhishtam jagat sarvam is an old saying: "All the world of knowledge, in whatever branch of learning, art or science, is only what has already been said by Vyasa in some place or the other."
In our contemplations on this great personality we draw into our own selves a sustaining power which gets injected, as it were, into the very bloodstream of our person when we deeply think, feel and contemplate this wondrous divine object before our mental eye. It is as if we are bathed in liquefied steel. Imagine what we will feel if liquid steel is injected into the whole body. Energy, indomitable strength, truthfulness, beauty, happiness, hopefulness, positivity of thinking and a fearless existence – all this follows from the contemplation of this infinite molten steel that gets injected into us by the very thought of this super-master, not merely of this country, India, but of the world as a whole.
By ordinance of the great providence, we are told that Bhagavan Sri Vyasa is stationed in Sri Badri Ashram for the welfare of all the living beings in this world, for all time to come. There is no death of personality of such a master. Vyasa is a Chiranjivi – he shall be here as long as the world lasts. As far as our meditations on him are concerned, there is no distance between us here, seated in this pandal, and his presence which is right now here in front of us. You may say, "You said he is in Badri Ashram, so many kilometres away from here." Mind does not operate in spatial distance. It is only the body that thinks in terms of distance measurable by yardsticks. For the mind there is no distance between the Earth and the Sun, much less between this place, Sivananda Ashram, and the holy Badri Ashram. So where is Vyasa just now? Here and now.
If you have any doubts in your mind, you are going to be the loser. Don't ask how you will accommodate yourself to the feeling that Vyasa is here. If Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj's pervading presence is here, why should not Vyasa's presence be here? All the saints and sages are here, if only your heart is pure and you can summon them. They do not take time to come and see you. I mentioned that their characteristic is infinity in knowledge as well as power. Infinity is not in time; therefore, it does not take even one minute to come and be with us. It is not in space; therefore, it has not to cover any distance. Distanceless travel and timeless presence characterises omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence. Capacity to be present at any place, at any moment, power to know anything and the ability to do anything – these are the qualities of Bhagavan Sri Vyasa. If you want him here, he is here; and if you want to know anything, it shall be imparted to you just now; and if you want him to do something, it is done in an instant. Such a blessing is received by this holy land of Uttarakhand, which is hailed in such scriptures as the Manu Smriti. In the words of Manu, the great lawgiver, "That sacred spot on this earth which is between Ganga and Yamuna (and we are seated here in that place) is the creation of the gods – angels themselves. It is known as Brahamavarta – the land of absolute divinity."
Many of us have come from long distances and are here breathing this sacred breeze divinised, potentised, sanctified by the masters who trod this place far back in ancient times and whose spiritual presence inundates this place even now. It is a blessing – thrice blessing, untold blessing for anyone to have the opportunity to come here, to be able to travel long distances and be able to stay here, breathe this air for three days and three nights on the bank of this holy Ganga in the vicinity of this spiritual master's presence – Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj – and virtually, directly, visibly getting bathed in the blessing of Bhagavan Sri Vyasa, Nara-Narayana, who alone is not only Badri Ashram but the whole of Brahmavarta, this entire land.
What are our problems? What are our difficulties? What are our questions? What are our needs? Practically nothing. Before the glorious Sun, we don't ask for further light. Before the ocean, we don't ask for more water. Before the presence of this kind, we seek nothing else. When a great dignitary of some kind comes to your place, to your town, to your house, what do you think in your mind? You think only of that person, look at that person, enjoy the presence of that person for some reason of your own because the person is a dignitary. This is what happens to the mind when it is placed in the presence of a superior force, a high level personality. But we are human beings. We cannot always be thinking like gods.
The few words that I spoke up to this time may create an impression in your minds that perhaps this kind of thought can arise only in the minds of gods – human minds cannot think like that. Maybe. We may be human beings and capable of thinking only in terms of humanity and human personality, but there is also the divine element in us. We are not just devils and brutes, though sometimes we behave like that. We are also gods and divinities. There is therefore a dual personality operating in us, pulling us in two different directions. We are pulled towards the heavens many times during the day when we aspire for a larger dimension of our being and a glorious fulfilment of our life ahead. But the physical personality, the social personality and everything connected with it also sometimes pulls us down and tells us that we have only bodies. We are only sons and daughters of some father and mother, coming from such and such a place and doing this kind of work. This aspect also troubles us many a time.
But we are not always to be in that mood. Spiritual practice, sadhana, is the endeavour on our part to create a circumstance, at least for some time during the day, when our higher personality, which is the archetype of our being, as philosophers sometimes say, really takes possession of us. Saints and sages, masters, philosophers, tell us our true personality is not in this world. We are shadows here. This thing that is here is a shadow of my own real being which is in the superior heavens, which is pulling me. Our true originality calls us, summons us: "Come." I am calling myself in another place which is heaven. That is why I am restless in this world. Who are you? Who makes you restless? Your own self is making you restless because your higher personality, your true being which is in the heavens, in the higher regions, is summoning this shadow being here: "Come. I am here." That is the real self to which Bhagavan Sri Krishna makes reference in the sixth chapter of the Bhagavadgita where he says, "Uddhared atmanatmanam": Pull the self by the Self; lift the self by the Self; raise the self by the Self. Which self is raising which self? The true Self that you are is to raise the unreal self, false self, shadowy self, physical self, political self, social self, industrial self that you are. Then there is some hope for us to spiritually rejuvenate ourselves in this holy endeavour and pursuit of ours.
As I mentioned, you have the blessings of great masters of this holy land, principally now before us, before our mental vision – Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, the presiding divinity of this holy occasion, Vyasa Purnima, Guru Purnima. May we bathe in the feeling of his presence here. May we be inundated by his immeasurable shower of blessings. It is there always, pouring on us like a rain which is called, in Yoga Shastras, dharma medha – the cloud of virtue, the rain of blessedness. Divine blessings do not take time to shower upon us, because they are timeless, and they do not have to travel long distances, because they are spaceless.
So whatever I have mentioned to you within these contemplations, deliberations and thought processes amounts to our being really blessed people here in this Ashram. We are all immensely blessed – everyone here. Not only those who are here physically, present just now, but whoever is even thinking of us or has been here under the protection of Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. Whoever is devoted to this Ashram, who has an admiration for the work of this Society, who thinks of this Ashram even if they are unable to come here – they too are blessed. If a thought of God is a blessing, a thought of anything also can be a blessing if it is directed by a pious motive and intention. This Brahmavarta desha, glorified in the Manu Smriti, between the Ganga and the Yamuna, wherein is this Sivananda Ashram, is a blessed spot; and Muni-ki-reti is thrice blessed – the land of the munis. And these thoughts that have entered our minds just now have really purified us. If you have really felt what I said, you have become slightly more than human just now. An element of divinity, super-humanity has entered you. We are blessed, we are grateful to God for having given us this opportunity of being here, breathing this sanctified air under the umbrella of the divine presence of Gurudev and in the vicinity of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. May they all bless us!