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Swami Krishnananda in Conversation
by Swami Krishnananda
Compiled by S. Bhagyalakshmi

10. This is That

This morning Swamiji is sitting inside his Kutir. The people around the Swamiji put questions to Swamiji and even as Swamiji keeps attending to his papers, all questions and problems are discussed.

A visitor: What is the difference between 'Thou' and 'That'?

Swamiji: To avoid the difficulty in understanding the import of the sentence, they use two terms: Thou and That. But really what they mean is “That is That”, not Thou and That. It makes no sense when you say That is That. The distinction is not clear in this phrase. Hence Thou and That.

Visitor: You mean That within you and That outside you, i.e. That elsewhere?

Swamiji: Yes, yes. They want to avoid the idea of this distinction itself; so the import is quite different from the mere grammatical meaning of it. There are two meanings, the linguistic and the indicative, in the Mahavakya 'That thou art'.

An ashramite: Swamiji, what is the meaning of the picture where Kali Mata is dancing over the prostrate form of Lord Siva?

Swamiji: Prakriti, in her dance of creation of the world, loses control of herself. Her dance ceases only when it touches the Absolute which is its Lord and holds it under His control.

Another ashramite: In Durga Saptasati, women doing the paths also pray “bless me with a bharya—wife.” It does not sound sensible.

Swamiji: Bharya does not mean only wife. It means one who loves you much.

Another visitor: Why does one dream?

Swamiji: Past impressions deep in the subconscious come up as dreams. You cannot say when these impressions were formed. It may be many lives back or recently.

Visitor: Do the dreams also delve into the future?

Swamiji: Yes. They go both forwards and backwards.

Another visitor: May I ask a question? Is renunciation Sannyas?

Swamiji: It all depends on what you mean by renunciation. Leaving one's home and coming to Rishikesh is no renunciation. There are all kinds of renunciation. You have your home, and have come here in search of knowledge. A certain kind of renunciation is effected. But the implications include other circumstances also. It all depends upon the definition. The word as such sounds simple. But the meaning is difficult to comprehend. What do you renounce? Renounce what?

Visitor: The Self.

Swamiji: Ah, yes. You have gone to the very root of it. You are renouncing renunciation itself. In Buddhism they say, “I renounce the concept of right and wrong. I renounce the concept of truth and non-truth.” After renouncing all these, that is also renounced. After all your circumstances have been renounced you must renounce the Self also in the Absolute. That is renunciation.

Visitor: My main idea was to come to know how Swami Sivananda started and how he developed his technique. I have finished reading his life. I wanted to know how he taught others. Surely not through books like the Patanjali Yoga? He was a very practical man. He was a very valuable man.

Swamiji: Master Sivananda never taught by word of mouth. He never gave any lecture. He said, “You see me, that is sufficient.” He very rarely spoke.