13. Significance of Pinda
Two South Indian gentlemen on their way to Badrinath came to have their doubts cleared on the ritual of offering “Pinda” (rice balls) to the departed souls. They wanted to know what the actual meaning of it was. Swamiji said that the rituals had a definite connection with the existence of the departed souls. And the Pindas are best offered at sacred places like Brahmakapala at Badrinath. In a money order the money paid into a particular post office is not actually carried to the addressee; the offerings made to the ancestors reach them in a form required by them in their world of existence. So this ritual must be performed.
A visitor explained to Swamiji that he felt distressed and confused by the suffering that he saw in the world. At the same time, he felt that one should turn inwards and contemplate on the spiritual aspect of human existence. What should one do? Turn inward or turn outward and relieve suffering?
Swamiji: You see neither side fully: only half of this side and another half of that side; this causes confusion in your mind. The conflict is between what you see and what you have not seen. Why see only one side? What is meditation? In meditation you think on something not seen with your eyes. When you are doing work, you see the world. There is therefore a double devotion to both the world and the abstract object of meditation. Hence, confusion and doubt arises regarding which way one should follow. What you see with your eyes appears to be real to your mind, and what you have heard from others seems also real, and you keep thinking of what you have heard. Your sentiment makes you see the world, and your faith in the person who told you that there is something unseen which is real is the other factor which makes you think of it because it is different from your sentiment. It requires tremendous study and learning, and a protracted period of training in the correct way of thinking, to get over the confusion. What you see with your eye is not real and therefore cannot affect you. But you erroneously think that it is real. In other words, you behave according to what the eyes tell you. The eye that has a cataract makes the vision blurred. One needs special glasses to correct the vision. You will find the guide which will help you see things and think correctly in due course. Even the idea that you have confusion has come to you only now after you had started to think on these lines. So everything will come in its own time. You say you are twenty and all these twenty years these doubts did not come to your mind. But now because you are in the proper atmosphere, the idea has surfaced in your mind. A proper guide will come in its own time and help you to act and think.
An ashramite: First the small light appears and stays for some time. Then the second light appears on the other side. Why is this? I do not know. Which is the light I should concentrate upon?
Swamiji: Who asked you to meditate on light? Your problem is that there is no proper philosophical background for your practice. Your mind should be satisfied with the technique you perform. Otherwise, you cannot answer the questions that come up in your mind. Doubts will come from the very beginning of your practice. It will even put the question: Why do you want God? Every question of the mind must be answered satisfactorily. The horse must know where you are driving it.
Ashramite: I want God. So I am asking my mind to meditate.
Swamiji: You are not wanting God for happiness, and the mind wants something it likes to make it happy. So it must be explained to the mind that wanting God is wanting happiness. This is the philosophical point. Your idea of meditation seems to be confused. Therefore you have various troubles. Wanting God, happiness, what is meditation, and how to achieve success in it, all this calls for a scientific approach. You cannot sit and cry aloud for a house. You must be an engineer to be able to build a house.
Mere sentiment or emotion will not take you anywhere. You are a very important man! God is poor. He is unimportant (laughs). God is Ashutosh, which means a simpleton, that is, He is quickly pleased by those that approach Him in this aspect of utter simplicity of heart. He is called Bhola, meaning there is no complication at all. When you approach God, there should be no complexity in your nature. When you approach Him with a plaint, He will react like the Supreme Court Judge and will do what must be done in that capacity. But if you approach Him like the Supreme Court judge's child approaches him, God will react like a father. All He wants is that you should want Him and nothing less. Then He will do whatever you want. When we are mercenary, and profit and loss are the terms on which we approach God, we go to Him like we go to the judge. We do not realise how loving He is. All heaven and earth are His play. Like a mother covering herself with a cloth and playfully frightening the child, God is hidden behind all this drama. When the mother removes the cloth, the child runs to her and hugs her with love. She is not frightening now. This is how God plays with us.
Another visitor: Swamiji, when one already has a doubt and another doubt assails—how to clear the doubts?
Swamiji: It is better to remove the first doubt before the other doubt creeps in. How will you remove it?
Visitor: By study?Swamiji: Yes, and by frankly placing your problems before your Guru. A Guru need not be a spiritual Guru always. Anyone who helps you to understand things better is your Guru.