Disciple: I do not know how to address you? You do not have the name of a Guru. I have seen gurus only with beard and particular form of attire and if you have all this, I can at least address you as swamiji or guruji. But you appear like a normal person. When you go out, people will not even consider you as a spiritual Guru.
Guru: Generally, when you are given dīkṣā by a Guru, he also gives you a dīkṣā name which should be used only when you pay your respects to your Guru. It should not be used publicly. However, this is different for saṁnyāsins. They can use their dīkṣā name publicly. They are supposed to renounce everything including their wealth and comforts and relentlessly work for betterment of the society as a whole by imparting spiritual knowledge to them. Their teachings contain both ritualism and spiritualism. Please understand that such renunciations are not necessary to attain God for everyone. There is no need to compare ourselves with great saṁnyāsins. Though goal is the same, their path is different and ours is different.
There are great spiritual masters who talk about spirituality. But not many listen to them, as they do not talk about mantras, rituals, etc. There is no point in listening to stories. You should live in reality and should not ponder about something that is supposed to have happened thousands of years ago. Listening to such stories is alright during your initial stages as they set your mind to become focused about Divinity. But staying with those stories, without trying to change yourself is not a good idea. It leads you nowhere. Time given to you in this birth is limited. Say you live for 100 years. When did you begin your spiritual journey, may be a couple of years ago? You have still a long way to go. Time to attain your goal purely depends upon three factors. One is your willpower to attain; another is your relentless practice; and lastly your karma.
I have partly answered your question. There are no specific external signss for a realized person. One cannot easily recognize a yogi who is in disguise. They deliberately disguise themselves. There is no need for them to appear in particular attire. It is purely one’s own decision. But, true Gurus never expose themselves to the external world. At the same time we are also in need of gurus who spread spiritual messages. Otherwise, not many would choose the spiritual path. You can address me by my name. Before God, all are same. My spiritual connectivity does not depend upon my attire. What is the need for people to treat me differently? Only one or two can know my true spiritual status and not others. Moreover, I am not after name and fame. I never proclaim myself as Guru. You have faith in me and you come to me to learn. I know people will be convinced only if I project myself as a Godly man. I do not want to project myself in a cosmetic manner. I want to be as I am and that is the way God likes it. I speak only for myself and not for others, as individual perception always differs.
Disciple: I know that you do not advocate ritual worships. I would like to know the difference between worshipping God in a form and worshipping Him within.
Guru: Simple. When you worship Him in a form, you use your biological eyes and when you worship Him within, you use your mental eyes. But, remember that you cannot go to the second stage without perfecting yourself in the first stage. All that is associated with your sensory organs are objects of māyā, including various forms of God. As long as you are afflicted with māyā, you cannot move forward in your spiritual path. Now, answer my questions? Do you believe that God is Omnipresent?
Disciple: Yes, of course.
Guru: Can you show Him to me?
Disciple: How can I show Him? You said that He is smaller than an atom (Kaṭha Upaniṣad).
Guru: Can you show Him within you?
Disciple: No, I can’t.
Guru: Do you agree at least that God is within you.
Disciple: Very much. You only told me that without Him the existence of my causal, subtle and gross bodies are not possible.
Guru: So you agree that God is within you. You call Him as Self or Soul or whatever name you want to ascribe to Him. Right?
Disciple: Absolutely right.
Guru: Now tell me what is the difference between a form of God and the Self within your body?
Disciple: For example Shiva has trident, plaited hair, etc. Thus He can be identified with His external appearance. But I cannot describe God within me, because I do not know His form.
Guru: So, you say that God with form can be identified by His external appearance and not through any other methods.
Disciple: Obviously. I can call Shiva only as Shiva and Vishnu as Vishnu only. Similarly, I can call Shakti only as Shakti. Each God has different forms and their forms are described in various epics.
Guru: So you mean to say that God has different shapes and forms?
Disciple: Of course yes. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the protector and Shiva is the destroyer. I have no doubts about this as this is unanimously confirmed in all Scriptures.
Guru: So, you believe that God has different forms and according to His forms, He acts differently. Or do you think that there are different gods for different actions?
Disciple: I am sorry. I am unable to answer this. But I feel that both situations are possible.
Guru: Then how do you say God is omnipresent? When there are different forms of god, which form of god is omnipresent?
Disciple: Again it is a difficult question to answer. I am confused.
Guru: You are obviously confused because you are in the midpoint between ritualism and spiritualism. You need to attain the highest spiritual knowledge to know the Truth. That is why I insist that you should read certain Scriptures like Kaṭha Upaniṣads, Brahma Sūtra, Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, etc.
Disciple: I will do that. But can you clarify my above doubts?
Guru: Now listen to me carefully. God is not many; He is one (ekaṁ Brahma). It is only our religious believes that compel us to give Him in whatever forms we like. Forms are only the ideas of people, with which they contemplate. But in reality He is formless. If you still say that He has many forms, you are still afflicted with duality. Duality is caused due to māyā, which is His own play. Even māyā is not different from Him, about which I have explained to you already. Now, I explain through Vivekacūḍāmaṇi (verses511, 531, 532). The enlightened Yogī says, “Universe is an unbroken series of perceptions of Brahman. See this with your inner spiritual eye and a clean mind. This universe is nothing but Brahman. Brahman who is a perpetual reality manifests Himself as soon as you attain complete spiritual knowledge and does not depend upon ceremonial purity. Realising that “I am Brahman” does not depend upon outwardness.” When this Yogī says I am Brahman, he really means that.” What is within you is the same that prevails everywhere. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (III.iv.2) also says that you cannot see Brahman who is only as a witness. This means that you cannot see Brahman, but still you can realize Him and you can only realise Him. If you say that you have seen Brahman, then you are only lying.
Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.ii.12) is more direct in its revelation. It says, “The Self is one, yet it controls all. It is the innermost Self of all beings and It manifests Itself as many. Those wise people who realize that Self within themselves are eternally happy and not others.” Once you realize Brahman, you become That and when you become That, you act only on His behalf. When you act on His behalf, you do not accrue further karmas. But you have to experience what you have in your karmic account. Only further accruals are stopped. Look Him within yourself and become Brahman. I want you to be happy always; hence I am trying my level best to make you understand the reality of this world. You cannot be in slumber and you have to wake up now. If you are able to understand this, you should have pestered me with your doubts.
Disciple: You mean to say that everything is Brahman and there is nothing except Brahman.
Guru: This is what is meant by omnipresence. If there is a second to Brahman, it is only due to your ignorance. You are not out of māyā yet. There is difference between ahambhāva and ahaṁkāra and you should know the difference between the two. Ahambhāva is related to your intellect and not the mind. Your intellect affirms that you are that “I”, where I refers to Brahman. In other words, ahambhāva means “I am Brahman”. Ahaṁkāra is your ego. Without the presence of essential ahaṁkāra, you cannot feel the state of ahambhāva. Former is the cause and the latter is the experience of this cause or the effect of this cause. If you want me to explain this in a language that you can understand ahambhāva is the state of Shiva and ahaṁkāra is the union of Shiva and Shakti. When your ahaṁkāra turns into ahambhāva, you become a realized person.
If you really want to advance in spiritual path, you should have these eighteen qualities - serenity, regularity, absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity, equanimity, fixity, non-irritability, adaptability, humility, tenacity, integrity, nobility, magnanimity, charity, generosity and purity. These eighteen qualities will make you perfect to pursue your spiritual goal with strong determination and without a wavering mind.
Disciple: I have one more doubt. Why are mantras considered as secret?
Guru: When I am talking about ways of realising the Self within, you are still talking about mantras. I have already told you mantras are part of duality. If you have thousand forms of god, you have ten thousand mantras. Who told you mantras are secret? They are not secret. Mantras are there to learn and practice. Mantras are like seeds and are planted by a Guru into your energy system. Just like a seed which cannot grow without soil, water and light, you have to provide these three to a mantra initiated by a Guru. Soil is your body, water is your practice and light is your contemplation. Without these three, no mantra can fructify. If you have these in right proportions, the seed will begin to germinate. How fast and how good it germinates depends upon the manure you use. Manure is your mind. Without applying your mind to the mantra, mantra will never yield results.
Certain mantras are considered as very powerful and others, less powerful. Power of a mantra depends upon not only certain combination of letters, but mainly depends upon the number of nāda bindus used. To explain this crudely, it is just like nasal humming sound ṁṁṁṁṁṁṁ. Nāda bindu is the cause of creation and hence considered extremely powerful. But this explanation cannot be applied unilaterally. If you recite mantras by opening your mouth (just like a whisper), then duration is fixed for recitation of such mantras. For example, if you recite Pañcadaśī mantra aloud, you should complete its recitation in 29 mātrā-s (period of time almost equivalent to a wink of an eye which is fractionally lesser than a second). But we complete one recitation in less than five seconds. However, the time restriction does not apply to mental recitation. You should first recite aloud and then recite the mantra mentally. Each akṣara of a mantra has certain potency and in fact, every Sanskrit alphabet has potency. Same is the case with other languages as well. God is beyond the barriers of language, religion and place. Even if you recite mentally, these mantras cause certain subtle vibrations in your body. Thus mantras prepare your mind to pursue spiritual path and mantras themselves do not offer liberation. Liberation is possible only through your mind without any external aids such as mantras, etc. In other words, it is your Freewill alone that helps you to attain liberation (this has been discussed in earlier parts). When you recite a mantra aloud, it works on your conscious mind (during active state) and if you recite mantras mentally, then mantras work on your subconscious mind (meditative state). And above all, to attain results, every mantra is to be initiated by a Guru. There are ways to purify a mantra. Mantras, if properly initiated, will protect you by working on your mind. It is said “mananāt trāyate” which means that a mantra protects you by working on your mind. Please do not be under the impression that by simply reciting a mantra, you will be protected with a shield all through the day. No, it is not that way a mantra works. It protects your mind from straying into stimulating and deceptive material world, so that you can focus your mind on the Self by focusing within. It helps your mind to reduce its dependence on sensory organs. I am confident that you should have by now, realized the importance of a Guru in your life. A Guru can change your life totally. For a true Guru, time and space will never be a barrier. But you need to have complete faith in him.
You have no other way except to experience your accumulated karmas. You can avoid further accumulation of karmas by surrendering unto Him. You can surrender unto Him only if you know Him. Spend more time on meditation. Spiritual path though appears to be simple, it is surely complicated. You have to move forward in stages. If you jump from one stage to another stage, your progress will only remain deceptive. Though God is everywhere,He is within you as well and search for Him within. If you search Him outside your body, you could be wasting your precious time given to you in this birth. Your aim is attain liberation in this birth itself. Why should you wait till your next birth?
If you have any doubts in future, you can always contact me. You can attain perfection only if you raise doubts. A sincere aspirant is bound to have bundles of doubts. You should not proceed further by nursing doubts in your mind, as spiritual path purely depends upon your mind, intellect and practice. I am always available to clarify your doubts to the best of my knowledge.
If we have a chance, we will meet again.