When we got up, the time should be around six in the evening. Sun is getting ready to set.  Ancient scriptures say that when sun sets in, it hands over its fire to the god of fire, Agni.  Agni sustains the world till the sun rises again the next day.  I thought that such references have their own significances.  It clearly conveys that the fire is the one single important element to sustain the universe.  Scriptural dictums have many implied significances. It is said that one must compulsorily take bath after attending a death.  When the body begins to decompose, several bacteria affect the corpse which could possibly spread.  In order to maintain a high degree of healthy life, one is advised to take bath.  I can think of several such instances.  In ancient days, temples were built with several layers of huge roundabouts and installed few deities in these roundabouts.  People had lot of time during those days.  They walked in the roundabouts, which could take half an hour to forty five minutes and they remained healthy.  After our evening bath and associated rituals, guruji sat on the banks of the river and he continued his lecture on philosophies. When your mind is under pressure, you bathe in the river.  You can take bath in the river as many times as you like.  However, you should not take bath till two hours after food

“Philosophies are the ways to know God.  Each philosophy has its own principles.  Irrespective of the philosophies, God has five functions and they are creation, sustenance, dissolution, annihilation and recreation. Let us now discuss the five primary functions of God.

“Every individual has three types of bodies.  The outermost is the gross body where there are nine openings (two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, organ of excretion and organ of procreation).  Beneath the gross body is the subtle body and beneath the subtle body is the causal body and beneath which is the soul.  Without soul, these bodies cannot exist. Soul is generally called as masculine in nature.  There are several souls floating in the cosmos at different levels.  When the time is ripe for a soul to be born again, it descends towards the earth.  The ripe time of descent is determined by soul’s karma.   Karma is nothing but the recording of your good and bad actions over your various births.  It is like an aeroplane’s black box.  Karma and soul always travel together. Soul is nothing but God and is present in all living organisms.  That is why many use uppercase S to refer the soul within.  Soul is the life actuating energy and beyond any modification.  Death is only for the physical body.  Your soul exists in the shape and form of Shanakra, the name for your physical body.  When a person dies, only his gross body dies and the other two bodies, subtle and causal, escape from the gross body along with the soul.  Soul, subtle body and causal body always travel together.  When the time is ripe, the subtle body is attracted by Nature, known as Prakriti or unconscious primordial matter. When the soul and Prakriti interacts with each other, a creation is made.   This soul, karma and subconscious mind combine is deposited by a man in the form of sperms in a woman. Though several sperms are deposited, only a single sperm fertilizes the egg of the woman.  During conjugation, heat is produced in the bodies of man and woman which heats up the air in their bodies. Air plays a significant role in the formation of foetus.   Procreative fluid of a man is pushed by the power of hot air into the ova of a woman and is pulled by the hot air present in the uterus.  The soul, subtle and causal bodies get impregnated by the activities of the air and get embedded in the ova and foetus is formed. As long as the soul remains in the womb it understands its true nature.  The physical body begins to form around the soul, causal and subtle bodies. The soul at this stage is fully aware of its true nature.  Once the child is delivered and the moment it inhales its first breath, it forgets about its true identity.  The soul forgets its true identity as the air it inhales forms a sheath around it causing ignorance leading to maya or illusion.  It is only the karma that ultimately chooses its future association with the body.  At the time of death, soul leaves the body with embedded karmas. The sum total of both karmas and subconscious mind till the end of the present life goes out of the body along with the soul. Again air, with extreme pressure pushes the soul out of the body, causing death.

“The union between soul and prakriti happens only in the earth. Earth is also known as prakriti or nature. When the soul is under the seductive embrace of prakriti, the soul’s original pure nature is concealed and projected as the material world by prakriti.  In creation, prakriti plays significant role.  First it conceals the true nature of the soul, binds it with passion and ego and finally projecting the bound soul as the real soul.  The soul also thinks that it is the original soul and gets involved in the materialistic world, forgetting its true pure nature. Now the soul and prakriti formulate a relationship amongst them and soul becomes the subject and prakriti becomes the object.

“The soul in the beginning gets itself entangled in the materialistic world.  All of a sudden it remembers its true nature and withdraws its materialistic association and tries to look at itself.  When the consciousness of the soul is completely turned towards it, it gets ready for liberation. The soul gradually begins to detach itself from prakriti. The inherent nature of the soul is pure consciousness.   Thus, prakriti helps the soul not only to manifest but also to attain liberation.

“The soul becomes inert when it comes into contact with prakriti. When the soul conjoins with prakriti, necessary energy for evolution is created.  The energy becomes depleted over a period of time and at one point, energy is not created, causing death.  At the time of death, soul leaves prakriti and again begins to float in the cosmos to be born again and this process of transmigration continues. You must understand that the soul is nothing but God or at the most you can say a ray of God’s Self-illuminating light.  When you use your sensory organs to look at the external world, you fail to realize the reality.  For example, when you look at me, you look at my physical body and not at my soul.  When you understand that the soul is the cause for everyone’s existence, you will not bother about perishable physical bodies.  This can happen only if you realise the God within you in the form of your soul.  Your Self-realization is important to understand the omnipresent nature of God. 

“Creation happens when inner psychic organs and external sensory organs begin to work in unison. If you understand this, we are almost done with the theoretical aspect. Inner psychic organs comprises of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.  External sensory organs are of two types; organs of action such as mouth, feet, hands, organs of excretion and organ of procreation; and organs of perception such as ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose.  The inner psychic organs and external sensory organs are interdependent on each other. 

“It is important to have a basic idea about inner psychic organs. First let me take up consciousness. The purest form of consciousness is God. Consciousness is nothing but your awareness. When you have multiple thoughts, your consciousness becomes impure.  In order to purify your consciousness you have to repress your thoughts.  When you want to repress your thoughts, you have to shelve all your desires and attachments. A desire less mind does not produce thoughts.  Mind and consciousness are closely related.  When your mind is pure without too many thoughts, your consciousness also becomes pure.  Desires and attachments cause impressions in the mind and if mind has strong impressions, they percolate into your subconscious mind.  If your subconscious mind is afflicted with too many impressions, they manifest as your karmas.  As long as you have karmas, liberation is not possible. 

“Ego is another major deterrent factor in spirituality.  You think that you have performed an action due to your efforts.  When you say I, you mean only your physical body and not the soul. Forgetting the cause of your existence, you associate yourself with the effect. It is your ego that makes you to think about your physical body.  Your body is merely a tool for your karmic account to operate.  Your soul does not make you to act.  Soul is within you, merely witnessing all your actions.  Your soul is like electric current and your physical body is like a lamp.  Without the electricity, the bulb cannot light.  In the same way, your body cannot function without soul. 

“The only way to realize your soul is to acquire knowledge.  The knowledge that we are talking about is not the materialistic knowledge.  Material knowledge is also needed to make our living, but you should not become addicted to materialistic living.  You should always lead a simple life without luxury.  You must reduce your wants.  You do not require more than two sets of dress for your use.  You should be able to sleep without bed.  You should not eat beyond what is required to keep your body healthy.  You should try to live on fresh fruits, dry fruits, green vegetables and liquids. Milk, curd, tender coconuts are good for health. 

“Knowledge is different from intellect.  When I say knowledge and intellect, they are with reference to spirituality.  Worldly knowledge and worldly intellect are not negative factors to spirituality.  Spiritual knowledge is different from worldly knowledge.  They can go together or may not, depending upon your ability to balance them.  But many fail miserably in spirituality because of their inability to balance them.  I am not interested in acquiring worldly knowledge beyond what is required for my daily living.  There is every possibility that your worldly knowledge could hurt your spiritual knowledge as worldly knowledge is objective and your spiritual knowledge is based on subtleties.  You are prone to decide on perception than visualization.  These differences make many spiritual aspirants unable to reach the spiritual summit.  I do not want you to become a failure as you are well set to reach the ultimate spiritual destination.

“Karmic theory is very interesting.   Every thought and every action of yours get recorded in your karmic account. Your thoughts create strong karmic impressions than actions, as all your actions originate from your thought processes. There are good karmas and bad karmas and karmic account cannot be netted. For good karmas you have pleasure and for bad karmas you tend to suffer. In a man’s life, pleasure and pain, come in alternate bouts, because of this.  Karmas do not end up at death.  Your karmic account is attached to your subtle body and continues to remain with you as long as your subtle body remains.  Your subtle and causal bodies cease to exist only if your soul is liberated.  Every second of your life is predetermined by your karmic account.  No amount of prayer will absolve you from your karmas as it is the law made by God.  God will never violate His own laws.  It is said that law of karma is the law of the Lord.  I hope you got the point.  I have imparted the basics of spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is like an ocean.  As you proceed in your spiritual path, you will gain more knowledge through experience.  There is no point in learning only through texts.  If you attempt to gain knowledge through texts, you can only become yet another author.  You will not reach the spiritual summit.  If you have any doubts, let me know. You should not proceed further with doubts.”

Guruji finished a very long lecture.  To be frank, I could not understand most of his talk.  I have decided to request him to recapitulate tomorrow.  The time could be around eight in the night.  I have made a decision to skip my dinner from today.  Instead of rice and cereals, I thought that I should go with fruits.  I had a banana and one full fruit of pomegranate.  I drank a cup of milk.  Even then, I was feeling the hunger.  Probably this being the first day of skipping my dinner, I may not be able to overcome my hunger.  Guruji was doing his evening meditation.  He meditates twice in a day.  He does not have a watch by his side.  Before meditation, he always takes a bath and freshens himself.  I observed his meditative posture.  He is not cross legged.  He uses any comfortable position.  He does not sit in the same position every day.  He does some breathing exercises before proceeding to his meditation.  After few minutes of breathing exercises, he sits straight.  He always ensures that his spine is erect.  He keeps his palms in differently.  He also does not meditate in the open air.  He does not meditate under a tree in nights.  After completing his meditation, he takes a walk and stretches his body and drinks water after some time.  Then he retires to bed. 

While guruji was meditating, I tried to recollect what guruji had taught in the evening.  The subject appears to be highly confusing.  I thought that I will not be able to understand his teachings, but I made honest attempt to recollect his teachings.  Surprisingly, whatever he had taught appeared to me in the sequential manner.  When his teaching appeared to me as if it is a replay, I could grasp everything except his elucidation on the soul.  He said soul and God are the same.  He also said that God is within us as the soul.  Then why should we go to places of worship such as temples? I have decided to seek clarification on this from guruji.  Guruji got up after meditation and began his post meditative walk.  I walked towards him. 

“Guruji, I have only one doubt and that is regarding soul.  I do not understand that concept.  When God in the form of soul is within us, why should we worship Him in a temple?”

“Good.  I deliberately dwelt about the soul that way.  I wanted to test your grasping and recollecting abilities.  It is not enough to merely grasp.  It is important that you should be able to recollect when it is needed.  Let us talk on this tomorrow.  Tonight, do not sleep on your rocky bench, either sleep in the verandah or inside your home.” After having said this guruji walked towards his place to sleep.  Right from the date of his arrival, guruji stayed in the same place. 

I wondered why guruji asked me not to sleep on my rocky bench.  I wanted to ask him, but I decided against this as he will not say anything without a purpose.  I went to sleep on the other side of the verandah. I was not getting my sleep.  My mind was totally pervaded by guruji’s teachings. When I was about to sleep, I heard the breeze with whistling sound. The melody of the breeze has grown louder and louder with every passing minute. The sound of the wind was so loud that I could not catch up my sleep.  Suddenly, there was a heavy down pour with accompanying high velocity winds, which ultimately turned into a thunderstorm.  The velocity of the wind was so high that I could hear the sounds of many trees getting uprooted. There was a blazing lightning followed by a deafening thunder and I saw a huge branch of the tree above my rocky bench broke and fell down on the bench.  Now, I knew why guruji asked me not to sleep there.  Had I been sleeping in the rocky bench, I would have surely perished.  I turned towards guruji’s side.  He was sleeping well.  There was no trace of rain water anywhere around him. Now I know for sure that he is not just another guru.  May be he is an incarnation, I thought. Thundershower stopped.  There was light drizzling.  I got up and walked towards my rocky bench.  I felt very sad for the broken branch of the tree.  I know that nobody can stop Nature’s fury. The tree should be several years old and has very thick foliage.  First, I thought of removing the branch from my rocky bench.  I tried, but it was too heavy.  I deferred it to the morning.  I walked towards the land.  There was no serious damage, but I could not exactly assess as it was too dark.  I returned to my place to sleep. My mind was totally calm and a strange happiness pervaded in my entire body. I am unable to explain this happiness and one can understand this only if he personally experiences.   I was surprised to notice the state of my mind, in spite of the thunderstorm and the broken tree branch.  I do not know when I had slept.  I got up to my usual time.  For the past few days the duration of my night sleep has come down from seven hours to less than six hours.  My yoga master once told me that a true yogi neither sleeps nor remains awake.  A thought suddenly flashed into me saying that one day I could be a yogi.  In fact, I wanted to.  I woke up to go to the river to get freshened. To my surprise, the broken branch has been removed from the bench, paving for us to go to the rocky bench.  As usual, guruji had already got up. I searched for him, but he was not there.  Generally, he goes missing after waking up and returns from any one of those bushes on the bank only to take his bath. 

I returned from the river to help my mother.  I have to procure vegetables today from our land.  It is my duty to harvest vegetables every day morning.  I always check with my mother about her requirements for the day.  But I am not sure whether I would be able to get all she wanted, because of the previous night’s thunderstorm.  I walked towards our land and there was no serious damage in our land.  Even banana trees were not uprooted.  Banana trees will be uprooted even if the wind blows strongly.  Surprisingly, no damage was done to any of them.  I could get whatever my mother wanted.  She told me that she does not need any help from me.  I sat in the verandah and waited for guruji. 

Guruji, I thought, is behind his schedule. When he saw me, he signalled me to the river.  I ran towards him. 

“Guruji, do you know what happened last night?”

“It rained.  There was a thunder storm.  Branch above your rocky bench fell down.  You went there to pull the branch. Due to the noise it could create, you deferred it to the morning.  You went to your land and as you could not observe anything in the dark, you returned to sleep.  You experienced a different type of happiness after this.”

I looked at guruji with my intriguing eyes. He smiled. 

(to be continued)