"Bhagavan is residing in our Hearts?"
by Bombay Srinivasan on Friday, December 24, 2010 at 10:42am
Hrudaya is a Sanskrit word, which normally indicates the English word as 'Heart'. So, 'Hrudaya Nivasi' means 'The Indweller of Hearts'.
A couple of years ago, Swami, in His infinite Mercy blessed me with two successive Interviews. In the first Interview, Swami dwelt at length about the so-called Hrudaya. I had tried to narrate Swami’s illuminating teachings in my last book. Let us see, as to how Swami expounded the word, ‘Hrudaya Nivasi’. Swami had split the word Hrudaya in two parts - 'HRUD + DAYA'. Swami explained the meanings there on. Daya means ‘Compassion’. Hrudaya means, the source from where the feelings of Pure Daya or compassion emanate. In the spiritual dictionary, this heart (Hrudaya) is not the physical heart, which is only a mechanism in our human body that pumps blood constantly. Our feelings of Dayaor compassion do not originate from the physical heart.
As such, Swami says, the spiritual heart is in our feelings and thoughts, which in turn, we try to manipulate within our minds. When our own self-interest and selfish thoughts guide our minds, it finds itself incapacitated to reflect the feelings of Daya or Compassion. When there are feelings of piety and compassion, Divine Compassion overwhelms the spiritual heart and this is the situation when we try to tell that Swami is in our hearts. This is a very delicate matter to illustrate or to understand the implications. Until we know about this truth, if we say that Swami is in our hearts, it will be very difficult to understand and realize the truth in its totality. We will only be trying to express the meaning within our limited understandings and then we try to substantiate our interpretations with various other irrelevant explanations.
Swami had remarked that some devotees say that Swami is in their hearts. Swami had further told that it is wrong to say that God is in one's heart. Bhagavan quoted an example. Holding a kerchief in His hands, He said, “The hand is holding the kerchief because the hand is bigger than kerchief. As such when we say God is in our heart, it may mean as if we are bigger than God.”. Swami further said that, it is true that God is in one's heart, but "He is also in front of you, behind you, above you and around you and God is omnipresent".
Having said this, during the course of the interview, Swami asked my son who was present in the room, "You are wearing a clean white pant. While sitting on the floor; it may get dirt". For this, the boy replied that, "Swami, I am having a small mat to spread on the floor". At this point, Swami cornered him by saying, "You take so much care to sit in a place very neatly. But don't you think that God deserves a better place to sit on? You should keep your heart pure and clean so that God can take His seat over there”..
Now here is a contradiction of statement, as to the heart being the seat of Lord. But Swami, later on clarified the subject of “Lord residing in the heart." He had already explained the meaning of the word, Heart (Hrudaya) as the source from where the Pure Daya or compassion emanates. As we develop unsullied devotion to the Lord, the devotee slowly imbibes within him, all the qualities of the Divine. The compassion is the greatest aspect of Divinity. The devotee too develops compassion on all the creation. In the process, the selfish feelings also leave him. Swami gives and gives, and likewise, the devotee too gives and gives whatever he owns, to the society and does not feel like possessing anything for himself. In fact, the devotee is developing the divine qualities, and in such a situation, we can claim that God is residing in our heart. As a matter of fact, the literal meaning is not ‘residing’, but you yourself, become divine. The devotees attain almost the same wavelength as that of the God. Bhagavan’s advent is only to raise us to such a Divine level.
Swami had thus beautifully explained the aspect of the physical heart and the compassion filled spiritual heart. Now let us see, what has Swami to say about the interactions between these two?
Bhagavan was once talking about illness and ailments that we get during various levels in our lifetime. The main source of developing sickness happens to be spiritual heart. When we are bound by too much of attachments and selfish desires, there is a lower level of compassion in our feelings, in our spiritual heart. This causes several biological changes in our blood circulation systems, affecting our physical body. It starts from the physical heart, then to the blood, the pumping and circulation system, then ultimately the respiratory systems. The changes and variations develop lots of changes in our cells of other organs too.
A man having full compassion develops detachment very soon and he is not affected by any developments, causing loss of money or materials. His mind adjusts to the developments and accepts the results as the 'will' of the Lord. His heartbeats remain steady and the respiratory level is also in controlled level. The most important factor in ones good health is the steady and balanced breathing process. When the mind gets agitated, the breathing also becomes erratic and the pulse rate also increases. This automatically affects the pumping system of the Physical heart. Naturally the wear and tare is on the increase with additional load on the systems.
Swami said that this irregular biological development makes changes in the blood composition, and in turn the cells are affected. This could develop blocks in the systems and thereby many combinations of diseases develop in the body. If we can live a pure and balanced spiritual life, full of devotion and with a mind of sacrifice and service attitudes, the basic systems of heart, respiratory and blood circulation are also maintained in steady and desired level. This way of life will ensure a healthy upbringing. Swami recommends a pure and pious life. And He with all His compassion and mercy bestows His abundant Grace and protects His devotees as the lids of His own eyes.
We were trying to understand what Swami is teaching us about Heart, "The Hrudaya". We have seen that when our feelings and thoughts are full of Love and compassion, the very feelings and thoughts acquire the Divine quality and then the same can be called The Hrudaya, the Spiritual Heart. Man, because of his unending desires to worldly possessions and too much of attachments to his own relations, starts manipulating his thoughts. His only thoughts will be to possess the materials, which he likes. When his wish is fulfilled, more desires prop up, and like this, the desires go on increasing. So there is the necessity to call a halt to desires. Swami calls this the basic spiritual sadhana as “Ceiling on Desires”.
When personal desires overwhelms, the mind starts planning and initiates thoughts leading to actions for fulfillment of such desires. All the thoughts will be centered on selfish motives only. This is very bad. "Give and Give and Forgive and forgive," is what Swami is teaching us. Even though we claim to be devotees of Bhagavan Baba, we very often forget this dictum. Discourses after Discourses, He strives to remind us of our very Divine Nature. He constantly urges us to cleanse our thoughts, (Chitha Sudhi). We listen to Him very carefully; we make notes, discuss the matter in study circles and other gatherings of devotees. But we often fail to put them in practice.
The best method is to develop intense devotion (extreme Love) towards our Lord. When our feelings are brimming with Love to Lord, we develop a sense of surrender unto Him. We will realize, by our own experience, that He knows what is best for us and what we really deserve. By overcoming our selfish desires, let our mind view the society as a reflection of Divinity, and try to be helpful and useful to the needy people. With such practice, we will slowly develop yet another Divine quality of sacrifice. Slowly, our mental attitude should further proceed 'from the concept of sharing of what we have with others’ tothe level of “even sacrificing our own needs'.
By constant practice of this "Spiritual Sadhana", we ourselves attain the very divine qualities. Swami says that when the Divine Feelings are in the highest level in our noble thoughts, the persons who happen to come across you get the same happy feelings when they see you as though they are seeing Swami Himself. Swami has very often said that He is like a broadcasting or telecasting station and we the devotees are like the receivers. When the receiving station (equipment) is faulty, it cannot receive the signals. You cannot blame the telecasting station. The equipment may be OK, but if the tuning is not perfect, again the reception will be of very poor quality. Swami says that constant Sadhana is like 'Fine tuning of our Minds'. The fine-tuning should go on and on, till we establish ourselves in the same wavelength, as that of Bhagavan. When this is achieved, we can say, "Bhagavan is residing in our Hearts"
Having achieved such a stage, we have to be very careful too. Swami has said that, however costly the vessel may be, even if it develops a small pinhole in the vessel all the water will get drained out. Like wise, we have to be very guarded in all our habits and behavior. If we develop even a small sign of anger or hatred, all our sadhana will come to a naught and then you cannot retain Lord in our heart, as His abode. Should be very careful. The best method is to retain Him in our hearts forever; Follow the Master, fight the Devil, and be firmly placed in His Divine Name and Form.