surrendering to grace

We are working on a new book to be  published soon about a Sant’s pilgrimage to Kailash.  It is a wonderful story written from the travel journal of  Paramahamsa Vedananda Sarawathi Swami, of Andhra Pradesh, India.  It is entitled, Kailash—In Quest of the Self.

This is an authentic journal of one man’s pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar and yet reads like a spiritual adventure novel.  It is magical and inspiring and can be read on many levels. I recently received black and white photographs that Swami Vedananda took of the Himalayas and villages in India, Nepal and China. Even some of the Nagababas granted permission to be photographed. The photos take you along with Swamiji through his challenges and include you in his exhilaration. Anyone who read this book will have some experience of what it takes to complete a true pilgrimage.  It is truly a quest of oneself.

Swamiji’s realizations and the teachings of the Nagababas that he met along the way are as profound as any I have ever read.   I am so very pleased to be playing a part in bringing this book to western aspirants.

There is a beautiful teaching from the Voice of Babaji (as given us through the pen of V.T.Neelakantan) about Kriya Yogis: “The Kriya yogi is no dreamer; he visualizes anything and everything and can make the ‘right’ thing a fait accompli by Guru Deva’s grace. Doubtless there is an impenetrable wall.  Such a wall exists so that we can pass through it. In that unending circular wall there are many indiscernible gates that fling themselves open on surrendering to God’s mercy and Guru’s grace.’

I am no dreamer.  I have learned to visualize.  However, I have always believed that my dharma or all that I am supposed to do need not be dreamed or visualized, for it will become apparent in the challenges and changes brought about by time. I unapologetically live my life walking lightly upon the earth, surrendering only to  the work that comes to me to do.  Sometimes I am given the most beautiful work to do, such as working on this Kailash-Manasarovar book or on the new 9-Volume Edition of the Thirumandiram, which  finally after five years is coming to fruition and will be intoduced at a grand ceremony in Chennai, India January 17th.

The Tirumandiram is itself a pathway to God realization and to realizing the potential of our human nature. Because our human nature has not changed, Thirumular’s words are as relevant for us today as they were two thousand years ago.  Thirumular exemplifies man’s greatest potential.

As humans we have the imagination and the power to devise ways to perfect ourselves.  Thirumular speaks of the alchemy that is possible to us and explains how we can transform ourselves into perfect beings.  He tells us, through surrender to the Divine one can live  a life  open to the grace and thus, see what we are supposed to do on any given day or year or within any particular relationship.

We must however deny the importance of the ego.   We can do this only with a profound understanding that the ego is only a tool of the Self.   The Thirumandiram and Kailash-Manasaravor book  emphasize this absolute requirement for realization.

The Thirumandiram says, “examine the ego, but realize the ‘I.’   Eliminate human suffering by understanding that the ‘I,’ chooses, determines, undertakes responsibility. The merit and demerit, praise and blame in your life is due to something far beyond your individual ego, mind, intellect or personality.”  Thirumular says, “Act without desire for the fruits of your actions and serve the Lord in others, whenever possible.”
The Thirumandiram could also be sub-titled, In Quest of the Self.

Thirumular gives us numerous Kundalini Yoga techniques that reveal the light of our transcendental, ‘I’ self. However, the most important element cannot be taught. Only Trust gives us the ability to hold tightly to the Light (inspiration and insight) of the transcendental Self. Only this will be enough to keep our ego-sense out of our challenges and endeavors.

Life is a process through which we will endure, confront and assimilate lessons. It is a slow, systematic process of spiritual maturity.  And while the ego is striving for all it can attain in this world, something within us has to make sure that we are not missing what we need to mature spiritually.

Who we truly are, and what we came to do, more often than not has to do with our relationship to our Self.  Even when this is the case, we are more concerned with our relationships with others than with our own self.   We care more how others see us and treat us. We rarely consider how we see and treat our own Self.

The world demonstrates a much higher regard for those who are outgoing, extroverted and charismatic than those who are introverted and have a quiet presence.  Passion is highly praised whereas equanimity is more often seen as coldness or apathy.  Our heroes are those who act and revolt in the world, not those who demonstrate direct perception of it.  Who values ‘direct perception,’ which is without analysis, reasoning or without all the things the intellect creates in order to postpone perception?

Our heros, the Sants and Siddhas value ‘direct perception,’ which is without analysis, reasoning, without all the things the intellect creates in order to postpone perception?  They all tell us to develop introspection and direct perception.  Through it we will find our unique place and role in the world.

Thirumular describes ‘direct perception’ through faith and surrender all throughout the 3000 verses of the Thirumandiram and Swami Vedananda demonstrates the importance of trust and surrender and relies fully on his direct perception while his pilgrimage to Kailash.  Kriya Babaji describes the key to direct perception too, in The Voice of Babaji: a wall exists so that we can pass through it; it is an unending circular wall with many indiscernible gates that fling themselves once we surrender to God’s mercy and Guru’s grace.

Nothing is greater on the spiritual path than surrender to God’s mercy and grace.  Only that will bring us face to face with the self.

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