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From Plurality to Oneness

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

16 August 2021

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Shift your attention from the external objects of experience to the internal Subject which causes all the experiences. Understand very clearly that whether we perceive the presence or absence of an object, the perceptions are born of the mind.

S was here in the Ashram for more than a month. Having grown up in USA, he wanted to reinforce the link with Indian culture and get exposed to the spiritual path to strengthen his mind. It was almost time for him to return to USA, and Swamiji was particular that S, after going back to the alien atmosphere, should be able to retain as much as possible of whatever he had imbibed during the sojourn.

एतावानेव लोकेऽस्मिन् पुंसः स्वार्थः परः स्मृतः।
एकान्तभक्तिर्गोविन्दे यत् सर्वत्र तदीक्षणम्॥

etāvāneva loke’smin puṃsaḥ svārthaḥ paraḥ smṛtaḥ।
ekāntabhaktir-govinde yat-sarvatra tad-īkṣaṇam॥

                                                      – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam – 7.7.55

There is something called simple, confident and positive approach in spiritual or devotional life. In many other walks of life, people refer to positive thinking or positive attitude. But I find in the sphere of devotion, where this positive orientation should be most pronounced, alas, it is very much lacking!

Yesterday I was mentioning about various devotional practices. The practices are many, but the practitioner remains the same. We generally say that the world is immensely plural. In this plural world, how are we to perceive oneness or God everywhere?

See, the secret again lies with the individual. The world may be plural, but who sees the plurality? The individual. The infinite world variety is reflected in the single mind of the individual. If the focus remains on the oneness and uniformity of the mind, then tell me what will happen to the plurality? If you see various coloured objects through a blue glass, will not the seen objects be all of the same colour?

People put forward a lot of logic and reasoning thinking about the Soul. They say that the Soul is different from the body, prāna, mind, buddhi and even ānandamaya kośa. All these are juggleries – subtle and elusive methods to take the mind away from the world variety and get it focussed on something different. This ‘something different’ helps to direct the mind from plurality to oneness. Plural involvement makes the mind impure; convergence to oneness makes it pure.

It is all a question of whether you want to administer one-pointedness to the mind or not. Do you want to continue with the enjoyment and happiness which result when the mind contacts or interacts with the objects? Or, are you prepared to derive joy only from the mind and its essence? In fact, whatever joy you get from interactions, the joy ultimately comes from the mind.

Do you think that the joy comes from the objects? I think it is a delusion. A number of food items are placed on the tongue, and you get different tastes. Is not the tongue producing the different tastes? Or, the objects? In the absence of the tongue, or say after some disease, can you have the same taste from the objects? It is a vyavastha or orderliness in nature, that the tongue will normally find different tastes when contacting different objects. But the fact remains that each taste is an experience of the tongue. So, should you call the objects tasty or the tongue tasty?

In the same manner, our mind derives a number of experiences. These experiences generally occur only when the mind interacts with objects or objective situations. Though the objective interactions are incidental to the experiences, the experiences as such emerge from the mind; they belong to the mind.

If you can focus on this point more and more, then the objects causing experiences will gradually sink to lesser importance, and the mind causing the experiences will take the supreme position.

You can thus recede from the world of plurality and get focused on to the singular and constant mind.

There are a number of Gods to whom people are devoted. But poor devotees do not understand that the devotion as such does not belong to any God. Devotion belongs to the devotee, the individual. One picks up a Siva for his devotion. Another thinks of a Vishnu for his devotion. But both equally forget that it is he himself who has to grow in devotion. Why don’t you grow devotion for everything and all – the entire world being the creation of your God to whom you are devoted? Why don’t you consider everything to be Godly?

Can you imagine how sublime, wholesome and continuous such devotion would be? Shift your attention from the external objects of experience to the internal Subject which causes all the experiences. Understand very clearly that whether we perceive the presence or absence of an object, the perceptions are born of the mind.

At present, we become beggars in front of the objects, because we desperately seek the pleasures obtained through their contact. Once we understand that the joy belongs to the Subject, our dependence on objects and object situations will decline.

So, S, I have only this to tell you before you go back to USA. My dear son, make your mind the focus. No other thing in the world should become your focus. You have come to the Ashram at a very good time, with enough of contaminating experiences from the world, enough of prospects and prosperity held out by the USA.

Now, after twelve years of exposure there, I think you have got a very good opportunity to introspect and evaluate. You are still young and you have stayed more than a month here. The exposure here should provide enough of strength to your mind.

Purify your mind. Sublimate your mind. Understand that the mind, in ultimate analysis, is the very Self. The power of the Self is identical with the power of the supreme Lord.

Harih Om Tat Sat

– Prabhata Rashmih Volume 1

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“My dear son, make your mind the focus. No other thing in the world should become your focus.”

“Though the objective interactions are incidental to the experiences, the experiences as such emerge from the mind; they belong to the mind.”

“Plural involvement makes the mind impure; convergence to oneness makes it pure.”

“Why don’t you grow devotion for everything and all – the entire world being the creation of your God to whom you are devoted? Why don’t you consider everything to be Godly? ”

“At present, we become beggars in front of the objects, because we desperately seek the pleasures obtained through their contact. Once we understand that the joy belongs to the Subject, our dependence on objects and object situations will decline.”

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