Friday, December 19, 2008

31. The easiest path. Sixth instalment ( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest)

The easiest path, in my mind, is to repeat God’s name, all the time. You can say “God, God, God, God” or “Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah”, or “Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram” or any other name of God. You should try to make a habit of repeating it mentally, without moving the lips, so that nobody else should come to know about it. You should do it at rest, as well as, when you are busy in activity. You should say it when you are awake and when you are asleep.

Initially it is very difficult. You will forget it once you get engaged in some activity. Hours will often pass, before you remember it. Do not lose heart. Keep on trying. It will take years, to have partial success, unless you are spiritually advanced to begin with

Once developed, you will yourself be surprised at the fact, that your mind is automatically repeating God’s name , while you are walking, or doing something in which mind is not engaged. You may be half sleep and realize that your mind is saying “God, God…” on its own. Mental activity, like reading a book, or talking to someone, stops this mental chanting. It may remind you of Brother Lawrence (see Posts, 15-18) and his method, which is very similar.

I have read in a book (the name of the book escapes me, but I think it was biography of Swami Brahmananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna) that once a person complained to the Swami of lack of spiritual progress. He gave him a mantra (some holy word/s, with God’s name in it) and told him to repeat it all the time, and he guaranteed him spiritual progress in one year. “Come back in one year, and complain to me, if it does not happen” or words to that effect.

Swami Ramdas (see sidebar, "In quest of God…") was given a mantra by his guru. He left his house, wife, and children and travelled penniless, repeating the mantra all the time. He realized God in few months (although, he did not start from zero, he had been struggling beforehand for years)

Mental chant of God’s name does not guarantee God-realization, but it does guarantee spiritual progress. Why does it happen? Does God’s name have an intrinsic power? Shahab ( Shahabnama, see side bar ) writes, and I quote " How can it be possible, that God’s name should have no effect (power)”.

Swami Ramakrishna gives contradictory answers to this question. On one place, in his biography ( see side bar ), he states that mere repetition of God’s name is ineffective: " How will the mere repetition of ‘Brahma’ profit you if you are not imbued with discrimination and dispassion? It is the empty sound of a conch-shell”
On another occasion he stated : "The name of God has very great sanctity. It may not produce immediate result, but one day it must bear fruit. It is like a seed left on the cornice of a building… crumbles… seed falls…..germinates, …..and at last bears fruit”
And, in another place he says: "If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind, and everything becomes pure.”

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