Br. Bhupatbhai's UK trip
24th May - 1st June 2016
Brahman (n.) : The universal soul, Pure Awareness, the Oversoul, The Lord, That Which Is, the deep down essence of all there is, the substratum of existence, the eternal reality, God.
Nishtha (v.) : to firmly abide in, to ceaselessly worship.
Therefore Brahmanisht = the one who incessantly abides within the pure self.
What a great blessing to welcome such an elevated, divine being to the United Kingdom this evening. Despite his age and such a long flight, there was not a trace of fatigue or exhaustion on his face, just bright, shiny eyes radiating love and warmth and indeed a youthful, gleeful smile.
Br. Bhupatbhai's virtues are many, among them his steadfast devotion towards the enlightened master, his unflinching and untiring practice of the path and his mastery of Param Krupaludev's written word are legendary. We seekers in the UK look forward to a week of Satsang, meditation and practice under the auspices of this great disciple of Param Pujya Bapuji and Bhaishree.
He comes to inspire, to energise and to focus us on this path. It is rare to have such personal guidance for this inner journey. It is rare to have the opportunity for sincere, structured and intense striving.
It is with such lightness of being that Br. Bhupatbhai conducts himself. His smile and laughter is so naturally his resting state.
For his first swadhyay, conducted at Mahavir Foundation Hall in Kenton, Br Bhupatbhai focused on the importance of a Satguru and Satsang. In Satsang, he clarified, all is encompassed: SatDev, SatGuru and SatDharma. The importance of Satsang, the teachings and interaction with an enlightened teacher, is so great that Param Krupaludev anchors it's importance repeatedly in his letters collated in Vachanamrut. It is these letters that Bhupatbhai shared today.
As Br. Bhupatbhai spoke he closed his eyes. His focus so attentive in each word he quoted from Krupaludev. His smile deepened as he reflected in awe of Shrimad's knowledge, his understanding, his forward thinking, his open mindedness, his ability to highlight the profound and to draw out the relevant and appropriate message and guidance at the appropriate time for the student in front of him.
Bhupatbhai overflowed with pramod, an overwhelming admiration for Shrimad's inner qualities. As Bhupatbhai spoke it was clear that he had deeply reflected on each word and on each sentence that Shrimad had served. He savoured each message, digesting its significance and then immortalising the essence in his heart as a true disciple.
London Mumukshus gathered once again this evening to partake from Br. Bhupatbhai's words.
Nearly 95 of us congregated in the Kenton derasar. The atmosphere was divine, with resplendent idols of Tirtankar Bhagwan as also the image of Shrimad Rajchandra showering their blessings on all.
Everyone had been mesmerised by Bhupatbhai's morning talk, literally shaken out of their slumber! With a similar zest and profound passion for Krupaludev's words, Bhupatbhai entered the "flow state" literally as soon as he began his talk! No more books, no other props or prompts. Eyes closed, deeply withdrawn. It was like there was nothing else around him anymore - no listeners, no temple. All there was, was Krupaludev's beautiful words.
From the depths of this state, nectarean words seemed to emerge from Bhupatbhai. He continued upon his touch from the morning - the extreme importance of the Satguru and Satsang. Through quotations from Vachanamrut letters 166, 172, 194 and 200 he clearly emphasised that the entire path lies at the feet of the enlightened master.
Bhupatbhai concluded his talk by urging everyone present to carry on in their practice with the utmost devolution and dedication.
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 47
Br. Bhupatbhai has now started an in depth exploration of key letters in Vachanamrut and he starts with Letter 47. This letter was written by Krupaludev at the age of 22 to Khimjibhai Devji. An important letter that outlines the key requirements in attaining Samyak Darshan.
From the correspondance exchange between Shrimad and Khimjibhai it is clear that his vruti or inclinations are changing to be liberating for the soul. Br. Bhupatbhai draws attention to ourselves. After listening and interacting with our Sadguru and self realised souls have our inclinations changed? We must contemplate on the teachings and practically imbibe them into our lives. We must introspect to assess whether our vrutis have changed or not, have our inner virtues started to bloom and our negative qualities started to fall away? Although the letter is written to Khimjibhai we must hear the instructions as though written to us.
Krupaludev states that it is only when the 7 knots or seven dispositions comprising of the four anantanubandhi (extremely intense) kashays or passions of Anger, Ego, Deceit and Greed as well as the three delusions of mithyatva mohaniya, mishra mohaniya and samyaktva mohaniya are subsided, partially subsided or completely destroyed that one can attain true inner vision known as Samyakdrashti and not otherwise.
Br. Bhupatbhai emphasised the significance of these 7 knots and in particular the intensely bound passions that have kept us circling in this life and death cycle for infinite time. After accepting shelter of a Sadguru the occurances of intensely passionate kashays reduces. The transformation of a disciple starts and their conduct changes towards sadvartan and sadacharan, or correct conduct and behaviour. However this transformation is dependant on the degree of samarpanbhav, the degree in which the disciple has surrendered their attachments to the external world and joined in devotion at the feet of their True Teacher.
The degree in which the inner vision of truth opens is proportional to the weakening of the seven knots or dispositions. To completely destroy the knots is extremely difficult, but once destroyed the soul is realised with much ease. Therefore enlightened souls have repeatedly preached and focussed on the need to rid oneself of these dispositions to attain enlightenment and realisation of the self.
Br. Bhupatbhai emphasises the importance of the teachings and instructions or agna of a enlightened teacher or Sadguru. Without these teachings and without the ripeness of the seeker the task has previously and still continues to remain unfulfilled.
The path is abstruse and hidden. Religion is indeed an esoteric concept. It cannot be found through outward exploration. Only through unprecedented internal discovery can it be realised and its essence obtained, and that too only by those fortunate few souls that find guidance and grace of an enlightened master.
Krupaludev concludes the letter by drawing ones attention to the priorities for the seeker: May the pursuit of a little happiness in this one birth not surmount to infinite suffering in infinite births - such is the alertness of the enlightened souls.
We accept that what is meant to be cannot be overturned, and that which was never meant to be shall never be. Why then should we get perturbed by worldly events and falter in our religious activities and spiritual practices ?
May the divine faculties of the enlightened souls elevate the world entire.
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 200
Once again this evening, London Mumukshus gathered in large numbers at the Kenton Derasar, keen to listen to Br. Bhupatbhai's wisdom. This evening was a special talk - specifically organised for beginners on the path and explorers of spirituality. The room was filled with eager faces, desirous to seek answers to their questions from a wise teacher who had travelled from afar to share his knowledge.
Br. Bhupatbhai aptly chose Vachanamrut letter 200 for his talk. He explained the background behind this letter - Shrimad Rajchandra's spiritual soulmate Shree Saubhagbhai had requested Shrimad to write a few words of wisdom to his two sons, whose quest for spirituality had been kindled by Shrimad's recent visit to Sayla. Compassionate towards this genuine request, Shrimad poured his gentle heart out to frame this timeless letter that contains the most profound essence of the path. He appropriately titled it vachanavali - aphorisms for reflection.
Br. Bhupatbhai masterfully went through each of the 14 points in this letter. Through sentence after sentence he stressed upon the importance of the Enlightened master, surrender to their feet, attainment of their instruction & selfless practice.
At the end a young seeker asked a thought-provoking question - "How does a seeker know that his devotion towards the Master is progressively increasing ?". Bhupatbhai acknowledged this question as being perfectly appropriate, took a silent pause, closed his eyes and then replied from within - "It is when we notice a sequential flowering of virtues within us & when we notice our conduct becoming pure & aligned with spiritual values that we can be sure that true devotion towards the Master is taking root"
Mumbai, Bright half of Maha, 1947
Aphorisms for reflection
- The self has forgotten its true nature, and is therefore bereft of eternal bliss, all religions are in agreement with this.
- The ignorance of having forgotten oneself, shall vanish upon the attainment of enlightenment, know this without any doubt.
- Only from an enlightened soul can such enlightenment be obtained. This is naturally understood by all, yet the soul does not let go of the company of the ignorant, largely due to social pressure, and this is the root cause of intense bondage-causing passions (anantanubandhi kashay).
- Those who yearn for the attainment of enlightenment, should conduct themselves in accordance with the will of the enlightened masters, thus preach all the Jain canons and other scriptures. Conducting oneself as per ones own self-righteous will has lead to infinite transmigration.
- Until and unless one has not adopted the will, that is to say the commandments of the enlightened master, it is impossible to get rid of ignorance.
- Only that seeker shall be able to diligently adopt the word of the enlightened master, who shall surrender all attachment to body, mind and wealth and be filled with loving devotion to the master.
- The enlightened master certainly doesn't wish for the seekers' devotion, but well aware of the fact that without such devotion the seeker of liberation shall never be able to manifest within himself the precepts of the master, and shall never be able to truly imbibe and deeply reflect upon these precepts - they advocate such devotion as a must for all seekers.
- All the scriptures concur with what I have written above.
- Rushabhdev had preached exactly this to his ninety-eight sons as the direct path to liberation.
- This is precisely what Shukdevji had preached unto King Parikshit.
- Even if the soul were to engage in intense practice by its own will for all of eternity it shall never attain enlightenment by itself, yet the humble adherent of the enlightened master's commandments may even attain omniscience within the hour.
- The commandments contained in the scriptures are indeed indirect,and are only meant to cultivate worthiness within the soul, for liberation one has to follow the direct commandments of the enlightened master.
- Thus I have elucidated hereby the sequential path to enlightenment, without attaining it there shall be no liberation by any other path.
- The one who shall worship this esoteric truth, shall attain the ambrosial nectar of immortality and shall eventually become perfectly fearless.
May all souls attain liberation
Bhupatbhai, oft-described as a walking-talking Vachanamrut, describes his ready recollection of Shrimad Rajchandra’s pearls of wisdom as a wonder to himself. It is his own experience and immersion in the path that mean the words find great natural resonance in him. He lives by them and they are thus on the tip of his tongue.
The compassionate, passionate, methodical analysis of each and every one of these beloved words continued today.
Seekers were eager to continue on the theme of the special patras: some had come over an hour early to seek further nourishment and inspiration. Having focused on the incredible power of Satsang and various aspects of the path, Br. Bhupatbhai today contemplated Satpatrata - True Worthiness.
He began by reminding us that the soul cannot progress to self-realisation without both the imparted wisdom of a satpurush (personification of Truth) and True Worthiness (સત્પત્રતા). Gently stating that we all have in our lives the True Guru, Param Pujya Bhaishree, and so the obstacle to progress is the lack of True Worthiness.
Describing how seekers from the town of Khambat had recognised Shrimad in his true spiritual form, Bhupatbhai emhpasised his opening remarks by reference to the delightfully short letter 138.
Bhupatbhai's encyclopaedic grasp of Shrimad Rajchandra's literature could not help but pour out. Letter 254 gives a definition of mumukshuta (the state of being a seeker). "Mumukshuta (મુમુક્ષુતા) is uneasiness at all forms of deluded attachment with purely a desire for moksha and great mumukshuta (તીવ્ર મુમુક્ષુતા) is to abide in the path to moksha every moment with uniquely unprecedented love."
Bupatbhai recommended that we instrospect, contemplating on the lifeless ephemeral objects, bereft of true happiness, on which we deludedly fixate, so that we can cultivate the virtue above.
Turning to verse 138 of Atma Siddhi, bhupatbhai reminded us that worthiness is also described therein.
Compassion, peace, equanimity, forgiveness, truth, renunciation, and detachment
Are the virtues which are continuously alive in the heart of a true seeker.
One more definition of worthiness was offered before the exploration of letter 135. In letter 335, Shrimad states: "Only one who wishes for, recognises and worships the self-realised saint (જ્ઞાની), becomes like him, and is worthy of being known as the utmost seeker (ઉત્તમ મુમુક્ષુ).
Expressing pleasure at the development of True Worthiness in the Seekers of Khambat, Shrimad Rajchandra tells them that they will attain the object of their desire, which Bhupatbhai explains is the esoteric imparted wisdom of the True Guru, Gurugam. This is the essential nature of the path to moksha.
Shrimad's recommendation to take note of their inclinations was expanded on by Bhupatbhai. Noting where our inclinations make us dwell gives us insight into that which we most relish and desire, that which infatuates us, deludes us. Such observation enables us to purify our inclinations in the direction of developing worthiness.
Moving on to the first of the five virtues in letter 135, Bhupatbhai explained that શમ - Tranquility - is this very same esoteric wisdom. When the passions meet with an instrumental cause (nimit), they awaken, and this is the time for us to awaken with insights such as the idea that our angry conduct damages us long before it hurts others. These passions can be overcome by their counter-virtues - Forgiveness, Humility, Straightforwardness, Contentment. The esoteric wisdom can be understood from the phrase "a state of the soul which can turn back such inclinations." This turning back of inclinations is the striving which we are instructed to do when the True Guru imparts his wisdom to us.
Discussing the next virtue, Samveg, a desire for nothing but moksha, Bhupatbhai pointed out that any desire to obtain that which is liked and to remove that which is disliked is essentially aartra dhyan, a spiritually detrimental form of concentration and obsession which prevents the development of dharma dhyan, needed to progress and purify ourselves.
When contemplating Nirved, disdain for the worldly, Bhupatbhai could not but remember Shrimad's statements that even if the whole world turned to gold it would feel to him like dry grass and that his senses were operating as if emptily.
Bhupatbhai turned to the discussion of faith and simply explained the definition in the letter with an emphasis on the power and meaning of each and every word stated. Complete absorption, not mere absorption, in the selfless - one who has no desires for himself - (self-realised) personifcation of Truth - who greatness is of the highest order, not just great, but greatness of the highest order.
When discussing compassion, he explained that we all have a sense of compassion to others, but the depth of compassion described here arises from the earlier listed four virtues and can only arise in the self-realised. It is a compassion which equates the souls of others with our very own soul. Compassion born of self-realisation allows compassionate expression and conduct to be much deeper and impactful.
Bhupatbhai recalled letter 301 where Shrimad states that the only way one can live is by beautifully seeing "the whole world as oneself" without any sense of division or distinction and this can only arise with self-realisation. The poem Amulya Tattva Vichar commands: "Look upon all souls with equal perspective!"
Finally, Bhupatbhai explained that true compassion is when we seek to liberate all souls from the suffering of birth and death.
Seekers were inspired and moved by this amazingly careful and forceful emphasis on personal development of worthiness. Gently scolding us, Bhupatbhai said that we all might believe in Shrimad, but that we are often reluctant to heed his wisdom.
We could not tell where Shrimad's truth and Bhupatbhai's personal immersion and experience ended: "These virtues should certainly be contemplated, remembered, desired and experienced."
Evening Swadhyay - South London
The visit to South London was hosted very kindly by Zaviben, Harshaben and Shrikeshbhai Malde. Those who attended the session included a mixture of regular mumukshus, and seekers who have spent many years studying various scriptures.
Bhupatbhai took letter 194 in his swadhyay, covering the entire path to moksha within it. He pointed out that, written by a self-realised saint whose outward circumstances involved engagement in sansar, written to a monk with the stage of Acharya.
In this letter the householder poignantly asks the monk: "What is the reason that the soul has not attained the path to moksha?" This idea is worth some consideration.
Turning briefly to letter 166, Bhupatbhai explained how the souls had observed religious and spiritual activities infinite times and yet has not attained the path to moksha. If conducted with hubris, સ્વચ્છંદ, or with the guidance of a false guru, these observances do not lead to moksha. Such a soul has not until now encountered "Truth", heeded "Truth", had faith in "Truth", which would all lead to the commencement of the process of liberation.
Bhupatbhai described as the essential truth of the path the passage describing unwavering love and true faith in the soul who wanders freely without bondage. This leads to the soul attaining that very state. Shrimad Rajchandra states that this is how all self-realised saints have, do and will attain wisdom and self-realisation. He then attests this as his own personal experience and moroever states that this is the purpose of the imparted wisdom of the scriptures.
The enthusiasm of Bhupatbhai to explain such truths was almost tangible. The path to self-realisation requires us to turn inwardly and this is by means of instruction by a living True Guru, who does this face to face.
The obstacle of the darkness of hubris is overcome by contemplation of the path, cultivating a firm desire for moksha, and remaining awake in such thinking. Attainment of this path with overcome hubris.
Bhupatbhai explained that Shrimad wanted all souls to understand and attain this path. To further reinforce this truth, Shrimad now cites scriptural reference to the words of Bhagwan Rishabdev and Bhagwan Mahavir. And then the incredible phrase that observing the command of a living True Guru is both Dharma and Tap (Austerity).
There is an emphasis on the living True Guru who embodies the essence of this very path, as opposed to the scriptures.
Now Shrimad turns to obstacles faced by those who have overcome their hubris and begun to take shelter at the lotus feet of a self-realised saint. Obstacles arise from the fear of what the world might say about us, for example, leaving the family creed to seek a True Guru; Obstacles from the concerns and self-interest of family members and our attachment for them; Obstacles arising from pride and identification with this body; Obstacles from a wavering, unresolved mind.
Shrimad ask the monk to contemplate on how to overcome these obstacles is in the discussion above, and to ask him as he thought it over.
In conclusion, Shrimad poignantly states to Prabhushree: "And if you bring worthiness to this path, then you will attain Upsham (Esoteric Wisdom)." He further ecourages him, as if making it abundantly clear, to seek a person from whom this esoteric wisdom and whose instruction (Agna) could be followed, putting aside all other means to attain the path.
The inspiring and thought provoking session certainly moved those who attended, with many thinking over the obstacles they themselves faced.
During a session of questions and answers, there were questions on Bhagwan Mahavir's self-realisation, on meditation and on controlling the mind. Bhupatbhai mentioned that the essence of meditation and stillness of the mind arise from the instruction of a True Guru to a worthy disciple.
The swadhyay ended with Bhakti and a few private meetings.
Shibir Day 1
This morning, 150 seekers, in the auspicious company of Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai and Brahmnisht Pradipbhai, met for the start of the three-day meditation shibir.
The topics for the shibir are special patras (letters) from Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut.
Before the start of swadhyay, we learnt a little bit more about Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai, and his dedication and devotion to this path: When he accepted Param Pujya Bapuji as his Guru, he was in the midst of a busy time in his life – he was married with two young children, and also had a business to manage. Seeing that the business responsibilities prevented him from engaging in his spiritual efforts to an appropriate level, he took the decision to engage a investor to manage his business, in exchange for half the revenue, thereby freeing up time to pursue spiritual activities!
Overflowing with devotion, and enthusiasm for the words of Param Krupaludev, Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai shared with us the biggest achievement of Shrimad: to show in an extraordinary way to the world, the glory and majesty of self-realised souls, of satsang, and of the true Guru. One letter that shows this in an amazing way is letter 213, written to Saubhagbhai.
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 213
The letter starts by describing the state of this world. It is burning in the three-fold fires of mental worries, physical (body related) worries and associated worried (family, friends, wealth, assets, house etc those items associated with this body and identity). Bhupatbhai pointed out to us that though souls engaged in sansaar (worldly life) are experiencing great pain and sorrow from these fires, we do not believe that we are burning, or in pain! We are so downtrodden that we seek to quench our thirst for happiness from the illusory pleasures of sansaar, which is likened to a mirage in a desert. Having forgotten its true nature, this soul has attained fearful wandering in the cycle of birth and re-birth. In every moment, this soul experiences great disappointment, dreadful illnesses, the fear of death, and the sorrows of loss and separation from those objects that we consider our own. In such a sorrow-filled world, the only true shelter is that of a satpurush. He only can provide shelter from the fires of worry, and can quench our thirst.
Shrimad unveils the magnificence of a Sat Purush or enlightened soul. This sansaar is drowning in discomfort and unhappiness only. Bhupatbhai pointed out to us that this is the only thing on which Tirthankar Bhagwan’s words take a one-sided view. Whatever comfort or pleasure one experiences is all through the grace of a sat purush, because any pleasure is a result of favourable karma (punya) bound in the past. And such punya can only be bound through following the directions of a sat purush, be they attained through their direct discourse, or through scriptures they have written, or even recommendations passed down through the generations, which became so engrained to be known as norms. But despite this, sat purush has no ego, no mineness, no desires or expectations.
Throughout the letter, Shrimadji sings the praises of Gnani-Purush. Bhupatbhai drew our attention to this, and points out that each and every one of us should attribute much much more magnificence and importance to the gnani purush.
Shrimad then starts a dialogue with Bhagwan, the Lord. He says that he does not see any difference between Him and a sat purush. If anything, he sees greater magnificence in a satpurush, because even Bhagwan is dependent on a satpurush; and crucially, without recognising sat-purush, we cannot recognise Bhagwan. Bhupatbhai pointed out that this is a key essence to the path: Sat Purush shows us Bhagwan.
Bhupatbhai asked us a question: at age 24, see what desires Shrimad had. How do our own desires compare?
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 238
Thereafter, Bhupatbhai took another letter – letter 238, written to Tribhovanbhai, who resided in Khambhat. Bhupatbhai started by pointing out how fortunate the seekers in Khambhat were: they recognised Param Krupaludev as a spiritually elevated soul, and in turn he was nurturing their spiritual aspirations. The letter begins with a heading that indicates the focus of all self-realised souls: they strive, with full love, to experience kevalgnan, complete knowledge. We too must follow the command of our satguru, true teacher, with complete love!
The letter points out three things that are difficult to obtain: saralta (straightforwardness), vairagya (detachment) and a desire for one’s true form. Bhupatbhai pointed out to us that Saubhagbhai should be our role model in straightforwardness. Detachment is also an essential quality, achieved by moving `me’ and `mineness’ from external objects to our true nature. Achieving these becomes much easier once one encounters a self-realised soul, which is extremely difficult. This world is absorbed in deceit, as too are we, with the consequence that we too burn in the three-fold fires of worries. As with the previous letter, Shrimadji indicates that the only cooling water to this fire is the discourse of a sat purush. Shrimadji then counsels us all to ever aspire to three things: first, love for the truth (or our true selves, the atma); unparalleled devotion towards a self-realised saint; and a desire for the path laid out by the self-realised saint.
Throughout the swadhyays, Bhupatbhai constantly drew our attention to important points in every sentence, lest we miss them. His enthusiasm and devotion for each and every word of Shrimad highlighted new meanings and inspiration for seekers, increased our determination to achieve our ultimate goal, and introduced new energy to our striving for this.
Shibir Day 2
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 223
This morning Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai took letter 223 from Vachanamrut which was written by Shrimad during his 24th year to Param Pujya Saubhagbhai. The letter was written from Mumbai, where Param Krupaludev lived.
The letter starts with a thought provoking couplet by Nishkulanand describing the internal state of a gnanipurush:
"I am the doer, I am man, I am happy, I am sorrowful," he who has dissolved away such false egotistical identity with body (Dehabhiman) has and has experienced the utmost level of truth in the form of Paramatma (his true self), for him wherever his mind rests, he only experiences samadhi (internal peace).
Br Bhupatbhai dwelled on why we do not experience this - we are so engrossed in our own hubris and believing that 'I am the doer' that it has become our main obstacle towards knowing ourselves. With compassion, he then emphasised that we need to turn this towards the soul so that all we believe is 'I am the soul'. Just like an enlightened soul, this will help us in cultivating awareness towards the soul in every task performed.
Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai then pointed out, through reading Saubhagbhai's detailed letters, Shrimad pines for his company and vividly expresses his intense Bhakti towards Saubhagbhai. However, he is forced to forget these wishes due to karma. Shrimad then writes that due to two reasons, he is unable to give a detailed response to Saubhagbhai - the first is his internal state and the other due tobusiness. Through this letter, we get to understand Param Krupaludev's internal state. He was so internally focused that his mind did not wander into any subject. Because of this, his mind was so silent, that he was unable to write; even when a thought arose, he was unable to write as it could be described from multiple perspectives, that his chit experienced vairagya (detachment). He then continues that despite this, he is still able to express himself via speech and he hopes to do so when they next meet, though he has noticed that it has slowly quietened. Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai asked us to ponder on his state, how elevated is Param Krupaludev that his mind is so silent and he is unable to express himself through writing, compare that to our own state.
Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai then gently drew our attention towards a question Saubhagbhai had asked about Bhakti. Shrimad describes the union of parmatma and atma as Parabhakti. Taking an example of the Gopis, whilst performing all their daily tasks, their attention (upyog) was only on their one and only, Lord Krishna. Through that the Gopi's souls took the same form as the the Lord's and experienced Parabhakti. Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai then explained that through their devotion towards an utkrusht gnanipurush like Lord Krishna, they too experienced Parabhakti and then gently prodding, he reminded us that that too is our purusharth. He reminded us that is how our beloved Param Pujya Bhaishree has walked the path and that, under his guidance, is how we shall walk the path. Param Krupaludev, then states that there is no difference between a gnanipurush and paramatma and through navdhabhakti towards a gnanipurush, we too can achieve Parabhakti. This is the main essence of all scriptures described such Shrimad Bhagvad and also the reason we pay obeisance to the Arihant Bhagwan before the Siddha Bhagwan in the Navkar mantra.
Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai then continued, emphasising on Shrimad's response to Saubhagbhai regarding materialistic hardships he was facing. Shrimad explains that true Bhakti makes any hardships easy. If unable to face a hardship, this shows that the Bhakti towards he Lord is deluded. That too is how King Janak and Lord Krishna faced their hardships. He then takes an example of King Brugu who after immense penance, receives a boon from the Lord as a reward for his Bhakti. In response King Brugu surprises the Lord, stating, that it is not appropriate that he has been granted kingly wealth. If only he could have his grace, he never wants to even dream of receiving this materialistic, kingly wealth ever again. Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai then enquired us, would we have done the same?
Shrimad then continues to expand that these hardships or easy times should be the same and taken as a golden opportunity to shed karma. Bhupatbhai explained that Sambhaav is in fact the raj marg towards reducing our karma.
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 491
Br Bhupatbhai expounded upon an extract from the Suyagadang sutra:
'O soul, calm down, truly calm down. It is very difficult to obtain a human birth, and do believe that there is fear in all four gatis. It is very difficult to obtain right discrimination power through unawareness. The whole universe is singularly burning with suffering. And all life forms are deluded due to their past karmas'.
With compassion overflowing from his heart, Br Bhupatbhai explained that we truly need to awaken and truly calm down. He reminded us that not only is the human birth very rare, humanity (manushyatva) is even rarer. There are billions of people on earth who have achieved the human birth but not all have obtained manushyatva. Continuing, he gently drew our attention to the four rarities - manushyatva, sat shrut (access to listen to the words of a gnanipurush), sat shraddha (true faith towards the gnanipurush' words) and ability to follow the path laid out by a gnanipurush. He then exclaimed how fortunate we were to have access to all this and continued with an example from the ten examples of the rarity of obtaining manushyatva described within the Uttaradhyayan sutra. He then continued that there is no peace in this universe, the whole universe is urging from sorrow and we are engulfed by our biggest fear - death. This reminder touched all mumukshus at the core and we firmly resolved to continue our purusharth.
With utmost devotion, Br Bhupatbhai then explained that the only path to free oneself from all sorrows is to search for the atma and most of all sat sang. One should focus all energy to fully engross oneself in sat sang, giving up all preconceptions and continue to reduce association with Sansaar. Tirthankar Bhagwan has also stated that one who engages in sat sang, is surely searching for the soul and will most definitely free themselves from all misery. With great devotion towards Shrimad, Br Bhupatbhai then marvelled at Param Krupaludev's ability to draw out the main essence of the 12 scriptures as depicted in the dwadashang sutra.
Shrimad then continues to explain how he is pining for sat sang and all else appears as false, external, not lively and uninteresting. He only pines for the company of gnanipurush, mumukshus or true seekers. Br Bhupatbhai marvelling on Param Krupaludev's internal state, then gently asked us to contemplate on this point deeply to measure our own progress.
Shibir Day 3
Shrimad Rajchandra Vachanamrut Letter 569
Written to Saubhagbhai when Krupaludev was 28 years old the letter starts with the heading: 'Sat Puroshone Namskar'.
Br. Bhupatbhai started with the statement that “The ONLY answer to unhappiness in life is the ‘Knowledge of Self’- Atmagnana.
No one likes unhappiness. Everyone is searching for happiness, but worldly souls look for that happiness through the enjoyment of the five senses. However sefl realised souls maintain that atmagnana or knowledge of the soul is the ONLY means of release from infinite unhappiness.
In a letter to Pujya Laluji Maharaja, Param Krupaludev writes that all souls want happiness. No one wants sadness. Sadness stems from raag, dvesha and agnana. And therefore if one wants release from all forms of unhappiness, then one must get rid of raag, dvesha and agnana, which subsequently leads to the Discovery of the Self.
The two best ways of discovering the Self are:
1. Listening to the words of a Sat Guru
2. To read, study and think upon True Shastras and live according to what is written in them.
Then Br. Bhupatbhai asked: what is the reason for a jiv (soul) not achieving atmajnana?
Ans: without the correct way of thinking, atmajnana is not possible.
Br. Bhupatbhai further explained that the mind constantly thinks. If the mind constantly thinks, then a sadhak should give it food for thought that would aid its journey towards Moksha. And it is this Satvichaar which leads to atmajnana and Kevaljnana.
Br. Bhupatbhai narrated a story which was once told by Laluji Maharaj.
Once there was a man who would sit in his courtyard and chew on a teeth cleaning twig. Every day he would see a buffalo with large horns and think “what if I put my head between the horns.” And one day he actually did that! And obviously he was attacked and sustained serious injuries.
His friends and families asked him, “What were you thinking of?! Why would you put your head in between the buffalo’s horns?”
The man answered, “That is what I had been thinking for the past 6 months.”
The power of thought!!
Param Krupaludev has given 2 reasons for there being lack of thought power. They are:
1. Asatsang defined as association with agjnani.
2. Asat prasang defined as all worldly occasions, as in worldly occasions there is an absence of Jnani Purush.
Then Br. Bhupatbhai asked – How can one form such thought processes?
Ans: by reducing
1. Arambh – defined as taking keen interest in the worldly activities
2. Parigraha – this is one of the 5 anuvrants taken by us when we become Arpan.
Br. Bhupatbhai then gave a very easy way of reducing parigraha. If we decide the amount of money we need to live on, and we bind ourselves to earning only that much, then it is easier to become content. Being content leads to being able to follow the spiritual life with ease.
In letter 574 Krupaludev says that we should reduce desires as much as we can. Who is it that is born, gets old and dies? It is the one who has desires that is born, gets old and dies. Therefore reduce desires as much as possible.
In another letter, Krupaludev equates parigraha to Rahu, which gobbles up the moon-like Dharma.
Continuing letter 569, taking the refuge of satsang decreases the power of asatsang. And that gives us time to think about the soul. Thinking about the soul leads to its discovery, and therefore one is freed from all unhappiness and all conflict. This is the ONLY path to the land of Freedom.
Br. Bhupatbhai then gave the definition of a Muni according to Mahavir Bhagwan. A student once asked Mahavir Bhagwan the definition of a Muni. Mahavir Bhagwan answered that the one who is vigilant is a Muni. And the one who is not vigilant is amuni. Kruapludev’s definition of amuni is “those souls who are slumbering in moha."
Br. Bhupatbhai further explained that to reduce our dependency on worldly factors we must decide – Everything I see with these physical eyes is temporary, can be destroyed, and full of unhappiness. But we still expect happiness from the world - such is our foolishness.
In the letter 570, Krupaludev says that if one thinks of all things in this world, then one it is impossible to remain without vairagya. It is only due to lack of developed thought process that we attach our attachment on the worldly things (mohabuddhi).
Continuing letter 569, Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra states that a muni constantly thinks about his soul and thus is able to stay vigilant. The one who is negligent, always lives in fear; and the one who is vigilant, has overcome all fear. Br. Bhupatbhai then reminded us of what PPBhaishree always tells us – To remain vigilant. For with vigilance comes sambhav or equanimity. He further said that this very vigilance is the atma. As long as the jiv is in atmavichar, he is in shubh bhav.
In the letter 609, point 9 Param Krupaludev asks: even though we have many times been in contact with satsang, why has it been unfruitful? Answer: We never realised how unprecedented, invaluable and difficult to obtain that opportunity was, and we never got rid of the vices which were an obstruction to the realisation of this rare meeting.
Br. Bhupatbhai explains that even though we have attained satsang before, we never behaved as as if we have.
Then in point 10 Shrimad Rajchandra further clarified that the obstructions are: insistence on false beliefs, svacchand (hubris that I know) and enjoyment of the 5 senses.
Atmasiddhi verse 16 remind us: meeting a living satguru, one can easily overcome svacchand; any other attempt will result in doubling the svacchand.
Br. Bhupatbhai said that the only reason for having any worldly knowledge is only so that we can know the soul. Without atmajnana, any knowledge of the world is useless. For the sadhak, the more in touch he is his soul, the more he is in sambhav (equanimity).
He reminded us of Shrimad's immortal phrase: "One who knows the soul, knows all."
Br. Bhupatbhai continued with letter 569, the correct union (which includes with the jnanipurusha, following his instructions, true foundation), and when the jnanipurusha deems one fit to receive his grace (Beej Jnana), and he receives the path to inward perception, and he find inner stillness, and is able to differentiate the body and the soul, then moksha is a definite for him.
Faith in the True Lord, Guru and Dharma is itself considered to be a form of Awakening from a conventional perspective. We should think that this is the only way where my well-being lies.
Shrimad Rajchandra states: As long as the jiva is engrossed in anything but the soul (enjoyment of the 5 senses, worldly occasions), he walks further away from moksha.
Br. Bhupatbhai says that a sadhak’s duty is to become still in his sadhana.
Shrimad Rajchandra explains that achieving the above mentioned union with the satpurusha, (and anything that leads one to knowledge of self), renders this human life invaluable.
In the letter 725 Shrimad compares human birth to the ratnachintamani wish fulfilling jewel). But thinking on it more, even a moment spent in humanity is more valuable and important than the chintamani jewel, and should this moment of humanity be passed in the adulation of the body, then it’s worth is less than nothing.
Param Pujya Chhottabhai, a saint of Sayla, used to say that the body has found a slave in the soul. It is like seeing a blade of grass and not noticing the huge mountain behind it. Or like tying an elephant to the leg of an ant. How can one not see the huge soul sitting in a small body?!
After the final meditation session of the shibir, the members of Raj Saubhag UK naturally wished to express their gratitude for the selfless and dedicated energy and compaasion with which Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai had led the many swadhyays and this shibir.
Br. Pradipbhai expressed the aspiration that the conclusion of the shibir was certainly not an end but a new beginning for a reinvigorated journey.
During the course of the brief week in the UK, Br Bhupatbhai had sat personally in over 70 meetings with any seeker who wished to meet him for guidance and a review of their meditative practice and daily lives. The UK centre is blessed with many dedicated elderly members who have been on this path since the times of Param Pujya Bapuji. Two such members particularly impressed Br. Bhupatbhai with their discipline, enthusiasm and regularity. These two, Lakshmiben Gulabchand Shah and Jayaben Vaghji Malde, were invited to honour Bhupatbhai in the closing ceremony.
Two other mumukshus, Ranjanben Kakad and Jayaben Prabhulal Shah, both very eloquently expressed their own personal experience of the visit using beautiful poetic language expressing wonderful spirituality.
Jaysukhbhai Mehta, the managing trustee, expressed gratitude to Bhupatbhai for his great compassion. He playfully, reminded us of the emphatic phrases, such as "Listen carefully", that have helped us to take note of certain key insights, and that have endeared Bhupatbhai to us. Jaysukhbhai thanked the administration and staff of the Harrow District Masonic Centre, the caterers Giriraj, the meal sponsors and the many teams and individual volunteers. He expressed gratitude to the many seekers for their participation, observation of silence and patience and co-operation.
Br. Bhupatbhai closed with remarks on the importance of spending each moment of this precious birth striving to realise Truth. He humbly stated that, while the seekers of the UK might have benefited from these swadhyays, the greatest beneficiary was himself.
Inspired by three wonderful days of meditation and contemplation, many seekers eagerly awaited Br. Bhupatbhai, who was still in meetings giving personal guidance.
On this last day, Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai re-emphasised the key points he had covered over the week. He then proceeded to revisit the subject of the importance in our lives of Satsang. In the primary sense, in the form of a living True Guru, this is the embodiment of the path; and in the secondary sense, in the form of association of like minded true seekers, it is what keeps us grounded on the path.
Shrimad Rajchandra states in Letter 200, point 12, that the commandments in the scriptures are indirect (પરોક્ષ) and are there so as to empower and render the seeker worthy, while, to attain moksha, the seeker should follow the direct (પ્રત્યક્ષ) command of a living true guru.
Bhupatbhai explained that it is a living true guru who can embody and demonstrate the path, as well as give personal guidance.
In letter 201, Shrimad himself refers back to letter 200 and tells Saubhagbhai that if his son Mani, “observes these statements with singularity of inclination, and if he becomes absorbed in the commands of such a person, then the immemorial wandering of the soul with be cured.”
Phrases from his beloved Vachanamrut began to flow continuously from the very heart of Br. Bhupatbhai.
"What delusion, what sorrow is there to one who everywhere sees unity (in the form of the Lord Paramatma)?"
“If True Happiness had come into the perspective of the world, then the self-realised saints would certainly have determined moksha not in an upward direction; but this world itself would be moksha.” - Shrimad Rajchandra Letter 205
Echoing this sentiment, Shrimad declares to the Lord: “Occasionally the exposition in the Jain texts is such that, according to them, moksha is not possible in this time; well, at this point, you keep that exposition, and grant me, rather than moksha, the chance to contemplate the lotus feet of a True Guru (The Personification of Truth), and to remain near him.”
At the beginning of letter 223, Bhupathbhai reminded us, Shrimad quotes: “One whose egotistical identification with body has melted and who has seen Paramatma, wherever he his mind goes, he experiences the ecstatic bliss of samadhi.” This letter then expands on ideas of devotion.
Answering Saubhagbhai’s question: “For the Lord Paramatma and the Atma (Soul) to take one form (!) is the final limit of Parabhakti, the highest devotion).”
Br. Bhupatbhai exclaimed that this was the essence of the path and would lead to effortless, natural attainment of the most noble form of Bhakti.
“To be absorbed as one is Parabhakti. ...By contemplating the Lord Parmatma (the most noble Soul) in the pure, formless state is, it is difficult for soul to develop this singular absorption, and for this reason, the foremost cause of Parabhakti is the embodied great soul, Parmatma (saint) who has seen the Lord Paramatma for himself.”
Bhupatbhai continued explaining this letter, that by concentrating our attention singularly on every action of the Gnanipurush, leads to oneness with the idea of Paramatma presiding in the heart of a self-realised saint, and that is Parabhakti.
“There is no distinction between a Gnanipurush and the Lord Paramatma.”
“Whosoever believes in a distinction will find it hard to attain the path”
Bhupatbhai revelled in reciting these words describing the majesty, magnificence and importance of a living True Guru, quoting that this was the very essence and focus of all scriptures from the Jain tradition and those of all of India’s classical philosophies.
In letter 249, Shrimad states: “These being fearful times, the soul is not able to still his inclinations where he should.” Bhupatbhai immediately pointed out that the stilling of the inclinations is achieved by the instruction of a worthy true seeker by the True Guru, face to face, where he bestows the esoteric wisdom known as Gurugam or Beejgnan. At the moment, inclinations wander aimlessly and clumsily in worldly engagement.
Br. Bhupatbhai continued from the letter which says that the True Dharma is lost, that it cannot be attained without a True Guru because: “Truth is not to be found in Untruth”
“Satsang is the foremost means to Moksha”
Bhupatbhai explained that while one can contemplate the lives of the past Tirthankars and saints, and that this can be beneficial, it cannot lead to stillness in our true nature, establishing self in self, for what the soul must do cannot be discovered by such recollections, whereas a living True Guru can explain the detailed steps on our path to Moksha.
“The embodiment of Moksha is the Satpurush (self-realised True Guru)”
He quoted from letter 254: “The wisdom that the Lord is certainly to be seen in the Satpurush, that has been called the foremost Dharma by self-realised saints”
Contemplating the various forms of religious activity, Br. Bhupatbhai brought our attention to letter 299. The emphasis of this letters is that all such activity should have as its focus forgetting the world and remaining in the shelter of Truth. Without these, all religious activity does not yield appropriate results. Bhupatbhai emphasised the great care that all saints take in drawing our focus to the essential purpose of such activities without seeking to dismiss or criticise such activities, for the very purpose of these activities is the forgetting the world and remaining in the shelter of Truth.
Briefly coming out from his immersion in the divine words of Shrimad Rajchandra, Brahmnisht Bhupatbhai looked out to us and joyously stated the great joy he felt in celebrating the liberating virtues of the Enlightened Master.
He then immediately returned to his immersion recalled a phrase from letter 736. “There is no doubt that, simply contemplating the realised wisdom of the self-realised saint, whose soul does not become even a little agitated in the presence of the powerful causes of attraction and aversion, leads to great shedding of karma.”
Br. Bhupatbhai came into swadhyay hall a little late, having been in service to seekers in personal meetings. His dedication to our upliftment meant that even in his last few hours in Englad he was at our service.
Immersing himself in praise of the True Guru and celebrating his importance in our lives, Bhupatbhai once more reveled in reciting extremely appropriate passages from Vachanamrut.
"Observing deeply the Gnani (Self-Realised True Guru), we become like him." Letter 313
"Our nature is easily attained. Without dedication at the lotus feet of the Self-Realised soul, it is also so difficult that it cannot be attained for all eternity." Letter 315
"If you and I conduct ourselves with a worldly perspective, then who will conduct themselves with a spiritual perspective?" Letter 322
Bhupatbhai explained that Shrimad was guiding Saubhagbhai, to whom letter 322 was addressed, to remove any worldly aspects from his relationship of devotion to Shrimad. Bhupatbhai reminded us that we often concern ourselves with what society will say, and so our perspective is corrupted by inclinations towards wealth, pride, recognition and so on. As if to underline the dangers of this, Bhupatbhai exclaimed that all seekers should carve in their hearts the following words from that letter.
"The fruit of maintaining unbreakable faith in the True (Samyak) way in a Gnani, is certainly liberation."