This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Blessed Seekers after Truth,
The present month is a month of powerful reminders to certain most sublime and sacred ideals that have formed vital factors in the evolution of our great country's unique culture and view and way of life. We had occasion to note last month how the great ideals propounded and radiantly expressed through the Divine Leela of Ramavatara continued to be moving force in the stream of our nation's social life and ethical consciousness. We saw how sublimity and purity of your national character both in the individual as well as in collective social life had their very basis and their sole hope in the adoption of these ideals.
Solemn reminders to ideals upon a still higher dimension of our life, in a more inward and deeper depth of our being come to us during the course of this month through the occurrence of a number of anniversaries in this current month of May. The Religious Calendar announces the occurrence of the thrilling birth anniversary of the valiant Parashurama, the glorious Sankara Jayanti, the holy Narasimha Jayanti and the sacred and solemn Buddha Jayanti. These great anniversaries have the specific purposes of the periodical re-infusing of fresh vitality into those living ideals that form the very soul of the Bharateeya Samskriti. They have the specific purpose of recreation of the renewed waves of a living faith, inspired enthusiasm and dynamic dedication. These anniversaries are effective periodical reassertions of our abiding loyalty to enduring cultural values and provide indispensable recurring occasions for the vigorous re-adoption into our lives of concepts and principles, aims and ideals that constitute the living roots and life breath of our national life. It would not be an untruth to say that these numerous anniversaries provide in fair measure the factors that have been the subsistence and the support of the fabric and the structure of our ancient Way of Life. They impart unbroken continuity to it.
Blessed Sadhak: Let us move along the luminous pathway of esoteric understanding and an inner vision to look for a moment into the heart of these anniversaries. Let us have a glimpse into their hidden meaning and message that they come to convey. While bowing in devout homage to the radiant Parashurama, valour Incarnate, may you recognise and receive the message of supremacy of the subtle over the gross. His life is a call for overcoming of the Rajas, of passion and of desire by their relentless higher dynamism of a purified Sattva. The Leela of this Avatara breathes the eternal lesson of the unfailing triumph of the spiritual over the merely temporal and material. It is the repeated and continued predominance of Sattva Guna that makes for the perfect establishment of supreme virtue or Daivi Sampatti in this human field (Kshetra) and paves the way for Divine Attainment. This sums up the very essence of the inner Yogic process that transforms the individual from Tamas and Rajas into pure Sattva and thence transports him into highest spiritual super-consciousness.
The nation also venerates and pays homage to the greatest of its philosophers, the brilliant and peerless world teacher, Jagadguru Sri Adi-Sankaracharya of immortal renown. To him India owes an unforgettable debt of gratitude for his exposition of the pure Vedantic doctrine of the absolute Unity of the ultimate Reality and the Oneness of all mankind in the spirit. He reasserted the truth that all faiths and religions led to the same ultimate Truth and thus stood for the perfect reconciliation of apparently conflicting faiths under the universal banner of Advaita Vedanta. Tolerance is the great gift of Sankaracharya's life and teaching and equal vision and brotherhood, his message to mankind. Love all see Atman in all names and forms and attain the great Reality in this very life, here and now. Become a Jivanmukta. This is his call to us all.
The nature of God is an indescribable Divine mystery. God is love. This transcendental infinite love is simply beyond the ken of human mind and intellect. Words fail to define it. Yet, aspects of Divine power can at times take such awesome and terrible manifestations that one is puzzled how to reconcile them with the All-Love that is the Divine. The Lord Himself describes his advent as, Paritranaya Sadhunam Vinasaya Cha Dushkritam' i.e. for the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked. The latter expression may well take on the appearance of such modes as normally prevail upon this plane of relative phenomena. Nevertheless, the perfect love of the Supreme Divine Essence remains uncontradicted despite the transient modes assumed by its manifestation. Delving into this mystery one comes to know that even the most awesome expression is but a manifestation of that Highest Love. This immediate co-existence of factors that seemingly contradict and exclude each other according to the normal human standards is found marvellously expressed in the divine Narasimha Avatara. Bhagavan Narasimha combines fearful grandeur with perfect protection. The destructive divine might of Narasimha was entirely to rescue the boy-devotee Prahlada from the villainous persecution of the Asura. It was to keep up the great promise Na Me Bhaktah Pranasyati, my devotee shall never perish. Narasimha is the mighty symbol of eternal Divine protection. Prahlada is the living symbol of the great way. Deep devotion, firm and an unflinching faith and trust, complete self-surrender and a constant ceaseless remembrance of the Divine constitute this way. It is the Supreme Bhagavata Dharma, the one unfailing path to God-realisation. The sure and certain method of attaining God-realisation. Blessed are the pure in heart who follow this Supreme path of devotion and surrender, for they shall be dearly beloved of the Lord. They shall ever abide in Him.
The beautiful, serene full moon of the auspicious month Vishakha shall shed its soft radiance on the 25th of this month. All nature rejoiced upon this great day and the celestials showered flowers, for the great Buddha made his advent upon this most memorable day. His great call to right living, his message of the Good Life and his unforgettable shining example of supreme virtue have left an indelible impress upon the consciousness of people of Bharata. His love and compassion, gentleness and peace are the essence of ethics and Dharma. Dharma forms the bed-rock of our culture. Dharma is the sole basis of supreme attainment in human life. This is the first of the great fourfold Purusharthas that impart the correct direction to our lives and govern and regulate our activities and endeavours. The goal of Divine Realisation is the highest ultimate attainment to be striven for. Without the first the last is impossible. Without the primary basis the Ultimate goal shall ever remain an idealistic Utopia. With the perfect fulfilment of Dharma, the realisation of Moksha and experience of Jivanmukti becomes a practical possibility. The noble way of Dharma demonstrated by the great Buddha makes for human happiness in our lives here and now, while transcendental realisation emphasised by the great Sankaracharya renders it into an eternal experience that shall for ever lift you into a realm of perennial Bliss and infinite Peace.
Buddha bade mankind to seek the solution to life's problem through diligent self-effort, ennobling of the human nature by the adoption of a perfectly virtuous life. Purity of personal life can alone ensure your welfare, bring happiness and grant peace. Abandon Virtue and you destroy your welfare and usher in untold sorrow. Happiness is where Virtue abides. Sorrow is the direct fruit of vice and evil living. Grow into goodness and the inner godly nature will manifest itself in thy life. You will attain the Highest by the merit of thy blameless life. Waste no time in dry discussion and vain debate but rather LIVE THE NOBLE LIFE:
Living inspiration we thus receive from these four great expressions of the Divine Essence; the radiant Parashurama, the mighty and majestic Lord Narasimha mellowed by the melting devotion of Prahlada, the Prince among lovers of the Lord, the great Sankaracharya and the noble Gautama Buddha. The Jagadguru, inspired World teacher Sankara uncompromisingly holds aloft before our gaze the grand Transcendental Goal of human life. Buddha's lofty example and unforgettable teachings state the indispensable basis of this sublime attainment. Prahlada demonstrates the one sure and unfailing method of attaining this Divine Goal. Parashurama emphasises the need for ceaseless, unremitting endeavour in this process. The Avatara Narasimha gives perfect assurance of absolute and fullest protection of Grace to one who launches forth upon this noble path of purity unto perfection.
Beloved Seekers: followers of the Divine Life diligently strive to become established in Virtue and advance in Devotion. Be ceaseless in thine Worship. The Goal of God-realisation be ever before thy vision every moment of thy life. This is the Ancient Way of Bharatavarsha. This is the Way to Peace, Joy and eternal Welfare. There is no other way. Onward upon this Path. God be with you. May you reach the other shore - Immortality.
Om Tat Sat
Yours in Sri Gurudev
1st May 1964
Sivanandashram Letter No. IX