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75th Anniversary Celebration
of Gurudev's Arrival in Puri
Gurudev at Karar Ashram

Dear Divine Kriyavans,

 

Wednesday June 12, marks the 75th Anniversary of when Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharananda, having left his home in Kolkata, arrived in Puri. This day is auspicious because it marks the departure from his worldly life with all its material pleasures, and a jump into the spiritual fire of renunciation.

 

Paramahamsaji said, "There are many hills; but in every hill you will not get a diamond. There are many forests; but in every forest you will not get a sandalwood tree. There are many monks; but the true realized monk who has penetrated the veil of nature's splendors, who is free from all body senses, worldly attachments, (has) thorough introvert state, and who has penetrated the veil of all religions is extremely rare." Our Gurudev was such a monk.

 

Born into a wealthy brahmin family and to loving parents, Rabindranath became well educated; he had attained a prosperous and respected job. On this day 75 years ago, Rabi left his job, social status, material fortune, and family for the sole purpose of devoting himself to following the path of Self-realization and serving God. Even while following a path of renunciation and detachment, from brahmachari, to acharya, to Swami, to a Master of Kriya Yoga, he continued to serve his parents and to help the most disadvantaged in the community. He would often instruct us to "be calmly active and compassionately detached." 

 

During the month of June we will practice and contemplate what it means
to be compassionately detached from the senses, material
possessions, our bodies, people, and even our thoughts.


Excerpt from River of Compassion 

In the beginning, Rabi lived at the ashram as a paying guest with some degree of freedom. Later, he realized that this worldly freedom must also be sacrificed to attain the ultimate freedom, the highest goal of life. Such attainment bears no trace of suffering or sorrow. Rabi lived as a strict brahmachari, an ashramite, leaving behind his rich, aristocratic, fashionable lifestyle. He gave up all his Western clothes (suits, coats, hats). At first he thought of giving them to poor people. Then he decided against it, for he felt it would create a desire in them for such luxuries, a desire which could lead to unhappiness. So he piled all his material belongings in the southwest corner of the ashram and set fire to them, ceremonially ending the life that he had led since childhood. From that day on he assumed the rigorous ways of a brahmachari, living in seclusion and contemplation. He was known as Brahmachari Rabinarayan, or Rabin Brahmachari. His clothing was white, and his food was the simple food of the ashram. Most of his time he spent in meditation, but he also participated in all ashram activities.

 


 
In River of Compassion it is beautifully described how Brahmachari Rabinarayan, realizing that attachment to material pleasures must be sacrificed to attain God-realization, set fire to all his material possessions when he joined the Karar Ashram.

In the Holy Bible it is said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

 

  

What is attachment?

 

In Path of Love, Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji describes, "Attachment is an emotional stagnation that holds us anchored in the past. Attachment hinders growth and causes unhappiness and depression. Kriya Yoga teaches us to be compassionately detached, from people, places, positions, and even our memory." Gurudev says, "All attachment is bondage, which will remain with you wherever you go."

 

Read in Seek God Alone Baba Prajnananandaji's metaphorical interpretation of teachings from Shri Adi Shankara's Bhaja Govindam, in which he tells how the object of our attachment changes as we grow older; from childhood when we become attached to material objects, to the youthful stage when we become attached to human beings, and finally to old age when we become attached to our thoughts. This attachment is the cause of our misery, and he further explains what we can do to prevent it. 

Attachment to Sense Objects
Gurudev says, "God has given five sense organs to every human being. He has also given the extrovert stages, that is illusion, delusion, and error. Our five sense organs are our enemies, but you are to make friendship with them."  

 

Read in Life and Values what Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji says about detachment from objects and the senses.


Excerpt from Words of Wisdom  

 

A beggar goes from door to door and begs. At the end of the day he returns home and checks his bag to see what he has collected throughout the day. "O God! Similarly, our whole life has become like the life of a beggar, trying to collect material objects and sense objects from door to door, and forgetting Thee, O Lord!" In the evening of his life he sees what is inside his bag - no valuables, but dust alone. The dust represents material sense objects. His life becomes sorrowful because he has forgotten God and has collected useless things his whole life.

 

Please do not be like that foolish person. Please try to realize your own divinity, your own soul, through the beautiful technique of Kriya Yoga.

 

 

 

In Words of Wisdom, Gurudev tells the story of a beggar, who because of his attachment to material and sense objects forgets God, his oneness with the Divine, and the sole purpose of life. 
Excerpt from The Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kriya Yoga,  Chapter 3 - Verse 25

 

saktāh karmaņy avidvāmso

yathā kurvanti bhārata

kuryād vidvāms tathā 'saktaś

cikīrsur lokasamgraham

 

Translation

 

O Bharata (Arjuna)! A person of delusion acts with attachment to action, but the wise person acts with detachment for the evolution (welfare) of the world.

 

Metaphorical Interpretation

 

Work should be done with love, not with attachment. Right action leads to detachment. Attachment is the cause of all troubles. Attachment is bondage. If you want freedom, remain compassionately detached.

 

Deluded people are busy with objects and matter. Their life's purpose is to eat, drink, and be merry. They do not feel the soul working through the body; they think the gross body is working by itself. People of illumination attain Self-realization and know that no one can eat, drink, or be merry without the soul. Realized people know that all thoughts come from God. They try to teach others how to go from delusion to illumination.
 

 



In Gurudev's metaphorical interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3, verse 25), he explains that we should perform all actions with love and knowledge that it is God working in the body through the soul and not through attachment.


He tells us, "Whenever a person is seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, eating, talking, working, doing, moving, or enjoying, it is always done by the power of God."
Attachment to People
It is common for people to confuse the attachment they feel towards their loved-ones with love; whether it be parents for their children, or between a husband and wife.  

Excerpt from Path of Love - Love is not Attachment

 

 People are often concerned about being attached to their children. Love is not attachment. Love your children, but do not be attached. While a newborn baby needs to be physically close to his parents, a growing child can never be held as close. Attachment becomes less physical and more emotional. As the child matures, emotional attachment must be modified to make room for independence to sprout. Yet the love that joins your family should grow stronger and more solid with the passing of time

In Path of Love, Baba Prajnananandaji tells it is possible to love others without being attached

From Attachment to Non-Attachment

Excerpt from Daily Reflections - The State of Non-Attachment 

 

Non-attachment is the ability to fully appreciate something, without clinging to it in a possessive way.

 

If one day we visit a peaceful, beautiful place, away from the noise of the city, and the next day we have to leave, we should do so happily, glad in our heart to have known such a place.

 

We should enjoy the time we spent there, and learn to let go when it is time to move on. This is the state of non-attachment.

 

On the other hand, if we become attached to a place, we will feel pain when we depart.

 

If we become partial to a person, place or thing, a part of our being remains attached, and we can no longer live as a whole being. If we want to live a complete life, we must be free from this form of attachment. Appreciate everything, but refrain from possessiveness.

 

My own Guru taught me to remain compassionately detached. The moment we become passionately attached, we are in trouble.



In Daily Reflections, Baba Prajnananandaji describes the state of non-attachment.

Excerpt from My Time with the Master - Divinity Manifested through Renunciation

 

One day as Gurudev and I were traveling through Orissa, we saw a monk who was nearly 126 years old. His name was Vishwanath Baba. He belonged to an order of monks called Alekh Sampradaya. They believe in a formless God, and do not worship any deity. These monks travel only on foot and when they become very old, they are taken in a hand-drawn rickshaw, pulled by a devotee. When we happened to pass the rickshaw in which this monk was traveling, Baba could not stop the car, but from his seat he folded his hands and bowed down with devotion and high regard. He took this opportunity to teach me that by sharing the company of a holy man, a person should be inspired by the virtue of non-attachment or vairagya, love for God and a spirit of renunciation. A dedicated monk was the true ideal of renunciation; therefore a person who has lived such a long life as a monk was really truly remarkable. He quoted,

 

"sādhunām darśanam punyam"

 

To be in the presence of an enlightened person helps to transform our mind. It is even more uplifting to sit near them and to listen to their teaching. Most fortunate are those who can serve them physically.

 



Being in the presence of a holy person or at the feet of the Master can help one to develop vairagya (dispassion towards worldly enjoyments).

In My Time with the Master, Baba Prajnananandaji recounts an experience with Gurudev that taught him how being in the presence of a monk, who is the epitome of renunciation, can inspire in oneself the virtue of non-attachment.
 


Excerpt from Songs of the Mystics - Mystical Teachings of Paramahamsa Hariharananda

 

To Be Free From Attachment 

prithivir maya katabo bale udasir saja sejechhi ma ami

o ma eito bahire esechi ma go ar to ghare yabona ma ami

viday dau ma hasi mukhe

jai chali ami maner sukhe

o ma tor mahamantra japibo bale udasir saja sejechhi ma ami

 

Translation

O Divine Mother, to untie my attachment with this world,

I have accepted the clothes of renunciation.

O Divine Mother, I have just come out of the house.

I will not go back again.

Say good-bye with a smiling face,

Let me go with my inner contentment.

O Divine Mother, to sing your mahamantra,

I have accepted the clothes of renunciation.

  

Explanation

"O my Mother, you sent me to this world. You directed me with this beautiful body and mind. Being in the world, this worldly allurement created temptation in my heart. I forgot you, and I got attached to this world. I realize now that this is all the play of maya. I want to get rid of it. I have been thinking about what to do. I want to decorate myself with new clothes. They are the clothes of udasi, the clothes of renunciation, the clothes of indifference."

 

"O my Mother, previously I was running toward worldly objects, but slowly I am learning to remain detached and indifferent to all these things. I look at these objects, and sometimes I smile at myself for how foolish I was to look at them, forgetting you. O my Mother, I do not need these objects any more. These red-colored clothes of renunciation represent the red color of your feet. It is my hope, and firm belief, that you will give me a place at your feet."

  



In our lives we become attached to everything; to objects of the senses, wealth and power, people, our bodies, and even our thoughts, but how many are attached to God?

We are forgetting God.

In Songs of the Mystics, Gurudev translates a beautiful song to the Divine Mother about a person, having realized his attachment to this world, is accepting the path of sannyasa and renunciation so that he can give himself entirely to God.

If we must be attached, let us be attached to God.
 

In Freedom from Fear, Baba Prajnananandaji offers this prayer:

 

With love, with an earnest inner prayer, pray, "O God, give me detachment. Give me understanding. Give me love. Give me a kind understanding heart, a balanced mind, and the spirit of introspection and self-analysis that is needed to live with inner detachment. Help me to be compassionately detached and inwardly free. Outwardly I must play in the world, but, O Lord, let me do it with detachment. Bless me; guide me in every step of my life."

 

Gurudev, Shri Paramahamsa Hariharananda prays, "O Soul! You are always with me. Please help me to overcome the attraction of lower nature and to merge in the Divine."
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