Varanaasi Subrahmanya Shaasthry spoke for long on two types of
inquirers at the present time and the conflict between the two,
namely, the Shaasthravaadhins (expounders of scriptures) and
Buddhivaadhins (expounders of intellectual reasoning). He said the
former accepted the wisdom of the ancients as recorded in the
Shaasthras, as authentic and authoritative, and the latter
preferred to follow the path of reason, and take as authoritative
only such things as will satisfy their logic. Of course, he showed
the defects of the latter group of people by taking a number of
examples and exposing the fallacies of the Buddhivaadhins. He
quoted profusely from the scriptural texts and made his discourse
abstruse and scholarly. I feel that most of what he said went
above your heads and so you have missed the crux of what he wanted
Buddhi (intellect) revels in discussion and disputation; once
you yield to the temptation of dialectics, it takes a long time
for you to escape from its shackles and efface it and enjoy the
bliss which comes from its nullification. You must all the while
be aware of the limitation of reason. Logic must give way to Logos
and deduction must yield place to devotion. Buddhi can help you
only some distance along the Godward path; the rest is illuminated
by intuition. Your feelings and emotions warp even your thought
processes; and reason is made by them into an untamed bull. Very
often, egoism tends to encourage and justify the wildness, for a
person is led along the wrong path by his very reason, if that is
the path he likes! You very often come to the conclusion you want
Scriptures are only Road Maps or Guide Books
Unless you are extra careful to examine the very process of
reasoning, even while the process is going on, there is the danger
that you may be following only the trail you yourself have laid
down. Reason can be tamed only by discipline, by systematic
application of the yoke, the nose-string, the whip, etc. That is
to say, by means of Dhaya, Shaantham, Kshaama, Sahana (compassion,
calmness, forbearance, endurance), etc. Train it to walk quietly
along small stretches of road at first and then, after you have
become sure of its docility, you can take it along the tortuous
road of the sixfold temptations: the road of lust, anger, greed,
delusion, pride and jealousy.
Bhasmaasura got vast power through the grace of God, even the
power to burn into ash any one on whose head he placed his hand;
but his instincts had not been tamed, his reason had not been
purified, and so, in his greed and egoism, he tried to reduce the
very giver of the gift into ashes!
The Shaasthras are only road maps; they are guide books at
best, describing the road and giving the directions for the
journey. It is the actual journey that will reveal the hardships,
the delays, the landslips and the potholes, as well as the beauty
of the scenery encountered and the magnificence of the final goal.
No second-hand account can equal the firsthand experience.
Moreover, the Shaasthras might speak about a thing in many
different ways, just to elaborate it for better understanding;
even the Vedhas extol a thing in ten different poetic forms, from
different angles and standpoints; but some scholars try to treat
each such statement as distinct and as having a different
connotation; and so they add to the confusion, rather than reduce
Both have good Points as well as Limitations
The symbols on the map are interpreted differently by different
scholars according to their preconceived notions, predilections
and pet theories. So the Shaasthravaadhins too are not always
right; they can be led astray by the desire to score a point over
their adversary; they belong to certain schools of thought and
this too acts as a brake on their freedom to seek and know the
real meaning of the Shaasthras.
I am neither a Shaasthravaadhin nor a Buddhivaadhin. I am a
Premavaadhin (expounder of love). So, I have no conflict with
either the scholar who adheres to texts or the devotee of reason.
Both have their good points as well as their limitations. If you
acquire Prema, then you can dispense with the Shaasthras, for the
purpose of all the Shaasthras is just that: to create the feeling
of Sarvajana samaana prema (equal love for all); and to negate
egoism which stands in the way. Reason too, if it comes in the way
of this love, is to be discarded as 'perverted'.
All the time and energy spent in pursuing the Shaasthras are a
sheer waste, if study and reflection do not help you to recognise
that the mind is worse than a drunken monkey. Pilgrimages too are
for elevating the heart, sublimating the impulses and leading the
lower self to higher levels of thought and action. Reason serves
the same purpose, or at least, it ought to. Reason seeks to know
the unity of the universe, the origin and goal of it all, the laws
that govern the Anu (microcosm) and Bruhath (macrocosm); and it
peeps behind the ever-receding curtain to get a glimpse of the
Suuthradhaara (puppeteer), who pulls the strings.
Do not run after devious Desires
Do not engage yourself in Ichchaa krishi (the cultivation of or
the promotion of wants and desires). That is the never-ending
process of sowing and reaping; you will never reach contentment;
one desire when satisfied will fan the thirst for ten more. This
year is named Vikaari (crooked)! So, be warned! Do not run after
devious desires or crooked satisfactions. All roads leading to the
realm of the senses are tortuous and blind; only the road that
leads to God is straight. Cultivate Neethi (the path of
straightforwardness) in everything. That will reveal the Aathma.
Neethi will enable you to overcome the three Gunas. The treatment
you have to give these Gunas is to grind them to paste so that a
new taste of Aanandha might emerge; just as you grind salt,
chillies and tamarind together to get tasty chutney for your meal.
No single Guna should dominate; all must be tamed and diverted to
fill the lake of Aanandha.
It is the internal Aanandha that matters, not the external, the
sensory, the objective, the worldly. If the inner poise or inner
equilibrium is undisturbed by external ups and downs, that is real
success. Every day is the same as another, the rising and the
setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the
seasons, etc., but when 365 days are over, we call it a new year
and give it a new number; but the sun and the moon are unaffected
by it. Be like the sun and the moon. Do not care whether they ring
out the old year or ring in the new.
Train the Mind to disperse the Clouds
No one need do anything positive to discover the Aathma; when
the 'cover' of illusion is denied and destroyed, it will reveal
itself in all its glory. What is needed is the removal of the fog,
the cloud, the miasma, and the casting off of all the clinging
curtains that limit the self into the body and its adjuncts. How
to remove the fog? How to clean the mirror so that the Aathma may
be reflected clearly and without distortion? The mind that makes
you believe in Shaasthras as the ultimate authority and Buddhi
which make you believe that reason is the supreme authority - both
have to be scrubbed and polished; they get tarnished pretty quick!
They require constant attention. Like a brass vessel that has to
be scrubbed with tamarind and washed and dried so that it may
shine like new, the mind too has to be treated ever with goodness
and service, repetition of the name of the Lord, execution of
beneficial plans, taking up good deeds and contemplation of the
welfare of all.
The Sun is up here in the sky; it is the passing cloud that
hides him from your vision. The sensory world is the cloud that
hides the Aathma, ever shining in the firmament of your heart. The
same mind that gathers the clouds can also disperse them in an
instant; for it is as the wind which collects them from all the
quarters and renders the sky dark; and the next moment, changing
direction, sends them in a scurry to wherever they came from!
Train the mind to disperse the clouds, not to gather them. Every
aspirant has to do this by following a systematic discipline.
You cannot reach the peak in one jump; it is a hard job to
negate the evidence of the senses; one has to overcome the
tendencies that have grown through hundreds of births. The world
is an illusion and all is Brahman only for one who has reached the
ultimate goal; but until realisation dawns, one has to wait
patiently, hoping and preparing. The growing baby cannot be fed on
adult food; you have to adjust the food to the needs and
capabilities of the child. You should not overdo or avoid doing
anything. Both lead to disease and ruin health.
Develop Bliss through cultivation of Love
I do not consider Shaasthra Vaadha (intellectual scholarship)
as very essential for the spiritual aspirant. I advise you to
develop Aanandha (bliss), not through these difficult and even
doubtful means, but through the cultivation of Prema (love), which
begins in the home and family and spreads to all creatures. Put
down the sharp-edged weapon that seeks to analyse and chop the
arguments of the opponent, to cut his point of view to pieces.
Take up the Laddu (sweet pudding) of love which spreads joy and
wins over recalcitrant hearts.
That is My path, the path of Prema along which I shall take
you. That is why I offer My visiting card to every one of you when
you come to Me. I know your name, your degrees, your profession,
your status and your history. But you do not know mine. I have no
need to know all about you from a perusal of your cards; but I
want you to know something of My glory; and so I give you a
glimpse of it, as a Mahima (divine miracle). But I also give you
enough of My Prema so that you can mix a little of it with
whatever you do or feel or think and make it sweet and palatable.