Directions for Spiritual Practice by Swami Ishwaranand Giri
Masters have likened Samvit Saadhana to the sacred Bilva leaf, held in holy Trinity, made up of three petals, established in three principals, nutured by three emotional states, liberating the soul from three obstructions to Truth.
“if you follow ‘samvit sadhana’ your activities will not bind or restrict you. Your emotions will be in perfect harmony with the cosmic tune”
The Samvit logo “Tanmayo Bhavet” means “Be One With That”. Taken from the Mundaka Upanishad, the phrase is an illuminating reminder to man that he should not preoccupy himself with catering to the needs and whims of his gross body alone. Instead, he should be constantly absorbed in the contemplation of his atmaswarupa, till he loses all awareness of his petty self and becomes totally identified with It!
But this is no easy task. In order to arrive at this realization, a lot of preparation is needed. Metaphorically speaking, the seeker of the Absolute Truth has to turn into an arrow, as it were, to aim at the distant target of Brahman, represented in the logo by a sixteen -petal flower. It is only when he propels himself with utmost vigilance through the bow of his sadhana that he can hope to become “tanmay” or totally one with the target! In other words, it is only when the sadhak lives every moment in total awareness of his goal and therefore, shapes or sculpes every though, word and deed with this lofty objevtive in mind, that he can, one day, become a “jeevanmukta”, or one who has merged totally with the Supreme, even though he is embodied.
The deer in the logo tell us that, just like the musk deer wanders hither and thither looking for the source of fragrance that lies within itself, man also rushes around in the jungle of short – lived worldly pleasures, looking for the peace and bliss that actually lie within him.
The sixteen – petal flower, which stands for Brahmajnan or Realisation, can also be interpreted as the thousand- petalled lotus representing the Sahasrahar – chakra of the psychic body of man. When this chakra opens out, when this lotus blooms, the sadhak is filled with inner bliss and he becomes a liberated being!
“ One – fourth of ‘ avidya’ will go throgh a deep study of spiritual scriptures”
Almost 16 centuries ago, Bhashyakara Acharya Shankara wrote in – depth commentaries on our sacred scriptures to acquaint the confused sadhak with the Eternal Knowledge they contained, so that he could extricate himself from the web of delusion and experience the Bliss within!
Hailing from the same glorious lineage, Param Poojya Shri Swami Iswarananda Girija Maharaj stressed repeatedly that Samvit – Sadhana requires purification of the intellect. He pointed out that the dirt ( mala ) gathered due to ignorance ( avidya) becomes a natural obstruction to corrent perception and thereby, to spiritual progress. According to Poojya Swamiji, half of this avidya is erased by associating with holy people ( sajjana ), one – fourth is removed through the sadhak’s own intuition and sadhana, while the remaining onefourth goes through regular study of the scriptures.
To encourage the novice sadhak to undertake this formidable task of studying our ancient texts and pondering upon the Truth they contain, the path of Samvit – Sadhana outlined by Swamiji, had two novel, interactive methods of learning – Swadhayaya and Vimarsha. Sadhaks read an assigned text and tried to assimilate its purport before the actual Swadhyaya meeting, when the Guru de – mystified the content and further, cleared any doubts the assembled sadhaks might have had. At a Vimarsha session, a shloka or any section of a scriptural text was taken and the sadhaks were ancouraged to probe their intellect and intuition to throw up a host of interpretations and thereby, grow in unison!
Needless to add, both these unique learning methods introduced by Poojya Swamiji, make the sadhak aware that however enlightened or compassionate his Guru may be, he himself has to persevere diligently on the uphill road to self – discovery. It is only then he will receive Grace in abundance...
“To love God is the most natural instinct of man’s deepest being”
Just like a caring Mother, Param Poojya Swami Shri Iswarananda Giriji Maharaj has taught sadhaks how to express their devotion to the Guru and their chosen deity through different forms of Upasana. A seeker may have genuine bhakti, but it is only when the Guru guides him about the various forms of worship by which that bhakti can be channelised, that the sadhak’s concentration deepens and he is able to rise to higher levels of awareness.
Every dawn at the Samvit Sadhanayana is, therefore, heralded by the blowing of the conch and the ringing of the temple bells, to wake Lord Somanatha gently. He is then bathed, adorned with sandalwood paste and flowers and as the melodious chant of mantras fills the air, worshipped with the traditional “dhoop, deepa, naivedya” (incense, lamps and the sanctified food offered to the deity).
Once a sincere sadhak has understood how these rituals help to improve his focus and deepen his devotion, he is able to invest the same sincerity and piety in everythings he undertakes to do, thus turning work into workship! It is to drive home this significant aspect of Samvit – Sadhana and to give every sadhak an opportunity to workship a Form of his choice. Param Poojya Sawamiji has installed Shri Rajarajeshwari, the tewlve sacred Jyotirlingas, Shri Navagrahas and the Shri Gauri Mandir, within the precincts of the Shri Somanatha Mandir.
Maha Shivaratri, Shankara Jayanti, Guru Poornima and Sharad Poornima are just some of the important festivals celebrated at the Samvit Sadhanayana with great reverence and joy. Devotees from all over the country and abroad, flock to Mount Abu to pay homege to Poojya Swamiji and to partake of the infectious bliss that fills the very air on these special occasions!
“In order to derive spiritual sensitivity, we expose ourselves to the influence of Nature”
The Samvit – Sadhana detailed by Param Poojya Swamiji lays great emphasis on the Ashtamoorty Upasana. The living forces of the Earth, Air, Fire, Sky, Water, Sun, Moon and the True Self, or the Divinity within us are focused upon and worshipped. On the material plane, this form of open – eyed meditiation serves to make us aware of and grateful for these magnificent gifts of Mother Nature and sows within us the urge to nurture and protect them from senseless carnage.
On the spiritual plane, this form of worship makes us slowly, but surely, understand that the microcosm within us in but a replica of the macrocosm without. This awareness, as it deepens and expands, helps the sadhak to shed the trappings of his petty ego and qualifies him to merge blissfully and effortlessly with the Supreme Self – that Nameless, Formless, All- Pervading and Infinite Universal Energy.
By Personally conducting such ‘ Consciousness – raising’ meditation sessions,Poojya Swamiji has invoked in all His devotess an abiding love and respect for all the cosmic forces that nurture our sensibilities and that are, in the Absolute sence the Whole of which we are an indelible and important Part! Santa Sarovar at Mount Abu and the Dhyana – Mandapam at Tiruvannamalai are particularly adapted and naturally gifted to suit such programmes.
“When you meditate upon a paricular sound symbol (‘mantra’) or a form symbol (‘rupa’), the joyous rapport (‘rasa’) of that experience will gradually take you beyond the need of that ‘mantra’ or the ‘rupa’”
A saint who can be truly described as Love and Compassion Incarnate, Param Poojya Swami Shri Iswarananda Giriji Maharaj has initiated a lot of devotees to take their first step forword on their spiritual quest, by giving them mantra – deeksha. Once a sadhak is deemed fit to receive this sacred mantra by his Guru, his sadhana gains fresh impetus, for the mantra becomes the stepping stone for him to meditate, for him to begin his ‘inward journey’ to discover his True Self.
The transaction from saguna upasana, or the worship of a chosen deity with individual attributes to nirguna upasana, or the worship of Divinity in its Formless State, is neither easy nor possible without an Enlightened and encouraging Guru to guide you when you falter, or to pick you up when you fall prey to some distraction, or disturbance, en route. It is only because Liberated Sages like Poojya Swamiji willingly take on the burden of helping and redeeming human beings trapped on the merry-go-round of maya, that hundreds of devotees have become sadhaks in real earnest, doing their upasana, mantra-japa with great joy and regularity, even as they perform their duties and shoulder their responsibilities in their work life.