Out of your Mind! | Bhaja Govindam 22nd stanza

(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6th batch)

Rathya charpata virachita kanthah, punyaapunya vivarjita panthah
Yogi yoganiyojita chittah, ramate baalanmattavadeva || 22 ||

Meaning: That seeker who walks this path lives his life in his minimum to that extent that they wear clothes that are stitched out of rags. He has gone beyond punya (merits) and apunya (demerits). A yogi who has lived thus, in communion with bliss, revels in joy like a child or like a mad man.

Some of these verses look odd because we are trying to translate it to English for our understanding and deep philosophical thoughts in Sanskrit cannot be given justice when translated into any other language.

The first line represents a person who has given up desires both mentally and physically. There are such people who live on bear minimum. They pick up rags from the roads and stitch it into a cloth. Basically, what is being conveyed is a person who is totally detached from the world. Such a person is neither affected by the results of meritorious actions nor by demeritorious actions. An example that we discussed earlier will give more clarity. In the case of a magnet, the point at its core is neither positive nor negative. When a person has attained such a balance of mind, he goes beyond merits and demerits. But law of Karma says, ‘Every action will yield a corresponding result’. In that case, the case of realized person contradicts the law. How’s it possible?

We undertake any activity with a noble or ignoble desire. All our actions are prompted by good or bad desires. As a result, when we are attached to the actions, we get attached to the results too. However, a Yogi (Self-Realised Master) has reached such a point where he has got no desire left. As far as he is concerned, he has got nothing more to do in this world. When they do any action, it definitely yields results; but they are not attached to the results. When we are not attached to something, it cannot affect us. It’s like how we are not affected by the people dying at some other part of the world. If someone in our country dies, we get little affected; someone in our building dies, we are very much affected.

Meritorious actions are required to cleanse our past wrong actions and to purify us. But we need to train ourselves from getting detached to even meritorious actions. Or else, we can get affected by them too. E.g. We support a great social cause, but nobody appreciates us. Instead some of them come and point our mistakes. What would we do in that case? Most of us would withdraw from the activity next time or atleast feel bad that people are not recognizing our work. The incidents can be very small, even like sending write up by email to many friends. After sending it, the mind can go often to check the inbox to see if people have commented on it. On noticing a positive comment, we experience certain amount of joy. That is a result of our attachment towards a meritorious action. We should keep a constant check on our own mind and see the instances where it’s getting happy or sad.

Last part of the verse is strange. Such a yogi lives like a child and a mad person. A child always lives in the present. He has got neither regrets of the past nor any anxiety about the future. He is only concerned with the present – Here & Now. Children are always happy because they live in the present. We need to learn this from them.

There’s this beautiful movie ‘Peaceful Warrior’ (based on the true life story of Dan Millman) where Socrates (the mentor) tells Dan Millman (the athlete) – “Take out the trash in here (pointing to his head). That’s the first part of your training”. At another part of the movie Dan thinks Socrates is crazy and tells him, “You are out of your mind, you know that?” Socrates’ reply is, “It’s taken a lifetime of practice. Take out the trash Dan. The trash is anything that is keeping you from the only thing that matters – this moment…Here…Now. And when you truly are in the Here and Now, you will be amazed at what you can do and how well you can do it.” The dialogues carry deeper meanings than the punch of it.

A mad man has lost control within his mind. A person of realization is beyond mind. We operate from our mind and hence cannot accept anything that is strange. These Masters do not operate from their mind. It’s difficult to understand them. We saw the example of Hastamalaka who the villagers thought was mad. Another example would be of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who used to act like a mad person. People used to think he is mad. His actions would be very strange. Sometimes he would prostrate his own photo. When someone asked him why he did such a bizarre thing, he said, “When the photo was taken, that man was in Samadhi. So I should respect that photo” The levels in which these people operate or the dimensions, in which they live, cannot be understood by a common man. And such a person, whom people called mad man, gifted the world Swami Vivekananda. Think! Who is really mad? A person who acts mad or a person who cannot understand such a person?

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