By Swami Tejomayananda
The Lord advises Arjuna, “Give your mind wholly to Me (mammana bhava). Be My devotee (madbhaktah). Worship Me (madyaji). Prostrate to me (mamnamaskuru). Make me your Supreme Goal (matparayanah).
The Lord implies that ‘if you unite your mind thus with Me, you will certainly reach Me’. There is nothing egoistic about this shloka. It is just a simple statement of fact – if you unite your mind with Me, you will not stray anywhere else.
There are two kinds of goals in life – the ultimate goal and the immediate specific goal. Each person may have a different goal in life. One may want to be a political leader or a great artist, another scientist or an educationist. The goal can be a time bound one, a long term goal or a short term one. It can be a temporary or a permanent goal. Whether we are talking about the goal in the external work-a-day world or the inner spiritual goal, the secret of attaining it, is pointed out in this shloka.
Let us see how to apply the message of this shloka. Suppose a devotee wants to realize God. “Fix your mind on Me – (mammana bhava)”. In the 12th Chapter of the Gita also Bhagavan Sri Krishna, emphasises the same point – ‘mayyeva mana adhatsva mayi buddhim nivesaya’ -just fix your mind upon Me and engage all your intelligence in Me. This is the first step. Whenever we want to achieve anything or reach anywhere, a resolve should be there first. Thus mammana bhava means ‘Give your thoughts and mind to Me’.
In this world, we give many things, in cash or kind, but we never give our mind. Even when we do sashtanga namaskara, ‘sashtanga’ is Sa Ashta Anga, that is eight parts of the body are in contact with the ground as prostration to the Almighty. The eight parts are: forehead, two shoulders, two hands, two legs & the mind. One of the eight limbs is our mind. Unfortunately, we never give our mind.
When people come from other city or country, they politely ask us what they can get for us. We tend to give a “big list”. Finally, when a person arrives without the things we asked for, we are disappointed. This is so even within a family, because generally most people are interested more in what is brought than in the person.
The Lord also asks, I want your mind – only your mind, without any reservations”. Then he says, “madbhaktah – your heart should also be given to Me, all the love that your capable of, pour unto Me”. It is always found that when we love some thing, it is never a burden to us.
If you find job that you love, you do not have to work a single day of your life, because the work itself turns into joy, it is not labour anymore. If you work for someone you love, then again the work becomes a joy. Always check out whether your work is ‘job’ or a ‘joy’ -when there is love, working becomes easy.
People complain that their mind keeps wandering while doing meditation ( japa), but when it comes to counting money, the mind is very attentive and does not wander, because there is love for money! Hence the problem lies not in lack of concentration, but in the lack of love.
Love is a peculiar thing; it cannot be forced, neither bought nor can one demand love at gunpoint. So how can we learn to love God? When you love something or someone, you spend more time with thing or person. The reverse process is also true – when you start spending time or something (like music), you discover subtle joys in it, when you spend more time with someone, you develop attachment for that person. If you spend time with God, you will learn to love him.
We wonder where to find time for Him! In twenty – four hours, a person spends eight hours in sleep and the remaining sixteen hours with the family, office work, entertainment and every thing else. From the sixteen hours of waking time, keep aside two minutes from each activity; it will amount to half an hour. Devote this half hour exclusively to God.
You can do anything in this allotted time – do meditation (japa) or worship (puja), read or listen, but devote this half hour exclusively to God. This is the secret of the Vamana avatara (dwarf Brahman) also. He asked only for three steps of land, but King Bali had to give away everything for those three footsteps for the Lord; in return, the Lord showed him His virata rupa (cosmic from) & gave Himself to the King! When you devote time to it, you realize the joy in it and that is precisely why people are afraid, for they feel that if they give time, the Lord will soon take away all their time!
You may not love it initially, but when you start spending time on it, you will start loving it automatically. This is how people start loving their pets too – by spending time with them. This is also the reason why families are breaking up these days, because people are spending more time at work with their colleagues and developing attachment there, rather than with their families. So develop this equation- If you have love, start spending time and when you start spending time, you discover love. When you discover love for God, the rest is a cake walk!
The Lord says, “Once you give your time and heart, I should become your Ultimate Goal also – matparayanah”. He should become your Supreme Goal, commanding all your reverence and respect. Generally, in our day-to-day life, there is a disparity between the object of our love and the object of our ideal. Though our ideal may be high, we spend time on silly things and thus our mind is kept in the lower realms, like the eagle, which flies very high but with its eyes continually focussed on its prey way below.
Once you have determined your goal in life and given your mind an heart to it, then start worshipping it – madyaji – plunge into action and do what is needed to achieve goal.
Next, Bhagavan says, “Offer namaskar (prostration) to me”. When you do prostration, you do not exist anymore, that goal alone exists – ‘namah’. When we want to sleep, we first become manmana or nidramanah. Then we become nidrabhaktah. We make all the preparations for sleep arrange the pillows and switch off the lights. Then sleep becomes the pram ayanam, the supreme goal. We become worshippers of sleep – madyaji. We surrender to it totally – namaskuru – our will does not remain anymore. In that surrender there is no fear, no ‘I’ (ahankara); we merge in sleep, reach sleep – ‘mamevaisyasi yuktvaivam’!
Substitute your goal for the word ‘Me’, whether it is God or anything else you want to achieve. Nothing else should distract you. In Kathopanishad, Nachiketa was offered many things and was requested not to ask for Self Knowledge, but he stuck to his goal. When Rishi Yajnavalkya offered all his wealth to Maitreyi, she refused to accept it and stuck to her sole goal of wanting to learn the Supreme Truth.
When bhakti, jnana and karma come together in this way, you will definitely achieve your goal and become a successful person. In the professional level also, the same principle works. If you want to be a doctor, then that thought should also exist in the waking hours and even in the dream state. The secret of success lies in the total undivided attention given to your goal; otherwise you become a jack of all trades and master of none. This holds good, whether your goal is spiritual or secular.
Nothing can be achieved in life without devoting time to it. Let us reflect deeply on this and put it in practice, to lead a successful and meaningful life, and achieve what we want.