Yajna reflection questions
Sowmya Gopal
113

  1. The evolution of true shravana is seva, selfless service. If shravana gives us the knowledge of Truth, Seva is the highest expression of our integration and understanding of that Truth. The way in which one serves is a testimony to the maturity of their Vision. Why are they serving? How are they serving? Are they attentive to details or careless? How do they react in the face of praise and what about blame? When we listen to the Scriptures with a sincere heart, our intellect automatically becomes keen and the shravana evolves to manana, reflection. Through continuous reflection and analysis upon what has been heard, manana evolves to nidhidhyasana, conscious integration of the teaching into our lives. The continuous practice of nidhidhyasana makes Seva a spontaneous and natural external expression of our internal Vision. Just like evolution is not forced, true Seva also is not forced but just the natural progression of a seeker.
  2. The three strings indicate thought, word, and deed and they are bound together by the Brahma granthi, the knot of Brahman. Thus, it indicates that our thoughts, words, and deeds are to be inspired by the Highest Vision and thereby, aligned. When we increase purity at the thought, word, and action level and simultaneously increase unity by having the courage to act in accordance with what we know is right, we will experience Divinity. Purity + Unity in thought, word, and deed = Divinity.
  3. We have a debt to our parents in this lifetime that cannot be repaid no matter how much we try. They are one of the greatest gifts Bhagavan has given us in this lifetime, not only for our physical needs, but also as a means for vasana ksaya and self-development. There are three ways I practice appreciating them (trying)- 1) acknowledging how much they have knowingly and unknowingly done for me. It is easy to take for granted the privilege we have in our lives and this deservership and entitlement only keeps us farther from feeling Bhagavan’s love. Moreover, personally speaking, my parents are my gurus because their love and faith in Bhagavan has inspired me on my own path. 2) knowing my duties towards them and following through in small and big ways with the desire to keep them as happy as possible (ie. prioritizing them). 3) Helping them grow spiritually. By sharing my own growth and always using interactions with them as an opportunity to engage in satsangh, our relationship really improves. Case and point- for the first time, my mother attended this morning’s discourse 😊
  4. While we have many experiences in life that can elicit the mind to feel joy, invoking joy is a completely internal phenomenon. Here, we seek to experience a joy that is uniquely related to our selves. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about self-love- realizing that if loving and being loved makes me happy, then self-love should produce the highest kind of happiness where there is no longer a need to seek outside. But if we love ourselves, the expression of that is doing what is good for our self lovingly. SO. Nowadays, I’ve started eating on time, drinking more water, taking medicines on time, etc. I would do these same actions before but they were a burden then. This attitude of self-love is what invokes joy, not the actions themselves which functionally cater to the BMI. It is the feeling that I can do good for my Self and right by my Self which is so empowering! And in trying to evoke joy, I am trying to continue seeing everyone I interact with as Bhagavan from the RAW. The quality of my interactions fundamentally improve, and I can tell that those I interact with leave feeling happier and more uplifted.
  5. Jealousy is an experience of great agitation that is mind produced and intellect resolved. If you are jealous of someone else’s pleasure, possession, or position, then 1) Gain clarity. When you truly reflect on why you want what you want, most of the time we realize that the reasons are quite selfish and silly. When you realize there is nothing truly sincere or meaningful about your desire, it won’t be something you will value in the long-term, and thus not worth being agitated over. 2) Gain contentment. Reflect on what you already have and how much it has added to your life. By feeling the waves of gratitude that the intellect elicits in the mind, you will automatically enter a state of peace. 3) Gain conviction. Be established and firm in your decision to prioritize peace. When you do so, you will spend more time focusing on what is important to you. I find jealousy over someone’s positive qualities and attributes to be more interesting than jealousy over the the 3Ps. We desire to be more disciplined, more hard working, more generous, more patient…but when we see others succeeding where we are failing, we fall into this trap of wishing we could have that quality instantly and being envious of their capacity. Here we must immediately stop and 1) appreciate their efforts / encourage them 2) appreciate our own efforts and “hasten slowly” 3) ask for help as needed to become better. If we can transform envy to admiration and true reflection, then we are that much closer to our goal and we become more loving just by that exercise.
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