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Sunday, December 8, 2019

What to do in difficult situations + 4 more


What to do in difficult situations


This letter addresses – in a universal manner – key points for helping those grieving or suffering the loss of any kind. Here we shall review Baba’s teachings on this important matter and understand our Ananda Marga perspective.

List of do's & don'ts

First is a brief review of techniques to properly serve those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Here is a summary listing of the main points:
  • The greatest harm a person can do under these circumstances is to disregard the grieving family. There is no excuse for never going over to their house or meeting place to console them. Such apathy is unconscionable. One should show up. That in itself is a sign of support. Not going means not caring. So it is important to arrive on-site and stay for some time. If you are very close to the grieving family you may stay with them a few days; if you are less close then you may stay an hour or two. The main thing is to recognise their loss by being present, for at least a little while.
  • Upon arrival if you see that the mourning family is crying, first simply sit down, and, if socially appropriate, place a comforting hand on their shoulder, otherwise your presence alone is enough.
  • Allow them to cry; never tell them ‘not to cry’.
  • Gently try to divert their mind away from their loss.
  • Do not talk about or praise the deceased and do not give a philosophical sermon on how one day we all die and that this world is ephemeral.

Don’t allow crying visitors near

  • This is the worst time to speak about the deceased because it multiplies the pain of their loss.
  • Do offer water or other sentient beverages – in a very psychological way – to the family members of the deceased to divert their mind and break the cycle of their grief.
  • Be sure to remain with the grieving family members; do not leave them alone. They need support and your company.
  • Do maintain mental stability in the presence of those in mourning; don’t allow emotional, grief-stricken visitors to burst out in tears near the grieving family.
  • If anyone coming to console the bereaved family is crying, they should be stopped at the door and not allowed near the family. Only when that visitor stops crying should they be allowed to enter.
  • At an appropriate moment, when their grieving has subsided, try to divert everyone’s attention towards collective spiritual practice. Slowly start to sing Prabhat Samgiita and kiirtan, and conduct a dharmacakra including a Baba story. This is all to be done at the residence or place where the grieving family is mourning.

At the time of cremation

In due course, the body of the deceased should be brought to the cremation grounds. In Ananda Marga, the system is to carry the body silently; one should not talk or raise the slogan while carrying the body for cremation. Upon arrival at the site, bhajans, kiirtan, and collective ishvara pranidhan should be done; then the actual cremation can be performed. Those are Baba’s guidelines from the chapter, Disposal of the Dead Body, in Caryacarya part 1.

It is important to remember that during the cremation people tend to (a) speak about the glory of the deceased, (b) tell the grieving family members not to cry, and (3) give philosophical reasoning or lectures about the nature of this ephemeral world. All three of these things should be strictly avoided. Baba guides us that we should not behave in this way on the occasion of the cremation. Because it will intensify and exacerbate the suffering of those mourners.

Specifically, regarding those who are crying, we can hold them as a sign of our emotional support; but, we should not tell them not to cry.

Remember, regardless of how difficult and sad the situation is, collective bhajan, kiirtan, and sadhana is the only way to approach this whole issue in a very psychological way. Doing dharmacakra will help calm and soothe everyone’s mind and bring comfort to those in mourning.

Dogma: putting fire in the mouth

In India, it is common to place the fire in the mouth of the dead body. Those who work at the burning grounds often do this. So be careful about this as this is not a respectful approach. It is important to educate those who will be burning the body.

Caryacarya states, “As the practice of putting fire into the mouth of the dead body is repulsive, it should not be encouraged.” (1)

Those in Tibet often chop the body into pieces and then grind it up and leave it in the wild for the animals to eat. This is also a disrespectful and grotesque approach.

Best is for the body to be burned in a sentient and respectful manner according to our Ananda Marga system.

After the actual cremation, announce when the shraddha ceremony will be held. It can be done the very next day or anytime within the allotted 12-day period according to Caryacarya.

Very common mistakes

It is very common around the globe for people to talk about the greatness of the deceased when speaking with the grieving family. People naively think that this is the proper thing to do.

Yet, Baba guides us that this is the worst approach to take as it intensifies the suffering of those mourners. Already they are in woe due to the loss of their loved one, and by speaking about the deceased’s special qualities and attributions, the family is further reminded of the severity of their loss. It makes them feel even more pained. Indeed, if they had stopped crying but are then again reminded of the merits of their loved one, those in mourning will begin sobbing all over again. The entire cycle of tears and misery will be repeated.

So this approach of praising the deceased in front of the family at this particular time is not appropriate, according to Baba. Yet this is what we see happening time and time again. A friend or family member arrives from afar and they glorify the deceased and the fragile mental state of the mourners is set back into a whirlpool of misery.


The approach of Ananda Marga is completely different from the accepted customs; our approach is unique. Baba guides us to psychologically and lovingly divert the person’s mind from the pain of their loss to the thought of the Supreme. This is the only remedy.

As disciples of Lord Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji, we should follow His order; He is the Sadguru. By adhering to His direction and guideline, we will best be able to relieve others of their suffering, by His grace.

in Him,
Madhumay Deva

Teaching Baba’s above guidelines to the grieving family at the time of death is not appropriate. This has to be done ahead of time. That is when people can learn and understand what to do as they are in a balanced state of mind. Then, when tragedy strikes, those in mourning and those consoling the mourners will act in the right way - according to Guru’s teachings. In contrast, if at the time of death, some try to guide others and protest local rituals and norms etc when everyone is grief stricken, that often does more harm than good - and makes the entire atmosphere negative. That is why the only solution is to educate people ahead of time about Baba’s teachings about consoling the grieving party; this should not be done at the moment when a loved one dies and everyone is in a state of grief.

~ In-depth study ~

Sadguru Baba’s teachings explained in the above letter are very appropriate to use in the case of the death of loved ones, as well as in tragedies wherein so many are suffering as their loved ones died. In those times, one should know how to psychically help those in grief. This letter leads in that direction. So this letter is equally relevant for both family life and social life etc. Those who wish to serve in this way should communicate with local funeral homes and help the bereaved family.

English title is wrong in Caryacarya

Unfortunately someone mistranslated chapter 31 of the English edition of Caryacarya part 1. They titled it as “Disposal of the Dead Body.” But this is wrong and inappropriate. In the Hindi and Bengali editions, that chapter is titled as Shava Satka’r, meaning ‘reverence to lifeless body.’ This projects an air of respect and sanctity. But those publishers failed to give it a comparatively respectful title in English. Instead they called it “Disposal of the Dead Body”, as if one is just getting rid of some trash, rubbish, or garbage etc. Steps should be taken to properly title chapter 31 of the English edition of Caryacarya part 1.

1. Caryacarya - 1, chapter 31

*        *        *

The below sections are entirely different topics, unrelated to the above material.
They stand on their own as points of interest.

*        *        *

== Section 2: Important Teaching ==

Tragic tale of Queen Elizabeth

Ananda Marga philosophy states, "England’s Henry the Eighth was an unruly king. Once he came to Paris with the queen. In Paris many kinds of covetable drinks were available, thus when they were in Paris his desire for drink naturally increased. One day, while under the influence of liquor, he beat the queen so mercilessly that one of her legs became practically crippled. For several days she was obliged to drag it behind her as she walked. When the time came they returned to London (In those days they did not call it London but rather Londre in the aristocratic French language). The residents of the city fell head over heels in the nooks and crannies of the royal residence trying to see whether or not the king and queen had brought back any new fashions from Paris. They saw [Queen] Elizabeth dragging her leg and thought perhaps that this kind of walk was some kind of ultra-modern French style. Women have one great quality; they can easily imitate others. Thus it happened that within three to four days most of the women in the aristocratic households were dragging their leg behind them when they walked and taking a lot of pride in it. It is not written in the histories whether they ever discovered what the real story was behind the queen dragging her leg when she walked. Elizabeth’s style of walking while dragging her leg was called the “Elizabethan gait”." (1)

1. Varna Vijiana, Language and Dialect – 2

== Section: Important Teaching ==

Sadhana: How to request God

Here following is an English summary or gist of the below Hindi teaching:

The first stage is getting over the small 'I'. After getting above the small 'I' to some extent, in the second stage, humans should fight against their mental defects. For example, if one is afflicted by some kind of superiority complex, or inferiority complex, one has to combat that.  Some may be afflicted with attachment (moha). So, all these mental defects one is to fight against in the second stage. Humans may possess some will power to fight against these defects but that alone is not enough. One needs to constantly make endeavor to overcome the mental defects. This requires additional strength or power. This power comes from Parama Purusa's grace alone. Sa'dhana' does not provide us with anything. All Sa'dhana' does is facilitate the grace of Parama Purusa. So, one is to ask for the power to fight against his/her mental defects from Parama Purusa. One should earnestly say, "Parama Purusa, I would like to march towards You but I do not have strength in my knees. Please provide me energy and I'll walk towards You.”

चलने की शक्ति ठेहुना में है नहीं | तुम मुझे शक्ति दो

Ananda Marga ideology guides us,  “और, दूसरा स्तर यह है कि जब मनुष्य आपने छोटापन के ऊपर कुछ हद तक उठे हैं, किन्तु उसके बाद जो दूसरा स्तर आएगा उसमें उन्हें क्या करना है ? उनमें जो मानसिक त्रुटियाँ हैं, ख़ामियाँ हैं उनके विरुद्ध उन्हें लड़ाई करनी है | मनुष्य में वह शक्ति कुछ हद तक तो अवश्य ही रहती है | मगर उस शक्ति से पूरा काम नहीं हो सकता है | और यह काम को पूरा करने के लिए उन्हें अधिक से अधिक प्रयास जारी रखना है | इसके लिए और अधिक शक्ति की भी ज़रूरत है | यह शक्ति कहाँ से पाएँगे ? पाएँगे परमपुरुष से ही | पहले कहा गया है कि मनुष्य साधना करते हैं, मगर साधना की बदौलत कुछ पाते नहीं है | पाते हैं परमपुरुष की मेहरबानी की बदौलत, उन्हीं की कृपा से पाते हैं | इसलिए यह काम करने के लिए, परमपुरुष से शक्ति माँगनी है, क़ुव्वत माँगनी है | कहना है--- "परमपुरुष ! मैं तुम्हारी ओर चलना चाहता हूँ | मगर चलने की शक्ति ठेहुना में है नहीं | तुम मुझे शक्ति दो, मैं चलूँगा" |” (1)

1. The Path Unto The Abode of Beatitude, DMC 31 May 1987 Ananda Nagar

== Section: Comment ==

Re: Is samaj groupism

Maybe it can be conveyed that samaj socio economic units can be analogous to cells in the human body  All cells work with one another to make healthy all organs to function properly in a healthy human body. Also if in a human family one single member loses their way and is not disciplined, that family as a whole is weakened and its very existence is threatened. So all remaining family members must run to the aid and rectification of that undisciplined  family member. Similarly samaj socio economic units must work together in dynamic harmony for one healthy spiritually progressive world....and in the distant future our world can eventually contribute to the dynamism and spiritual advancement of The Universe...A Great Universe.


Here is a link to the initial letter on this topic: Is samaj groupism

== Section 3: Links ==

Who is animal: look around + 2 more


Who is animal: look around


All the animals are bound. They are pre-programmed by prakrti (cosmic operative principle). An animal does not think or decide anything on their own. They are dominated by various propensities and instincts, and accordingly they do certain actions. They eat, sleep, run from enemies, procreate, and hibernate etc. Whatever they do, the totality of their actions is governed by the laws of prakrti. Verily, they are slaves of prakrti.

How living beings are bound: slaves & robots of prakrti

Think of it this way. An animal is just like a robot with a different software - and accordingly they act. What is quite shocking to consider, however, is that most humans are in a very similar situation as those animals. The vast majority of people are tightly bound by prakrti and act according to their various vrttis. People mistakenly think that they like this or that - or are free to act etc - but actually their so-called liking is just the activation of their vrttis - nothing more. Seeing the scene of how the large masses of people are utterly bound without realising it, it can all seem quite bleak.

However, there is a small ray of hope. Everyone has been blessed by Parama Purusa with the faculty of vivek. And by using this faculty of rationality, one can become divine, by His grace. Unfortunately, the mass of people completely overlook their sense of vivek and instead run from one desire to the next. Their life becomes just a web of engagements determined by their various vrttis. Essentially theirs is no different from animal life. Verily they are also slaves of prakrti.

Watch out guided by prakrti or viveka

So see the drama how prakrti - the cosmic operative principle - has everything under her control. Nobody is doing anything that she has not programmed them to do - save for a handful of sadhakas.

It is therefore very important to be 100% alert. One should consider whether they are doing as per their vrttis or per their vivek. A sadhaka should be keen to ensure they are living the life of a human and progressing towards divinity, and not just reverting back towards animality - i.e. compulsively acting on their vrttis.

When people are dominated by a particular vrtti - like running after the opposite sex, greed, vanity etc - then that person has completely forgotten who they really are. Running after that vrtti is not the expression of their true self. They think it is, but it is not. That is just the result of being controlled by the cosmic operative principle. By surveying the scene, it all seems quite hopeless as prakrti has such a tight grip upon all.

What is the way out

However, as noted above, there is that ray of hope - i.e. that sense of vivek that is instilled within every person. As one recognises and acts according to their rational faculty they slowly free themselves from prakrti - although no human can free themselves completely and gain liberation by their own efforts. So the secret is to always remember that when you use your vivek and take a tiny step forward on the path of spirituality, then Parama Purusa graciously takes very large steps towards you - or rather He lovingly pulls and draws you towards Him. That is the speciality of His liila.

It is no different from how parents watch and help their infant reach them when that baby is taking its first steps. Always the parents help. And same is the case with Parama Purusa. Those who utilise their vivek and aim to move towards Him will receive His immense grace. And actually Parama Purusa wants people to try. So one should sit in sadhana and put forth effort and engage in all kinds of dharmic life practices as per Sixteen Points. Seeing your sincere effort, He will draw you near. That is the special way for gaining His grace and attaining Him.

Even if it seems like nothing is happening in sadhana, it is important to sit and repeat your Ista mantra. That is all one can do. And the rest is up to Him. And by seeing Your efforts He will certainly be gracious. One should never lose hope or revert to habits of old. Always one should make constant efforts to advance. Then success is sure - by His fathomless grace.


So beware - by not putting forth any effort then He cannot help you. There are millions of jiivas who are not making any efforts towards their emancipation. And if Parama Purusa helps some but not others that would be partiality. But He is never partial. Always He is just and fair to all. That means He only helps those who move towards Him, and all the rest who are doing nothing remain completely bound and programmed by prakrti.

So one should use their vivek and ensure they are moving forward on the dharmic path - then one is sure to escape the clutches and programming of prakrti, and attain Him, by His grace.

at His feet,

~ In-depth study ~

जैसे बच्चा चलते-चलते

Ananda Marga philosophy states, “कोई भी मनुष्य किसी भी हालत में डरें नहीं, घबड़ाएँ नहीं | जैसे बच्चा चलते-चलते गिर जाता है, पिता उठा लेते हैं | और चलने में उसको प्रोत्साहित करते हैं | इसलिए परमपुरुष को कोई जाने चाहे नहीं जाने, कोई देखें चाहे नहीं देखें, परमपुरुष उनके साथ हैं | और वे तो परमपुरुष के सन्तान हैं | इसलिए घबड़ाने का कोई भी कारण, किसी भी मनुष्य को कभी भी, किसी भी हालत में नहीं है | मनुष्य यथाशक्ति चलने की चेष्टा करें | यह जो चेष्टा है, चेष्टा में कमी नहीं चाहिए | और उनकी चेष्टा रहने पर भी, काम पूरा होने में अगर कसर रहा गया | वह कसर पूरा करना परमपुरुष का काम है | अपना काम परमपुरुष समझेंगे |” (1) (Ta'rak Bhrahma ke Sa'th, तारकब्रह्म के साथ, NP, Patna, 1/1/70)

When a child falls into the gutter

Ananda Marga ideology states, “Indeed, the relationship between Parama Puruśa and other jiivas is that of a father and his children. When a child falls into the gutter people may laugh, poke fun, or even humiliate him or her. The child’s father, however, will not behave in such a way. He will rush over, lift the child out of the gutter and give it a good wash. This is his duty as a father.” (2)

Ananda Marga philosophy states, “And what is the nature of sin? Suppose again that a child is walking on the road. Suddenly it falls into the gutter. Naturally its arms and legs will be covered with mud. Will the father despise his child in this condition? Other people on the road may be repelled. But what will the father do? He will immediately pull his child out of the drain, wash its arms, legs, and body, take it on his lap, and try to console it: “What makes you cry, my child! Everything is okay now. You are all clean now. I’ll dry you off with a towel.” The position of those branded by society as sinners is like this.” (3)

Gives with right hand & takes away with left

Ananda Marga ideology states, “A mother tries to coax and cajole her crying son, and offers him some toys to divert his attention, so that she can work in the kitchen. The child stops crying and forgets his mother for the time being. But if he is a bit naughty, he will again resume his effort to reach the breast of his mother. He will throw away the toys and cry for Mother only. And the mother ultimately has to come and take the child on her lap. A devoted sádhaka is like this child. He or she will say, “O Father, this world that I see all around is a plethora of toys. This world took its birth at a certain time, so it will also come to an end at some time or other. This world has not been given permanently to anybody.” If God is asked whether He has given this world-toy to anybody forever, He will not be able to answer, for He does not give things forever. He gives with the right hand and takes away with the left.” (4)

Leave for other allurements

Sadly, we see with some who even become Wts in Ananda Marga. Due to their good samskara, vivek, and Guru’s grace they come onto the path; and then in some cases they leave for other allurements, completely driven by various propensities. And not just Wts, this can happen to any aspirant. So vigilance is needed. As sadhakas it is extremely important to consider how we conduct ourselves in this world and understand how this creation is operating.

1. Ta'rak Bhrahma ke Sa'th, तारकब्रह्म के साथ, NP, Patna, 1/1/70
2. Ananda Vacanamrtam - 5, Taking Refuge Is the Final Word
3. Discourses On Krsna & the Giita, “Mucyate Bhavabandhanát”
4. Subhasita Samgraha - 21, Niiti & Dharma

*        *        *

The below sections are entirely different topics, unrelated to the above material.
They stand on their own as points of interest.

*        *        *

== Section 2: Prabhat Samgiita ==

He told me

Introduction to Prabhat Samgiita #3007

This song explains how even though some sadhakas are aware about sadhana, the do's and don'ts of life, and the disciplined system of practice, they can't follow the cult properly because of the various pashas [bondages] and ripus [internal enemies]. However, if in the corner of their heart there is bhakti, they will feel that Parama Purusa will help them reach the final goal of human life.

Throughout Baba's vast gift of Prabhat Samgiita, in most songs the bhakta and Parama Purusa are communicating with one another. In some of the songs the style of conversation is direct while in others the style is indirect. When the style of expression is indirect, the bhakta is communicating with Parama Purusa using ambiguous or metaphorical language. Here in this song, in the first stanza, the bhakta is indirectly addressing Parama Purusa using the third person of speech.

“Ke jeno ásiá marme pashiyá, bolilo madhu máse ásibe…” (Prabhat Samgiita #3007)


Someone came, entered my heart, and said He would return in the month of flower blossoms. He also told that He would forgive me for my angst, frustration and all my shortcomings, and shower His karuna'.

(Note: Now in their conversation the sadhaka is directly addressing Parama Purusa us the pronoun “You”.)

You showed me the path, and by Your mercy I understood Your guideline; yet, because of my lethargy, I neglected to follow that path. Knowingly, I treaded the wrong path; but, because You are love-personified, I felt in my heart that You would gently smile at me upon Your arrival.

Baba, I know I have nothing to call my own. None of these things belong to me, even then I think of Your objects as mine. My Lord, please tell me when You will dispel this infatuation, deception, and agony of illusion from my mind.

Baba, I do not have strength to follow Your path, but since You have taken advent in my heart then please by Your causeless grace pull me towards You, My Lord...

Notes for Prabhat Samgiita #3007:

[1]: When you have deep, deep love for someone, then you know in your heart that when you see them, they will not think about your past mistakes but will instead express their kindness and affection. It is just like how a small child never thinks: "My mother will only calculate about my wrongdoings when she sees me after school. Instead, with her love my mom will warmly embrace me and serve me something sweet to eat." In stark contrast, in the case of the judge and a convict, that never happens: The judge will always look upon the convict with consternation. Whereas in the loving relation between Parama Purusa and the sadhaka, when they meet He always showers His grace and kindness because at that time both feel truly happy just by seeing one another.

[2]: Commonly human beings think that the material possessions that they have are their own and they brag about that to others. People think, "I have this property and this mansion and this prestige etc." But they do not know that what they think is theirs does not actually belong to them. The real owner is Parama Purusa. What to say about one's property, their first shelter,. i.e. their body, also belongs to Him.

Ananda Marga ideology says, "This body, this mind, this wealth has been given to me by Parama Purus'a...That is, the actual owner of this body, the actual owner of this mind is He." (1)

1. Ananda Vacanamrtma - 14, “Prańipátena Pariprashnena Sevayá” – 1 / Yoga – Its Fundamental Factors

== Section: Important Teaching ==

When democracy becomes a mockery

   Prout philosophy states, “The fact that voters without political consciousness weaken the governmental machinery cannot be denied. In the interests of the general public, it is desirable that uneducated and less-educated people do not have the right to vote.”
   “Democracy is a mockery in a country of uneducated people. In such a country cunning, fraudulent persons very easily secure or purchase the votes of illiterate people. Moreover, the general public in such a country is easily misled by the propagation of casteism or communalism.”
   Prout philosophy states, “The success of democracy depends upon educated, sensible voters. Hence, in a democratic country, the spread of education is of the highest priority. For the convenience of the general public, the educational system must be free of cost. No overbearing government pressure should be exerted on the educational system, otherwise the party in power will continue to propagate its ideas through the medium of education.” (1)

1. Problems of the Day, Point #33

== Section: Hindi Quote ==

उस इच्छा की कभी 

“साधना करना हर इनसान के लिए फ़र्ज़  है | यह परमपुरुष की इच्छा है | और, मनुष्य का काम क्या है ? परमपुरुष की इच्छा के अनुसार काम करना | मनुष्य अगर अपनी इच्छा के अनुसार कोई काम करें, और उस इच्छा में परमपुरुष का समर्थन न हो, तो उस इच्छा की कभी पूर्ति नहीं होती है |”
[यह प्रवचन-अंश, बाबा के कैसेट से सीधे लिखा गया है । बाबा का यह असली प्रवचन, अमृतोपदेश है। आनन्दमार्ग हिन्दी पुस्तकों में छपे प्रवचन तो नक़ली प्रवचन हैं, असली नहीं हैं -- बंगालीकरण (बँगलाइजेसन) के तहत उनकी बर्बादी की गई] (1)

1. सर्वाजीवे-अमृतत्वमेति, Sarva’jiive-Amrtatvameti, NP, GD, Allahabad, maybe 1/1/1968, Date unknown

== Section: Prout ==

Only recipe for unity: adoption of Cosmic ideology

Prout philosophy states, "Unity and benevolent intellect lead human beings towards supreme fulfilment. Reading voluminous treatises on philosophy will be of no use in awakening this benevolent intellect. For this, one will have to sincerely follow Yama and Niyama in individual life. To establish unity, the society will have to select an ideology which remains unassailed by any spatial, temporal or personal differences. That is why only Cosmic ideology will have to be adopted as the polestar of life." (1)

1. Problems of the Day, Point #37

== Section 3: Links ==