RUCHI - Satsang by SriSri Vinod Baba Ji Maharaj

A sadhak cannot find pleasure in both the material world and in Radha Krishna at the same time. When we drive a vehicle forward, how do we know we have travelled a certain distance? By noticing our surroundings. The surroundings do not remain same. Similarly, when a sadhak progresses in bhajan, some changes in their perception ought to occur. The things that seemed pleasurable to us before would not seem pleasurable anymore. The attachment to material things and people is directly proportional to the attachment to our own body. One cannot be indifferent to one’s material identity and be attached to 'dear ones'. Neither can anyone have no attachments in this world and be full of material identity. So, as the attachments of this body and those things and people that seem pleasurable to this body decreases, the devotion to Radha Krishna increases. This happens automatically, they are not two different efforts. Once the sadhak realizes that this human birth has been rewarded to us as an opportunity to escape the cycle of birth and death, and there is no second option to bhajan, he engages in intense bhajan. During bhajan without Nishtha, “Krishna priti eka desha vartini, sharir priti purna”. Meaning, there is 25% Krishna priti and 100% attachment to the body. When a sadhak performs bhajan with Nishtha, his Krishna priti increases to 50% and the attachment to his body and material things decreases to 75%. After this, comes the stage of Ruchi. A sadhak gets inspired by satsanga and does bhajan 'because one must do bhajan'. He faces many obstacles and overcomes them in order to progress in bhajan, but it’s mostly mechanical. At the stage of Ruchi, the bhajan becomes natural. The sadhak cannot leave his bhajan now. Ruchi means interest. Now the sadhak feels 'Oh, this is my Lord's name. This is so sweet' while chanting Harinaam. When he hears Hari katha, he gets goosebumps thinking 'how sweet are my Lord's pastimes'. If a sadhak analyses the speaker's speaking skills, attachment to wealth and glory, and then listens to Hari katha, he is a sadhak of Manda Ruchi (low interest). It is needed for beginners to analyze as such, but a sadhak of Ruchi stage doesn’t care about speaking skills or level of spirituality. Even if a few siddhantas are faulty, he ignores them and relishes the pastimes of his Lord. Manda Ruchi is Vastu Vaishishtya Apekshini. Meaning, the interest is dependent on the quality of Kirtan, satsang, association, etc. Tivra Ruchi (high interest) is Vastu Vaishishtya Anapekshini. Meaning, the interest is not dependent on the quality. 

Shri Goswami Tulsidasji says,

“Tulsi pichhle paap se hari katha na suhaye,

Jaise jvar k veg se bhuk vida ho jaye.”

Meaning: Tulsidasji is saying that due to sins of previous births, a sadhak cannot relish Hari katha. Just like a person loses appetite due to a severe attack of fever.

The sins and material samskaras cause our inability to relish Harikatha, Harinaam, do bhajan or any spiritual service. This is not a fault of the sadhak. This is only normal. As a sadhak progresses in bhajan, his heart is purified and he develops this Ruchi. Then he is only interested in listening to Hari katha, not worried about analyzing the speaker critically. This is Tivra Ruchi.

Sometimes a sadhak thinks he has no worldly attachments but yet, he didn’t develop Tivra Ruchi in Harinaam and Hari katha. Why? That means the disease is still lurking inside. The symptom of a patient recovering from fever is that he would feel hungry, even more than a normal person. This is because he had lost his appetite for a few days and the body had struggled with the virus. Now he needs to replenish his energy. Similarly, when this fever of worldly attraction diminishes, the sadhak develops Tivra Ruchi. It means the shackles of worldly attachments are fast loosening now. This doesn’t mean that those in grihastha would neglect their duties to their family and society. They do everything as before, but they now devote all their worries at the Lotus feet of Krishna. They firmly believe that all creation belongs to Krishna, and He will take care of it. They pray to Krishna, “Prabhu, you have given me this family and these worldly duties. Now you must fulfill these duties through my body. I don’t know anything. I only belong to you.” In this way, he loses attraction to family members and engages in the contemplation of Radha Krishna, while fulfilling his duties with his body. If an effort is successful, they believe it to be Krishna’s mercy and if an effort fails, they believe it to be Krishna's will for the good. 

At this stage, the material attraction is 50% and Krishna priti is 75%, meaning Krishna priti is higher than material attraction. 

I used to see my Gurudev (Prabhupad Shri Tinkodi Goswamiji Maharaj) eat without any sense of taste or order. He used to eat only falahar (fruits and vegetables boiled with salt) in the evening in a whole day. He would eat two very small chapatis of buckwheat flour and a little sweet, a little falahar sabji alongwith tiny portions of boiled sabji my elder godbrother would make. His cooking skills were so drastic that even big vairagis could not eat it. We used to do our own Madhukari, but sometimes when I accepted the remnants of his prasad, I would find either a sabji bitter with salt or just no salt at all. But Gurudev never said a word. He would put his hand on the plate and pick up anything that comes into his hand. It might be the sweet first, then the bitter gourd, then the chapati, then a little falahar sabji. There is no order. And I never heard him say anything to my elder godbrother about his cooking. 

So this attachment to one’s own body and the material consciousness is the root of our bond with Maya samsaar. This material consciousness is the cause of our interest in eating and wearing nice clothes. As this attachment diminishes, the attachment and sense of belonging to partner, children, friends and relatives also diminishes, automatically.

A sadhak must be very careful about associating with worldly people. He must avoid engaging in social relationships as much as possible. He must do his duties and then go into solitary bhajan. Making affectionate gestures to dear ones, laughing and joking about worldly matters, etc. should be avoided as much as possible. One might desire (due to material samskaras) to take his child in his lap and play with him, but, no! It is Maya. Take care of the child's needs, give him good samskaras and fulfill your duty, but avoid touching and playing unnecessarily. This is the way for those who are interested in spiritual achievements. A beginner sadhak has a lot of material samskaras and hence, must always be careful like this. Afterwards, a time will come when no familiar face, touch or any kind of worldly love will penetrate the heart of the sadhak. 

One mother (sadhika) came from Gujarat and lives in Vrindavan. She has only one son. The son lives in Gujarat and came to see her for a few days. She was so frustrated that she visited me, asking, “Baba, such a big problem has befallen on me! The boy has come, now I have to make breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc. for him. He insists for cooking his favourite dishes all the time. I am not able to complete my daily bhajan. When will this problem go, Baba? I am so distressed!” See! A mother who has only one child will normally be so excited to meet her son after so many days. But she is distressed. Why? Because she has realised that her sole purpose of human birth is bhajan. How pure and beautiful love for Radha Krishna! The material desires have vanished absolutely! Such a mother is blessed! Such a mother is respectable for even advanced sadhus. 

When a sadhak starts developing Krishna prem, even this body seems like a burden. The mindset that this body needs care, people around us need us, the society needs us, etc. are all destroyed and there remains importance only for Krishna prem. This is the stage of Ruchi.

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