September 2016 By Pradeep Krishnan Life is neither true, nor an illusion, but a purposeful flow towards divine evolution, says Sri Tathata in an interview with Pradeep Krishnan The luminous presence of Sri Tathata lights up his ashram in Palakkad About a decade ago, while I was travelling from Trivandrum to Calicut by train, the photograph of a saint clad in white dhoti and angavastra on the cover of the book, Dawn of Dharma, that a fellow passenger was reading, at once caught my attention. The man resembled Sri Aurobindo in his younger days. Being an ardent admirer of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry, I was curious to know more about the saint and his teachings. I discovered that the saint in the cover page was Sri Tathata (see box), a realised master living in Vandithavalam village of Palakkad district, Kerala. While browsing through the book, Sri Tathata’s reply to a foreign visitor’s query, asking him when he would be able to perceive God, deeply impressed me. “If you are not able to perceive the miracle of God through a soft blade of grass coming out of this hard earth, or the whole effulgence of the mighty Sun reflecting through an innocent, delicate dew-drop, where else are you going to perceive him? Where else are you going to search for him? Which other miracle are you waiting for? Do you want him to descend as thunder and lightning?” Years later, in March 2015, during a pilgrimage to Sri Mookambika Temple, Kollur, Karnataka, my wife and I met two German women who were on a pilgrimage to India. They revealed that they were living in the guesthouse of the Dharmapeetham, a beautiful Shiva temple consecrated by the sage, Sri Tathata, and urged us to have a firsthand experience of the unique temple and its surroundings. Instantly, crossing the river Souparnika, we walked up to Dharmapeetham, enjoying the scenic beauty of tall trees, lovely forest flowers and shrubs. The silence of the vast temple premises, the well-laid garden and the fluttering butterflies made the place very delightful. Entering the sanctum sanctorum, we sat in front of the huge Shivalinga in contemplation for about an hour. Fully in tune with the present moment, in an instant I became cheerful and happy. To my utter surprise, several old Malayalam devotional songs, which I had heard on the radio during school days, started flowing into my mind one after the other, filling me with immense joy. The memorable experience of that day lingered in our minds for several days and the urge to meet the sage, Sri Tathata, became deeper. Finally, we met the sage at his ashram in Palakkad on 5th December 2015, which was astonishingly the day of Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi as well as the birthday of my wife. Was it a mere coincidence? I do not know. Sri Tathata received us in his simple cottage with a warm smile. His austere manners and unassuming character put us at ease right away. Excerpts from the exclusive interview: What is unique about your darshana? Generally, we consider our lives to be either material or spiritual. If the former, we consider the world and the material life as the only truth; if the latter, we believe that this whole world and the life in it is a delusion, or “maya”. Ours is the middle path, which considers this manifested world and the human life in it – as neither absolutely true, nor a mere illusion – but a purposeful flow towards a divine evolution that has to happen in man, the darling of evolution. His uniqueness lies in the ability to evolve from the present state of consciousness to its ultimate possibility of Divine consciousness. Nevertheless, for this evolution to happen, he has to combine his individual free will with that of the Cosmic Will. That ought to be the aim of human life and birth so that one can live as joyously, as divinely as possible. How can one achieve this state? If the purpose of human birth were just to attain moksha (liberation) or to rejoin with the initial source, Brahman, there would not have been any need for this creation, or life to happen. This life is a gift from Mother Nature, given for divine enjoyment through thoughts, deeds and actions. One has the opportunity to attain divinity in all the three levels of existence of body, mind and prana. Otherwise, he will have to spend all his life or even lives in complete ignorance, chasing one momentary pleasure after another, or trying to avoid transient pains given by nature. Those who do not choose to evolve will remain stuck in the limited, selfish, individualistic consciousness, which is intrinsically violent, since it is alienated from the Whole and hence is self- and ego-centred. However, divine transformation, which is the next logical step in man’s evolution, happens through conscious will and effort and is in tune with what nature desires for us. This process or sadhana replaces our limited, violent consciousness, with an all- embracing, non-violent consciousness. What, according to you, is true spirituality? We all are intrinsically spiritual and divine. Any other state is against our natural state and is but a temporary aberration. Through the practise of inner awareness, we gain clarity regarding our real purpose of life and our dharma. Dharma is the path that connects us, from where we stand now, to our ultimate goal. One’s dharma may be entirely different from the dharma of another. For example, the dharma of a naishthika brahmachari is entirely different from the dharma of a grihastha. Once one becomes aware of one’s dharma, through the practise of relentless inner awareness and right sadhana, one can co-exist lovingly and harmoniously with fellow human beings, as well as with Mother Nature. In this elevated state of all-embracing consciousness, we naturally becomes the protector of Mother Nature. And lovingly Mother Nature takes care of all one’s needs. Thus, one enjoys a joyous and peaceful life. Only in this state, can one claim to have become truly spiritual, living a life of simplicity and innocence, placing absolute trust in the love of Mother Nature for all of us. What is your concept of God? It is God itself who has manifested as this whole Creation. We have to search for God not outside, but for the godliness that is manifest in all of us, and all around us. God is the energy or consciousness that shines through us, in every action, and which leads us forward according to our perceptions and experiences of this Universe. We have to understand that it is God who works through us, pushing us to higher levels of awareness, through various events which we may construe as either pleasurable, or painful (in our state of limited awareness). Once we understand this, then we are able to see God and Divinity in ourselves, our perceptions, our thoughts, and in all the beings around us. If we perform action from this evolved level of choiceless acceptance and awareness, an inner state of bliss, or ananda, becomes effulgently manifest in us. This is the real God-Realisation. Why do you stress on the importance of performing yajnas and yagas? This whole universe and all the beings in it vibrate at a fundamental frequency of energy. Once we are able to tune in to this basic vibratory frequency, we can tap this source of energy that controls the whole of this existence. By this tuning, we can visualise, will, and work for the transformation, harmonisation and divinisation of the whole of Consciousness – not only at an individual level, but also at a collective level. Mantras, yagas and yajnas are used to tune in to this fundamental source and work in alignment with it. Nowadays, there is much disturbance in the cosmic and societal levels. It is not enough that an individual alone becomes realised through his own efforts; the whole of human consciousness must take a joint leap into the next level of Divine Consciousness. For this, channelisation of the collective will of humanity, collective actions like yagas and yajnas have become absolutely necessary. What is the concept behind establishing the Dharmapeetha temple? Man is the darling child of Mother Nature. Life on earth evolved from unicellular to multi-cellular organisms, then into more complex life forms such as animals, and from there to human beings. Because of millions of years of subhuman existence, mankind exists at two levels, higher and lower consciousness, or awareness. The human being is a bridge, a conduit, designed by Mother Nature, to channelise the energies connecting the lower levels of consciousness to higher levels of consciousness. But, due to lack of purity and inner awareness in life, he is unable to accomplish this anymore. In the Dharmapeetha, built in accordance with the Vedas, the dharma shakthi (power of dharma) has been consecrated in the form of a thejasthambha (pillar of light) represented by a linga (symbol of energy). It acts as a channel – connecting the higher and lower planes of consciousness – for everybody who is willing to imbibe this energy for transformation in their individual as well as social lives. How do you view spirituality and religion? The religions, coloured by specific cultures, are intermediaries between human beings and the ultimate Reality. The teaching of dharma by the rishis – the mystic visionaries of India – is not religion. In fact dharma is another word to qualify the “ultimate Reality.” The teaching of dharma transcends all the limitations as it opens the individual to infinite Divine Consciousness. A Moslem, a Jew or a Christian can follow dharma without denying his religion. When one practises dharma, one reaches the highest levels of consciousness. Dharma is a song written for all. There is no Indian or French dharma! Ultimate Reality has to be apprehended as whole. At this level of consciousness, all distinctions of cultures or religious belonging
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