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“Ishtabhrity”: What & Why
[I] And old disciple approached Thakur in 1957. He knelt and between sobs he said, "Thakur, your mercy saved my life…." Thakur waited until the regained some control and then inquired what had happened.
"I was walking down
Bowbazar Street in and the rain came. I rushed under an overhanging balcony. And then...," he wiped tears from his eyes "then I heard the voice...your voice in my ear : ‘Get out ! Get out !’ and I went back in the rain. I'd only gone twenty yards…” sob “...when the building....” sob “...crumbled down and buried twelve people under it…” he broke down again, Calcutta
Finally, “all Merciful...”
“—not my mercy,” Thakur interrupted, “your mercy. Doing that morning offering every day has been giving a daily nudge to your urge for existence. After all these years, your urge for existence is stronger then your urge for comfort. The urge for comfort took you under the balcony ; your urge for existence, feeling threatened, pushed you back in the rain. Any overpowering urge develops its own intuition--a drunkard or drug addict intuitively recognizes another. So I say : it was your mercy. I love your existence sincerely. Because you love me, you’ve grown to love your existence.”
[ Ref: ‘Ocean In a Tea-cup’: by Ray Hauserman ]
The ones who have realized Sri Sri Thakurji know who HE really is. Whenever Sri Sri Thakurji wrote a letter to anyone, HE always ended with: Tomar ‘Ami’ ( Yours ‘I’).
Yes, He is our ‘I’. In ‘Punyapothi’ (sayings uttered is a state of Samadhi) Sri Sri Thakurji said: “ Your heart is the source of uncommon power, because YOU are God, because I am God.”
So, when we offer anything to HIM, we are offering actually to our own ‘I’, our own existence !
We start nurturing our own existence !
This, I think is the secret of Ishtabhrity.
Initially, in the beginning of sadhna, we do everything mechanically, thinking that HE, the Superme Lord in Human form, is OUTSIDE us. This is required also. HE acts like a Sadguru in an outer human form. ……. Then, gradually, we start realising lot of things. The culmination of this is the realization that HE is ‘I’. Soham ! Sah ( HE) is Aham (‘I’) !!!
Arjuna first saw
Krishna as someone outside him. As a friend, as a guide. He followed Krishna unconditionally. Then he got to realize that Krishna is actually he Himself, his own TRUE IDENTITY !!
This is the reason we need to do Ishtabhrity.
And Ishtabhrity does not mean just throwing a coin at His photo in the morning. It means fulfilling HIM, following HIM, unconditionally in our entire life. At any cost. At all costs. This is what I have learnt from Anant-Sri Baba.
[III] More On Ishtabhrity:
"I think," Thakur began, "that by offering something materially every day to your Lord, energy is created. An attitude to fulfill Him is gradually induced. This makes Him prominent and inexorably adjusts the passions and desires towards a unified harmony and understanding. It helps to establish a relationship between your deeds and thoughts with your feeling of love. That's why I feel this daily, witling oblation or istobhrity unites individual effort with divine grace."
"I feel that individual effort is the motor-nerve part," Thakur explained "That is, you feel a great self-satisfaction through this expansion, Another thing, evolution is inevitable if there is a genuine urge. But, urge without action or action without urge is not enough to attain the state of grace. If there be no urge for unity behind your activity, you only wade . . . you can neither soak your own mind nor the mind of others. But, when you daily offer food or money gained through your own effort for the maintenance of your Lord, the thought of Him Whom you serve and fulfill through the sweat of your brow arises automatically. In your heart, He becomes your very own. Just see how deep is the love of the mother who serves her children through her own labour and pain. This is why I believe that Isobhritty nurtures practically a man's devotion to his Lord. The Lord becomes the Centre and unconsciously Stimulates the man to relate everything he does with the Lord, thus bringing integration to all. If there be the number ' 1 ', the value goes on increasing as you add numbers to it... even zeroes."
"But, Thakur, how on earth can such a practice be maintained daily," the young woman's voice was filled with disbelief. "...continued day after day, month after month, year after year ..."
Thakur smiled and said, "If you start with the same attitude you have toward your daily food, then it is possible. Generally, we don't know from where that food will come a month, a year or ten years hence. But, because of that, we don't stop eating, just begin it now. Then start planning how you can do it each day. Remember, the primary thing is not the food nor the money for the Lord . . . neither is it the amount. The vital point is the directed, practical manifestation of the urge to love and to give to Him out of that love. That is, we cannot feel happy without giving to Him . .without feeding Him. This feeling creates energy within that makes one abler and abler. So I call it the prime mover of existence."
[ Ref: Answer To The Quest, by Ray Hauserman ]