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The Ever-present Witness

More from our series “Wisdom of Sri Gajanana Maharaj of Nashik”

About a fortnight ago a learned shastri came to visit me. He had read some of the letters sent by me to my friends, and also the messages which I had given to some religious institutions, and owing to it a sort of respect had been created in his mind for me. He said to me, “Maharaj, the thoughts expressed by you are of a very high order. They receive much support from the Upanishads and treatises on Vedanta.”

I replied, “Punditji, you have considered the thoughts expressed by me from the shastric points of view and called them sound. This does not give me any very great pleasure. The reason is that I do not attach any importance to the delight obtained from high and beautiful thoughts of others. If you had expressed your agreement with at least one of these thoughts, having felt the truth of it from your own experience of the state mentioned in it, I would have felt highly delighted.

“If a person comes to me and tells me his own thoughts, the truth of which has been tested by his own experience, I will pay more respect to him than to a person who repeats like a parrot the thoughts, however high they may be, of great men like Sri Shankaracharya, Jnaneshwar or Tukaram. It does not matter whether the thoughts of the first-mentioned person are highly developed or not.

“I understand the minds of the various persons who come to me and ask me questions, because I have gone through those various stages and hence can identify myself with the stage of the questioner. I therefore never get irritated with any person for asking questions, however absurd they may be. The only thing required is that he must be thoroughly honest and sincere. I then answer his questions according to what my inner Soham suggests to me. The answer given by me will, I am sure, necessarily remove the doubts of the questioner, and he will see the clear path of truth before him.”

When that shastri heard this reply given by me, he was overcome with emotion and requested me to explain how Soham is always present as a witness in everybody’s mind.

Soham is always present as a witness in everybody’s mind

An ordinary man of the world is not conscious of this “I” which is always awake. As soon as a man gains consciousness of the ever-existing presence of this “I” he attains the goal of human life. This stage is known as sakshi avastha (the state where the “I” is consciously felt to be the ever-present witness). This Soham is ever present in every being in the form of his own Self. This Soham is continuously going on, it never stops. This Soham which is seen in all animate and inanimate things is my Jani Janardan (God present in all human beings), and wherever I use the word “Jani Janardan,” I mean by it this Soham, present in all.

If we carry on the japa with firm faith, we clearly realize after some time the power of the mantra. If we train our mind to entertain only good thoughts, not only are we ourselves benefitted, but our conduct produces good effects upon others also. This light of Soham inside us, sheds its luster on our whole life and makes it full of happiness. Its beneficial influence is also felt by the whole external atmosphere around us. The first thing required is firm faith without any doubts and misgivings, and the second is the continuous practice of the mantra japa.

If therefore you continue the practice steadily, the tendency of the mind towards good thoughts and actions will be more and more increased, and owing to the ceaseless contemplation of Soham there will gradually be the realization of your own inherent blissful nature, and the mind will be enjoying complete peace and happiness.

Brothers and sisters, if you carry on the practice of japa with full faith, and ultimately realize your oneness with Soham you, too, will become full of bliss like myself.

For unknown words, see A Brief Sanskrit Glossary on our website.

NOTE: Atmaprabha, from which this blogpost is taken can be found in Appendix One of our publication Soham Yoga. Other teachings of Sri Gajanana Maharaj can be found in Chapter Three of Soham Yoga.

You can also read Soham Yoga on our website here.

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