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A merchant was once hauled before a magistrate for selling adulterated ghee which smelt bad and was a danger to health. Judgement has given three options for merchant to chose - consuming entire ghee or receive 20 lashes or pay a fine of 100 varahas (gold coins). The merchant preferred the ghee and started drinking the stuff but finding the smell was unbearable, he chose the stripes. He received about a dozen lashes but he could not stand more. So, he finally told the magistrate that he might be let off with the fine. The merchant could have avoided the foul drink and the excruciating pain if he had opted right decision in the first. Similarly, Man does not opt for God in the beginning when grief overtakes him. One has to choose wisely and opt for God sooner or later. 

Maaya is of the nature of thamas (darkness and ignorance). It hides the face of God which is shining from every being and every thing around him. Maya creates the universe and it spreads the vast paraphernalia of the objective world before the mind. It is like a narthaki (juggler i.e., an enchantress) who entices the intelligence and traps the senses. This na-rtha-ki can be subdued by kee-rtha-na (mark the change of syllables). Keerthana is the concentrated contemplation of the glory of God. The mind is filled with admiration at a juggler's manipulations. When One understands that all the tricks are mere maya temporary flashes and attractive displays which do not last, then he rests satisfied. Keerthana reveals the juggler behind the jugglery and you will know that he is the one who possess infinite wisdom, infinite power and infinite mercy.  

The shadow reduces bit by bit with every step that you take towards the sun. The shadow crawls under your feet and disappears when the sun shines right on the top of your head. Similarly, Maya also becomes less and less effective as you march towards Jnana. It becomes powerless and disappears when Jnana is well established in your understanding. Though one cannot understand the origin of maya in this world, One can terminate and succeed in exterminating its effects. Maya has no beginning but has an end for those who wins the light by which the darkness can be negated. 

Fear and anxiety also pile up in proportion to your wealth and position. The manana and nididhyaasana (reflection and meditation) of the Mahaavaakya will develop the power of resistance against all doubts and diversions. One has to cleanse the heart with the water of prema and the detergents (prayer and contrition) to remove the stains of desire so that God will pour his grace into it. One should give up Iokabhraanthi and dehabhraanthi i.e., attachment to the external world and to the body to yearn for God. One has to worry more about japam and dhyanam than about physical needs and comforts. The waving of the camphor flame is to remind you that your sensual cravings must be burnt away without leaving any trace behind, and you must offer yourself to God for being merged with his Glory. Pile up the rich treasure of Krishna to annihilate the fear and anxiety. Have no desire, empty your mind of all cravings, become hollow and straight like a flute so that krishna will breathe sweet melody through you to still the agitation of the world.  

Gather wisdom from wherever you can acquire it; listen to the good things teachers of different denominations elaborate upon. Weigh the teachings that you have heard in your own mind against your own experience. Shravanam (listening) should be followed and should be confirmed by mananam (reflection) on the implications, the background, the reservations and the limitations of what you have been told. Then there is another process: Nididhyaasana--meditation on the truth that you have garnered--planting it deep down in the consciousness to be made part of your spiritual make-up. 

Omsai Srisai Jaijaisai