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रविवार, 23 जनवरी 2011 11:05


 

SANTMATA ANUYĀYĪ ĀŚRAM, MATH GAŖAWĀGHĀT,

 

 

VĀRĀNASĪ.

 

 

(A BRIEF INTRODUCTION)

 

 

 

There is a great and holy monastery of saints known as Santmata Anuyāyī Āśram Math Gaŗawāghāt, which is situated on the bank of The Ganges in the southern part of the city of Varanasi, where a successive tradition of great seers has been paving the path of the seekers of self-realization through their spiritual enlightenment. Here the presiding Sadguru is believed to be the embodiment of the Absolute Reality or the Brahman (having realized and become one with the Brahman). He has been liberating the souls from the cycle of birth and death by imparting them the mantra of liberation described in the scriptures as Tārak mantra, Hamsa mantra or Prān Hamsa. There has been a perennial tradition of the saints and their disciples in this holy monastery who have been enjoying the bliss of dwelling in the mystic abode of inner Kāśī or Vārānasī (Vārānasī within) which, according to Jābāldarśnopnishad lies betwixt the two eye brows just above the root of the nose  (Vāranasi mahāprāgya bhruvorghrānasya madhyame). This mystic Vārānasi is The Kāshī or Prayāga or the tenth door which is the doorway to the kingdom of The Brahman-The Absolute Reality or the pure existence.

The first Sadguru of this order, the embodiment of light divine who started this tradition of imparting of the metaphysical knowledge (Parā Vidyā) was Swāmī  Advaitānand Jī Mahārāj who received his illumination from Paramhans Jī of Kedārghāt, Vārānasī. The record of his whereabouts has remained untraceable. Swāmī Advaitānand Jī Mahārāj bestowed his spiritual light upon Swāmī Swarūpānand Jī Mahārāj Paramhans who established his centre of teaching at Nagli Sāhib near Merut. He later on handed over this torch of divine illumination to his worthy disciple Swami Ātmvivekānand Jī Mahārāj Paramhans. The spiritual torch of this saint reincarnated itself in the being of the most venerable Swāmī Harsewānand Ji Mahārāj Paramhans and his commendable disciple Swāmī Harshankrānand Ji Mahārāj Paramhans. The most worthy disciple of this great saint highly adorable His Holiness Swāmī Sadgurusarnānand Ji Mahārāj Paramhans by the permission of his holy master (Sadguru) graced the position of the chief of this monastery. This highly venerable saint is an embodiment of the preaching of the saints in speech, action and living. The present revered master has been continuously engaged since 1983 in spreading and extending the preaching and practice of the knowledge of spirituality free from rituals and in shaping the spiritual life of his disciples. Together with this serving tirelessly the durbar of his former enlightened saints, the Sadguru is living the ideals of Bhktiyoga i. e. devotional union with The God and is enlightening the hearts of the practitioners of Nām or the Hansvidyā. Since its establishment till today the Gaŗwāghāt monastery has been providing the lesson of spiritual knowledge for the redemption of the souls of the individuals and has been devoted to the service of the Sanyāsi Sangh  (monastery) of those who have opted willingly for the life of renunciation  and are inclined to follow the spiritual tradition of this order.

 

This most holy āśram that follows the footprints of the saints was founded in 1930 with the aim of promoting the teachings of the Santmat (Principles and practice of saints), while serving the mendicants and the ascetics, helping financially and spiritually the poor people and the students and working for the welfare of the people through activities of public interest. Irrespective of any distinction of caste, creed, colour, age and sex here the knowledge of spirituality (Parā Vidyā) is imparted to the seekers. By removing the barriers of every kind to realize the Absolute Reality which is beyond Space and Time and to seek a perfect attunement with the same have been the goal of all the saints from time immemorial. Since primacy to this goal of spirituality has been given by the āśram, here the aspirants of spirituality, both men and women of all castes and creeds including brahmins, haijans and muslims dine together without any discrimination and mahātmās (ascetics) and devotees of the āśram practice the ideal of equality through this kind of living on the mundane plane of existence too. For the realization of this goal the saints resort to the practice of the internal reverberation of the parā nām together with the meditation, as is initiated by the Sadguru. The idea that the nām is the vibrant or pulsating (saspand) mode of Satchidānand with the help of which non-vibrant (silent and still) Satchidānand can be realized has been pursued by the saints and devotion of nām is the essence of the method of practice in the āśram. The nucleus of this adoration of nām is the Sadguru. In the āśram the practice of nām and devotion to Sadguru have become synonymous with each other. This āśram which is internally devoted to the practice of sumiran or the resonance of the nām and adoration to Guru follows in its life-style the ideal of nişkam karmayog (selfless action). Mahātmā Gandhi's dream of community living could be seen fully realized in the life style of the āśram. Therefore the āśramites serve the āśram with a spirit of dedication according to their capability by performing duties assigned to them abstaining themselves from the activities that contaminate the purity of consciousness. Like all the saints this aśram too believes that every human body is the best benign temple of Ultimate Reality or God since in it lies the inherent potentiality of the realization of that Absolute Reality. God is present in every human soul with all His perfection and glory. To establish complete identification with or accomplish a total merger in God is the summum bonum of human life. The possibility of actualizing this potentiality is inherent in every human being. The factors of caste, creed, sex, age or education which differentiate one person from the other do not affect the possibility of the attainment of this ultimate goal of human life.The āśram believes in the view that all the religions and systems of Philosophy are the different representations of the same Satchidānand. These are the different means of expressions of the same Absolute Reality. Satchidānand Himself has assumed them of His own accord. The same Reality permeates all these systems of Philosophy, religions and scriptures. Because of this all inclusive faith regard for all religions permeates the thinking and life-style of this āśram. This āśram which has started the incessant flow of devotion to parā nām has paved the way for the aspirants of spirituality out of the narrow confines of sects, creeds and castes by demolishing the same and has introduced them to the easy path of true religion enabling the individual self attain the summum bonum of life by means of service and devotion to the Sadguru, who alone can impart parā nām, the gem of spirituality. This tradition is going on in the āśram without any interruption. Like all the saints this āśram too holds the view that human body is venerable since it is the abode of God. Human body is the precious gift of God. Mind is man-made. Hindu, Muslim, Christian etc. are the constructs of mind. Mind is the source spring of all conflicts. Hence, it is the mind that is to be moulded and reformed and this is possible only through adoration to nām and meditation on Sadguru, which in fact is the secret of self realization and the realization of God or the Absolute Reality. In view of this respect to human being the āśram is devoted to the actualization of Bhktiyog or Nām Bhakti i.e. adoration to Nām and meditation on Sadguru by keeping itself from the considerations of caste and creed, traditional customs and mores, and communal fanaticism. Hence, the slogan of āśram is- ‘Our temple of the adoration and meditation of nām and Sadguru is open to all.’

There is no impact of helplessness, frustration or vulnerability on the life of the people here who are devoted to the practice of the sumiran of nām and meditation and service to the āśram. Every āśramite is polite, happy, enthusiastic, sincere and of ideal character and leads a life of self respect. This āśram based on the strong foundation of spiritual augustness of man is a living example of spiritual humanitarianism. Having taken the initiation of spiritual practice from the Sadguru, many men and women of the country and abroad are leading a comparatively more self-contented and self-satisfied life by practicing sumiran of nām and meditation while in domestic set up.

 

 

 

          There are big āśram at Śri Gurudeonagar in district Mirzapur and Śri Gurudaspur in district Sonbhadra. Besides these there are about sixty five branches of this āśram in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. There are grand branches of the āśram in Haridwar, Dehradun, Kolkata and Mumbai also. In all these āśramas , the ascetics of the monastery keep motivating the aspirants and devotees to lead their lives according to the teachings of the āśram that lays emphasis on the practice of spirituality and devotion to Sadguru.

 

          Whatever property belongs to the āśram is not of any person since no person has any family of his own. It is a trust for the service of the society and the nation. The āśram is only a caretaker of the property which looks after it and endeavors to develop and enrich its resources. The income from the property is utilized in the service of men and women of any class of society who are aspirants and are the lovers of spirituality, and to support deserted women and the destitute, and in the service of visitors, in public feasts (bhandara), religious ceremonies and in the activities of public welfare, such as in building of ghats, schools and hospitals. Śri Ātma Vivekānand ghāt on the bank of the Ganges, Swāmi Harsewānand Ji Public school and Swami Harśnkrānand Jī Hospital and Research centre are some of the major projects of public welfare executed in the sacred memory of earlier Sadgurūs of this spiritual tradition. It will not be out of context to mention here that it is the inspiration of the present Sadguru which is the motivating factor behind all these endeavors.

 

 

 

 

 

          Nobody in the āśram has any personal interest of his own. The interest of the āśram alone is the interest of everyone. Thus, in the life of those who live in this āśram with the spirit of selfless service, the Karma Yoga of the Gītā is automatically manifested. According to the Gītā, Yogah karmsu kauślam i.e. proficiency in action is yoga. Secret of the excellence in inward and outward action is ‘Mamanusmar yudhya cha` which means ‘Remember me and do thy duty.` Considering these statements of the Gītā as the ideal of its life style the āśram has been shaping its inward and outward make up by remembering the nām. The underlying sentiment of the practitioner of the method of meditation of Santmat towards the greatness of his Sadgurudeo can be expressed in the words of the saint Sunderdās-`Guru`s greatness is more than that of God` and in the words of Sahajobai- `I can forsake God but the Guru.` This august feeling of the disciple towards his venerable Sadgurudeo could be seen reflected in the attitude, behavior and life-style of all the seekers.    

 

 

 

          The physical aspect of he āśram and the elements governing the internal spiritual evolution and character building of the in-mates of the āśram emanate from the method of meditation initiated by the Sadguru. This system of spiritual practice is the élan-vital of the āśram. What is this method of meditation? Sadgurudeo alone can tell as to what that practice is in itself. The following lines of the eminent saint Sunderdās are suggestive of the brief theoretical introduction of this method of meditation-

  There is no better rosary than the mind and no recounting better than the ajapā jаp i.e. mental remembrance of the Lord.  There is no deity greater than the soul, and no better temple than the human body.          From this brief introduction this message of the āśram becomes quite evident that there is no better temple than this human body, that is, every human body is the benign temple of God. Hence, in the code of conduct of the āśram there is no place for the sense of discrimination between man and man on the basis of caste and creed. The rosary of the `mental remembrance` and the `ajpā jap` highlight the non-ritualistic nature of this system of meditation which is entirely free from the ritualistic mode of worship. In the opinion of saints this system is easy, simple and natural one. In this system of meditation, as its practice progresses, the virtues of high order such as contentment, calmness, self-dependence, moral strength, regard for every religion, compassion and love for every creature, humility and sense of service etc. automatically go on developing into its practitioner. It means that the system of spiritual practice of this āśram brings about a transformation in the psyche of the individual, thereby enriching and expending his realm of spiritual realization, and the qualities of establishing harmony within and in the society outside start developing. The effect of this practice is centrifugal which works from within outward. In other words, this system of spirituality awakens the dormant surat (the nucleus of consciousness) by acting on its centre. That way, it blossoms the closed petals of the lotus flower of his consciousness. Because of the blossoming of the lotus of the dormant consciousness, the fragrance that emanates from it externally manifests itself in the form of virtues.          The development of these moral virtues in an individual leading to the amelioration of human society is a by-product of the transformation of the consciousness. For the transformation of the consciousness the Sadgurudeo initiates the Parānām, imparts the insight of feeling the presence of the same soul in every creature, paves the way for self realization and fills up the void in the individual self by instilling into it the spirit of devotion. Sri sadguru, himself remaining preoccupied in Sachidanand leads disciple to the realization of the same. The sadguru does not perform the work of developing the moral and spiritual qualities in his disciple through the transformation of his consciousness by oral preaching only but He Himself lives those ideals. He inculcates these virtues into his disciple by himself living these ideals. For the ashramites, who lead a life of detachment and selfless service, the sadguru is an ideal role model.

          There is yet another peculiarity of this āśram that here the women like men are also given the right of living in āśram for leading a life of spiritual practice by adopting the life of ascetic. The monks and devotees of this āśram, following the commands and wishes of the sadguru, are devoted to the progress of the āśram by their selfless behavior and dedication to service. According to the preaching of the saints begging is a prohibited practice. That is why without asking for anything from anybody producing most of the things useful for daily life on its own, is another peculiar practice of this āśram. This Gaŗawāghāt āśram is the best treatment centre for mundane maladies and the most adorable Sadgurudeo is its most accomplished physician. Hence it is the biggest centre of unimpaired mental health care and spiritual healing. The style of the living of the community of the monks of this āśram is a confluence of the three streams of consciousness viz. knowledge, devotion and action and by taking dip into which the seekers are making steady progress in their spiritual endeavor.

 

 

 

          This spiritual āśram is legally a trust. In order to accomplish the objective of public welfare this trust of Gaŗwāghāt Monastery under its auspices has formed other three trusts-

1.     Math Gaŗwāghāt Cow protection Trust-This religious trust is working in the direction of helping the poor and the protection of cows by building dairy forms, developing pastures (grazing grounds) and building veterinary hospitals. The beautiful dairy forms at the main Gaŗwāghāt Aśram, and at Śri Gurudeo Nagar, Śri Gurudāspur, and the branches of the āśram in Haridwar speak for themselves about the activities of this trust.

2.     Math Gaŗwāghāt Health Welfare Trust-This Religious Trust is devoted and committed to the cause of helping the poor and establishing and supervising charitable dispensaries, nursing homes and hospitals for the protection and welfare of public health. Charitable dispensaries are running in the āśram. All the inmates of this āśram have given their consent to donate their eyes. This is worth mentioning that eyes of thirty six āśram mates have already been donated to the eye bank after their death. Free eye camps are organized by the Swāmi Harśankrānand Ji Hospital and Research centre. In these camps the patients operated for cataract are provided by the āśram free board and lodging facilities besides free medicines and eye glasses. In reference to the public health care activities of the āśram it is worth mentioning that since the establishment of the āśram Śri Sadgurudeo himself has been distributing with his own lotus hands the herbal medicine for such a treacherous disease as asthma on every Śarad pūrnimā.

3.     Math Gaŗwāghāt Social Upliftment of Dalit Welfare Trust-This trust has been established to help the dalits (down trodden) and poor and to cultivate and foster talent in them and to serve `daridra Narayan` (God in the form of the poor). Under this religious trust financial assistance is provided to economically poor talented students for their education. Food is served to the visitors everyday and approximately ten public feasts are organized in a year. Nobody is considered dalit (down trodden) by the āśram. From the spiritual point of view every person is dignified, since it is only in this body that God realization is possible.In the matter of publication of spiritual literature, the present presiding master and venerable Sadguru is a source of great inspiration and is himself creatively active. Twenty nine books on spirituality and spiritual practice have been published till now. 

LINAGE OF SPIRITUAL GURŪS AT SANT MAT ANUYĀYĪ ĀŚRAM MATH GAŖWĀGHĀT, VĀRĀNASĪ.

 

Paramhans Jī of unknown milieu of Kedār Ghāt, Vārānasī.

 
 
 

 

 

Paramhans Advaitānand Jī Mahārāj

Birth : Śri Rāma Navamī, 1846 A.D.         Demise : 10-7-1919.

 

 

Parmhans Swarūpānand Jī Mahārāj.

Birth : Śrī Basant Panchmī,1884 A.D. Demise: 9.4.1936

 
 
 

 

 

Paramhans Ātmvivekānand Jī Mahārāj

Birth: Śrī Rāma Navamī, 1864 A.D.  Demise: Risi Panchamī, 1949 A.D.

 
 
 

 

 

Paramhans Harsewānand Jī Mahārāj.

Birth: 6.11.1907 A.D.  Demise: 14.3.1972 A.D.

 
 
 

 

 

Paramhans Harśankrānand Jī Mahārāj.

Birth: 18-10-1910 A.D.  Demise: 22-2-1983 A.D.

 
 
 

 

 

Paramhans Satgurusarnānand Jī Mahārāj.

(Present Sadguru and Preceptor)

Birth: Śrī Basant Panchmī, 1946 A.D.

 

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