Swami Nirmal Chetan
Swami Nirmal Chetan was born in Amritsar. He was only one year old when his mother died.
His father married a second time and had more children.
The boy whenever lonely would turn to the soothing prayer hymns that would emanate from the Golden Temple.
At the age of 21 he met his Master Swami Nirmal from Punjab, who seemed to be the answer to all his longings and prayers. The Master refused to initiate him as he would not allow him to run away from his household duties.
Alone and dejected Swami Nirmal Chetan headed towards the Himalayas where he had a near - death experience. He experienced visions of an indescribable nature which filled his soul in such a manner that he experienced fear and loneliness no more.
On his return his Master had to admit that he was made for the spiritual path.
Despite the fact that Swamiji has renounced his worldly ties he now believes that there is no reason to give up anything in order to pursue the spiritual path.
Once I asked Swamiji: “At home people are involved in family politics. In an ashram I find disciples vying for their Guru’s attention. So what is the difference between a householder and a sanyasi?
He smiled at me and said, “A householder is greater as he has to achieve God, midst greater odds. But the point is to make it to the Goal - to live your life by Truth is what is important, immaterial of its surroundings.”
I met Swamiji at a time when the answer to my one question would give rise to a dozen more. Many other masters that I came across during that time would find my questions impertinent or maybe they thought that I was trying to test their knowledge.
As far as I can look into the recesses of my heart that was not true, I really wanted to know.
What endeared Swamiji to me, was his extreme patience and equilibrium of character.
Swamiji’s teachings are simple. He says that:
God has given us one room (heart). It is up to us whether we want to turn that room into a Hotel or Godown or a Temple. That is we could spend our lives being attached to different people in which case we would have turned our “room heart” into a hotel. We could fill our room heart” with material things (possessions) in which case we will have turned it into a Godown, or we could convert our heart into a Temple where we could place the Lord at its altar.
Swamiji believes that we must live our life like one drives a car. One must not press the accelerator all the time, nor the brake all the time. One must learn the art of when to use the accelerator and when the brake. Then the car will move safely towards its destination.
Question: How does one change one’s heart into a Temple and how does one learn to drive the car of life?
Answer: The first thing that we must do, according to Swamiji. is to take responsibility for our own life. We must depend more on ourselves for happiness, and blame others less for our unhappiness. We are like neighbors that keep throwing rubbish at each other’s homes. The result is that everyone’s home is full of garbage. If everyone were to learn to dispose of their own rubbish everyone's home would be clean.
Swamiji believes that satsang (good company influence) is very Important to learn to live life.
When a child is dirty, unclean, a father does not generally pick him up. It is the mother who cleans him, bathes him and gives him to the father.
Similarly, when one is full of ego, attachments, It is the satsang (good company influence) that takes him, cleans him and then presents him to the Father (God), who accepts him,
Question; Is the reason for our unhappiness our Ego?
Answer: Swamiji believes that the less we are filled with ego.. the happier we will be.
He says that if we learn to sit on the floor, we will not fall, and if we learn to take the back seat, we will not be pushed around.
Swamiji continues: whenever you allow someone to fill up your balloon with air (pride, ego), be sure that you are going to be kicked around.
The solution is to make a hole in the balloon with the needle of vichar” (the right way of thinking), and you will be kicked around no more.
Swamiji implores: Why don’t you give the Lord that which he does not have - Ego, your ego! He adds: Just surrender to Him, be the loudspeaker through which Lord speaks; when the loudspeaker makes it's own noise (ego) the words of the Lord do not come clear.
Question: How does one get rid of attachments?
Answer: Swamiji, like Shakespeare, believes that the world is a stage and men and women are merely actors. The theatre in Hindi Is called Natak” - when the word is broken Into two. Is amusingly means do not get attached, na-atak.
The mind has a tendency to get attached, which eventually leads to sorrow.
One must learn to be only caretaker of everything and everyone that has come in contact with our lives.
Happiness arid unhappiness are scenes in life that will eventually pass.
Everything belongs to us for a certain period of time. One enjoys a hotel room for a while - but does not cry and cling to it, once the time comes to go home.
If one learns not to be attached one enjoys every change of scene.
Swamiji says, Play your part and play it well — but know that the outcome of the part is in the hands of the. Lord. So if the scene shifts to an unpleasant one, know "there is a lesson for us to learn from it.”
The ultimate aim of one who Is trying to achieve enlightenment is to be like a screen on which tragedies and comedies may project at different intervals. Yet the screen remains unaffected. The screen of an Enlightened One can proudly proclaim: Different scenes are projected in me yet I live not in them. When there is fire I get not heated and when there may be torrential floods I get not wet.
Question: If true knowledge Is necessary for liberation, then what happens to those who are not highly intellectual?
Answer Either you pave you way as you go along with the help of your own knowledge or place your full faith in the hands of a Master.
A man of knowledge will take the butter out of the milk himself. A man of faith will find a Master, who will take out the butter from the milk and place it before him, The eating of the butter has however to be done by the seeker himself.
Question: Shouldn’t a woman’s husband be her Guru?
Answer: For a woman, only her husband can be her Guru, as he provides for all her material and physical needs. But when you do not talk of a woman as a woman, but as a spiritual being then she would require a spiritual Master for her spiritual needs.
Swamiji believes that to achieve anything one has to put in one’s best efforts, and then leave it to destiny. However he believes that if God’s Grace is upon us then one may be able to bypass destiny and one may get one’s hearts desire even though it may not be destined in the stars.
Swamiji claims that we will know that we are on the right path and are putting our best efforts, if we feel peace growing within us, irrespective of results.
Swamiji says: Live with joy, not for joy.
He often asks: ‘Why are you pareshan?”
Pareshan means to be anxious. Strangely, when the word is broken up, “pare” means away and ‘sham” means dignified position. Swamiji reminds us that we only get anxious when we move away from our rightful dignified state, that of being the children of the all-Powerful Father and hence always under His tender care.
Swamiji says that we cannot see the Lord not because the veil is on Him, but ironically because the veil is on us — The Veil of Ignorance.
To remove the veil, to be able to see the Lord, we will require an "I" operation and an "eye” operation.
The first "I" operation is that we will have to bring back to health our “I”. i.e. we will have to make our “I” or ego into a workable or healthy quantity.
The other eye operation he talks about is that of removing the twig from the eye which instead of seeing correctly,
Translated. It means:
the seeker recognizes the Lord, who Is true life,
Swamiji has always answered my questions with tremendous patience.
Once my mother reprimanded me for my unending continuous queries. Swamiji gently told my mother never to stop me.
He said: “There are some people who will remain students and there are some who will want to share what they learn. The latter must always be treated with patience, gentleness and compassion.”
I am thankful to Swamiji for giving me all three in abundance and I feel fulfilled in the fact that I am making his prediction of sharing what I have learned. true.
Dal Sabzi for the Aatman
™ is the sole property of Shakun Narain.