Sadvipras: Uncompromising moralists
By Garda Ghista
"Sadvipras are those whose all efforts are directed towards the attainment of Bliss. They are strong in morality and always ready to wage war against immoral activities. Those who strictly adhere to the principles of morality, are ensconced in sacrificing service and who are ready to wage war against immoralists are sadvipras. Only those sadvipras are safe from destruction and extinction who can work for the welfare of human society. Therefore, it becomes the prime duty of everyone to make themselves and others sadvipras." - Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar
Sadvipra [sat (Cosmic truth) + vipra (intellect); "one whose intellect is ensconced in truth"] means essentially a spiritual revolutionary, someone who is not merely a revolutionary in the physical and intellectual realms but in the spiritual realm as well. Furthermore, a sadvipra's approach to anything, be it farming, economics, politics or psychology is fundamentally rooted in her or his spiritual realization, in her or his blissful love for the Supreme.
What then is the foremost characteristic by which people may recognize a sadvipra? It is none other than adamantine, uncompromising morality. The clear, unequivocal, perseverant pursuit of justice without the slightest trace of any prejudice or vindictiveness is the defining characteristic of a sadvipra. In the words of Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar,
"Sadvipras will wage a ceaseless, pactless struggle against immorality and all sorts of divisive tendencies. Those who pose to be righteous (dharmic) but are timid with (regard to) the spirit of fight cannot be called sadvipras."
There have been many codes of morality created to serve certain vested interests. There have been many determined fighters for justice degraded by their personal prejudices and lack of compassion. None of these people can be called sadvipras. The primary reason is that, as we have seen, a sadvipra is one whose each and every endeavor (be it washing dishes or exposing corruption) is directed solely towards attaining the Supreme Consciousness, of merging with the Lord's love.
What then is such an uncompromising moralist? The principles of morality were developed millenniums ago by Tantric yogis who were free from all sectarian and social prejudices, as their sole aim was spiritual realization. These principles, ten in number, are divided into two categories known as Yama and Niyama. This article explores how sadvipras will fight to establish these principles in society and in themselves.
Ahimsa means not to hurt anyone by thought, word or deed. However, for the welfare of society, one sometimes will have to try to rectify criminals, and maybe even resort to violence in self-defense. While one may have to defend oneself against attackers, one should not use this as a license to commit atrocities as seen in the case of Bosnia, Rwanda and elsewhere. In normal life we often see in the office or the family that if someone is attacked (by insults or by intriguing to ruin one's reputation), the victim uses this to justify attacking that person with excessive paranoid violence. For example, someone may hear another person at work make a sarcastic joke about him or her, and then respond by trying to get that person fired.
Uncompromising followers of ahimsa will struggle vigorously to ensure that there is not the slightest trace of resentment, hatred, anger or contempt towards those who have harmed them. Furthermore, when defending themselves they will never let the heat of battle (be it verbal or physical) cause them to behave vindictively after defeating those who attempted to harm them. A sadvipra will be unceasingly watchful to keep her or his mind absorbed in Supreme Consciousness at all times. Also, sadvipras will not allow anyone else to use self-defense as an excuse to behave vengefully.
In defining ahimsa, Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar notes that neglecting to help someone is also against ahimsa. For example, suppose someone is raped. Often we see that the head of the institution (school, organization) in which a rape occurred tries merely to cover it up so as to save the prestige of that institution, while himself posing as righteous or dharmic. In other situations, people may try to protest against an injustice but when their post is threatened they become silent. Due to this cowardice so many people have to suffer!
A sadvipra is always a devotee, someone who loves the Lord. As Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar says, the very first sign of someone having love for the Lord is that she or he outright condemns those who are immoralists. He has encouraged all of us to have a flaming moral purpose, so that the greed, oppression and exploitation shrivel before the fire in us. Even if a sadvipra loses all her/his possessions, position and becomes a beggar on the street, she/he will not stop condemning those who harm others. As Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar also says, if someone doesn't speak out and fight against injustice, if instead that person requests the suffering people to be patient, makes excuses or even asks for compassion for the immoralists (molesters, rapists, or mass murderers such as Pinochet and the Khmer Rouge), i.e. asks that they go unpunished while remaining in power, one may call such a person a "goody goody" but we cannot call such a person "good". And certainly we cannot call such a person a devotee let alone a sadvipra. A sadvipra will fight not only against those who have harmed people, but also against those who harm animals, plants, mountains and even the earth itself. Thus a sadvipra will protest the slaughter of forests, animals, and pollution and indiscriminate mining of the earth.
The devotee, out of intense love, strives not to hurt her or his Beloved Lord. Such a devotee is vigilant in her/his loving service never to yield to selfish complaining, demands to remove mundane unhappiness, and desire for mundane, psychic or even spiritual pleasure or power, for she/he knows how this insincere selfishness hurts the society and the loving heart of the Lord. Such a devotee is uncompromising against those who misuse occult powers to harm, rob or manipulate people to become famous. A sadvipra knows how much pain and shame the Lord feels at His children's selfish squandering of His gifts. Sadvipras cannot tolerate this pain and therefore strive to lovingly serve Him by serving His children, feeling that they, the sufferers and the act of service are all their Beloved - Supreme Consciousness.
Asteya means not to deprive others of their due by thought, word or deed. While stealing is universally condemned, certain forms of stealing are excused. For example, multinationals rob resources and labor, leaving polluted deserts all over the world, but are never punished. A sadvipra will not merely protest against such stealing, but will strive to work with others to create a system of economic democracy so that such a situation does not repeat itself. Just as, against all odds, our ancestors struggled for political democracy, so also sadvipras will inspire us all to struggle for economic democracy - to put purchasing power in the hands or the people!
Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar also notes that allowing someone to be robbed is a form of stealing. For example suppose at work there is someone who is corrupt. If we ourselves are honest but do not expose the person (due to fear of that person using the power of position to harm us), then we too are corrupt. Often we see in society that people tolerate corruption even though they are in no danger, simply because they have no dynamism at all, which they hide under the cover of cynicism. Such people will be exhorted by sadvipras to have the courage to speak out if they are not in great danger of life and limb.
Sadvipras are simply those from whom nothing can be stolen. For them, their sole possession is love for their Beloved Lord. Thus without an iota of hesitation, they speak out against corruption in each and every aspect of the society. They are willing to lose everything with a smile. They respond to absolute humiliation, loss of reputation, bankruptcy and beatings with the loud laughter of the liberated soul. This is how sadvipras give us the courage to endure suffering in the struggle against corruption in all walks of life.
Satya means the use of words with the spirit of welfare for others and not for oneself. As William Blake said, "The truth told with bad intent Beats all the lies you can invent."
Often in family life and in society, people try to say the most biting truths in order to hurt someone. This is not satya. All such so-called truths are usually partial truths. What such truths reveal is merely the petty vindictiveness of the person uttering them. This poisons not merely family life but social life as a whole. Sadvipras will be vociferous against those who use devious logic and facts selectively to harm or denigrate others, such as in the case of race-hate campaigns.
In emphasizing the importance of satya, Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar has said that we should think a thousand times before we speak. Our words should mean more than our existence. We should be ready to die for those words.
Often people tell "white lies" and say that they are doing this so as not to upset some other person, when in reality they have vested interest in doing so. Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar has said that such people are even lower than animals and plants. Such people are hypocrites who are merely trying to excuse themselves, such as in the case of the heads of governments, corporations or other organizations. This is also not satya. Sadvipras will expose the lies and cover-ups of those who try to hide their own or others' corruption, exploitation or genocide. Sadvipras will keep watch over their own words and never allow themselves to tell "white lies". On the personal level, they will encourage people to take responsibility for their mistakes and not try to hide it from their family. Sadvipras will become established in satya by singing the highest truth, the Lord's Name (kiirtan). Sadvipras will also become established in satya by becoming established in simplicity. They will have a simple mind filled only with the infinity of Supreme Consciousness and not with devious plans, worries, inferiority/superiority complexes, greed, etc. They will have a simple heart pouring forth love for their Beloved everywhere and not petty hurt/sensitivities, hatred and possessiveness. This will more and more merge their existence in Supreme Consciousness. Then the infinite benevolence of the Lord will manifest itself through each of their words and deeds. Then and only then will there be any satya or truth to their words, to their actions, and to their existence.
Brahmacarya means moving in Brahma or Supreme Consciousness. One cannot be a moralist for long without brahmacarya. This is because, due to the clashes of daily living, the mind tends to become degraded and dejected. Brahmacarya firstly means immersing oneself in Supreme Consciousness (the core of our existence, or "I") by meditation. However many people, though they may attempt this through meditation, during their daily life act under the influence of selfish propensities such as possessiveness, worry and doubt, as well as social prejudices such as geo-sentiment (bias towards one's own state or country), casteism and racism. Sadvipras will urge such pseudo-spiritualists to practice brahmacarya fully by ideating that everything they come in contact with (externally and internally) is Supreme Consciousness. They will also forcefully expose those hypocrites who stain the honor of spirituality by preaching universalism and meditation while cherishing prejudices for state, language or race. Sadvipras will rebuke those who are acting in society and the family in a selfish, petty and possessive manner. If such people cause harm to anyone, sadvipras will expose them and demand their punishment.
Sadvipras will not merely be satisfied with experiencing the vastness of the Beloved, of Supreme Consciousness in all. They will chase after their Beloved, embrace the Beloved, surrender and merge in their Beloved in each and every object of this universe. Thus they will be real Neo-humanists. They will only experience their Beloved's sweetness, which will be poured through them, throughout the society, even to the plants and animals and the very dust itself!
Aparigraha means to engage in continual struggle to reduce one's mundane possessions. While no one will be forced to do this, sadvipras will be vigilant against those who try to hoard any form of physical wealth. Their continually giving away their possessions, and never adding to them will cause people to recognize them as sadvipras. They will also be known by their refusing any form of service from others (massage, running errands, etc.). They will strive to make do with fewer and fewer physical amenities and will avoid all material pleasures (such as movies or luxurious food) out of sympathy for the downtrodden, half-naked, half-starving!
Sadvipras will expose those forces (for example, the media and advertising agencies) that propagate consumerism (the idea of acquiring as many goods as possible, just like a dog acquires fleas), in order to create artificial demands to sell over-produced goods. They will fight against such short-term, greed-based financial planning, knowing it can lead to economic depression. Sadvipras will also fight against those chameleon politicians who exhort people to make sacrifices and consume less in order to whitewash those very politicians' criminal mismanagement of the economy and the consequent impoverization and untold suffering of thousands or millions!
Sadvipras will virulently expose those who pretend to be spiritual devotees but secretly or openly accumulate wealth and expensive material objects such as brand-name watches or gold necklaces. Few people in history have dared to protest against the shameful avarice of priests of various religions, and even fewer protest today. For sadvipras, protest against such hypocrisy will be as natural as flying is to a hawk. They will also expose hypocrites who pretend to be saintly but who in practice are not strict in trying to reduce their material possessions. This will ensure that only sincere devotees, unafraid of any scrutiny, will gain respect in society.
Sadvipras will always be burning with longing for their Beloved, and they will throw off all material objects along with their ego, as they feel that these things will slow them down in running towards their Beloved. As they run faster and faster after their Beloved in each of their actions, their material possessions will be flung aside by the intensity of their pursuit. Thus aparigraha will be their natural lifestyle. Their example will inspire all human beings to also run towards the Lord, fast flinging away material encumbrances.
Shaoca means purity, both internal and external. Sadvipras will become established in purity by merging with Supreme Consciousness through their meditation, their service and their sacrifice. Then their bodies and souls will become lustrous, for the Lord's grace and love will be manifested through them.
Sadvipras will fight against those forces (such as the media and multinationals) that try to corrupt the mental and emotional purity of society by encouraging vulgar and violent tendencies. They will fight against the ideology of "the pursuit of selfish pleasure". They will encourage people to care about themselves by caring about the purity of their internal and external life.
Sadvipras will also expose those hypocrites who do not practice the purity they preach, such as monks, politicians, etc. They will fight against those who justify their exploitation or genocide of others by proclaiming certain people (females, races, countries) to be impure.
Sadvipras will scourge those moral malingerers who in the name of purity, in the name of seeing the good side of everyone seek to excuse the crimes of power-hungry immoralists. As Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar has said:
"When one has to speak or fight against injustice, or take administrative action against it, one must not betray any weakness. One must denounce it in the strongest language, because only strong words can strike the right chord in the heart of a sinful person."
Sadvipras will encourage purity in society by spreading yogic exercises (a'sanas) and spiritual meditation rather than simply condemning everyone as impure. As devotees, sadvipras will feel each and every object of this universe is innately pure, as it is nothing other than Supreme Consciousness. Thus they will always feel that any external impurity is something fundamentally unreal. For this very reason they will never harbor any negative feelings towards those who are externally impure, as they will feel the presence of their Beloved Lord underneath that impurity.
Santos'a means being content and at ease no matter what the situation. Often we see very gifted people make mistakes due to their lack of santos'a. Sadvipras will furiously fight in themselves any dissatisfaction due to mundane discomfort or suffering. They will accept all joy also without being affected in any way. Sadvipras will expose those hypocrites who pretend to be spiritual and yet are bitter due to mundane pain or due to the thwarting of their ambitions. Sadvipras will nevertheless ceaselessly fight against obstacles such as poverty, lack of food and water, lack of medical care, lack of education - all of which cause suffering for the people. As Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar has said,
"To willingly subject oneself to humiliation without protest, to tolerate injustice and accept all the agonies of exploitation as divine providence without resistance, is not the mark of a good person. The characteristic of good people is to fight against injustice, to firmly adhere to truth and righteousness, to protect the helpless and fight against all evil persons. Those who are merely simple and are of a meek and goody-goody nature are not good people."
Sadvipras will never preach santos'a to the suffering, as have some so-called spiritual monks, religious leaders, and thousands of politicians throughout history. Rather they will just serve in loving silence. Sadvipras will unmask the naked, greedy cowardice of those who try to delay justice by preaching that people should not mind their suffering and should wait patiently. As Rabindranath Tagore has said: "Those who do wicked deeds and those who support them by their silence, let your anger burn against them like fire against straw!"
Sadvipras will feel dissatisfaction only with their own sincerity and sacrifice and with their surrender to the Supreme. They will only feel pain that each day goes by without their having truly loved their Beloved Lord. This pain will intensify their love more and more until they attain true love by merging in Supreme Consciousness. Then, in the darkness of selfishness, such sadvipras will be a dazzling beacon for us all!
Tapah means penance or sacrifice undertaken to benefit others. Sadvipras will not only smilingly court suffering and hardship to help others, but they will take upon themselves the very sins of the sinners (as dagdabiijas) and suffer even a cyclone of punishment with the uproarious laughter of the realized soul! They will not strive to be reborn in the higher spiritual realms (so-called heavens) nor will they ask for liberation, but instead will ask to be reborn in the lowest hell so as to take the sins of those suffering there. They will not ask the Lord for His bliss, let alone for such obscene things as His powers. Rather, they will ask for all His pain and joyously suffer it. Such true devotees or sadvipras will embrace endless agony, if it can give their Beloved even the smallest of joys.
Sadvipras will rip off the masks of those who do penance for show or who do it to get fame, wealth and occult powers. They will always strive to keep their own sacrifices as hidden as possible, and will deny everything when confronted with their sacrificing service. They will continually offer respect to other moralists and never tolerate others venerating themselves. They will never tolerate in themselves the feeling that they have done anything; rather they will realize that the Lord simply serves Himself in other forms through their body. By their example, countless others will be inspired to stay on the moral and spiritual path in spite of the most ominous obstacles.
Svadhya'ya means the study of one's own Self (Pure Consciousness, the Lord) by studying scriptures. Sadvipras will expose those who try to manipulate scriptures to make money, justify exploitation or genocide. Sadvipras will also unmask those who use scriptures to excuse their own crimes and weaknesses. Sadvipras will encourage people to read scriptures as part of their spiritual practice and will encourage them not merely to believe. Rather they will convince them to experience the truth of the teachings through their pure meditation (desiring only to please the Lord and not to get occult powers, material objects or even spiritual pleasure) and selfless social service. Sadvipras will experience their Beloved Lord in all they see, be it a leaf or a scripture. They will be moving always closer and closer to their Beloved who is the Self of all beings and objects of this universe.
5. Iishvara Pran'idha'na
Iishvara Pran'idha'na means intensely running after only the Supreme Beloved, the Supreme Consciousness and also firmly adhering to the Beloved with all one's body, mind and soul. Sadvipras will be known by the blissfully frantic intensity with which they pursue their Beloved at all times, and for never forsaking Him even one moment by thinking of other limited things under any circumstances. They realize that each object is a door behind which their Beloved stands waiting, smiling with outstretched arms, and that every time they don't realize their Beloved in that object, they are slamming the door in His ever-waiting, ever-smiling face. So never will they stop accelerating on the path of loving service.
Sadvipras will rebuke those who remain complacent after enjoying only a little bliss or (even more pathetically) a few occult powers. They will rebuke such foolish frauds who have lost their devotional desire to attain the Supreme Stance - the true purpose of their birth on this earth. They will also rebuke those who have slowed or stopped their pursuit of the Beloved in order to complain and bemoan their petty problems. Sadvipras will encourage others, who are afraid, to run forward unbarred by any reservation into their Beloved, into Supreme Consciousness by the loving surrender of the "I". We who slow down will be inspired not merely to have acceleration but to have accelerated acceleration!
We have seen herein how the sadvipras will fight against any and all immorality. Life is verily a continual fight. Now if one tries to punch with just one finger, one will break the finger. One needs to bring all the fingers together into a tight fist, for all the fingers to be strong in order to fight. Now what are these fingers? They are: (1) body, (2) mind, (3) soul, (4) devotion or love for the Lord and (5) the Lord. So we have two fists symbolizing our dual fight: our fight against external corruption and exploitation and our fight against internal corruption and selfishness. We have to combine both fists in swift, stunning combinations in the fight that is called life. Such sadvipras will embolden us all, as in those famous words of Guru Gobind Singh: I shall teach the sparrow to hunt the hawk!"
Somewhere deep within the heart of everyone (no matter how apparently depraved or anti-social) exist the pure love, the compassion and the yearning to remove suffering - which we call neo-humanism or devotion. And when that core of truth is vibrated by the call to become a sadvipra, it cannot fail to respond, no matter how small that response may be. And seeing the tireless work and sacrifices of these true humanitarians (who, like a mother, will be more pained by people's mistakes than the people themselves) society cannot fail to respond by proclaiming them sadvipras. To be or not to be a sadvipra depends on how much one's heart is shamed and pained at seeing the stained honor of humanity. Those who surrender unto the Supreme Consciousness will be graced with the ability to fight uncompromisingly against immorality in each and every aspect of life!
"O human beings! You are fortunate. The clarion call of the Universal has reached you. That very call is vibrating in every cell of your body. Will you now lie inert in the corner of your house? Will you now waste your time clutching ancient skeletons to your breast and moaning over them? The Supreme Being is calling you in the roar of the ocean, in the thunder of the clouds, in the speed of the lightning, in the meteor's flaming fires. Nothing will come of remaining idle. Get up and awaken the clouded chivalry of your dormant youth. The path may not be strewn with flowers - and inferiority complex may seek to hold back your every advancing footstep, but even then you have to proceed onward, tearing the shroud of darkness. You will soon rend the thick darkness of despair on the way to the attainment of the Supreme State, and advance onwards in the swift-moving chariot, radiant with the sun's brilliance."
- Shrii Prabhatrainjan Sarkar
Copyright The author 1999