Dhamma is the truth that was taught by the Buddha many centuries ago. Dhamma leads to awakening. But awakening does not occur like a bolt out of the blue, like a thunderbolt or a sudden gush of wind; rather it is a long and sometime difficult journey of understanding. Awakening as the sages say, is a gradual progressive movement towards the divine.
In practical terms, the Buddha taught that this anupubbi-katha or gradual movement is a process that guides a person or a seeker from the first principles through more advanced teachings, all the way to nirvana or realization. The Buddha achieved this. That is why he is called ‘The Enlightened One’. Anandmurti Gurumaa says that an Enlightened person is one who is free from the bondages of religion. Many people, she says, who walked on earth after the Buddha possessed those very qualities that the Buddha himself had, like Kabir, Mira, Namdev or Vitthal. What the Buddha says is above religion.
For example, Gurumaa picks up one sutra which says, “The Buddha says that the whole world is blind” and goes on to explain in her own wonderful way the essence of this sutra through various examples and anecdotes. As Gurumaa says, “The Buddha says people are blind, they cannot see, they cannot understand. A person who cannot see his own life, a person who cannot understand his own life, how can he know another person? To understand the Buddha’s words and his nature, one needs buddhi.”
“Today, man is enmeshed in the cobwebs of darkness and is himself blind,” Gurumaa explains. “Try to understand this situation: a bird is caught in a net and that bird is blind. If that bird has eyes, then it will be able to find a hole to escape from the net and fly away. But the bird is blind. How can it fly away?”
This is the situation that man has put himself in, says Gurumaa. “He is caught in the web of desires, of ego, etc. Actually, the web itself has been created by man himself and he is caught in it. And on top of that, he is blind. So how can he free himself? If a person can free himself from this web, he goes directly to heaven.
Heaven, as explained by Gurumaa, is not a solid building in which you go and live. Heaven, in the Buddha sutras, is inside us. A person in whom the light of wisdom shines is filled with heaven, says Gurumaa.
Here, in this book, “Dhamm – Jeevan Aadhaar”, Anandmurti Gurumaa discusses the essence of the Buddha and his sermons, reflects upon his life, on the people who came in contact with him as well as about his disciples. It contains Gurumaa’s discourses and in her wonderful way, she puts across her message through the many anecdotes and stories that fills up this book. The words of wisdom come across through the answers that she gives to the many questions put up by the seekers during the discourses – these are probably the most enlightening.
Gurumaa tells that Dhamm is the path of life. And Gurumaa’s discourses which have been compiled in this book lovingly teach us the art of living. The Dhamm is a lamp and Gurumaa wants us to hold that lamp and wake up from the dreams and move towards a higher life where we are clothed in the radiance of Eternity.
The most interesting aspect of this book is the fact that Gurumaa takes us into the realm of meditation again and again. Of the many questions that Gurumaa answers in this book, a majority of them pertain to meditation. Time and again, Gurumaa has been saying that people do not know the right way to meditate, that they do not know what exactly meditation is. During the shivirs in which thousands of people attend, Gurumaa teaches the wonderful and easy techniques of meditation so that people become aware, so that their minds get sharpened, so that all the chatter that goes on in their brains in gradually reduced, so that the blinds that they have tied in front of their eyes are removed and they are awakened. But meditation, as she explains, is not actually doing something but experiencing and enjoying nothingness. Though this too is a mind-oriented experience. So, whatever we do is through mind. And releasing ourselves from the clutches of mind is meditation. Only then is the person awakened.
But this awakening comes, as Gurumaa says, not from Guru, but from the person who wants to be awakened. “You’ll be free from bondage only is you want to. Nobody has tied you, but yourself. The day you untie these bonds, you’ll be free. Then all your difficulties will be over”. ‘Appa deepo bhava’ Be light onto yourself -was the parting teaching of Gautama Buddha.