Grihastas, Raccoons and Higher Possibilities
‘Amavasya’ means the new moon day. For those generally considered ‘Grihastas’, the ‘Pournami’ or the full moon is considered more suitable if at all they want to do something spiritual. A ‘Grihasta’ literally means householder, one who is holding on to his house. The house was supposed to hold us, but now we are holding on to the house. The idea of a house came up only as a physical shelter, but now it is no more just a physical shelter, it is more of a psychological shelter. Every device we create for our wellbeing, we have a specialty of turning it into a tomb for ourselves. A house is wonderful device to organize a few things so we can focus on what we want to do with our lives, but that is not how it turned out for most people. The organization of the home completely ate people up to such an extent they became house-holders, holding on the house.
So for the householders, generally, the full moon is considered more suitable to do anything spiritual because it is gentle on them. And generally, what is gentle is also slow. Amavasya is for the ascetic, for those who are in a rush, for those who don’t have much time. I am not talking about old age, I am talking about hunger. One who is burning with the longing to know doesn’t have much time because this burning may just burn him into ashes tomorrow morning. For that kind, this night is more suitable. This night is associated with Shiva, because Shiva is associated with destruction and burning and ashes. The moment you utter the word Shiva – ash, fire, burning, destruction – these things are part of that word. The nearest thing that can happen on this planet, which is naturally close to nothingness, is Amavasya. In fact, the night before is the darkest night, so that is known as Shivarathri. It continues into the next day which is Amavasya, the actual new moon day, because the moon is just beginning to come up.
We keep talking about the nature of creation because the whole essence of knowing is just to be like that – not to become your own rubbish. Just to be like that, the way the Creator intended you to be. So should I be just like any other creature on this planet – eat when I feel like it, do this when I feel like it, do that when I feel like it? If the Creator intended you to be like that, he would have made you a raccoon -- eat when you see food, copulate when the season is on, reproduce when the season is on and die when the time comes. When I say a raccoon, do not think it is a lowly creature, he is a very intelligent guy. I have been in appreciation of him the last few days. Just two days ago, they brought a flower pot and kept it outside on the porch. The plant was full of flowers, but it was in the shade. When any plant is in the shade, the fragrance of the flower will not be as strong as in the sunlight. Within a few hours, this Tennessean raccoon just knew where his evening snack is. He comes, rips the plant off, chews up the plant and goes away. We don’t know where he went for dinner. One little plant appears here, and wherever he was, he knows where his snack is.
I am saying this because when it comes to the survival process, you don’t have the level of organization that he has. If dinner is served unannounced tonight, you will go all over the place -- you wouldn’t know where it is. If you were a raccoon, we could serve food anywhere without announcements, you would just know where it is. I am not saying this with any disrespect towards him, I have great regard in seeing the intelligence behind the whole thing. As a householder, he is far more organized than you; you are not in competition with him. The idea of becoming a householder is to organize your survival, so that you don’t worry and struggle with it on a daily basis. You might have glorified it and raised it to heaven, but that is your problem. Essentially, that is all it is -- to organize your physical needs in such a way that you can conduct them in a decent manner. I am not saying it is right or wrong, it is just that that is all it is. And that is also an important part of human life, so it is fine.
So being dedicated to the physical, this is ‘raccoonism’ -- is physical wrong? No. If physical is a stepping stone to the beyond, it is fantastic. Nothing wrong with the physical. If your home is a possibility so that you don’t have to bother with little things on a daily basis, if it is organized enough so that it allows you to seek something, then that is great. And that is how an ashram should be, always. For those of you who are part of making the ashram happen, it is only a tool for a higher possibility. It doesn’t become a comfort zone by itself; it doesn’t become a purpose by itself. It is not a purpose, it is only a device.