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Progress to Fulfil His Purpose - Guru Purnima, July 25, 2010, Lucknow
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I did not know anything about Guru Purnima until one fine day in 1967 when I was a three-year-old abhyasi; I walked into Babuji Maharaj’s home in Shajahanpur, late afternoon. You know there were only a few abhyasis in those days, probably six or seven at home, who all very happily greeted me, hugged me, and said, “It’s such a wonderful thing you are here on this auspicious day.” I said, “What auspicious day?” They said, “Today is Guru Purnima.” Just then Babuji Maharaj came. I said, “What is this Guru Purnima?” He said, “Guru Purnima is a day on which, according to tradition, if the disciple is with the guru he progresses far, far speedily than he could by himself.” So that is the significance of Guru Purnima. And then Babuji looked at me and smiled and said, “How old are you?” I said, “I am forty.” He said, “May you progress forty times as fast.”
So you see, what brother Punit said earlier this morning about Longfellow is a very necessary thing to know, because it tells us what we have to do. It puts the onus for personal evolution on each individual. You do - you progress. You study - you earn. You work - you earn, you know, things like that. Nothing is given by destiny or the Divine just because we are here and say we deserve it.
When we see the vast spectrum of life with all its enormous difficulties, differences, problems, successes, we wonder why it is so. Why is it that some have to struggle and some are born with so-called silver spoons in their mouth, and nowadays maybe even diamond spoons? When a child is born who is an heir to, say, a fortune of two thousand crores, four thousand crores, is it to its advantage or to its eventual disadvantage? Because money has nothing to do with it, property has nothing to do with it. What the parents leave you has nothing to do with it. Their duty is to give you what is good for you as a human being: good training as a baby, good education (as much as they can afford), training in good manners, behaviour, etiquette which must become part of us, not put on, you know.
We must not be rude in one setting and very polite in another, which is only like washing our hands in soap before we are going to dine. Do these things become part of my nature? Can you say of this man, “He is well behaved under all circumstances”? Whether you curse him or bless him, he is well behaved; he says, “Thank you.” Because, in one way of looking at it, a curse can be a very good thing. It can awaken us to the possibilities of what can be. Babuji Maharaj said, “A curse cannot work unless what is cursed is somewhere in your future.”
Suppose somebody has to lose a fortune twenty years later and a rishi, like Vishwamitra or somebody (you know, Durvasa was well known for it), he curses you, “May you be poverty-ridden.” That can be brought forward in time so that instead of becoming a pauper twenty years later you are a pauper now. Babuji said, “Dekho (look), there is grace in this also because he is now young. The guru’s curse can be a blessing because he will lose everything but he has time to start over again, energy to start over again and, most important, wisdom to start all over again. Whereas if he loses everything at the age of sixty, he will die a pauper.”
So you see there are ways of looking at it. And that is why, as you go up on the ladder of spiritual life, spiritual evolution, eventually you become what Babuji used to call a saint. They pray for more and more miseries. “Let me get rid of everything quickly (fatafat). Let me not wait for eons of time, in three lives hence, five lives hence.”
Our duty is to condense our evolution between this birth and this end, when it is coming to each one of us. Babuji Maharaj said, “Who knows whether there is a next life or not?” Big religions don’t believe in it. Hindus believe but Islam doesn’t believe, Christianity doesn’t believe. One life. So in this life when we know what we are, where we are, why we are, let us benefit to the maximum possible by getting in touch with all the forces of evolution that can push me up, and avoid everything that can pull me down, which is the fundamental wisdom that we all need to acquire.
That is the way to ensure personal evolution by our own effort to the best extent that we can, to quote Longfellow again*. The same footsteps, you know, terrified another person in another context, when he saw footsteps on the sands of the beach and he was terrified — Robinson Crusoe. So what do steps show? Then, another soul who was under the custody of God and who called God and said, “I am taking you with me wherever I go,” he sees there are places where there are two pairs of steps, and some where there is only one, and he says, “God, you said you were always with me. Why only one row of steps?” So God smiles compassionately, understandingly, lovingly, and says, “My son, those were the dangerous stretches where I carried you; therefore only my footsteps are there.”
So if we look at these varying stories about footsteps… I would not like to see my footsteps, all alone, like Robinson Crusoe. I would not even like to see two pairs of footsteps. Suffice it that He carries me, if He thinks I deserve it, if He thinks I need it, and if He is willing to do it. Even Masters have to be willing. That they are always willing does not mean that they should always be willing. There are circumstances under which a guru can refuse a chela [disciple]. He’ll say, “No, sorry.” That may be a test. We are too blithe and confident, self-confident, other-confident here in our Mission because everybody who comes is invited lovingly, given sittings, maybe supported with samosas and chai. And instead of feeling that we are blessed, often the abhyasi thinks he is bestowing something on the Mission by being here. Very, very unfortunate if people think like that. Because in Sahaj Marg, let me tell you, progress is simple, as Babuji said, but not easy.
Every day I know when I’m not able to sleep, or half awake, I have my own personal, shall we say, discussions with my guruji. I say, “You said this is simple.” He said, “Yes, it is simple. Morning meditation, evening cleaning, night prayer. What is difficult?” I said, “No, Babuji, it is simple but difficult.” You see, to bring the mind into, first of all, your own ability to regulate it (not control it), takes time, and that is what sadhana is about when we start. Repeated meditation — you learn more and more how to bring your mind into your regulation and say, “Now do this.” It is like training a horse or a bullock or a lion; but they are easy to train. The mind? Mm-hmm [No].
I am reminded of a story where a boy in Bombay, at Juhu Beach, found a bottle in the ocean. He made the mistake of opening it and one of these djinns came, you know, “Salaam, huzoor. [Salutations, sir.] You have to keep me occupied, otherwise I shall kill you.” So on the spur of the moment he said, “Build me a bridge from here to Sydney, Australia.” So the djinn looked at him and said, “Can’t you think of something easier?” He said, “Change the mind of my wife.” The djinn said, “Quick, two lanes or four lanes?” Even for that djinn, you know… So it is not easy.
The guru can assist us so long as we do something. “Will he not do, whether I do or not?” Babuji’s answer, when I asked him that question, [was] “Why? Why should I? If you are not interested in your evolution, why should anybody else be interested in your evolution?” I thought of what I thought was a very intelligent reply. I said, “[It is] God’s purpose that we all should evolve.” He said, “God will take care of it.” He said, “There is infinite time, you see, and He can wait. Can you wait?”
And all this progress, brothers and sisters, is not for our sake; the routine progress like you see in movies, you know, where Lord Krishna is standing and one stream of people going in, another stream of people coming out. The automatic process of evolution is limited, and in which we all participate without any question of time or number of lives or yugas [eons] or anything. It goes on and on and on and on, endlessly. Some religions speak of that. They say, “No, it’s not possible in one life.”
Babuji said it can be done, provided you apply yourself to it. He said, “Food is there. Unless you eat how can you do it, how can you become healthy, grow?” And then he said something which was very, very, you know, eye-opening to me. He said, “At high levels you are trained, made perfect to fulfil His purpose, to work for Him.” I said, “Babuji, then this is like my employer paying me more and more as I do better and better, and sacking me when my work is over.” He laughed and said, “Well, it would not be wise to think like that. But tell me, Parthasarathi, why should God perfect you for your sake? It is okay if you are liberated and you are out, you see. Why should He take you, make you his son and one day allow you to become part of Himself (layavastha)? It is only to fulfil the Divine purpose because He needs workers dedicated to His purpose to go on with the work here.”
Then there is a reference in the Veda, you see, it justifies this, which says, deivam maanusha rupena — God does not work directly, He works through human beings. Like a carpenter does not cut with his hand but he uses a saw and chisel, a plane. An ironmonger doesn’t work with his hands; he uses an anvil, he uses a furnace, he uses hammers, rollers. Even we work through something other than ourselves. A wise man works with his education, with his knowledge, with his wisdom. A fool works with his foolishness.
So, “Does a human being ever work?” is a very good question. No, is my answer. These qualities help us. If I am foolish for the moment, unfortunately, my foolishness is the instrument through which I can work. If I am wise, those are my instruments. If I am a chemist, that is my instrument. Think of it. As human beings we need these instruments: physical and mental and intellectual. God as God needs instruments here, well-trained, equipped. With what? With a heart that can love and sacrifice eternally, unstintingly, without question of deservingness. “Does he deserve it?” You are not to question. If God sends you somebody, you do the work. You don’t say, “But Master, he looks undeserving.” And Master can ask, “What would you have felt if I had said that to you when you came? How did you think you were deserving?” This is like a stray puppy coming into our house, you know, and you love dogs and you accept it. And one day it becomes a wonderful dog. You have to make that stray puppy into a wonderful dog.
We are all stray puppies who have wandered into this garden of my Master where we are first trained to become something, as Babuji said, from animal man to human man. And after that, if he thinks you can fulfil His purpose, you are taken to higher stages. Nothing is conferred, nothing is given, but we are blessed with this enormous scope of this training, spiritual training of the great Masters which makes us into Divine instruments, which is an unsurpassable blessing in life, in this life or in any life. It is said that even angels are jealous when they see a human being progress like this.
So on this auspicious day of Guru Purnima, please remember that a mud potter makes the pot, but by an empty pot we get nothing. So when we become animal man to human man, that is the empty pot still to be fired, still to be made capable of holding liquids, solids, powder, anything, and used to convey what He wants to convey in it elsewhere.
I pray that you all understand that when we grow spiritually, we don’t grow because we deserve it. We grow because He considers us capable of receiving it with humility, in a developing way of love for all without any prejudices, and able to distribute what He gives us to all without restraint. My prayers for you all.