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Change Yourself

Address to new abhyasis at the North American Seminar, 17th August 2010, Chennai, India

Dear lovely children, you know I love children very much, and I would love to spend more time with you all. But now at this point of time, as Americans love to say, I'm going to speak a little, at the end of which I would request children to leave the hall because I may want to give a sitting to the abhyasis, and you know children cannot sit for satsangh. Okay, children? (No, they can listen and then when I finish speaking they can quit.)

Mr. Santosh Sreenivasan just said that you have some questions. I have only one answer to that. My Master told me when I met him, questions have answers, but what we really need are not answers but solutions to problems of life. You understand? Questions have only answers, and they have no meaning. What we really need are solutions to our problems of life, which can come by changing ourselves  because in any problem, even in mathematics, if you change one part of the equation the other changes, if there is a solution. And it is wisdom to change ourselves first, instead of waiting for the other fellow or the other situation to change.

Spirituality says, change yourself and your universe is for you a different universe. Don't worry about what I think are infantile questions parading in our minds like wisdom: "Does it mean a real change of the universe?" I don't know what is a real change of the universe. To me, my universe is what I see, what I perceive, what I live with, and if in it, by changing myself I find there is harmony, there is peace, there is contentment, my universe is a lovely, wonderful universe. And it will be an expanding universe in the real sense of expanding harmony, expanding enlarging love, growing friendship, brotherhood, not only what Gabor wrote about it or Einstein wrote about it in terms of physical growth.

So I would like you all to think over this and do it — change yourselves. Remember, we are not here to change others. Each one of you is here very absolutely, surely, to change yourself. We go to school to educate ourselves, not to see that Boston is educated or Lisbon is educated. You all believe that if you are educated you can educate others, make a society better, your city better, your state better. You know? Nothing we do as individuals is ever done for the sake of others. Nothing! So forget all this apparent generosity and charity, and all these funny things and saying, "I am here for the sake of others." We are not. We are here for the sake of each one for himself, but one difference — the selfish guy is in it only for himself; we are here to change so that we can help others change. It is the only difference. It may look a small difference, but it is a very big difference. If that had not been the case, you ladies and gentlemen would not be here today.

Obviously someone, something, some system of practice, some values you have understood and adopted have impressed you from inside sufficiently, to motivate you from inside to take this long, expensive trip to a country which perhaps many of you have not visited before, to a country of which you have heard only negative praise, if at all, a country full of snakes and maharajas and sickness, a country where the climate is awful, it is full of dust — and it is vegetarian. If in spite of all this you ladies and gentlemen have come here, let me assure you, you are not here to honour anybody or to please anybody but yourselves. In coming here you have manifested the truth of that old saying: "And this above all, to thine own Self be true." You are being true to your Self in trying to further your practice, your growing sense and appreciation of the values that are preached here, the attraction toward the simplicity of the practice that is offered to you and, perhaps very much to the point, the ability to be friends and to rub shoulders with one and all.

You know, in the western countries there are two or three very hellish concepts, because they isolate you, they lock you up within yourselves physically, mentally: privacy and individuality. We are all herbivorous, gregarious — therefore vegetarian and therefore a brotherhood. You understand? Human beings may have lived on meat, raw meat some centuries ago, but civilization  if you have studied your anthropology and other allied subjects  elevated us from hunters to hunter-gatherers, to farmers and presumably we must live by what we preach and practice. We should love vegetarian food because even science says what we need is protein, and the protein route to animal flesh is very, very expensive. So that is by the way.

What I want to say is, I thank you for responding to your inner call because after all we are all called into spirituality, and how the call comes, and when, and where, nobody can say. Anything can trigger it. Unfortunately, in general it is, shall we say, negative circumstances, ill health (either of your own or your loved ones), problems of life, financial, emotional, everything, that drive us, that impel us towards a solution which is outside the normal scope of education, governments and society to provide. Where we come back to the true individualization of the self, that I sit by myself, I meditate on my Self which is inside, and if I am, you know, faithful to my inner call, I answer that call knowing that it's only I who am answering the call to myself. In a few short months I find that my problems diminish, appear to diminish, go away. I begin to be more in harmony with everything, my surroundings, myself.

Remember that what we are is what we project of ourselves outside. If my universe appears hateful, it's because I hate everything. I hate my self more than anything else. And because my ego will not permit me to hate my self, it says, "Hate these guys. Mug them, rob, cheat them." So the outer universe is only a reflection of what I am inside myself, not the other way around. What I am, I see outside. My face, I see in the mirror. Remember the story of that queen. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?" And one day, the mirror had to tell the truth. Now suppose we look at the mirror and we don't like what we see, and we smash the mirror. Isn't it? It would be a very foolish, shall we say, exercise in trying to find out the truth. So when I see how I feel — the universe, I see it hateful, I see it full of aggression, I see it full of danger, every step that I take outside is dangerous to me, there is violence — it reflects my inner self, and unless I change myself, nothing is going to change outside.

Again, I caution you, don't think of absolute terms. "Does it mean, Chariji, that the universe has changed?" Yes, it has. It is what is in me that must change — my perception, my appreciation, my understanding that God created nothing bad; what we perceive as good and bad are our evaluations. Remember what Shakespeare said: Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. Your thinking. Somebody likes pizza, somebody likes pasta, somebody hates both. What is the reality? It is only your interaction with anything outside that decides for you what it is for you, not for everybody. Therefore, we come back to this absolute need for each one to change himself or herself, and change the world, change the universe, make it one of peace and harmony and pervasive love; love without distinction, love which needs no justification, love which recognizes nothing but itself. Love.

So since we are meeting for the first time, I thought I would tell you some things about what spirituality is all about. It is never about anybody else except you. If you do it, you are not here to please God or guru or any such, shall we say, concept. You are very much here to change yourself. First of all, you make yourself acceptable to yourself. I can look in the mirror and say, "Well, that is me. I am that," which is what one of the famous Upanishadic statements says, "That thou art," what you see. And I must learn to see myself as I am, change it progressively so that I know how I am changing, maintain the diary which, after a year if you read it, you will see how you are progressing, you have progressed. And therefore I am the master of my destiny, of my fate. I am the experiment, the object of the experiment; I am the experimenter, and that which emerges from this experiment will be my Self. There is no outside agency except help. In Sahaj Marg uniquely, it is this transmission and this cleaning which again you attract to yourself by sitting and meditating. So are you beholden to anybody else? No. Have you to be grateful to anybody else? No. Whom should you blame if you continue to be as you are? Yourself.

So please remember that; it's a short introduction to Sahaj Marg. But many people think, you know, that the guru is a great guy and God is wonderful, although we have hated God, we have reviled God, we have cut up gods into pieces, we have created hateful religions which divide us, separate us, create all the wars. God did not create religions. We created them. Remember that. These stories are there in every, shall we say, religious discipline that God created peace and plenty; man started… whether it's Cain and Abel or the tower of Babel or anything you like. He brought purity and good; we brought evil, ugliness and filth.

So sisters and brothers, let us reverse this equation. And it is only possible, I repeat, by changing yourself. May you all be blessed. Thank you.