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Appreciate What Spirituality Is
Talk given by Rev. Master on 16th August to the USA Annual General Body Meeting held during North American Seminar at Babuji Memorial Ashram, Manapakkam, India.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am delighted to be, as Babuji Maharaj used to say, a guest in my own home today, because SRCM India is hosting this meeting, and as president of the U.S. Mission I am grateful to them for permitting this. [Chuckles] I would like to impress upon, as Santosh Khanjee would say, all of us - I don’t know why we have to say ‘all of us’, an Americanism - that this hall is being permitted to be used for the first time for such meetings. I suppose it is a reflection of the importance of this particular edifice. I hope that its spiritual values will pervade this seminar and also permeate your being during the next few days that you will all be meeting here, remembering that our purpose is one and one only: spiritual growth of abhyasis, and bringing spirituality to those who are not already with us, in the USA and the rest of the world.
I have heard the reports. I am happy that the Mission is healthy, that two more ashrams are being added onto American soil. But you will bear with me if I say I am not impressed as far as the number of abhyasis are concerned, because over the years I seem to see a decline, rather than a growth. I don’t know, my memory may be wrong, but way back when we used to meet in rented premises in various parts of the USA before Molena came into existence, there seemed to have been many more in terms of numbers; there seemed to have been more enthusiasm, more participation, more eagerness. Perhaps it was just, you know, the bouncing baby that was the Mission of those days which gave us this idea of vitality — eager to grow. But in a Mission of our nature and character, a spiritual organization which my Master says will last centuries into the future, I think hardly one minute of its life has gone, so far. And it’s too early to think in terms of the Mission having reached anything like even boyhood, not to mention adulthood. The Mission is still very much in its infancy in this world.
You know I have been a student of geology, and one of the subjects we study there is called stratigraphy — how the strata form one upon the other, like when you cut through a mountain vertically and you see all the strata exposed. Those of you who are interested can look up this subject. It’s a very fascinating subject: what came first, what came next, and so on, you see. Of course, you cannot slice time; there are so-called timelines. But when we look on, look at, look over the growth of institutions like ours, there must be a time when (like the foundations of a civilization which are lost in antiquity in time, and which are sometimes revealed when archaeologists go into their diggings and uncover past signs of civilized life in the nature of villages, roads, structures) we realize that while we had a foundation in time way back centuries ago, we also had a foundation in space. Because after all, space and time constitute a reality together which is this world.
I am not at all bothered about financial health. Financial reports don’t mean much to me except as something contributing to our welfare as bodies, human bodies which must have a good foundation of health, of vitality, of strength in the pursuit of our spiritual life. One must never, never forget Babuji’s repeated saying that this world is a school. We are not here to go forth and multiply, you know. We do that with very little, shall we say, enthusiasm, with purpose; but [being] pushed by forces beyond our control, we multiply. Here the question of multiplication is a question of your own soul progressing. That is the purpose of this school that is called Earth, the world. And perhaps the various countries are to be considered as classrooms, not for history and geography and religion, but for samskaric equivalents: one, how to manage power effortlessly in such a way that power is not apparent and is used without anybody ever having noticed that it has been used; one for wealth; and so on.
It is not an accident that we are born in different countries of this world, in different climates, under different social conditions, conditions of climate, because the soul is supposed to have chosen in its wisdom before birth that such and such an environment was necessary for its future — in one lifetime to evolve out of this life.
I have said this often enough, but I don’t balk at the necessity to repeat myself because Babuji Maharaj tells his medium in his messages that it is necessary to repeat good things, because good things are not automatically accepted by us. In fact, it seems harder to accept good advice, perhaps even very difficult to accept good advice because in some way it affects the human ego. It is as if this self says, “How dare this guy tell me,” and to himself he whispers: what I should have known myself? “How dare this fellow tell me what I should have known myself, to make me feel humiliated that having known, I did not act upon it; and now I have to feel obligated to this fellow, which I refuse to do. Therefore I don’t accept good advice.” It is how it works.
Early on in my association with Babuji Maharaj he cautioned me against giving advice even when solicited. He said, “Parthasarathi, don’t give advice. Even if they ask you for it, think twice before you give,” because people who ask for advice rarely intend to listen to it, much less to follow it. And of course if you give unasked, you stand the risk of losing a brother or a friend.
So in Sahaj Marg, by and large, we are silent assemblies where we transmit. You know, it is not at all a surprising thing that meditation is the most potent medium or activity or lack of it, in which we learn all the vital things that we need to know, in silence. And a process which is I suppose incomparably more effective is transmission, which to my knowledge exists only in Sahaj Marg. Because here, as I sometimes laughingly tell my cardiologist friends, heart specialists, we indulge in non-invasive penetration into the heart, of not ‘patients’, but patient and often impatient individuals who sit before us not surrendering yet, but suffering themselves to be seated in front of somebody and saying, “Okay, let us see what he can do.” That is enough, because as Babuji said, once the sluice gates of a dam are opened, out rushes the river — the flow of water dammed behind. Non-invasive penetration of your heart. Fortunately, you don’t know it, you cannot feel it, because if you could you would resist it, and you do. Not always, but sufficiently enough to impede your own progress. We are like children, babies, which resist the mother’s bottle, gurgle, spit it out, but a patient mother doesn’t mind losing the milk. She says, “Okay, let me fill it again and try.”
So you see, Sahaj Marg is, to my mind, in my experience, the system par excellence for this sort of change of heart as we say. It is not really a change of heart because that has a different connotation in our human life. It is to change the heart in essential ways to make it [into] a human heart from merely a pumping station. So please remember, the more you submit, which means the more you permit… Here, submission is not a derogatory act where you surrender your will and everything else; submission here means I permit my heart to be, shall we say, invaded by an invisible entity — the only invisible entity that can possibly invade the heart being God, and the powerless force that He uses in our transformation to make us something like Himself.
So you see, in these sittings a great deal can be achieved. In fact, as Babuji said, if the person sitting is hundred percent cooperative, one sitting is enough. Of course, that is an ideal towards which we look forward to over and over again, and by His mercy we enjoy life long enough, hopefully to submit progressively more and more. Sometimes, as perhaps in today’s sitting, losing all consciousness of ourselves, of our body, to such an extent where at least during this sitting total penetration was possible.
A yet higher approach is there, which of course we know nothing about: that is when we are asleep. If, and very fortunately, when the Master appears in the dream, it is perhaps one of the most excellent, wonderful signs of his grace that to overcome our resistances during our waking consciousness, considering us deserving enough of his attention, individualized attention, he takes the trouble to come to us in our sleep and do things to us like feeding a sleeping baby with a bottle. Often the baby or the child wakes up next morning unaware that the mother has given its food the previous night. That is a very high level of what we call spiritual activity — initiation during the dream — and one must feel blessed. It’s not a dream; it is a real approach of the Master in a state of existence, of consciousness which is not merely astral (as books on psychic matters generally label it), it is in a transcendental plane where the guru is eternally present everywhere. And at that moment, maybe somebody in America, somebody in Tahiti, somebody in Norway, and somebody in New Zealand are blessed by his saying, “Let me attend to this,” and doing it.
So that is a suggestion. It is also an explanation of why we pray before going to bed. The simple act of our Sahaj Marg prayer, repeated wordlessly without moving the lips, invites his presence and says, “Lord, of course in my waking presence I can see you if I want to, I can feel you if I want to, if I am able to overcome my resistance, my ego, by submitting that before you I am as nothing. I am not nothing, because if I am nothing my Master wouldn’t need me. I am as nothing. But, please, do what is necessary in my sleep. I invite you by this act of prayer to pervade this state of my existence too, and complete whatever has to be completed which was not possible in the waking state.”
So you see, starting with the morning prayer, with the meditation, evening cleaning, night prayer, we go through the twenty-four hour existence in a state in which I may or may not have access to my guru, my Master, but he has been granted by me access to myself, into my heart, into my consciousness, to pervade my life totally and make of it not what he wants, but what we are destined to be. Don’t forget — it is too facile, too silly to say that he makes us what he wants us to be. No, he makes every one of us what we have to be, what we are destined to be: part of that original existence, the Creator from where and from whom we have separated ourselves and come into what is today often called a sordid worldly, materialistic existence. But to my mind it still has this beautiful rose blooming in mud, in, I don’t know, what we call sometimes night soil in India, filthy conditions, but yet a rose here, a lily there, a flower there, pointing out to us that in all this ugliness, sordidness, there are these windows of opportunity for you. You are blessed in being part of it, not having to look for it. You are all there; you have found it. Use it. Don’t be like the squirrels which find nuts and bury them somewhere and often in winter in the snow they are found dead right over their own hoard of nuts which they have not eaten.
We cannot hoard spirituality. In fact, I don’t know what we are doing with the spirituality that we acquire as we go along. But it is something like the water flowing through the gills of the fish; it has to take in the water and allow it to flow through its gills so that it may take the oxygen for its survival and for its existence. So we go from this river of life to that ocean of existence where we still imbibe and push back towards our followers behind us what we have passed through, what we have taken for them, which is what Babuji means by saying Lalaji is swimming in the ocean of bliss and his spiritual attainments are being passed on to his successor and so forth.
We earn not to keep, but to give. We become only to help others to become what we have become. We learn to teach others. Remember this, life is only so that we may pass on anything that we are able to acquire to others; the body in its wisdom, the mind in its wisdom, retaining what it needs to continue to exist to fulfil this purpose; the soul in its purity, in its eternality, needing nothing to be retained for itself.
Of course, this is not the speech of a president of the U.S. Mission but something I was impelled to speak out on this opening day of your few days seminar. It’s all too few in my way, in my thinking because for me, companionship, brotherhood, means eternally being together; not a moment of parting, of separation. Can we use water if it was split up into molecules? We can’t. Atoms? Much less so. Hydrogen and oxygen separated? Not at all. If I have to use oxygen as a gas, it means something of a need which I should not need. Anything that we need which we should not need only emphasizes a weakening of our condition, a condition in which we are subservient now - instead of having been the master, we have become the servant. It is the same thing with money. I should never need. Therefore Babuji says, be simple and in tune with Nature. Your needs will be fulfilled, forget your wants. It is a very wise statement to, you know, at one stroke cut off the shackles of our bondage to the needs that Nature imposes on us.
So let us, dear brothers and sisters, learn to appreciate what spirituality is, what it is for, and what it is and how it is to be used, relentlessly, without break, which is constant remembrance. I pray for you all. May He bless us all. Thank you.