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CREST — A Brave Step into the Future
Valedictory Address at CREST (Centre for Research, Education, Sadhana & Training) on 23rd August 2006, at Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
It has been for me personally, a fascinating fortnight. I don’t know how you all felt about it or feel about it, but this inaugural session of CREST was designed only for my edification, and to me it has fulfilled the purpose with which I designed it; because so much feedback I have received from it, that I know what to do about future courses—that is number one. Number two is the human capacity to find out, when given a job. I mean, the best example is perhaps Satbir who, being a Sikh, knew nothing of Sikhism, and yet volunteered—he volunteered. You know, he was not the original delegate; he was not on the list. But after hearing the first six or seven lectures, he felt so, shall we say, invigorated that he came to me and said, “Boss, I must speak.” It is characteristic that he did not ask for permission. He said, “I must speak,” and he went and bought a book on Sikhism; and for about seven days I did not see him at all. He was ragged in the morning, asleep by day and working all night. In fact, I made a rather not very complimentary comparison, but that is exactly how he pursued his new love, to find out about Sikhism and tell us all about it. That shows what human beings can do if they are challenged.
I’m sorry I didn’t ask any of you if you were willing to speak when I assigned the subjects to you. It was not my purpose to seek your permission. It was not my purpose to find out how much you know about it. It was my purpose to find out what a human being can do, literate or illiterate, educated or otherwise, belonging to the religion or not of his or her birth—[for example] Jayshreeben, you know, who is not a Jain, and the subsequent happiness of the relatives.
You know, brother Prasanna Krishna had to seek advice on his religion, or that part of his religion, from his relatives who were very happy to see that a Sahaj Margi is going back to religion! Similarly, Jayshreeben and her father-in-law; he was delighted! Now when Sardar Satbir Singh Bakshi sends the video of his talk to his family, his mother will be delighted. Because they all thought, you know, that when a seed becomes a tree, life is left behind. We don’t leave life behind; we leave that form of life in which life was ensconced, entrapped behind, to come out into the pristine values of air, water and sunshine, and glory in that and make others glory in our presence.
This was for me a great joy that not one of you failed in this enterprise. Some hated it. Rajabhai’s comment was, “I left Vaishnavism behind; why have you burdened me with the subject?” Now he has found a new joy in it, you know. Omar Bakhet—not a Muslim, though he has a ‘Mohammad’ in his middle name, Omar Mohammad Bakhet—has done research enough to convince us that he knows enough about Islam to talk about it! We have a crooner—what they call a disk jockey, who is doing nothing but wasting away his midnights in pleasing others—on his first endeavour to educate others. He did a very good job in his Sufism business, mystics of Islam, et cetera, you see.
So, you see, our potentialities are unlimited, our abilities are unlimited, if we are but willing to get on with the job, tap our own resources and say, “I will.” The first words in harnessing my will to my enterprise, is to say: I will. It means—not a supporting mechanism to the ego—it says, “I will that I shall do it.” My will shall be yoked to the job on hand, and it will work, and it will produce results. When we say, “I will go to Rome,” it is a weak statement of a purpose.
Modern civilization, modern technological advances are progressively weakening our wills. I am glad that in our educational system in India, in mathematics, we are going back to the abacus. It is a miracle you know—an abacus is a miracle. I have also learnt to use it. I bought a tiny abacus once somewhere in Italy, where I had to give a talk. It’s a beauty!
So you see there are so many ways of willing. But when we say, “I will,” it is like the response in church of a couple: “Will you accept this man as your lawfully wedded husband?” “I will”[said weakly]. What is this “I will”? “I have willed it so, my Lord, and I will continue. My will shall continue to uphold this marriage; my will shall continue to operate in the direction of mutual love. My will, will continue to have faith because my will is behind my love, my faith, my constancy, my trust, my belief in life itself.” But today, it is a weak response in church—“I will”. Then you awaken what little is left, or shall we say, you forget what little is left of privacy when the priest says, “Now you may kiss the bride,” and there comes a very voluptuous, very smacky and sometimes nauseating kiss in a pristinely pure white bridal dress. I mean, Eastern traditions, Eastern civilizations do not stomach this sort of blatant exhibition of transition from, shall we say, piety to lust. It’s too drastic a transition!
I was once thinking you know—in the Hindu marriages we have a system of marriage and then some days later they perform what is called a shaantikalyaanam, meaning a kalyaanam or a propitious circumstance, in which the two shall unite. And I thought to myself, “Why this? Why this shaantikalyaanam? It is ashaanti [not peaceful].” Then it came to me in meditation that the couple have gone through so much stimulation, titillation, et cetera, over the previous months of courtship—preparation for marriage, buying of dresses, jewellery, et cetera, planning for their honeymoon—that on the day of marriage, they are at the peak of their lust response curve, shall we say, and if they united in that atmosphere, they would be blessed, or unblessed, or cursed, with a devilish soul coming into the womb of the mother. So this shanthihomum [a particular ritual] brings down all that to a state of serenity—spiritual serenity, physical serenity, mental equilibrium—and when you go and mate in that atmosphere, you are able to give a divine or a blessed soul an opportunity to be born on earth.
You see how our customs have changed, how our customs have become so much opposed, that if one is the North, one [the other] is the South Pole. So all this culture was there, is there still in most of India. Though of course many of our modern people, especially those endowed with money, are going haywire adopting alien cultures, alien ways of showing their love: open, obsessive, compulsive and demonstrative—all [these] aspects of love which are forbidden, in fact. Westerners I have heard saying, “Why does the wife always walk three steps behind the husband, Chariji? Don’t they love each other?” They love each other, therefore she walks behind. I mean, no Indian wife would hold hands with her husband, much less put her arm or allow him to put his arm around her waist, much less to stop and kiss under a lamp.
So you see, you cannot say this is cultural difference, for heaven’s sake! Either it is a vulgar culture or it is a divine culture, and we have to know the difference, you see. In some of our talks these differences, if not expressed openly, have been hinted at when we talk of the samskritic culture, the Vedic culture: everything is implied there, how to behave.
You see I was having an argument with an Islamic gentleman in Malaysia and we had quite a long discussion for about four hours, and he agreed with everything I said about Sahaj Marg. He said, “It is in Koran Sharif. So why should I come to Sahaj Marg?” Then he said, “What is there [that is] not in the Koran Sharif?” He said, “Chariji saab, everything is in it—even how to make love.” So you know, I said, “Don’t tell me you Muslims have to be taught how to make love, for heaven’s sake! And the Prophet came down for this purpose?” He had no reply.
We have a much better, or shall we say different, book—the Kama Sutra, which none of us have read, but where everything is explained and by a Maharishi. The Kama Sutra was not written by a sexologist for prurient minds to read. It was written by a rishi, as a system of knowledge for aparavidyaa [worldly knowledge], because there are what they call the purushaarthaas, which means the purposes of life, those which we need to undergo as human beings, in which Kama is one purushaarthaa. So if you want to lead a complete life, there must be all the purushaarthaas satisfied in it, culminating with moksha [liberation]. So we pass through the stages of yauvana, brahmacharya, grihastha [youth, student, householder], and the ultimate, where you go away with your wife into the forest and lead your own personal life of tapasya [askesis], and ultimately, if you wish to, you can adopt sannyaasa [asceticism] or if not, you just stay where you are and attain bliss.
So we have to adhere to a system of progressive utilization of knowledge, not so much acquisition of knowledge. Because Babuji Maharaj once said, it is useless to acquire knowledge which you are never going to use. “No, no, I know how to fight—boxing.” [You are] never going to use it. So we have this very tragic exhibition of talent nowadays, where a PhD. in Chemistry is an actor, where doctors are actors on the stage making money. When Shakespeare said, “Cobbler, stick to your last,” I don’t know how many people understand that saying here. The ‘last’ is the first cut of leather sole to which the body of the shoe is stitched. You cannot make a ‘last’ for one shoe and stitch another on top of it. “Cobbler, stick to your last.” The same idea of svadharmaa [one’s own duty] is given in the Gita by Lord Krishna: “If you cannot perform your own duties properly, how are you going to the next higher level of duty?”
So evolution demands that at each level I perform perfectly to qualify for the next. In this sense, rebirth is nothing but my soul’s choice of having to come back, saying to itself, “I have not completed the lessons necessary to qualify for promotion to the next level. There is no God who sends me down; it is not judgment, it is not a curse. ‘Heaven’ is not a reward. It is my evolution through self-effort, if necessary, again and again in the same form of life, to go up.”
So you see, we have got so many mistaken impressions because there is this tendency to, what we call, ‘nibble grass’, a little here, a little there—superficial. It’s like trying to dig a well by digging one foot of earth in seventeen places and saying, “Chariji, there is no water.” It would have been better if you had dug seventeen feet vertically below. As Babuji said, “If you want pearls, you must dive deep, not swim on the surface of the ocean.” We are all going around on the surface of the ocean. We are skimming; we are superficial in our approach. And when will the superficiality leave us? When we become aware of the seriousness of our life, its purpose—which is not pleasure, which is not accumulation—but which is transcendence. My purpose in life is to transcend life itself, and if that purpose is wasted, if that purpose is forgotten and I go around leading a bohemian life, well…
We have the culture of instant food, what is better called ‘junk food’, which is not even tasty—excuse me. We cultivate a taste. All taste is cultivated. That’s why we are always talking of mother’s cooking “as Ma made it,” because that is the first exposure we get to food. My mother made uppuma in a particular way, dosa in a particular way; all my life I remember it. It is a kind of bonding to a sensory system and all my life I say, “Well, you know, but my mother used to make it better.” It is neither better nor worse; it is as she made it. I have been bonded to it. If I get it, I am happy; if I don’t, I criticize, I curse, I am disappointed, I lose my cool, blood pressure [goes up]. Spirituality says, forget it. It is a sensory impression. Wonderful that your mother made it. Wonderful! Give her gratitude, love her and forget it. Isn’t it?
Now I often wondered why spiritual people, spiritual giants like Babuji, Lalaji, always take the rose and say, “If you want the rose, you must be prepared for thorns.” There are flowers without thorns—why not? It is because in life, there are the two opposites always, the dvandvaas [duality], and that is exemplified in the rose—sharp thorns. And if you are not careful, and you get a bouquet like that, you will get hundred thorns in your palm. Of course nowadays they are breeding roses, long stem roses, without a thorn in it. But if you want the good, the bad will come with it. If you want sunlight, shadows will come with it. Isn’t it? You can’t have one. It is to tell you to accept. “O you person endeavouring to be wise and spiritually evolved, know that there are always two sides to every thing—pleasures followed by pain, roses with thorns,” and so on. It teaches us the wisdom of eschewing the good to eschew the bad also. “Be simple and in tune with Nature,” Babuji said. Don’t look for salt, pepper and condiments. Eat what is before you with love—simple food, no highs and lows. My palate, my tongue becomes used to simple food. I am happy under all circumstances. But we are always looking for condiments, for pickles, for garnishing and for sauce—that famous thing in France; everything must have its sauce! Everything must have its source, not its sauce; and if the source is good, it shall be good.
Now somebody spoke of the original kshobh and continuing creation. The Kshobh is not working all the time. It is like you start your car, put it in gear and let out the clutch; it moves. You don’t… rrr-rrr-rrr [turning the key in the ignition again and again]. What sort of car would that be? So once the Creator has created, creation continues to create itself, and goes on and on and on. In between, when the Creator wishes to change something, intervene, that is His wish.
So, in Sahaj Marg, we are taught simplicity of life which yields happiness under all circumstances, wherever you go, whether it is Iran, whether it is the U.S., whether it is Australia, whether it is back in India—in its villages, in its towns—simple food is not denied to anybody. If you go to five-star hotels, you will find that your simple food was better. You would have paid fifteen rupees or hundred rupees for it. In a five-star hotel you pay, I don’t know, thousand rupees per person quite often, and it is generally cold by the time it comes to your table. And already in advance they have put salt, pepper and mustard on your table, but it is a pretence that we are enjoying ourselves. “Good food must be expensive.” It is expensive, not only on our purse but on our health.
So Sahaj Marg says, “Be simple and in tune with Nature.” Isn’t it? How easy to follow, how quickly we see its beneficial results in our health, in our personal economics, in everything. But modern civilization says no. It must be ambience, as the French say. The French are all for ambience. My father used to say, sometimes rather to my annoyance, when people talked of their honeymoons, he’d point at me and say, “This fellow was conceived on the cement floor.” Because my father had a salary of thirty-two rupees and we had a single-room apartment (not apartment—chawl as we call it in Bombay), very near the Matunga railway track, Matunga–Dadar railway track, Matunga–Sion. And every time a train passed, the whole structure shook. And for thirty-two rooms, there were four toilets, and bathrooms were all outside; we had to bathe in the open. And there I was born. And my father was very proud; he said, “Look at this fellow! You know, he was conceived on the cement floor. There was not even a mat.” I said, “Why do you reveal all this in public?” He said, “Fool! I am praising you.” I said, “Are you praising me or yourself?” [laughing], and then he was nonplussed. He would look at me angrily and walk away.
But there is a merit, because I have known honeymoon couples going to Mysore to the palace which is now a hotel, unable to sleep because there are curtains everywhere; the bedroom is as big as this room. In between there is an old bed which is fourteen feet wide and eighteen feet long and the husband and wife are missing each other. And they are afraid to roll and see whether she is this side or that side because there may be something in between you know, perhaps the ghost of a former Raja [king]! And they come back ragged, unfulfilled (physically, mentally and emotionally) and have to go through the process all over again, perhaps on a cement floor—basic. So it applies to all situations.
Cold water bath! Many people have enjoyed a cold water bath here and they found it nice; they found it invigorating. Whereas, if you go for a hot shower, you come back weak and want to lie down, you know, and there begins the culture of whiskey and romance. Hot shower followed by romance, followed by a swim in the swimming pool. Back to the balcony of your luxurious hotel for some eau dour [refreshments]and things like that, to give you some fresh bout of energy—and the bout repeated all over again. This is a honeymoon, you know! Unstopping orgy until you are too deflated, too de-energized to go further, then you return home like a dog after its fifteen day periods. And then you need to go for a further three days’ holiday and your boss says, “But you just came back from the honeymoon!” and you have no answer.
So you see, anything we do must be energizing us, ennobling us and elevating us within ourselves. Now we are always looking for adulation, for praise from outside. If somebody says, “You look good,” you are happy. If somebody says, “What’s happened to you?” you are deflated. If somebody says, “You have put on weight,” you are angry. If somebody says, “You have lost weight,” “Oh have I?” you see. Why should I receive inputs about myself from others, if within myself I am happy with myself?
Spirituality gives me that capacity to build my inner happiness where I don’t need anybody’s help in being happy—happiness under all circumstances. Now I am immune to what anybody may say, anybody may do. Even to what they do to harm themselves. Because my state of equanimity, mental peace will not permit itself to be disturbed by what is happening outside me. Though it will permit me to take corrective measures to, in some way, harmonize myself with that.
In reality, we are trying to do all this so that my peace is not disturbed. There is a resonance, you know—I can only call it resonance. When I sit to give a transmission, I put myself in my condition and transmit, and it affects. But if we have guests whom we have invited fifteen days ago in a burst of hospitality and un-meant friendship, and today if the husband is discussing with the wife, the wife says, “Why the hell did you invite these people, three children, my dog barking away?” “Yes, but you only suggested why not we call them.” “Yes, but you don’t obey everything I say.” There goes the good old family harmony. Your cooking is bad because of that, the guests don’t enjoy it, and they say, “If this is all they were going to give us, why the hell did they invite us?” So you see, everything must be spontaneous—in this moment.
We cannot plan for happiness as we cannot plan for unhappiness. Most of us waste our time and our energy in planning for unhappiness. “Oh, I am going to be miserable tomorrow.” Why? “My report card,” says the boy. “My boyfriend is going away,” says the girl. “My balance sheet,” says the father. We are preparing to be unhappy days in advance of that which we expect will be unhappiness. It may very well be happiness. Isn’t it? We are always looking for disaster. “Oh, my son is going to school. I hope he will return safely.” Why do you have to hope he will return safely? Don’t you want him to return safely? So Babuji said, “Don’t make negative suggestions.” To a boy going to school—“Don’t fail and bring a bad name to your father.” The son as he is growing up has two problems. He doesn’t think much of his father—number one. Number two, he says, “Why the hell does Mummy always tell me to be careful? I am doing my best!”
What is the right thing to say? “You are our son. You will do well. Go and do your best. Mangalamastu—go with God.” That gives enthusiasm. I have a personal idea that enthusiasm comes from the word theos. Put God into him—enthusiastic, enthuse, you know. You must say a thing in such a way that it puts God into his heart, and he goes with that God in him. “Go with God!” you say. Instead of [weakly], “Please go with God, you know, my son”—what a difference. “Go with God, my son!” So Sahaj Marg teaches us the very small ways of being happy which have big effects, whereas we are looking for very big things to have small effects.
So this seminar has been, for me, a great boon, a great solace, because I was not knowing where—you know there is a saying that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. And I am not an educationist, I am not well-read, I am not a philosopher, I am not a scientist, I am not a teacher, and yet, I blithely invite people better endowed, better educated, better experienced in life to come and lecture. I have listened to all of it except maybe one or two; some here, many in the closed-circuit TV in my room. So I am not talking blindly. I have listened to every one of them carefully. Only sister Anusuya’s, I missed totally yesterday, I am sorry. But I will see it from the disk, like I saw brother Omar’s from the disk. And I know now what to do for the future, or at least what I should try to do for the future, what books to buy.
So I am really, truly, blessed by my Master that today we see this institution, CREST, putting forth such a brave step into the future of Sahaj Marg; not merely brave, it is a step full of promise—in fact, pregnant with promise for the future of Sahaj Marg. And I may reveal to you one fact, that I got a message from my Master which says, “This will take Sahaj Marg many steps into the future, and you will find many persons who will help you and who will be suitably endowed for the future purposes of your life.” So thank you, one and all. May you all be blessed!