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The Only Purpose of Life
30th September 2009, Kharagpur, India
Dear sisters and brothers,
I have been now a little more than forty-five years in Sahaj Marg, half of which was spent in ignorance, and the other half in more ignorance. Yesterday I think brother Kannan was talking about ignorance — Lalaji, what he says, you know. So this ignorance is not the ignorance of lack of knowledge; it is the ignorance of one’s own, shall we say, existence.
What are we here for? I mean not in this classroom, but in this life. Are we born here with a purpose? Did we bring some purpose with us when the soul came to this world? Or is it just an accident that two people got together and produced a third? Because in these days of modern frustration, disappointment, health, poverty, illness, many people say I did not want to be here, I did not want to be born. So why am I here? I can assure you that that is the biggest ignorance, because we are not here without our own soul wanting to be here.
We have this problem of the soul and the body and its ego. The soul, before it is born, says I want to be liberated once and for all. So it comes with a definite plan of action in this life including where I will be born, who will be my parents, what will I do — you know, the complete plan. My language, my culture, my religion, everything the soul pre-determines. It is like you make a travel plan before you go on tour, that I shall visit this place, this place, this place, this place on such and such dates, and I will be back home on such and such a day. It is a travel plan for the soul through this existence which we call the human life, mortal existence, going back at the end to our original home from where we have descended. But like many travellers in between, somebody gets off at the railway station to get water, and the train goes. Somebody is at the Higginbotham’s bookstall, browsing through a book and the train goes and he is not able to catch it again; he has to wait. Somebody is having tiffin and he doesn’t even hear the engine whistling and he misses the train. These are desires, you see. So after we come here with our plan, desires keep changing our programme, which we have ourselves made.
Now my guruji, Babuji Maharaj, has said human beings are unique in creation — in the entire creation. We have the intellect and the will. Intellect and the will (will is in the heart; intellect is in the brain), one to tell us what to do, one to make us do it. So the will power has to be developed, and it can be developed only by doing what we have to do, not what we want to do. Desire says you go this way [to the left]; duty, which is nothing but my own plan for myself, says you have to go this way [to the right]. “No, no, let me go with my friends.” Duty says avoid friends. There is no friend who wants what you want for you. They all want to divert you into what they want. So you lose the way. They have already lost.
In Sahaj Marg we have no idea of friendship at all. In fact Babuji said avoid friends. He has quoted some great souls who have said, “My greatest friends were my greatest enemies, because when we were friends, they did not have my interest in their heart; they had their own interest at heart.” “Chalo, yaar, taash khelte hain. Ek phuk phuk lete hain. Kyaa ho jaata hai? [Come, let us play cards. Let us take a puff. What will happen?]” You know? Or if you are afraid, they will say, “You are a coward. You are a Mummy’s baby. Mard bano. [Be a man.]” All sorts of funny things, you see. And out of shame you succumb to it. The shame is only your ego telling you, “I want to stay and enjoy.” Do you understand?
So, the ego must be subdued. To have or to be — this is the great question. Being is something in which I have to be in this life — being into what I have to be finally, which is growth. Having is wanting, wanting, wanting, wanting — desires; whether it is for pleasure, or for success, or for power, it is all wanting. And wanting is bad; being is good, because being is what the soul needs to be itself. Wanting is only for the ego’s sake — “I am this, I am that,” you know, without being anything. So when we say I am, we are actually telling a lie to ourselves. “I am rich” — where is it all going when our departure comes from this world? “I am powerful” — every emperor has said it; every tyrant has said it; every great politician has said it — “I am powerful, I am rich, I can do what I want.” The great asuras [demons] said it, whether it is Ravana and Kumbhakarna, or Kamsa and Shishupala. They said, “Where is God? Let me see Him, I will give Him a kick.”
You know that story of Prahlada, and his father and the Narasimha avatar. Always they thought they were better, they were more powerful, they had everything. Ravana says, “Main Raavan hoon [I am Ravana!]” — nothing is there. So the ego has to be subdued but kept alive. Because, as Babuji Maharaj said, without the ego I won’t even know that I am alive — like a piece of stone: it is, but it does not know it is. So the ego has to be as subtle as possible, without anything interfering by its functioning against the interest of my soul for which I have come.
So education is supposed to give us humility. You know, if you listen to the old Shastras, our literature — vidyaa dadaati vinayam [knowledge bestows humility]. We have many Vinays: Vinay Chopra, Vinay Sinha, Vinay Agarwal, but no vinayam [humility]! The more wise we become, the more humility we must have, to know that all that I know is a waste, unless I know the one thing that I must know, which is that I have to go There and I must not allow anything to interfere with it. If power interferes, throw it; if wealth interferes, throw it away.
The Shastras go so far as to say such a person who is going on this journey of the soul (which is what spirituality is), such a person has no rishta —no relationship. Kabir says, who is going to accompany me? My father? Not at all; because he will go before me, in the nature of things. My mother? She is too much attached to me, which is her problem. My brothers and sisters? They have their own problems. They have to deal with their own egos and unless they succeed they cannot help me. So what use are my relatives? I have only one duty towards them and that is to be myself, evolve into myself which is the Self and love them in a way which is divine, so that by this love, they will also progress. This is the duty of the guru, you see. What does he do? He does not go around like Durvasa cursing everybody. Durvasa was a saint in the Indian pantheon of saints. Whoever he saw he cursed. That is not real saintliness. It may be sainthood, you see. Babuji Maharaj never used the word sainthood because he said fana, like the snake, the hood of the snake.
Saintliness — what are the qualities of a saint? The main thing is perfect balance. In pain and in pleasure, no change; in health and in sickness, no change. Inside and outside you are the same — perfect balance (santulan).
So our goal is to create that balance within ourselves. Not to this, not to that, you know — straight. I give the example of an aircraft. You know, if it is going straight its wings are level, left and right. If even one wing dips, what happens to that plane? It turns that way [to the left]. If it dips this way, it goes this way [to the right]. “I am going on the right.” No! “I am going this way [tilting to the opposite direction].” No! You see a river which is flowing between two banks. The two banks are necessary to keep the river in place. This is pleasure and pain; sickness and health; happiness and sorrow; health and illness; wealth and poverty; and the water at the two edges is almost stagnant, dirty because this is stuck to this side [right bank], this is stuck to this side [left bank]. “I belong to the Communists.” “I belong to the Congress.” In between the river flows fastest. It is contained between the two extreme values, of sets of values, but it is attached to nothing; it keeps flowing fastest.
So if you dip towards good or if you dip towards bad, Sahaj Marg does not distinguish. We have no value system which says this is good, this is bad. Sahaj Marg value system says will this take you to your goal? If it will, it is good for you.
“Is there anything which is good?”
God says, “Everything I created is good.”
“Is it good for me?”
He says, “Good question.”
“What is the answer?”
“If it will take you to Me, it is good for you. If it will move you away from Me, it is bad for you,” says Lord Krishna.
“Poison is good for the snake; without it the snake cannot exist. Lord, when it is good for the snake, why is it not good for me?”
“My son, because I created it for the snake for its good. I did not create it for you.”
“What have you created for me that is good for me?”
“I gave you intelligence; I gave you will. Use it and find out. Use your eyes, use your ears, the five senses. These are to help you to navigate through life like the radar in the plane or the ship.”
You understand? So it is for each one of us to use this [the head] and this [the heart], but always depend on this [the heart] to show you what is good, what is not good for you. I didn’t say bad. Babuji said when in doubt, refer to the heart.
“Should I do this? Laddoo [a sweet] — should I eat one more? Everybody is smoking; should I smoke? Everybody is taking bribes. Should I take a bribe and grow rich quickly?”
Heart says, “Everybody may do it, but it is not right. It is not for you; stay away.”
“How will I become rich?”
The heart says, “Be content with what you have. Cut your coat according to your cloth. Reduce your needs. Live simply.”
“No, no, but my neighbour has two cars. He has a Cadillac.”
“You can walk. I have given you two legs.”
“They are always eating kachori and pooris [snacks].”
“You need rotis; you are having rotis. Are you hungry? Are you dying of hunger?”
“No, Lord, but I could eat something better.”
“What do you mean by something better? Cows eat grass; I have not given you grass to eat. So I give,” God says, “what is essential for you to keep you alive, knowing that the only purpose of life is to come back to your original home, which is my home — paramdhaama [divine abode]. For that whatever you need, you have a right to ask. For anything more than that, you have no right.”
Babuji Maharaj said illat, killat, zillat — you must have a little less health than good health, you must have a little less money than what you need, and you must always have critics who will criticize you. Little less health than what you should have means you are careful, you don’t go astray. You don’t do things like Ravan [flexing his biceps], “I am Ravan!” You know? You say, “No, no, no. I cannot do this. This is not good for me. No sugar, no jilebi [a sweet], no meat, no smoking, no drinks.” You see, it serves to bring you back between the two banks — keep the water flowing. So, little less health than good health. “No, no, I want to develop [muscles].” We will always have health to fulfil the needs of our dharma [righteousness] and our karma [duty]. People have lost their legs and their hands; they can still talk. They can still do pravachan [lecture]. They can still pray to God. This means I cannot walk, that’s all. Ravana had ten heads but eventually he lost his life.
Little less money — you won’t waste. Babuji said, if you need one rupee and you have fifteen annas — puraane zamaane ki baat hai [ninety-five paise in the old days] — if you have ninety-five paise, you will spend wisely. But if you have hundred and five paise, you will say, “Nahin, hamaare paas bahut hai, kaafi hai. [We have a lot. We have enough.]” And you will be accumulating debts and all your life you will be miserable.
And criticism (shikaayatein)? If you are wise you will examine yourself. Every time somebody criticizes, you will examine yourself and see what is true, what is not true… Let me correct myself. Suppose you look at the mirror and you find that you don’t like your face, will you break the mirror? Women know that by breaking the mirror they don’t change their face. So they take out their powder and lipstick and try to do something. The mirror is always essential. In life the mirror is all people with whom we react. Somebody says he is a bad man. Somebody says he is a liar. Somebody says he is good. Listen, correct yourself and keep going. Don’t react.
So illat, killat, zillat — it appears sometimes, you know, that it is awful. “How can a guru tell me this? I should have less health than perfect health? I should have less money than I need, when I need more and more all the time? And I should always have critics?” That is wisdom. Remember that you will always have what is essential for your soul’s progress to its original home, in this one life. Because the soul has already programmed that “I shall be a langda [lame person]” or “I shall have one eye,” or “I shall be this, I shall be that.” The soul knows what it needs. Like a warrior going, takes what he needs: astra, shastra [arms, weapons]. A traveller takes with him a couple of sandwiches or, I don’t know, some paratha and achaar [bread and pickle] and water. Everybody takes water.
So the soul is not less wise than what it is now, when it has got a body, and is living a life in the body, and is ruining itself because of the body. So you see, I hope all that you have heard and what you will hear tomorrow in the final closing lectures will help you to retain all this and not go away, and say, “Yaar, bevakoof hain, paagal hain. Hum is duniya mein isiliye aaye hain? Atma jahannum mein jaaye. [Friend, he is a fool. He is crazy. Did we come to this world for this? Let the soul go to hell.]” Atma jahannum mein zaroor jaayegi. [The soul will surely go to hell.]
It is up to you. Because, while the soul is of the spark of God, the poor thing, when it makes the mistake of coming into this body, which it has to, it is like a man going to prison and becoming so happy in prison that even when he is let out, he says, “Nahin, nahin, humein yahin rehne do. [No, no, let me stay here.] I have nobody outside. I don’t know where my house is; I don’t know where my people are.” You know, it has happened that prisoners who have been in jail for twenty years, twenty-five years, they are let out and they have nowhere to go. The streets have changed; their villages have become towns. They say, “Where is Purana Baag?” and they say, “There is no Purana Baag.” “Yahaan ek chauraasta hua karta tha. [There used to be a four-way street here.]” “Hua karta tha. Kis zamaane ke hain aap? [Yes, there used to be. To which times do you belong?]” So they don’t know; they are bewildered, you see. So they come back. And to get back into jail they have to do something. So they do some petty crime and they are pushed back into jail, and there they are happy.
Like that, when we are too much here in this world… Like some countries, you know, where the people are happy, they say, “Well, I don’t mind coming again and again.” I’ve heard many people especially in countries like Switzerland, Germany — very prosperous people — they say, “But why, Chariji? Why should I not come again? This life is so nice.” And then you have to tell them, “Just look at the beggar, or somebody with cancer or Aids, and now decide.”
You know the story of Gautama Buddha — how he was protected from seeing the outside world. He was never let out. But when he becomes an adult, one day he goes out. He sees a lame man going, he sees an old man hobbling along, and he sees a corpse being carried for cremation. So he asks his saarathi [charioteer], “What is all this?” He says, “This is age (the old man), this is illness, and that is death.” And he says, “But can we not overcome this?” He says, “No. One who is born must die. One who is alive can have sickness, if he has got also health. These are inevitable.”
So he goes back, renounces his kingdom and becomes a mendicant — and eventually becomes the Buddha. He says, “What is this life in which I can be like this — where I have to limp and hobble; and where my eyesight fails, my tongue fails, my nose fails, my ears fail? And eventually four people are going to carry me? Not for me,” Buddha says. Then he finds out, through company, through sadhana, through meditation, that the only way is to die before you die, as Babuji Maharaj said. Death is fearful only when you have no control over it. When you decide to leave this life long before death comes to you, which is by renunciation (nyochhaavar, vairagya), death has no fears for you, you see.
Kabir says everybody is afraid of death, but I am here willing to die. And death has not come to me. Death is afraid of me, because what will it do that I have not done to myself already? Have I money that it can take away from me? Have I longing and desires which it can take away from me? Nothing, I have nothing. So what will death take from me that I have not given away myself?
So you see, the ancients, the great sages of this world, they became wise by negating their desires. Initially we may succumb to some desires, you see, but slowly we learn wisdom. If every time you eat paratha you get sick, you will stop eating paratha. If you continue and take digestion medicines and all that, you will end up with an ulcer, ulcerated colitis and death. So you cannot overcome nature by trying to fight it. You can overcome nature by cooperation so that it does not act on you.
So I hope you have listened to all these talks with attention; more important is the intention to benefit from them. Not just go to a seminar and walk away because — one week holiday, nice air-conditioned classroom, good food. “Mazaa aaya, yaar. [Friend, it was fun.]” If you do that, you will be a fool. In fact, you will be a bigger fool than when you came here. Anytime an opportunity comes and we let that opportunity slip, we are more foolish than before.
So let us remember that these opportunities don’t come to everybody, nor do they come again and again. It has come in your case, I think by the grace of my Master. Something has brought you here; pray to it that it may keep you here — I mean in the sense of continuing to learn, continuing to do, continuing to practice; remembering that it depends on you and not on God.
God has nothing to do with our lives; He does not punish. Babuji Maharaj said, “Kyaa Ishwar ka yahi kaam hai [Do you think God has only this to do] that he is waiting to punish somebody?” He says, “You punish yourself. You live a life of indulgence and you get stomach trouble and brain trouble and heart trouble. You have punished yourself. What more have I to do which you have not already done for yourself? You get drunk and picked up by the police and put in jail, you don’t need Me. You have done it for yourself.” Smoke, smoke, smoke and you get cancer. Khuda, khuda bolte hain, but why khuda? [They say, “God, God,” but why God?] Aapne svayam kar liya apne liye (you have done it for yourself). Undo it. The law is: what you have done, you have to undo yourself. Prayer is futile.
Prayer works only when you pray for others; never when you pray for yourselves. In fact, if you pray for yourselves, Babuji Maharaj said, “Excuse me, I am using these words, but when you pray for yourself, you are a beggar. Only a beggar begs for himself. ‘Ondho ke doya koroon. Langda ke doya koroon.’ ” You are a beggar if you pray for yourself. But if you pray for somebody who is unwell, who is sick, who is dying, that shows your heart, and God says, “He deserves more power. Let me give him more power to help to pray.”
So God gives more and more where that more and more would be used more and more for the sake of others. In Sanskrit there is a statement that paropakaaraartham idam shareeram (this body is given to me for service of others) — not for me to make it happy, and for pleasure and health and to keep it beautiful. I am here to serve. And the second law of service is, serve from the highest level that you can. Teaching is better than poor feeding. Many people pride themselves that “I am annadaata [the one who gives food], you know. I feed a thousand people every Saturday, and I feed ten thousand people on my mother’s death day” — no merit. Babuji said it is your duty to feed those who have no food, if you can do it. What is wonderful? “Annadaata? I am annadaata,” God says, “Who are you to feed? To lift up a fallen man is your duty, not a kindness.” “No, sir, I am a social worker.” What social work have you done? If you fall, wouldn’t you expect somebody to pick you up?
So please remember that all these human things that we do: poor feeding, clothing those who have no clothes, helping those who need help, these are essential to the manifestation of human nature. They are nothing special. You don’t deserve any merit or claim any merit, or have any reward for it. If I don’t do it, I deserve punishment. So, never pride yourself, you know, like in the Boy Scouts movement, we have to do one good deed every day. “What good deed did you do?” “I helped a blind man cross the street.” “Shaabaash! [Well done!]” That may be good for boy scouts in school. Therefore to make us aware that we live on other people’s kindness, their heart, good heart, their help, the soul itself makes for itself situations where it can experience the need for individuals who will help me with their heart.
So let us work with our heart, let us learn with our heart, let us absorb with our heart, and let us worship what is in our heart — the Divine essence, the Divine spirit, what we call the antaryaamin. The rest is all humbug, blah-blah, cultural nonsense, religious lies. Make sure that you understand this. Don’t go with the foolish question: what my grandfather, great-grandfather have been doing, can it be wrong? We are able to do what is wrong more often than we are able to do what is right, because we have the justification that my grandfather and great-grandfather could not have been wrong. Then why are we in this condition? If religious worship, temple worship is to make me liberated, why is there so much corruption even in temples, around temples, in religion?
So we have to ask ourselves this question: can they be right only because it has been going on for centuries? Should I examine what happened to them with my spiritual ability, if it permits me to do so? Where are they? Better not. Let me follow the path which is good for me, so that eventually when I am There, I will find out whether they are there or not.
So that is the message of Sahaj Marg, which is a very special yoga. I hope you have understood that it is very special. It is not like what is taught in other sansthas [spiritual organizations]. As Mr. Kannan pointed out to you, there is cleaning only in Sahaj Marg. In other things you have this stupid kriya [action] of trying to wash your hands, washing your face, you know, without washing. Here the soul is cleaned, day after day by you, by your preceptors, by the guru himself. That is what makes it lighter and lighter. The essence is lightness — lightness which means also light (illumination) and lightness (halkaapan).
So we have to become lighter and lighter, maintain balance always, while trying to be divinized remain human, not in the sense in which most humans are today who have the taste of pigs, the avarice of monkeys but, as Babuji said, become from animal man to human man and then go on to divinization.
I pray to my Master to bless you all in this adventure that all of you have stepped into, and to give you bravery to continue in it, remembering that every fool can kill a lion, or hunt down a monkey, or kill elephants or rhinoceros, but he cannot kill the bad in himself, the negatives in himself, the grossness in himself. Therefore we need the guru. And let us stick to him. Pray for others so that He will help you more and more.