Web Content Display
A Celebration - the Heart's Expression of its Gratitude
Rev. Lalaji Maharaj Birth Anniversary, 2nd February 2010, Jabalpur, India
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Celebrations should never end, because a celebration is not for pleasure (good food, good company, music). A celebration is the heart’s expression of its gratitude for the great presence in our lives, in our hearts, which is keeping us alive and active on the spiritual course which has been set out before us so that we can cross the ocean of samsara [life] safely, effectively, successfully, in this lifetime. Please remember. The celebration, of course, is a joyful occasion. Of course we must enjoy the good food that we get here, but we should never forget that it is our expression of gratitude, and gratitude has no end. We cannot say I am grateful for half an hour and then I go back to my life.
In our culture in India we have this rather questionable practice of puja [worship] hour. We wake up, we bathe, and those who still do it — because in this modern age, puja is left to be performed by those who have nothing else to do — we do a perfunctory puja for half an hour, ten minutes, twelve minutes, fifteen minutes, and the rest of the day is ours. So most of us think that He, God, has His time during which we perform a sort of ritualistic acceptance that I owe Him my life, my job, my pleasure, and having said that, “Thou God, you stay where you are. Let me go about now doing all that I have to do, or I think I have to do, to earn my living to become what I think is successful, and to think that I am earning and doing things to make a happy life.”
Unfortunately, if you would all touch your hearts and ask yourself whether you are happy, I daresay there would be very few who would say, “Yes, I am.” You ask a second question: “Am I honest with myself at least?” I am sure that no one would be able to say, “Yes, I am.” Babuji Maharaj said, “To thyself be true.” Be honest to yourself; whatever you may do, know that you are doing it consciously, wilfully, with what you think is purpose, and that purpose is your life, its fulfilment in material terms. We give no thought to our spiritual life — which is very sad because, let me remind you what Babuji Maharaj said. He said it is easy to find a Master today, but it is extremely difficult to find a disciple. A disciple is one who is disciplined; who is disciplined because his heart says be disciplined, not his head; who is disciplined because he loves and not because he is afraid; who is disciplined because above all he knows that it is only discipline which will carry him on the path successfully to its end.
In Sahaj Marg we try to give this discipline — let it grow from the heart. Therefore we have no compulsive rules and regulations. As Babuji said, “We don’t have: Do not, do not, do not, do not. We only say: Do this, do this, do this, do this.” The external world is full of don’ts: Don’t spit. Don’t sit here. Don’t stand there. The spiritual world is only do, do, do. Do what?
You know the ten maxims. How many of you even know them? I am somewhat sceptical about the answer. If I were to suddenly give you all a sheet of paper each and say write down the ten maxims ... I don’t want to embarrass you, of course, but, you know, it is time we give some thought to these things. If I don’t know the maxims, what am I going to follow?
“Eat what is put before you with love.” Perhaps we all remember this. But when to wake up, what to do next, how to do it — how many of us know? Yesterday, I saw on the television some slogan which seemed to say — “It is morning when you wake up.” You don’t wake up in the morning, but if you are important enough, lazy enough, self-satisfied enough, you can say with aplomb, convincingly, “Sir, I wake up every morning.” I feel like telling them, “Mubaarak ho [congratulations] that at least you wake up!”
How many of us come to satsangh on time? Babuji said, “People want to go to a cinema, they go one hour in advance and wait in a queue to buy a ticket. They have to catch a train, they go two hours in advance. But satsangh?” Every time I conduct a satsangh anywhere, I see a hall half full, and when I end it, it is full, which means half of the people have come late. It is not an assumption, it is not speculation — it is an observation. Why? Because we don’t think it is important enough to be there when the satsangh starts. We know we cannot get into a running train without risking our lives. But a running satsangh — yes, it is very easy.
Again and again we say switch off your telephones (mobile phones). But there is no satsangh in which I don’t hear at least half a dozen telephones ringing. Obedience! And why this instant rush to put on your telephone in the satsangh? “That’s all” and the first thing that you reach for is your telephone. So where has your attention been? Have you been meditating? Have you been thinking of the Divine Light in the heart? Or are you all waiting to know when you can switch on the telephone? — “That’s all”! I mean, don’t laugh; it is a matter of spiritual life and spiritual death. And what is it that you are expecting to listen or hear on the telephone the moment you switch on? Some disaster? What are you waiting to listen to the moment the satsangh is over?
I know there are stupid, rich people, important people who are travelling by air all the time, [and] the moment the plane lands, they open their telephone and say, “I have just landed. I hope you have sent the car.” Why? What for? Are you so uncertain, or do you just want to show the others in the aircraft that you are important and that a car is waiting for you?
Of course, there is something even worse — people who leave their telephone in vibration mode and when they are sitting in meditation it goes buzzzzzz, and they are looking at it like this, who has called, so that immediately after satsangh their heart is empty of Master, his Divine Light, everything else; it is full of a telephone number to which they must immediately rush and answer. And what do they hear? “The child just woke up.” “I am very happy. Kuch gadbad to nahin, na? [There is no problem, is there?]” You never ask is everything well; “I hope there is nothing wrong?”
So you see there is no obedience; there is not even the intention of being obedient. It is very sad, because in a spiritual satsangh you have not understood that it is for your welfare that you are asked to be obedient. I care very little what happens; you should care. You should care that there is a satsangh going on, somebody has taken the trouble to come and give you a sitting. Should you not try to benefit as fully as possible?
It is very sad. I cannot, of course, compel you to leave your telephones at home because then perhaps you won’t come here at all. You would say, “Nahin, aaj nahin jayenge hum [No, we will not go today], because I am waiting for an important call.” There is only one important call — that is from above. We don’t listen to that. Is this telephone ever going to give you a message from Him?
So you see, brothers and sisters, as technology improves, as telephones become cheaper and cheaper, as our consciousness and our interests become more and more worldly — notwithstanding all the sittings that you have taken, all the trouble that your prefects have taken to give you sittings, to do your cleanings — you are getting deeper and deeper into the daldal [quagmire] of disinterest in spirituality, of lack of commitment to your own spiritual life, and of disobedience. Now you may decide which way you are going and how long will it take you to reach that destination. That destination is easily reached. You don’t need telephones. You don’t need GPS system to show you the way —adhogati [downfall].
So I hope you will all listen to these things that we have been saying time and again before every satsangh. Of course, it is patent, patently obvious that you have no interest in others, because you don’t care whom the telephone bell disturbs. If I hear it sitting here, you must all be hearing it too, no? “My telephone call is important, devil take the rest!” There they go!
So I am tired, after all these years of Sahaj Marg, I confess to Babuji Maharaj, “Boss, I am tired. I have tried, tried and tried again, but your people, your abhyasis” — because you are His — “they listen not. They obey not. They follow not. They do not.” So unless there is a benign providence which says, “Thank heavens, at least they are here, let me give them something,” which of course, Babuji told me long ago, that nobody comes to him and goes back empty handed. But he told me, “Parthasarthi, there is a difference between my son who comes to my house, stays with me, lives with me in a loving relationship, who takes everything that I have, and the man who comes to my door, puts out his hand like a beggar and takes something.”
Are we sons, are we daughters of the Master or are we merely beggars? This is something you have to determine. Having determined honestly, truthfully, that you are what you are, do you want to become his children? In which case, you must never leave this presence here. Your body may go home, but your spirit must remain here. You must always be in satsangh, which is called constant remembrance. There is no end to a sitting. Formally, yes. Like when we eat, eating ends. But it does not end until the digestion is through and the body has taken what it needs. Isn’t it?
So how many of you are going to make this resolution that, “God, Master, forgive me for I have been even less than a beggar, because I have been impatient. I come and stand at your door. I receive nothing because I am busy with my telephone and what not; and I walk on to the next house,” where of course, you will get nothing. “Let me at least become a better beggar and the best beggar who will only stand at your gate until I receive something, and then let me come in and say, ‘I want to be your son (or daughter)’.” It requires great guts. It requires great truthfulness to yourself to recognise, to accept, that “This I am; That I want to be. Please bridge the gap for me.”
Of course, satsangh will go on. ‘Men may come and men may go’. If today’s satsangh has so many people, tomorrow’s satsangh may have more or less. They may have the same people or different people and we are happy that at least the hall is full. But full of what? So I wish you all to go into your hearts: Are you celebrating the great presence of the great Master, the Adi-guru of Sahaj Marg, Param Pujya Lalaji Maharaj? Or are you just having a holiday away from your problems of life, thinking this is better than that, thinking that here you are safe whereas [in the] outside world you are not, thinking that here you will be blessed, there you are not? Or are you going to realise that I am here out of love and gratitude for the great benediction that he has bestowed on us, for the gift of Sahaj Marg, and for the gift of our prefect brothers and sisters who work for us, for the gift of these ashrams where we can sit in peace, meditate and become?
I pray that you will all introspect and get your answers truthfully to yourself. You don’t need to tell it to anybody else; tell it to yourself and take the next step — resolve, that “I shall be an abhyasi. I shall be better and better everyday. I shall not leave these premises, wherever my body may go.”