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Appreciating Sahaj Marg
Welcome Address by Rev. Master at CREST (Centre for Research, Education, Sadhana & Training) on 17th December 2006, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Good morning. Our Director has already welcomed you to this seminar, second seminar of CREST. I hope what will be a pleasure to you will not be a pain to me, because I have to attend every one of them. [Laughs.] You know, even sweets, too much, they sort of pall on you; whereas sour things are acceptable. You can go on eating sour things. Sweets are limited. So in that spirit I will give you a not-so-sweet talk. [Laughs.] Because it might pall, you know, a little later—“What is all this nonsense, more bread, more butter, more cheese, then marmalade on top of that. Come on, Chari, give it to us on the shoulder.”
We all like the truth, at least we say so. We all say we seek the truth, at least we say so. We all say we aspire to the truth, again, we say so. But when it comes face to face, we resent it, we hate it, we abhor it, we are afraid of it, and we wish we could run away from it.
You know, I have grown old in Sahaj Marg. I have been now in it from 1964 to 2006, it’s a good forty-two years. Many have lived a full life in those forty-two years. In these forty-two years I have grown up in Sahaj Marg, grown in Sahaj Marg, grown with Sahaj Marg, and hope Sahaj Marg has grown with me, too. Inevitably it has meant... more as a consequence of the aging process, which brings to me every moment of my life now the valuable nature of time, the inevitability of its being cut short, and how much we have to compress it, how little time we have left.
So it is not that I want to tell the truth because it is true, or that I want to hurt people, or even that they don’t know it. Because I’m assured of one thing in all these forty-two years of Sahaj Marg experience: Everybody knows the truth; they don’t want it. I mean, we don’t have to educate people not to get drunk, not to contract AIDS, not to go to jail after drugs. We don’t have to educate people. These are wilful, wilfully undertaken pursuits, knowing the consequences of those acts full well. So when we set out to educate a public which already knows, in a sense we are only sort of, you know, ramming home. And as Babuji said, forceful ramming creates reaction. So the very thing you say don’t do, they would like to do. “I will do it. I must do it. I shall do it. Who is the government to tell me not to do it? Who are my parents to tell me what I should do and what I shouldn’t do?” It only creates rebellion, you see.
I think the whole idea of education to train people into doing something they don’t want to do, has to be reoriented, restructured, and taught in a different way. I am learning this because the more I tell people what to do in Sahaj Marg… You may have noticed in the past five or six years I don’t talk any more about meditation, cleaning, all this blah, blah, you know. We know all about it; at least everyone thinks so. And because more and more of us think so, it is the truth. If in Babuji’s time when I joined the Mission, two hundred of us knew all about Sahaj Marg, to the extent some of us would even question Babuji Maharaj whether this is right and that should be so, today about—what should I say—about two million people know all about it and continue to question the Master. “Why this? Why not that? Why is this still so? Why is that not permitted? Are we not a different culture? Do we not have different tastes? Is not such and such a country a free country? Are you interfering with our freedom? Does spirituality mean intruding into the private lives of abhyasis? Does the Master have a right to tell us what to do and what not to do?” You see. And the poor Master, you know.
Most of you might have read that famous science fiction story, I think it is Dune, by Frank Herbert, where you know, the Galactic Empire has come into place—Asimov’s series of books—where they refer to a distant source of human beings, a forgotten planet named Terra. They don’t know where it is, they don’t know what it was, they only know that humanity started there. So if we follow that tradition as we grow, more and more people knowing more and more about Sahaj Marg perhaps, even to the exclusion of the originator of the Sahaj Marg system itself, a day will come in the history of our civilization... you know, they are already talking, people are beginning to speak and to the press that it is time we began to colonize other planets. I see the process in progress.
And a day will come when they will talk you know, perhaps nostalgically, of a place called Earth where humanity began in the forgotten bygone times. Some may perhaps remember there was an Indian wearing a funny topee named something like Kam Chandra or Ram Chandra or something like that. And a system which was known as, what was it, Mahaj Garg, Mohoj Vorg, no, no, Sohaj Marg! And it will have become history, and like all good things in history, forgotten. All bad things in history, remembered, picturized, filmed, propagated.
This is the danger that Sahaj Marg faces and will continue to face for all time. Because you know, when a seed germinates, it has to break, the shell has to break so that the life in it can sprout. And then it becomes a giant tree and when you tell it, “You were this seed”... you know, I often think of Yagnavalkya and he is teaching his disciple. When he says, “What is the truth?”, he says, “Bring me that fruit which is hanging on that big tree.” So he brings the fruit. He says, “Cut it. What do you see?” He says, “A lot of pulp and a few seeds, tiny seeds.” He says, “Cut open the seed.” He says, “What do you see in it?” “Nothing.” He says, “From that nothing this tree came.” I wonder, had the tree had the capacity to hear, he should have told Yagnavalkya, “You are a fool. Me, come from this?”
So we have our intellectuals, our proud industrialists, our arrogant rich people who say, “Me, owe my success to Ram Chandra, of all people, that man in Shahjahanpur, who by his own admission was educated only up to the fifth or sixth class, and even that he didn’t remember? Me? Bill Gates? Chandraswamy Naidu? With my fifty-eight and a half billions? Me, owe it to that fellow, that crude, unclean, surrounded-by-filth Indian? Come on, Chariji, tell me something I can really listen to and accept.”
So you see the danger of being totally repudiated. “No, no, not me, not I.” “Not I,” said the goose. “Not I,” said the gander. Your tradition. So we have to soft pedal. “Perhaps, Mr. So-and-So, Chandraswamy Naidu, I know you know you are a genius.” “Oh yes, I mean, I did work hard for it, you know.” “Yes, I am saying you worked harder than you ever could have realized.” “Yeah, that’s what my wife keeps telling me. You know, I have lost three drivers in the past month because I insist on coming to work at nine o’clock in the morning.” To come to work at nine o’clock he thinks is early, and he has lost three drivers in the process.
“How much do you have in your bank account?” “Oh now, look here—don’t—I thought you had come here to tell me something. If you intend to ask for a donation you better talk to my secretary.” They have umpteen secretaries. “No, no, sir, I thought I would talk to you about Sahaj Marg.” “Well, you know, it is a bit late, I don’t want to impose on your time, perhaps you could find some other time when you will be more free to tell me at greater length about Sahaj Marg.”
This is politeness. Politeness we have got from our British tradition, American tradition, French tradition. Because courtesy, politeness, which I call the charms of the effete idle civilization of the West, we lack because we have been too busy digging the ground and tilling the soil, to be courteous. When a ploughman unyokes the bullocks he doesn’t say to his wife, “Honey, would you please take these bullocks and tie them up?” He has no time for it, no ability for it, no strength for it. He is at the end of his tether; not only the bullocks, but he is at the end of his tether. And he says, “Take these things and tie them up.” She doesn’t complain, “My husband never said a kind word to me.”
We don’t believe in kind words, honeyed words. We don’t believe in smooth pebbles taken away as souvenirs from the Ganges, put in your pockets. You have more faith in these so-called souvenirs from the Ganges. “Chariji, I picked this up in Haridwar, will you bless it for me?” Second insult to tradition. “It’s already from the Ganges. You took it from there, now you want it blessed.”
So you see, I was trying to tell you how difficult it is to even teach the basic rudimentary facts of a science and an art which we call Sahaj Marg, because people rebel. People don’t like it. People don’t like to be told what they don’t know. After all, flattery is only telling the fellow, “You know this. I mean, Mr. Smith, this is something you have known all your life.”
“Oh yes, I did read something about—what do they call that—the Upanishads? My dad brought me a small book when I was in school and by Jove, did it tell me things!”
“Oh yes? It did tell you things, that’s why you are wise, you are rich, you are powerful, you employ twenty-six thousand people in your company.” “Yes, but you know, Mr. Chariji, you are right. Sometimes I feel that I need something more than this, something which will ennoble me. You know what I mean, you are a spiritual guy.”
“Yes, that’s what I have come to talk to you about.”
“Yes, but some other time, Mr. Chari. You know, we have already been together for half an hour, I am sure you have taken up a lot of your time. Ah, maybe another time?”
“Yes sir, but could you suggest when?”
“Oh, please meet my secretary, she will give an appointment.” Cut. Scene 78. Repeated all over again in the next office of the next managing director, rich man, powerful man, IT specialist.
So the difficulty of—I won’t say educating—of making you remember what you have forgotten. When I say, “You do know all this,” or better said, “You have known all this,” it becomes even more difficult because they say, “Well, if I have known all this, why do you want to remind me about it? Psychology says I only suppress what I don’t want to remember. And if I have chosen to forget spirituality, why do you come to remind me of those sordid details of a renunciatory life? You shall not eat mutton, you shall not eat eggs, you shall not sleep with another man’s wife, blah blah blah. What is all this, Chariji, in a modern context? I mean, they are there. Mutton is there to be eaten. I don’t rape anybody or do anything.”
Like one famous musician said, he said, “I didn’t go out to them, they came to me.” I don’t want to name him. “Of course they come to you because where else will they go in a world where there are only two sexes? Sometimes I wish there had been six, you know, and you had a choice. God has severely limited our choice.” “So, what sort of a God have you got, all powerful, able to do anything, create anything? Why couldn’t He have been wiser, Chariji, and created, let us say, a hundred sexes? You get it?”
I said, “Yes, you know, in Sahaj Marg we say God has no mind. He can’t be wise, He can’t be a fool either.”
“God has no mind, by Jove, He did a good thing for Himself, didn’t He? No suffering. But then the poor fellow must be lonely and terribly bored, you know. No pleasures to enjoy? How can you enjoy without a mind? You know, Mr. Chari, I am only thirty-four, I have an annual income of, they tell me, around a hundred and seventy crores which translates into about forty-five million dollars. I am still young enough to, you know, value the good things that, as you said, God has created for us. And if I remember, one Father came to me once, a Padre, and said, ‘Jesus says go forth and multiply.’ Well, that’s precisely what I am doing, I am multiplying my family, my business, my love affairs, my successes and my bank accounts. I am not doing anything against Nature. For heaven’s sake, you come, a Padre comes, a Mullah comes, they all tell me the same thing, ‘This is God’s creation. Thou shalt not hate what God has created.’ And I am only looking for the best of what God created. The best wine, the most beautiful of women, the most luxurious yacht. Tell me where have I sinned?”
“Yes, it’s very difficult, Mr. So-and-So.”
“Chariji, I suggest, you know, you look into these things. Surely you have a research department in Sahaj Marg. Why don’t you do a little research and put out a booklet on its findings?”
So I withdraw. “Thank you for your suggestion. I was just wondering if you could more practically support such a research?”
“Oh yes, you can talk to my secretary about it.”
Now, you know what secretaries are for? They are not there for administrative functions. They are for all inconvenience, all inconvenient situations, scholars’ requests. “Oh, you have come for a job? Oh yes, you look like you are a strapping young fellow. Why aren’t you employed for so long?” “Well, sir, that’s a question I have been asking myself.” “Well, I suggest you introspect a little more, young man. Go and see my secretary about it.” [He laughs.] Unfortunately I have no secretaries.
So all this is not a joke or a tamasha, you know. I am not trying to be dramatic about something which is not dramatic. It is a very dramatic situation, in that like the best of Shakespeare, this is destined to be a tragedy. You know, Shakespeare is better known for his tragedies, better appreciated for his tragedies. His comedies—well, however much I love Shakespeare, even I don’t care much for them. Tragedies—because it is tragedies which make the spice of life. You go on a long journey, there is no problem. You get your visa stamped before you even ask for it. You go to the travel agent and he has a seat ready for you at the lowest price. It is on time. In Frankfurt you don’t miss your baggage. You come to Madras and the polite customs officer says, “Walk through, Madame.” And you say, “What has the world come to?” And you telephone home and they say, “Mama, how was your journey?” And you have nothing to say.
Whereas if your plane had been late in Frankfurt, there was a thunderstorm, you missed your connecting flight, you had to run around for, you know—in German airports they don’t serve you food, they have these small bags with one banana, one sausage and one slice of toast. You pick it up without even looking at it because you don’t have to look at it, you know what is in it (and a newspaper you tuck under your arm, just as a cultural tradition). And whether you eat it or not, it goes into a conveniently placed poubelle [trash bin]. After all this, you find you have no money in your pocket—[only] a credit card and the machine won’t accept it because you have forgotten your PIN number. Then you have to telephone home, your daughter, you know. Then you come home and you have half an hour to recite all your miseries, which are really pleasures looked at from the wrong side of the telescope. Because without these, there is no pleasure in life. “Non, non, cherie, you know.” “Oui? Only one cup of coffee, Maman?” “Oui, cherie, and that also without sugar because that fellow didn’t have sugar.” Yet we don’t want miseries.
We want pleasures; we want success. So I am praying that these seminars will not teach you anything except how to teach without appearing to teach. Babuji told me a very great truth, gave me I think the best piece of advice he had to give to me, when he made me a preceptor way back in 1967. He said, “No human being will allow his self-respect to be interfered with.” He said, “He may be anything, he may be a leprous beggar on the streets, but he has his self-respect. He wants to beg in such a way that he is not begging, and you have to give to him as if you are not giving. If you do that, you will be a success with human beings.”
So, how to teach without appearing to teach? You have to go on saying, “I’m sure you knew that.” You should not ask, “Do you know the Ten Maxims of Sahaj Marg?” They’ll say, “What’s this guy talking about? Same old Christianity. New wine in old bottles. They called it commandments, this guy calls it maxims. Come on, let’s go, we have heard enough.”
“Oh, you know, Sahaj Marg at least for me is a very difficult thing because my Master said awake at dawn.”
“Oh, but, Chariji, it’s not so difficult,” twenty voices will answer to him. “Oh really? Well, I’ll have to learn from you how to do that, you know. I’ve never managed to set an alarm and when it rings I just put it off and go to sleep.”
“Yes, but we all do, you know, but later on we learn how to do it.”
“Oh, please teach me.”
Number one: “Eat all food that is placed before you as blessings of God.”
“I have never been able to manage that, you know. I detest.”
“Oh, but, Chariji, you should not detest anything. Everything is beautiful,” says a voice from here. Another voice says, “Oh, in Austria, you know, we have things which look awful but which taste delicious.” Chinese, “Oh, ours look good and also taste good.” Indians, “Oh, ours neither taste good nor, you know, Master, they don’t taste really well but we get used to it.”
“Oh, I have to learn this talent from you.”
So you have to give a chance to others to speak, to teach you so that you may teach them. It is like a mirror, you know. You don’t look at a mirror for it to criticize you. All this [gesture around face] the mirror must not see. The mirror is an unfortunate object, designed by human ingenuity, to help you to see yourself without it knowing, or it seeing you as you see yourself. Have you ever thought of a mirror in that way? Because I have known women who smashed the mirror when they couldn’t tolerate it. Poor mirror, it’s nothing wrong with the mirror. But there again it takes a great deal of humility to say, “Mirror, you are only showing me as I am. Thank you, I am grateful.” The first tendency is to throw it away.
Once I had a passenger seated next to me on a flight, a young lady about twenty-five, twenty-six. We were descending, the pilot had announced we have started our descent. And she surreptitiously opened her bag, surreptitiously took out her painting kit. And so, as she was looking at me through the corner of her eyes to see whether I was watching, I said, “Don’t worry, Ma’am, I have looked at enough female faces to know what they are.” She said, “Come again?” I said, “No, I can’t come again. [He laughs.] It’s not possible. Anyway, be assured I’m not looking at you, you know. You don’t have to look all the time at me to see whether I am looking at you.” In a plane. Why, if you are pretty, why don’t you look at it and say, “Hey look, it’s a lovely mirror isn’t it?” “Yeah, of course it’s a lovely mirror.” So even mirrors dare not speak back to you and say, “Stupid, you have not coloured your lips properly, you have smeared here.” “Oh yes? Thank you.” No. “Who are you to tell me that? I use you, you don’t use me.”
It has been a long tale to tell you what not to do. What you have to do will be a short tale, you see. I am talking of, now, the growth of Sahaj Marg as it is wrongly spoken about, wrongly referred to. We are not trying to spread Sahaj Marg. We are trying to bring new life, offer a new life to people of the world. I have found that it is not working because the local people of those nations of this world who are preceptors don’t speak about Sahaj Marg. They say, “Babuji said so; Lalaji said so; it is in the book.”
If an Italian cannot talk about pizza, if a French person cannot talk about his wine and his escargot, I don’t know who will. There is no use an Indian praising escargot, or an Indian praising pizza. They say, “But why doesn’t an Italian praise his pizza, for heaven’s sake? It is their food.” So, in Italy if an Italian doesn’t talk about Sahaj Marg which he has discovered, which he has imported into his country, they say, “Why do you have to send an Indian to talk to me about it? Let them speak in India.”
So until you ladies and gentlemen speak about Sahaj Marg with conviction borne out of your own feelings, experiences in Sahaj Marg, Sahaj Marg will not work. The people of your country will not receive its benefits because you are at fault, you don’t speak. We are relying on the old tradition of salesmen, you know, from the manufacturing company. Of course a man will praise his own product. When your prospective buyer listens to you he discounts forty percent because no salesman is expected to speak ill of his product. Isn’t it? “Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a wonderful product, but let’s come down to brass tacks, shall we?”
So, people from abroad must learn to appreciate Sahaj Marg in their own lives—if they have appreciated it. They must not be shy of speaking about their own experience. Because it is their own experience. When you sip a wine and you love it, don’t you say, “Oh, wonderful wine.” Don’t you recommend to your friends a particular pizzeria or a particular boutique? Why not Sahaj Marg? Which means you yourself are shy, wary and perhaps not yet fully convinced about the merits of the system in your own life.
So these seminars are supposed to bring out this particular aspect of enabling you to appreciate in yourself, for yourself, by yourself what Sahaj Marg is, can do, and has done. Let us patiently remember this during every step of this seminar: that it is for me to establish within myself the truths of the so-called truths that these guys have been talking about, so that I may speak this truth as my truth and not his truth.