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Become What You Should Become
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
A few thoughts came just now during meditation. Babuji Maharaj has said that there are certain requirements, fundamental requirements, for what he called saintliness-not sainthood, because sainthood he said is like the snake-saintliness. In Urdu, he said illat, killat, zillat. That is, you can roughly say that one should have less health than good health, less money than you need and always somebody to criticise you. Of course he also used to say, "Don't talk about this in Western countries because they will run away." The Western culture is for prosperity, beauty, health. And Sahaj Marg says if you want to be a saint-of course if you don't want to be saint, it is all right you see; you can do what you like.
So, to be a saint means to accept less health than good health, less income than you need, and criticism from as many as possible. They keep you on what is called the straight and narrow-obviously. Everybody knows that money is the root of all evil. We all say it, but we want more and more of it. More and more of it should go to people who can do good with it, but they don't have it. [chuckles] More and more of it goes to people who shoot their way around, murder, pillage, rape. They seem to get more and more. They are also flourishing with health. Because to indulge in the pleasures of life, whether of the body or of the mind, you need health. That is one reason why people don't like to become old; because old age progressively restricts your-not desires-but the ability to enjoy those desires. Old age is a blessing in that sense, you see, in the sense that, what you could not use your will power to put a stop to, Nature puts a stop to. But unfortunately, old age does not do the same with your income-not necessarily (I am not talking of salaried people who are getting less pension-they also invest; they also get money) because you have to buy indulgence. As they say in the West, there is no free lunch. Everything has a price.
So, the bohemian life, the life of pleasure, extracts a price, whether in terms of money or whether in terms of depleting your health, your mental reserves. And of course, spirituality goes to the dogs. Now wisdom says, please accept this as the bottom line of need for a spiritual life. You know, we always talk so much of renunciation. We praise the Christian religion because Jesus said, "Sell all that you have, distribute it to the poor and follow me." That was addressed to the rich man or for people who had something to sell. He didn't tell the powerful, strong people, "Give up! Weaken yourself!", because we can't. Nobody can weaken himself deliberately. So what should we do? Sahaj Marg hits the nail on the head and says, "Renounce in your mind."
We have famous examples in our literature in India of emperors who are saints. Janaka Chakravarthy was supposed to have been one of the greatest of them. He was called a Raja Rishi-one who was simultaneously an emperor and a great ascetic. But that sort of combination is perhaps extremely rare to the extent that you may find one in ten thousand years. When Babuji says such a personality cannot be born very often and you may hardly find one in ten thousand years, that is what he means you see. One who has everything, but having everything behaves as if he has nothing. In one sense you can say this is also a description of what we term as God. He has nothing; He has no body, no form, no face, no physical existence, no powers, no wisdom, no intelligence and no mind. Yet everything comes from Him.
In Nature we have the opposite: the black hole, you see, which grabs everything around it into itself. That is a sort of cosmic phenomenon. But, in human beings also we have black holes who take all the money that is going around; they grab all the power that is available; all the pleasure must go to them. So you see, when we have this tendency to acquire, when we are selfish, self-centred, we become black holes. And you know the classic explanation of a black hole that even light cannot come out of it, because gravity keeps even the light inside. So our light also cannot shine. So such a person emanates no light, gives no blessing, gives no love, because his love is all turned inwards; his light is all turned inwards if he has any. And of course everything that is good, bad and ugly goes into him from outside. These are our living, walking black holes-the power centres, the wealth centres, the centres of position. We have many examples today in our society. Look to east, look to west, look to north, look to south-they are there all around us. But we, being also a little selfish, also a little eager for power, position, we flock to those black holes, and instead of receiving light as we are supposed to receive, we are sucked into those vortices of power and position and wealth. This is the danger of modern life, material life, a materialised civilisation.
Today you open the newspapers, there is nothing but temptation: more and more of television, more and more of this, more and more of cosmetics. More and more of everything that you should not see is put before you in the newspapers, in the glossy magazines, in the hoardings on public streets. And a few people say, "Why not we stop?" but you cannot stop you see. Because we want. You know, in the old tradition expressed by the British: you get the government that you deserve. It is not as if Nature imposes a government on us which is against us, which is pillaging us, which is robbing us, which is depriving us of our civil liberties. We deserve it; that is what we get. How do we deserve? Well, you have to look into your hearts. Did you vote? Did you attend the elections? Did you exercise your franchise? Did you vote because of your caste, because of your religion? Or did you vote sensibly for the right man for the job? So you see the onus for all our suffering is on us, as the onus for all the blessing that is received is also on us.
Sahaj Marg takes away everything from everywhere in this universe and puts it right back into you. You are responsible for what you are and for what you are getting-and for what you will become. There is no external source of either misery or blessings. You are the karta [doer] of your own destiny. To pray to God is stupid. It is worse than useless. Because God says, "My son, you have created yourself. You have even denied that I am your creator. So what do you want me to do? Either you help yourself, or let me help you." We cannot have both together at the same time. Sahaj Marg is very, should I say-not strict-truthful, hitting the nail on the head. It says you are what you are because this is what you wanted to be, this is what you work to be, and you will continue to be this if you don't change your direction.
So that is the message of Sahaj Marg. It doesn't say, do meditation, do this, do that. It says take your life and make of it what you will. You have the liberty to do with your life what you want. You wish to go to the dogs? Yes, of course! It is your pleasure and your liberty. You want to go up? It is your pleasure and your liberty. You are free. There is no restriction on your freedom either to become a sinner or a saint. There is no restriction at all.
Babuji Maharaj said, "Nature helps." I said, "Helps what?" He said, "Helps." You want to go to the dogs, Nature will help you. A man who wants to drink goes on the streets of Trichy and finds bar, bar, bar! That's all he sees. An architect walks around; he only sees the beauty of the architecture that is here. You see what you want to see. You get what you want to get. You become what you want to become. Sahaj Marg is nothing more than a great tradition offered by a great line of Gurus-offered to you to become what you should become; not what you want to become. That is why Babuji said in Denmark in answer to a question, "I am what I ought to be." It was a funny answer! Nobody understood it. It only meant: I am not what I am. I am what I should have been. I am that.
This opportunity is not only for the Babujis and the Lalajis of this world. It is for every one of us. Therein lies the beauty of Sahaj Marg you see. Every religion says: come to me. Christianity says you must be a Christ. You must follow the Christ. You must do this, do that and the other according to the tradition. Other religions say the same thing.
Sahaj Marg says, do what is inside you, which is calling to you to follow it; no religion, no God, no prayers, no Sanskrit, no Arabic, no Hebrew, no language. Because in communing with Him who is your inner self, you don't speak. So Babuji said silence is the language of God. "In which language shall I pray, O Lord?" If you ask-no answer. And you say, "But you know, you say there is God. Where is He? Because when I ask a question, I have tried to ask in Russian, I have tried to ask in Hebrew, I have asked in Arabic, I have asked in English. No answer!" Babuji says sit in silence and have this question in your mind in utter stillness; and in that utter stillness, you will receive the answer.
You know, when you are near a pond and it is very still, a single drop of water falling on it-plop!-you will hear the noise. But, if you are singing and dancing and enjoying yourself, you hear nothing in Nature. You don't hear the birds sing. You don't hear the whisper of the wind among the leaves of the trees. You hear nothing except the noise you make. Therefore Babuji said, "We are destroying the peace of this world even with our prayers." Because we are shouting to high heaven what need not be shouted. God is not deaf. He never was. Does He need ears? Unfortunately, we think so. So we shout louder and louder. Therefore in the morning you hear prayers from all sources: clanging of bells from 4:30 AM, louder and louder every day. Because we are shouting, He is not listening. Not listening, He cannot hear. He says of you that you have ears but you hear not. He doesn't mean we are deaf. If at all it means anything it means: don't use your ears to hear what I am saying; use your heart. You understand? You have ears but you hear not. Close your ears, then you shall hear.
So all these great traditions of the great progenitors of all modern thought, philosophical, religious, otherwise, have become fossilised into what we call religions. We have lost the tradition. It is like a dead body lying in front of us-the life has gone and the carcass is before us. And that we are worshipping. We are going back to the tradition of the mummies of Egypt: preserving them, embalming them, beautifying them, gilding them. Tradition says you cannot gild a lily, but we are gilding the dead-not only gilding them but worshipping them, deifying them and looking to the dead for support of the living.
I think the time has come when we should think seriously about our own personal future, because without me, my future cannot happen. Forget God, forget Guru-I have to do it. A man falls into a well. Somebody lets down a rope. He says, "No, no. I am praying to God. He will come and take me up." How long will that man with the rope wait there? He says, "All right, let your God come and take you up."
There is a story of a flood and there was a very religious, very pious man clinging to the chimney on the roof of a house praying to God, "O God, save me!" A branch floated by him. He could have clung on to it. There was another man clinging who called out to him. He said, "No, no. I am praying to God. He will come. My God will not let me down." Then a swimmer came and said, "I will take you." He said, "No, no. I am praying to my God, He will surely come. I am His great devotee." Then a boat came, you see, with people in it. And he said, "No, no, my God will surely come." Finally, when he was about to be washed away, an old lady pulled him out and said, "Stupid fool! How long are you going to hang around here?" and dragged him to the shore of the river. And then he prayed to God. God said, "What do you mean? I came to you so many times. I came to you as that floating branch to which you could have clung. I came to you as the swimmer who offered to help you. I came to you as the boat which was there which offered to take you. Finally I had to come like a decrepit old woman and drag you to the shore, you stupid ass! Didn't you see God in all of these things? What did you expect to see?"
So you see, we expect God in each of our fanciful forms, and because God has no form, He never comes in forms. Or if you are very impertinent, adamant, like the rishis, I think, in the Bhagavata-they were very pious, religious rishis, tapasvis (ascetics). They had invited Lord Krishna to dinner at midnight. Lord Krishna said, "I will come only at midnight." They did everything with religious cleanliness and purity, special food was ready, and in came a big jungle boar. Pigs are considered dirty, unclean. So they beat it. And every man felt a beating on his back. The boar ran away. Then they realised that the Lord had come as a boar.
So we cannot limit. As Babuji said, "God is neither dvaita nor advaita. He is." Now what we cannot say, but what we can understand, what we can experience, what we can try to become like that what. This is the sole aim and purpose of Sahaj Marg sadhana. Of course we have always recommended it to you, but I recommend you pursue it more purposefully, more seriously.
You know time is something that is very elusive. A man thinks he has eternity before him, mistaking the eternity of the soul for the eternity of the body, and in the morning he is dead. So Babuji said, "While there is life, there is hope." The dead have no hopes. And the greatest thing we have to remember is: in Sahaj Marg, liberation, once you have become embodied, is possible only while you are still embodied, not after death.