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Make Use of Time
Address to abhyasis from Vijayawada and other centres
Dear brothers and sisters,
I don’t want to give a long talk. I find that people come and sit; I presume they listen. Do they attentively listen? I don’t think so. And do they apply what they hear to their lives? Maybe one in a thousand. So often I think it is a waste of time to talk to abhyasis. But then comes what you people would call as ‘karuna’ [compassion]. ‘Karuna’ – Hindi speaking people will also understand – karuna bhaavam [an attitude of compassion]. So we have to do our best. And in this land of so-called Bharatvarsha, it is a land filled with religion and moodha bhakti. Moodha bhakti means ‘blind faith’. It is there all over in India but especially in Andhra Pradesh, which is totally moodha bhakti. Now how to overcome this? We have been talking – now I have been in the field for thirty years. Even you were not born when I became an abhyasi – many of you, perhaps most of you.
So what is moodha bhakti? Moodha bhakti is belief that you can do something prescribed by religion and it will work, even though in your experience it does not work. And we get over these disappointments, frustrations, by saying, “This is what God wants.” But what Sahaj Marg says is, real bhakti (devotion) does not justify what happens but accepts what happens as always good for us; whether it is to my liking or not, whether it is what I prayed for or not – it is good for me. I mean if everything we pray for should happen to us, most of us would not be here. Imagine how many of you would have prayed for so many things and then later on thanked the heavens that the prayer was not answered. Look into your hearts.
So, we don’t pray for anything. Sahaj Marg prayer is only to say, “Master, here I am. The rest is up to you.” We may fall ill, it is good for us. We may lose our jobs, it is good for us. Because what comes next should be better for us than what is now. In what is called a progressive path (pravritti marga), what happens next, we have no knowledge about. Then how can we know whether this is good for us or not? So we have to wait and accept what happens – like babies must accept what the mother gives. The mother will not give them poison. Though the baby may not want to drink milk… You know, a baby at three years, he does not want pappu [dal] rice. Good things are always something we seem not to want and rubbish is what we seem to want. I don’t know where the human brain went wrong, and where the human will went wrong. We want what is bad for us and dislike what is good for us. So this is all under ‘moodha bhakti’.
I get daily from Omega children, “I prayed so hard…” Well, if all that time you had studied, you would have done better. There is a time for study; there is a time for prayer. Like we have in our nitya karma-anushthaanam [daily practice], niyamam [rules] – meditation in the morning (praatah kaalam as we say), before sunrise, at dawn; evening we have this cleaning; night prayer-meditation. Only if you have nothing else to do, are you permitted to meditate again. But always only for one hour, no more. This is the niyama of Sahaj Marg. But some people say, “No, no, I meditate ten times a day.” It is useless. It is like a man who is doing dumbbells twenty times a day. He will only break his arm and we need a surgeon. So this moodha bhakti, we must give up. And religion fosters it. Religion fosters the evil that you give so much and God will be grateful, He will be pleased. “Put something in the hundi [donation box] and it will be all right.” “Your eye is bad, so make a silver eye and [offer] it.” What is all this? It is nonsense, utter nonsense. Because if you take hundred thousand people who have done this, maybe you will find one who said, “Something happened to me which I wanted.” And there it was by accident. It just happened that it so happened. God had nothing to do with it.
God answers to prayers only when the prayers are directed with love, and not for yourself. If you ask for yourself, there is no answer. You must always ask only for others. Telugu people are always saying, “bhakti-to, prema-to [with devotion, with love],” all that ‘to’s. [There must be] only prema-to [love] only for others. You are not supposed to love yourself. You know the story of the queen who looked at the mirror and said, “Who is the most beautiful?” What happened to her? So we are allowed to pray for others – in fact, you must pray for others. You must pray for the world. You must pray for all the people of the world – not only for your brother and your sister and your mother – for everybody without distinction. So we don’t say, “Lord, do this, Lord do that.” “Lord, let your love be with all.” So this is true bhakti, this is the way of prayer. And Babuji used to say, for a person who prays like this, without his knowing what is good for him [or] what is bad for him, he becomes what he has to become, because he is in a state of surrender.
Brother Somakumar was referring to our literature. Who reads? Who reads the Whispers? Do you understand them? You are always clamouring for translations: “We want Telugu translation.” Why? This is not the partitioning of India by language. They are so simple, so small, so elegant. [If] you can’t understand it, ask your husband to [translate]. We are not in politics that, “I must have Telugu translation,” “I must have Hindi translation.” God speaks in silence. Fortunately for us, there is somebody who is able to listen to that silence and translate that silence into words for us. Do we appreciate this? No. We criticise. Even Babuji says it is worth repeating, good things are worth repeating. “No, no, Sir. Daily, I see the same story, same messages.” What else will you see? What else will you say? What else will you tell your husband? “Don’t smoke, don’t drink.” And suppose if he says, “Everyday you are telling me…”
It means you are not listening to him [Babuji] at all. Isn’t it? So we have to be given repetitive questions, repetitive answers. Again and again, we have to talk of ten maxims, ad nauseam. One gets fed up of all this. Where is this going? Thirty years I have been in the field. We are still where we were when Babuji Maharaj was there. We may have built some ashrams, we may have acquired land, but what is the quality of the people who are inside all these structures? Have they developed? Or are they still going to Sahaj Marg meetings like going for a club? – little tamasha [fun], little outing, little freedom. It is very sad.
Babuji, towards the end of his life, told me once with sorrow. He was very sad, almost with tears in his eyes, he said, “All my life I have worked and maybe two or three have developed.” Remember that – it is not easy. It is simple; it is not easy. All your kowtowing before Ganesha, before Venkatachalapati – all this must stop. God is my Father. I don’t go on my knees before my father. I go like a proud son, proud of his father. And we must maintain that relationship, the only criterion being that a son must not stray from the path. He must be such that his father will say, “My son, come.” Are we like that? Or are we still…?
I have spoken about this a hundred times, thousand times may be in Hyderabad – Naidus, Reddys, Chettys. Are we still the same or…? Which one of us is bold enough to say, “I don’t want this identity that society has given to me, that religion has given to me. I want an identity which He will recognise, and only He.”
We have passwords in computers. But in this, what should be a love affair between me and my Maker, there is no password. My condition is my password. He looks, and if he turns away, God help you. People used to come to Babuji and he would ask, “Do you meditate every day?” They said, “Yes.” “How long?” You are willing to cook for three hours. You are willing to sleep for fourteen hours; you are willing to gossip all day. But for meditation – no time. Once Babuji told me in the presence of half a dozen so-called bhaktas, he said, “You know, Parthasarathi, these people are telling me, ‘I have no time, I have no time, I have no time.’ If they go on repeating this, they will have no time.” Do you understand what it means?
We all think we have time, isn’t it? “I am only twenty-four,” says that little girl. “I am only forty-two,” says this lady. “I am eighty-two, sir. But I will live long,” says the old woman. Who has time, nobody knows. Will there be a next meditation for me, I don’t know. You know, people set out to go to the office… I remember a very tragic incident in Bombay when I was there long ago, forty, fifty years ago. A young couple, newly married – they had a third-floor apartment. Every morning the husband would bid her goodbye and she would be on the balcony waving out to him until he took the road and turned right to take his bus. One morning (the floor must have been wet), just as he turned she waved out to him and fell, and died. When the husband reached the office, he had waiting for him the sad news that his wife had passed away. And he could not believe it. He said, “I just saw her.” What is this ‘just saw her’? It is not a second. One moment somebody is alive and next moment that person is dead. It does not take long to die.
Death comes instantly. The process of getting ready for it may take a long time. Many people live till a hundred years and they still don’t know how to meet what is the next stage of life. If they have done it properly, they need not be afraid. But we are all sitting under this wonderful assumption, “I am healthy, I am this, I am that. I am so-and-so’s niece, I am so-and-so’s granddaughter. My family is famous in my district.” So what happens? Remember, this idea that 'I have time,' is a totally self-destructive idea, whatever be your age. Children are known to die in the womb of the mother; children die immediately after birth and children die at any time after that until, if God is willing, they reach an old age and die. Death does not wait for us to be ready.
We are prepared to wait for trains, to be ready at the station. As Babuji said, “To watch a cinema, they go one hour in advance.” “Rama Rao is acting.” So they go and stand in the queue two hours earlier to buy ticket, but for meditation they have no time. They say, “No, no, why? Why today? I will do tomorrow.” You see what a foolish thing it is to think, “I have time”? Time has me in its grip. I don’t have time. Time has me in its grip and when it will let go, nobody knows.
So we must make use of the time that is with us. You know, when Parikshit was given the curse, he went and sat before the great rishi Suka (Suka Brahma as they call him), and there he listened to the Bhagavatam or something like that until he died. That is the way we should spend our time. Any free time must be given to our spiritual evolution – not to flippant things like going to movies, playing cards, having a drink. Not at all. “I am free, I have nothing to do.” “Meditate, [but] only one hour.” “But I did in the morning, sir.” “Yes, you ate in the morning. Are you not going to eat again tonight? You played cards yesterday in the club. Are you going to play it this evening also?” Look at yourself. When you look in the mirror, look at your face. Don’t think it is beautiful. Look at it as Master looks at it and then you will see the ugliness in it, the marks of samskaras. Then you will say, “This is me?”
You see, there are two aspects to what happens to us. Until we enter Sahaj Marg, everything that happens to us is our samskaras, everything – no exception. You are a drunkard, it is your samskara; you are a womanizer, it is your samskara; you are a good man, it is also your samskara. “No, no, I am a good man, sir.” No pride. Your samskaras have helped you to have a good birth in this life so that you are a good man, you are well-behaved, you don’t go to the evil side. But beware, any moment you can fall. So the good man has to be as careful or even more careful than a man who walks on a tightrope. It is not enough that you have walked ten feet. There are fifty feet more to walk.
Always we must say, “God, please look after me. Let me not stray from the path.” The ten maxims are for that reason to be followed. How many follow the first maxim? How many? If you are honest, I don’t think you will raise your hand. I see one. Maybe my poor eyesight does not let me see more. How many follow this? Women are willing to wake up at four o’clock so that they can cook for their husbands. But will they wake up at four o’clock and meditate, which is good for her and for the husband? Do they do it? “No, no.” “Why?” “I am serving my husband. It is the greatest seva [service] for a married woman” – so says religion, so says society, where the male is using the female for every aspect of his life. “My duty to my husband...” What about your duty to yourself? Does your husband do anything for you? Do you ever think that even the good clothes he buys (if he buys good clothes and jewellery), it is all for his own pleasure? And if a woman dies, the first thing they do is to take off her ear-rings and her nose-ring and the necklaces around her neck. Why not burn it with the body? We are like scavengers, our society. We are worse than carrion. Carrion has to eat flesh because it is created that way. A vulture is created that way, a tiger is created that way, but human beings are not supposed to be that way. We are worse than carrion. We are selfish, we are acquisitive, we are demanding even of God – but no sadhana.
One innocent boy was a disciple of a guru. His guru wanted him to go into the desert and practice for sometime to make him ‘pakwa’ (capable of receiving more grace). So he said, “Will you go to the desert and meditate for, say, a year or two?” He said, “Yes, Guruji, whatever you say.” He said, “Take a tent and take a hookah with you. Because it will be cold in the desert, I permit you to smoke.” He said, “Yes, Guruji,” and went to the door. And he said, “Wait, don’t forget sadhana. It must always be a part of you.” “Yes, Guruji.” Six months later, guruji went to see how this fellow is getting on in the middle of the desert. Nice tent, rising sun, shishudu [disciple] is sitting there beaming with colour and happiness and smiles. Guruji came and he [did] saashtaanga namaskaar [traditional method of prostrating before the guru]. Guruji said, “You look well.” He said, “All your grace, Master.” (We all say it every day so many times: “All your grace!”) He said, “It is a little cold, chilly in the morning. Can you get me a chillum?” So the boy said, “Sadhana, ek chillum bharke le aao [fill a hookah and bring it].” He [the guru] said, “What is this?” And there came a pretty girl. He said, “Guruji, you told me to keep Sadhana [a girl’s name] with me.” [laughter] This type of sadhana we are all happy with, by any name.
So you see, it is not a joke, these stories. What are we to do? Listen – not enough. Understand – better. Apply in your lives – wonderful! Shravana, manana, nidhidhyaasana – three steps of yoga: listen, meditate upon it and make it your own. Like you eat anything, part of it is digested, the rest is thrown out. If you just listen and say, “What a wonderful speech! Somakumar was at his best today,” no use. So, often I think I will not speak any more but, as I said, I am compelled to speak. At least it is not too late. Even if you have one more day, it is enough. We must have a feeling of urgency in the matter. Suppose your child is in the fifth class year after year, won’t you be unhappy, weeping, going to astrologers, going to priests, going to all sorts of people for blessings? And yet you are there yourself janma after janma [life after life] in the same place – that is what is punarjanmam [rebirth]. And who is sorry for you? Except your Master, nobody. The Master says, “You have come back the same as you were three months ago when you went from me.” More he dare not say because then the disciple may leave. Not that it bothers, but it is like sending a man back to jail.
This world is a school. It is a prison to those who deserve to be in prison, who need to be in prison, who must learn only inside a prison to liberate themselves. For others, it is a palace. They must also learn to liberate themselves in the palace. You understand? Whatever my circumstances, I have to liberate myself from that. If it is poverty I have to liberate myself; if it is richness I have to liberate [myself] from that. If it is profound knowledge of which I am proud, I have to liberate myself from that. This is the only way in which Sahaj Marg can work. As Babuji said, “If a bird is in a cage, it must not be proud because the cage is of gold.” That is to please the owner. You are still in a cage. Whether the cage is of bamboo or gold you are a prisoner. So a palace is as much a prison as some chawl or hovel in which you are living. He is a prisoner in one way; you are a prisoner in another way. How can I get out? Meditate, do your cleaning and do the night-prayer.
So, I am not tired of repeating again and again, religion is our problem in India, and our society with its caste system is a bigger problem. We will not marry for love but you will only marry because a Reddy [must have] a Reddy and things like that. Some people are even prepared to murder where a daughter falls in love with somebody. A princess of a Saudi Arabian family was shot dead because she fell in love with a commoner! It is a historical event. Sahaj Marg speaks only of love. We have nothing to do with bhakti and feet-touching. Prayer is not a prayer in which I demand something for myself. It is a prayer for the well-being of all: Sarvejanaa sukhino bhavantu. [May all people lead a happy life.] “Of which caste?” “No caste.” “What community?” “No community.” “Why do you pray for them?” “Because, Master, I am part of them and I cannot see them suffering because I suffer with them.” “Suppose I liberate you?” We must be able to answer like the Buddha – Buddha’s great speech, when he said, “I shall be liberated. Even if I am liberated I will be with you till the last human being is liberated from this earth.”
So let us all pray wisely. Let us lead our lives in the way that it should be led for us to be liberated whatever be our age, and let that liberation be sooner than later, because, as I have said so many times during this talk, we don’t know when my time will end.