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Universal Evolution

(by Shri P.Rajagopalachari at ISAW, January 22, 2014, Chennai)

How many of you are science-oriented, have a science education? Not too many. Well, it’s not important to have a scientific education on evolution – which is what I am supposed to speak to you about – but it is relevant to what I am going to say.

Most of you know that the basic theory of evolution was, until recently, the theory evolved by Charles Darwin who travelled around the world in his boat, studied various things and came to the conclusion that life evolved by what he called “natural selection” and “the survival of the fittest”. Those forms of life which were able to survive evolved into higher forms; the rest died out, sort of. So it was called the survival of the fittest, the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, which did not seem very credible though it was accepted by the scientific community. Another scientist named Lamarck introduced several different aspects: factors controlling evolution, external influences, sudden changes brought about by external forces of nature, things like that.

There have been several other well-known contributors to the changing theories of evolution. It is not important to discuss all this in detail here because you can find them in any textbook. And today it is available on Google – you can study everything on Google! What I would like to say is that all these theories refer only to the morphological evolution of life (change in the life form, physical changes). If you come to the mind and the intellect, of course there has been enormous evolution but that comes about by the use of the brain. The more we use the brain, the more it evolves. And in successive generations it is said that such changes in the brain, such improvements, evolutionary improvements in the brain, are passed on from generation to generation.

So we must use the brain if we have to evolve. That is very clear, because scientific theory says that even the most intelligent human being does not use more than about nine to ten percent of his brain capacity – merely nine to ten percent! And such usage of nine to ten percent has produced the great scientists, the great inventors. But if you study the great inventions, is it accidental or by the use of the brain? For instance, if you want to study the theory about the x-rays, for instance, by Marie Curie, it was a simple thing. History says that over a photographic plate she had left a stone and a key or some such thing, and the next morning she found that the photographic plate in her drawer had been exposed with the image of the key, with only the stone standing on top of it, placed on it. She had the inspiration to examine this piece of rock, because there was no other source which could have brought the image of the key onto the photographic plate. Most of us would have said, “Oh, we don’t know how it happened, but it happened,” but she had the genius to go on and on and on and discover radium, and from which so many things followed.

Another great invention, radar, was from the observation of bats, the flying thing which sleeps by day and flies only by night. (I don’t know what you call a bat in other languages.) But by observing that – because it emits squeaks which we can’t hear, and even if you put a maze of wires, it can fly by just emitting squeaks and recording the echo – radar was invented.

So if you study all these things, the only, perhaps solely, mental evolution was by Einstein, who did no experiments, who was a school dropout. But he sat thinking in the patent office in which he was employed and evolved such a fantastic theory, completing with the famous equation e=mc2 (energy is equal to mass multiplied by the square of the velocity). This was a revolutionary theory and made him one of the most famous thinkers on earth after Newton, upsetting many theories of Newton. His was a purely mental thing; others were intuitive, as I said. But all this refers to the world of matter. Even the mind… what it has discovered are only mental theories. Applied to matter, it produces technology – science producing technology; nothing to do with human beings and their spiritual evolution.

So we have morphological evolution: Charles Darwin, Lamarck, etc. We have mental, intellectual evolution, formalised by the study of people like Madame Curie, Albert Einstein, some Danish scientists, and so many others who were very famous and produced very beautiful theories of the universe – for instance: how it is expanding, how it is not the centre of the universe as was originally thought, then giving the correct position of the solar system. These were the famous astronomers. But all this again dealt with the physical world – all outside. However big the universe may be, this was all scientific, relating only to the physical world.

When we come to the world of the soul, the spirit, what is the force that really evolves, which makes us evolve out of the physical world all together? Religion gives us some clue that if you are able to remove from yourself the baser instincts of human beings, things which we are born with like avarice, anger, lust, acquisitiveness, unable to forgive, revenge-oriented… Because these are all instincts with which we seem to arrive, but which is not correct because some theories say that the baby has nothing at all in it. Then how does it manifest these as it grows? We all know that as it grows, the parents influence it. There are scholastic influences when it starts going to school and social influences as it grows up and goes out into the world – but in that, part of it is religion, which also can start quite early with the parents. But does religion in any way really contribute to human evolution, in the sense that it helps us to evolve out of the human condition altogether? Sahaj Marg says yes.

I don’t know how many of you have thought of liberation as something where we evolve out of the human condition into a condition where we are no more humans but have gone into another order of life. In various religions they call it various things – angels, this, that, and the other, but no more physical human life. How do we do it? How is this supposed to be done in spirituality? This is the difference between religion and spirituality. Most religions don’t talk of this sort of thing. They talk of redemption and promises of other things, and part-time in heaven, or you remain dead until the final day when the horn is blown. “What happens after that?” I asked a priest once. He got very annoyed. He said, “You are trying to decry Christianity.” I said, “No, Father, I am not decrying anything, but if you are dead and if you are buried and if you are there until the end of time, when you answer the call and go back, what happens? Where do you go and then what happens?” He was unable to answer that question. Nor do I think that question would be, in any way, contributory to the evolution of the soul.

Sahaj Marg says that if you are able to do the practice that has been discovered by Lalaji Maharaj (who we call our Adi-Guru, which means original guru) my Master’s guru, the soul can move out of this condition. And what happens to it? There is the possibility of liberation (which is the first stage), realisation, then what we call laya avastha, which means merging with the Infinite. So this is something very different from the morphological, physical evolution or the intellectual and mental evolution and all these ways of evolution which are taught to us so far in schools, colleges, universities.

Here we are told that there are three steps to achieve this evolution. One is meditation; the second, which I consider most important, is cleaning; then there is the prayer in the evening. Even when we meditate in the morning (the first stage), we are supposed to start with a few minutes of cleaning, which is not often emphasised by our prefects, I am sorry to say. But as a preparatory measure, we clean ourselves a little and then start meditating. It is almost like having to take a shower before entering the swimming pool. You must be clean when you enter the swimming pool. The swimming pool is not meant to clean yourself; it is meant as a place where you exercise, where you take pleasure in half an hour of swimming, and it must remain clean when you come out of it. Isn’t it? That is what is a swimming pool. That is why there are showers stalls. So, similarly, when we enter this infinite pool which we call the mental pool of meditation, we must be clean to the extent possible by a few minutes of cleaning.

And we have to meditate – on what? In Sahaj Marg there’s no god, there’s no church, there is no temple, there is nothing; there are no places of worship, there are no prayers which are to be repeated. It is just having the thought, continuous thought in the mind, that there is divine light in the heart. For us the heart is where the divine principle is eternally present, in the form of a minute – I don’t know what to call it – a flame perhaps, like a candle, but a source of light. We are supposed to imagine, to assume, that this light exists here in the heart and to continuously keep our thought on that, without wanting to see it, without trying to see it, because we will not be able to see it. That is real Sahaj Marg meditation. No mantra, no repetition of anything, unless the mind moves away from this thought that there is light in the heart into some other thought – like the price of gold or the problem of politics – then you gently bring it back, because if you try force, there will be an opposing force from within ourselves.

So we have to deal with this, shall we say, investigative process of the mind very gently and say, let us stick to this heart at least during the period of meditation. Only imagine, assume, the presence of divine light in the heart for the stated period of one hour if possible, or at least thirty, forty minutes in the beginning, but progressively to be increased.

That is how simple our meditation is, as we say it. But in the doing, it is not all that simple because you will find that the mind will wander, you have to bring it back time and again, knowing that this has to be done gently. And as we are able to do this progressively for longer and longer periods, we will find that we are totally thoughtless, maybe for five minutes, maybe for ten minutes, maybe for twenty minutes, and one day we will find that [head down, absorbed in meditation]. That’s it. You close your eyes having cleaned yourself, saying the prayer once, and you are out. And then you don’t know the passage of time until some impulse makes you come out of it, because our discipline is that you should not meditate for more than one hour at a time. That will put too much force on your mental resources. So you can meditate one hour at a time, but you can meditate several times a day, if you have time. So this is what we have to say about meditation, the evolutionary force that takes you out of this world of space and time into another dimension, which is unnamed but which is on the way to liberation.

The second important thing is the evening cleaning, when we sit as if for meditation and imagine that something is coming, in front of you – the guru’s transmission (whatever you like) – and it is taking everything out from inside you and [going out] behind you like smoke or vapour. This has to be done very, shall we say, forcefully using your will, not just sit and imagine like the light is in the heart, but this is more active, more using the will. In meditation you don’t use the willpower at all; here you use the willpower. And, as my Master used to say, if necessary you have to imagine as if you are putting your hand into you and taking out everything from the back. This has to be done for about twenty minutes, thirty minutes, after your day’s work is done.

The third most important thing, very important thing, is before you go to bed, last thing in the day, to repeat the prayer two or three times mentally, not verbally – no movement of the lips, no saying the prayer, just in the mind. It is said in our literature, that prayer repeated with sound is the least effective; prayer repeated without sound but with the movement of the lips is a little higher. But prayer without either sound or movement of the lips is the highest. So we do this during that time, trying to do it as effectively as possible, two or three times, [then meditate over its true sense and try to get lost into it] and go to sleep immediately. Don’t go back to the television or things like that.

So this is a very simple system, but it has to be practised before it can be perfected. Practice makes perfect. And if you pursue this day after day, day after day, lengthening the periods of silence and total submergence into your heart, you will find that you are able to cut off from the world during the rest of the day. You can do everything, and there will be no more attachment; your attachment to things will fall off by themselves. That is why we say in Sahaj Marg there is no renunciation. Renunciation is not a part of the Sahaj Marg practice. “Oh, I want to renounce.” No! Things will renounce us. All the tendencies to which we have been slaves will drop off, whatever they may be. There is no such thing as a good habit or a bad habit. Whatever does not contribute to our spiritual evolution, you will find it has gone by itself. And all this in a matter of three to six months. You can see very definitely perceptible results which you may not perceive yourself, but those around you will say, “What happened? You are not getting angry any more. You used to be so violently reactive. You have given up this, you have given up that. Things which interested you have dropped off.” Your life is more regulated; you are a gentler person, more and more gentle.

So these are the changes that come about. And as we go on cleaning and cleaning, and the effects of our thoughts and actions from the past which have been brought with us as samskaras are cleaned off, everything goes with them, and that paves the way to liberation. Not emancipation and part-time here, part-time there, but liberation – when we move totally out of the physical condition, when we die and there’s no more physical rebirth, which is the first station in Sahaj Marg. The rest of it will follow, because once the physical body is lost, there is no more physical activity, there is no more physical rebirth, there are no more desires, there are no more pleasures, there is nothing to be avoided, there is no more pain and suffering. Now begins the onward progression of the soul, which is more natural and divine, self-guided, we may say. We pass through the stages of realisation, and if ultimately we achieve what we call absorption, merger with the Divine, we become one with the Universe.

So this is spiritual evolution in Sahaj Marg. I don’t know what more we have to say about it. How can we prove this? We cannot prove it. Up to a stage we can prove it, when we observe changes in ourselves, in others: their character changes, their behavioural changes, which are brought about by Sahaj Marg and which can appear within three to six months. You can perceive it in yourself that you worry less, that you are able to concentrate more, achieve more in less time, which is all very useful for existence in this world and which releases you to have more and more time in meditation. You give more and more to the spiritual aspects of your life.

So what you can see and observe in yourself are these things. What others can see are perhaps even more: how you have become such a better person, a nobler person. No more the arrogant, acquisitive, power-seeking individual who wants to tread on the shoulders of others to rise higher and higher, make more and more. What for? Make more and more of what? Someday everything has to be left. That wisdom comes to us – the wisdom that you cannot get from books or which you can get from books only with a lot reading, years of reading, hundreds of books to be read, each one of them giving you a slight insight into what wisdom is all about. No single book will give you everything.

But here you get everything through meditation. It opens the way to infinite knowledge. You are able to just get knowledge, you don’t know from where. People ask you questions and you give an answer without even thinking, and you know definitely that you did not know that answer. You had not learnt anything about it from any book or heard about it from any source, and yet you are able to answer the question. I am not talking of answers in interviews for jobs; I am referring to questions from abhyasis. Those who are prefects, they will find this miracle that spontaneously the answer comes. From where? Well, what made Madame Curie think of this or Einstein think of that? ‘That’ – from where? You cannot say it was the brain, it’s something elsewhere, and that’s the heart.

So my Master said that if and when you are in doubt, refer to the heart and you get the right answer. “Should I do this? Should I do that?” You know the world is full of choices. Life depends on choices. What to do, when to do it – these are very important. This job or that job? This girl or that girl? This food or that food? Every time we have to do something there is a choice – either two or multiple – and that gives us so much tension in life. We worry about these choices. You go to a store today you don’t know what to buy. In the olden days, you had no choice and life was much simpler, isn’t it? Today you go and there’s such a multiplicity of choices. You will understand if you take a child to a toy shop today; you will drive the child mad and you will drive yourself mad. Because it will want this, then it will want that, then it will want that, it will want everything! And if you say, “Only one”, you are finished. The mother will go into some sort of need for a psychologist perhaps! That is how bad a life full of choices is.

But when we get into this meditation and we progress in it very effectively, we find that we don’t need to choose; we go, we buy what we need and we come back. We go to work, do what has to be done and we come back. We don’t think of success or failure. Because when you think of success and failure, our mind inevitably goes towards failure. “What will happen if I fail? I want to succeed but I am always thinking of failure.” And Sahaj Marg says, “What you think of repeatedly will happen.” It does not happen by itself. It happens because the force of your mind makes it happen. If you are afraid of dogs, for instance, and you are walking on a street and there is a sleeping dog and you are a little afraid, that will make the dog wake up and growl at you. You walk peacefully on, nothing happens; the dog is peaceful, you are peaceful. This is how the old sages who meditated in forests were supposed to be there with all sorts of wild things around them, and nothing happened. They were meditating, and every life was going on as usual. When the meditation for the day was over, they went and had their bath, they ate their food, and meditated.

So when this heart is totally at rest, at peace with its surroundings, with its environment, in tune with nature, as Babuji Maharaj says in one of the maxims – ‘Be simple and in tune with nature’ – nature is cooperative. Nature is always cooperative. You want to go bad? Only bad things appear before us. You see the bad things that are possible. If you are seeking the good, only the good appears before us. We don’t choose. This depends on how effective we have been in our meditative practice, coupled with the cleaning and the prayer – and that is evolution. Because as I become simpler and more and more in tune with nature, I don’t hurt anything; nothing hurts me. Because in nature, from us emanates what happens to us as a reaction from nature. And when this is something of a mass movement like affecting millions of people – if millions of people think at the same time of an earthquake, theory says, there will be some disturbances in nature, a tsunami perhaps, an earthquake perhaps, a lightning strike, thunder.

So when we are all afraid together, what we are afraid of happens – whether it is political, whether it is everybody thinking of war. I read very long ago, even before I entered Sahaj Marg, that the famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, just by the examination of his patients, was able to foretell that there would be a war within a certain period, because all the people who came to him had this trauma in their selves, traumas of fear, traumas of destruction, which built up and produced a corresponding force from nature, which resulted in a war. So don’t think that things affect us from outside. It is we, with our impurities, with our fears, with our greed, for instance, it is we who make things happen in nature. Everything must begin here in the heart. Everything begins only here in the heart.

So, when we are simple and in tune with nature – and more and more people are simple and in tune with nature – there is more and more simplicity in the social life, in our own lives, which is affected in that way; we all contribute to it. Life becomes simpler; life becomes less demanding; life becomes more prayerful; life becomes happier. We are in tune with the environment, we are not afraid now anymore. So the benefits of the spiritual evolution cannot be written down; you have to feel them. You will feel them in yourself first, progressively. Then if you are fortunate and if there are more and more people in your society who participate in such transformation of themselves, you will find that society is transformed, whole societies are transformed. And, of course, that will take time and participation by more and more, over time.

So this is what I have to say about evolution. Ignore physical evolution, it means nothing to us. What does it matter if you are strong or weak; one day we are going to die. What does it matter if you are short or tall? We spend, I mean Western people, so many people, spend thousands of dollars in tanning their skin, going to the beaches, applying tanning lotions and whatnot, in taking weight reducing exercises over hours, running for kilometres. If that time was spent in meditation, imagine the changes that it would bring about, not only in yourself but in everybody else. Because what happens to you must, in some way, radiate from you and influence others. You will find that somebody will one day stop you and say, “What are you doing?”

I know one of our abhyasis who, long ago (forty years ago), was in Sydney in a restaurant, and he was quietly eating his lunch, and a boy from another table, some maybe ten metres away came and asked him, “Sir, how are you so calm? You are not manifesting anything. You don’t eat as if you are loving your food, you are not eating as if you dislike it, you don’t eat as if you are hungry. You are just quietly doing what you have to do.” That was the result of meditation. So please don’t think that your meditation affects only yourself. This meditative practice is lighting a lamp. Because when this divine light in your heart becomes powerful and you let yourself be guided from inside now, because that is where the Divine residence is, your actions become more and more as the Divine wants it to be. This lamp shines more and more powerfully.

A candle may light a small room, a powerful light will light a bigger room, the sun lights the solar system. Like that, your influence, your influence without your using it – you don’t know you have this influence but it is there. In some way, I suppose it is wrong to use the word ‘influence’, but the effect of what you are and what you have become and what you are becoming will affect, slowly, people, more and more of them, closer and closer, even from distant places. It’s like a ripple. When you drop a stone, there is a ripple. That is how our own evolution spreads and brings more and more into this life. And that is how, if the forces of Nature (what you call the Divine) wish, there will be a transformation of the world into something beautiful, something glorious, something wonderful, a place where you can live in peace, what the Christians call ‘Garden of Eden’. We cannot imagine it.

Today if there’s no war and if there’s peace in Syria, and all that sort of thing, we think the world is okay. But there is more and more strife. We are afraid of sudden earthquakes, sudden tsunamis, sudden political trouble here and there; all that will cease. But for that we must really understand that only by you becoming something, the world can become something. So this casts a great responsibility on human beings. We don’t just come here for something that we do and something which gives us peace of mind. Peace of mind is not our objective, though it is one of the results that will follow. Health is not the objective, though our systems will become normalised – not superlative – normalised. You should be what you should be. You will be what you should be. You cannot suddenly become a body builder, or a scientist or this or that. Normalisation. After that, whatever happens will be what this heart wishes, what your inner Self, the soul, wishes.

So we have a great responsibility, my dear sisters and brothers, to really remember that one person meditating can affect so many other lives, which in turn can affect so many other lives. But for that, there must be somebody who lights the candle. Once you light a candle with one matchstick, you can light hundreds of other candles. You don’t need one matchstick for each candle, isn’t it? Just one matchstick, then all the candles can be lit. So we are like that.

So I hope and pray that each one of you will become like that by doing your meditative practice as it is prescribed, sincerely, regularly, and with the aspiration that you will fulfil Nature’s purpose, not your purpose. Because, you have your own purpose when you come here, but in a few months you will find that there are other purposes for which you have been born, which includes the ability to transform others, not by speaking, not by force, not by compulsion, but just by being what you have to be.

I pray for you all. Thank you.