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Develop Love through Service
Talk given by Rev. Master at Dubai on 10th June, 2006
Master: These are the most used three words in the English language, but least meant. [Referring to a letter he received, with ‘I love you’ written on top].
Q: When are you coming here next, Master?
Master: Me? To Dubai? Whenever I’m called.
My Master used to say that easiest progress is by service. Everybody says, “Love the Master, Love the Master.” It’s not so easy. It’s very difficult to love a human being. Whether man or woman, it’s all a fallacy you know when you say ‘I love you’. It’s all a fallacy. Much of it is selfish, desire-oriented and, well, not consciously but sub-consciously, dishonest.
In one of the great statements, a rishi of India says, “A wife is not dear to the husband for the sake of the wife, my dear. She is dear because of the self.” That means a man loves his wife for his sake, not for her sake. Therefore the moment they don’t please you, you throw them away. You know, yesterday I was watching a movie, The Message, about Islam and how Islam came into existence. And there the Prophet (may He be blessed), he says, “This must be a brotherhood. Women should not be misused. Female children should not be buried alive.” It seems to have been a practice. Even today I am told that in many parts of this Islamic world it happens. And he says, “The poor should not be oppressed. The rich should share. The strong should help.” So the foundations of that culture, Islamic tradition, religion, is based on love and brotherhood. They don’t talk so much about love, but there is a lot of talk of brotherhood, and especially about women’s place in society. Women should not be oppressed, they should not be misused, they should not be exploited. Female children should not be buried alive. So when a mother can allow her child, female child, to be buried alive, how can she love anything or anybody?
So it’s easy to say, “I love you” and “I love my master” and “I love his master.” All this is blah blah. Love is impossible in this human world of ours because as Babuji Maharaj said, “Love is only for God.” Because in Him you see, or you feel (you cannot see, of course), you feel everything that you expect but you don’t find in our terrestrial life. So what is it that human beings have between themselves? It is called sneha—affection. Between human beings whether it is father and a son, mother and daughter, husband and wife, it’s only affection, no love. So when we say, “I love you,” we are stating the impossible. The human being is incapable of loving another human being because the human heart is not enough developed to forget himself and to love another. Because loving means giving, loving means concern, loving means serving, loving does not mean receiving.
In the Western tradition, you see even in the movies, “Love me, hold me tight, love me.” In the East it would be considered shameful to talk like that, even to your own wife or to your husband. And then you see every telephone conversation in America in the movies: “I love you,” “I love you too,” you know, that’s the end of a conversation. Anything which has to be repeated so often doesn’t exist. When a man has to say, “I’m rich, I’m rich,” he’s poor. No rich man claims he’s rich; he says, “I have no money.”
So love is a hidden thing. It is not secret; it is sacred. And every time you say, “I love you,” you have, let us say, committed a profanity. That which must not be spoken is being spoken. A Hindi poet has said, “Love is something which shines from the eyes—jo aakhon se bayaan hoti hai.” Not to be spoken about but when you look, that is evident. Understand?
Now how can we love the Master? It’s not possible. He can love us, but we cannot love him. So we serve him. Like a father loves the child but the child serves; in his old age, you must serve your parents. Nowadays it is the fashion to send them to old age homes. Give five hundred dollars a month when you are earning fifty thousand. And he [the son] is happy. “Oh, how much could I have cost my parents? You know, I was born in 1930. School fees—eight annas a month—half a rupee. First twenty-five years, let us say, my father took care of me. Food was cheap in those days, five rupees a month he fed a child. So sixty rupees a year; twenty years, thousand two hundred rupees, plus school fees. He spent less than three thousand rupees on me, sir. I am sending him two hundred and fifty dollars. At forty-five rupees, how much is it? In one month I am paying him more than he ever spent on me in my first twenty-five years.” This is how children argue nowadays. They send cheques from America to their house. The old people are here, you know, dying for some sympathy, for some love, for some affection. They don’t want your cheques. Old people are too much thinking of their own self-respect that, “I helped this fellow even to put on his chaddis [underwear]. I washed his bottom when he was younger and now the blighter is sending me money. I’m not a beggar to take money from my son.” And when a son thinks he’s fulfilling his duty by just sending money, it is a baazaari baat, Babuji used to say.
Love must not become a matter of the market, Babuji used to say, “Pyar jo hai, baazaari baat nahin banni chahiye.” [Love must not be a marketable commodity.] And when it becomes baazaari, then you are called a tawaif [prostitute]. You know the word in Hindi—tawaif, veishya, bazaari aurath. So mohabbat ki baaton mein lena dena nahin hona chahiye. [Love cannot be transaction oriented.] “What will I get? I’ve loved my Master so much. I don’t think I have got anything in fifteen years. Now I am going to some other organisation. I’m becoming a Buddhist.” They take your hair first! [Laughter]
So because we cannot love, the easier way is to serve. I’ve seen in houses where servants have served the family for twenty years, thirty years and they are more attached to the children than even the parents. Father is going for his party because he’s a big boss; mummy is going for a tailoring session or for chit-chat with other women about how wives are mistreated by their husbands. And the woman looks after the child and she says, “Bachhaa beemar hai [The child is sick], you are leaving the child? Have you no heart?” she tells the mother. And the mother says, “Why do you think I kept you? Tumhe thees rupaiah mahina nahin dete? [Don’t we give you thirty rupees a month?]” And the mother becomes detached, the servant becomes more and more attached. She becomes courageous; she can tell the father, “You are going to drink every night. Why don’t you look after your son?” I’ve seen this.
So through service you develop love. Through love, if it is love, you are only selfish. “My husband doesn’t look at me; he doesn’t buy me any presents.” Man is strong enough to dominate and demand and get. Women have not that ability to dominate and demand and get. Of course they have subtler methods. So ultimately it becomes a game, you know—a game which men and women play. It can be called marriage; the battlefield is the double bed. Victory or defeat is there, divorce or continued marriage is there, quarrels are made up there, quarrels are born there.
So in Islam this is there: “Do not misuse women; do not exploit women. Respect women.” Swami Vivekananda says the same thing in one of his famous lectures on the women of India. He says, “Respect women for they are your mothers,” and even more, to my mind you know, with very extraordinarily spiritual generosity he says, “Look not down upon our fallen sisters,” meaning prostitutes, “for if they were not there, you and you and you would be there,” Swami Vivekananda says.
So you see, through service we can develop love, real love, because it is born out of concern. Now I have heard an argument that nurses are very noble. I say, not at all. They work for money. The moment you work for money, there is no nobility. You understand?
One of the greatest features of Sahaj Marg, I don’t know if you people have ever thought about it—we don’t take money for our service. There is no money for sittings, there is no money for consultation. If you go to Emirates Trading, you know, one hour will cost you probably, 20,000 dirhams. You go to a heart surgeon, you go in and come out—it costs you 10,000 dirhams, they say. Apollo Hospitals—you go in and come out, 10,000 rupees without anything being done. So today time is not money, consultation is money. I know a joke about a client who went to a very astute lawyer, and he said, “I have to ask you some questions,” and he said, “I will allow you three questions and it will cost you 10,000 rupees.” He said, “How much do you charge?” The lawyer said, “One question gone.” This is modern life and we have come into a situation, a delusional illusion, self-delusional illusion, that you pay more and you get better. You can see this in the streets, when poor people from the villages come and say, “Isse achha kuch nahin hai. Aloo kitna?”, “Do aanaa.” “Aur koi nahin hai?” “Yeh mehengi teen aaney ka hai”—three aanaas,” and she says, “Usme ek kilo do.” [“There is nothing better than this. How much do the potatoes cost?” “Two annas.” “Don’t you have any other kind?” “I have these expensive ones for three annas,” and she says, “Give me a kilo of those.”]
So we are thinking that the more we pay, the better is the quality of service. So people go from Dubai to Apollo Hospital in Madras, people go from Madras to, I don’t know, Sacramento in the U.S. for heart surgery—all because you have money. If you didn’t have money, you would not be fools. The more the money, the more the fool. For one thing, he thinks that he can buy God’s grace with money—write a cheque. In The Godfather you see, part two I think, where the Pope gives a special honour to Michael Corleone, who gives a cheque for one hundred million dollars. Not easily bought, but the highest honour—the highest price.
So similarly, love! I remember thirty years back there was a big hullabaloo in the press, when one actor bought a four and half million diamond for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor—Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. And he said, “Her legs are too short.” He should have measured it before he started making love to her, you know! But, then legs don’t matter, they matter afterwards. So this before and after story, you know, is the story of happiness and disaster, misery and happiness, divorce and marriage, children with parents and parentless children. It’s all a story of before and after. If I was Omar Khayyam, I would say, “In between before and after, lies all happiness.” Before and after what? Before birth and after birth. Before birth I was happy, I was an angel—farishta. After birth I am what I am. “Sir, I was happy in India before I came here.” Or “I was happy in Dubai before I was sent back”—so before, after. “I was happy last night. I went to a party, sir. I didn’t drink too much, you know. Must have been something in the food.” So you don’t want to call yourself a drunkard; you blame it on the food. “In my drinking I never exceed my limit. I used to drink half a bottle. What is this—two pegs! Must have been something in the water.” “Yes, yes. In Dubai, you know it’s all distilled water, yaar. They have no natural water.” So people console each other for being fools who will not like to acknowledge that they are fools.
Our estimate of a human being today is by the car he drives, or Armani suits at five thousand dollars beginning price, or some crocodile leather shoes. Dekho, biwi ke gale mein dekho? [See what his wife is wearing around her neck?] We have lost any sign, any possibility of looking at reality in the face. Meditation is supposed to help us to recapture that, you see, slowly but surely. Come down from this glamorous tinsel world of Dubai. BurJuman, Burj Al-Arab—seven star hotels, next year eight star hotels, helicopters landing twenty-seven floors above, tennis matches being played there. I don’t know what is wonderful about a tennis match above the roof of Burj Al-Arab, if you can’t play it on the ground?
So, you see, in this world of fantasy, we are all very happy. It’s like a balloon that a child is blowing up bigger and bigger, and its eyes becomes bigger and bigger. “Daddy, look!” Phut!—disaster. Child weeping, mommy hugging, and the father saying, “Stupid! Why do you buy balloons like this? I bought it for five rupees. One needle prick and it’s gone.”
So there is no harm in sleeping on a bed of gold with silk sheets. As I was telling them the story of a famous rishi called Shuka, supposed to be one of the famous rishis of the pantheon. He was sent to Janaka for training. He was a boy of sixteen. Janaka was rajarishi as he is called—he was an emperor and a rishi. He was on a bed of gold, silks, two women applying sandalwood on his bare chest, two pretty girls massaging his hands, two ultimate beauties pressing his feet, and this fellow came with his small packet of palm leaf texts and sat. And he was thinking, “Why? What fate has brought me to this fellow? Everywhere—women, sandalwood, silks, gold bed, chi chi chi,” he was thinking in his head you see. One sevak—palace servant—rushed in and said, “Majesty! The city has caught fire.” He said, “Theek hai. [It is all right.]” Ten minutes later, another servant came, “Even the palace walls are now affected.” He said, “Okay.” Fifteen minutes later the palace is on fire. Janaka smiles. Then this young boy saw all the curtains in the bedroom of the maharaja—chakravarthi [emperor] catching fire. So he took up his bundle of palm leaf text and was running. Janaka said, “Come here.” He waved his hand and everything disappeared—all the fire. He said, “You thought I’m a materialist, and you are running away with a bundle of palm leaves? Who’s the materialist?”
So no harm in sleeping on a gold bed with silk sheets, provided your heart is there [pointing up above]. Then you are not conscious of whether you are sleeping on the mud floor or a silk bed sheet. That detachment must come—whether you travel in a bullock cart or in a Lexus or in a Mercedes Benz, like I was travelling yesterday. I don’t know the difference between one car and another car. I asked Samarth, “What car is that?” He says, “Oh, that is the latest, you know, Merc.” In South Africa the craziness is for white Mercs. All rich people have white Mercs—I don’t know why. They don’t want white clothes. Shweta [white] is supposed to be sign of purity, you know, but they want Armani suits in grey, in brown, in silk and whatever, you see. And people must notice, because if you are rich and nobody notices, what is the use? So we put on show—we put on pataatope [ostentatious display], we must exhibit.
So we are going away from reality to unreality. What does that old wise phrase say? “Bring me back from unreality to reality. Lead me from ignorance to knowledge and take me from death to immortality.” It is one of the most famous often recited texts. But we have forgotten. Now today, lead me from reality to unreality. It is so magnificent. You go to Burj Al-Arab or somewhere, some seven-star hotel and eat dinner; you eat the same rubbish, maybe on a gold plate, maybe on the highest priced chinaware, but the food is the same. The water you drink may be from a golden cup but it is still water.
You know the story of the Emperor Midas. All of you must have studied it in school. He got the ability to turn anything he touched into gold. He was very happy. He went around touching everything in his palace, doors, and at four o’clock his daughter came back from school. He hugged her and kissed her, she became a statue of gold. So Dubai is like that. It makes you—your heart may be of gold, but it is solid, it is metallic, it has no response. You understand?
So beware of wealth, beware of health, beware of strength—in yourself. Pray to God that I should not become so wealthy that I forget my self. We don’t need to worry about forgetting God so long as God remembers us. But I should not forget my self. There is the danger, you see, that I equate my self with my wealth, with my power, with my Mercedes four car garage.
There is a beautiful story about the Prime Minister of a famous country. He was so good, so wise, and he became the friend of the Emperor. The Emperor built him a palace exactly like his own, next door to his. Now because he was successful people were talking about him, telling lies. The Emperor did not believe, but after twenty-five years of kaan kaatna as we say—whispering into the ear—and they said, “He is amassing wealth in the palace, Majesty.” One day his resolution broke down and he said, “Arrest him.” The Prime Minister was arrested. He didn’t bat an eyelid, he was smiling. The Emperor said, “Give me all the keys to the palace.” He gave all the keys. And they went around searching. There was nothing—nothing that should not be there. But there was one tiny room with a door which had no key. He said, “Aha!This is where you are hiding everything! Where is this key?” He said, “Majesty, if you open that door you’ll regret it.” He said, “I open this door and I regret it? You forget yourself. I am the Emperor of this country.” He said, “You may be anything, Majesty. You open that door and you’ll regret it.” He said, “Give me the key or I’ll have you khatam [finished off].” He gave a small key. They opened the door, there was nothing inside; there was a shepherd’s cloak and a shepherd’s crook hanging from a long nail on the wall. His Majesty was stunned. He said, “This you’re guarding against my displeasure?” He said, “Majesty, if I had to be worried about your displeasure, I would have not locked this door.” He said, “What is this nonsense? A dirty old shepherd’s cloak and a walking stick?” He said, “Majesty, I was a shepherd and as I become more and more powerful in your majesty’s grace, I come here and meditate every morning to remind myself ‘this is what you really are’. Thank you,” he says. “Now I am going.” And he took off his robes, put on his cloak, dirty old cloak, took the walking stick and walked away. That integrity we must have to the self. That ability we must have to walk away with the shepherd’s cloak and an old walking stick. If you say, “How can I walk? I am used to the Mercedes. I have done Abu Dhabi in twenty-seven minutes.”
So, please keep your heads. Your feet may go anywhere but your head must be in your control. More importantly, your heart must be yours, must be given to the only being who can keep it safe for you, nurture it, make it grow, fill it with divinity, not to be frittered away on girls and gambling. As I repeat, here there is only affection—even between husband and wife it is affection. Therefore, honestly we used to write letters and say ‘yours affectionately’. Times change—now you say, ‘Yours lovingly’, ‘xxxxx’, ‘lxxxxx’—love and kisses. Telephone—“I love you darling.” How infamous our degradation has become.
Babuji, my Master, used to regret you see. He said, “Such a wonderful world has come to what?” Kitne hum gire—how far we have fallen; can we rise ever? But there is the way, you see. What we are doing, trying to do. Do it honestly, do it sincerely and remember that in serving anybody you are serving your Self—capital S. A nurse makes money, doctors make money, lawyers make money, teachers make money. There is no harm in making money because you have to live to serve. Never ask. The Bible says, “Ask and it shall be given unto thee.” Babuji said, “Never ask, and He will give you.” Who can you ask? You can ask a human being? Jagjit Singh ka ek gaana hai naa [There is a song by Jagjit Singh], “Insaan mujhe kya dega, jo dega khuda dega.” It means, “What can man give me? Only God can give me.”
I remember I had an argument once with my boss; we were travelling by road and something happened. We had a minor quarrel, and he said, “You know, I can stop the car and ask you to get out.” I said, “Yes, you can.” He said, “What will you do?” I said, “I will walk back.” He said, “Where to?” I said, “Wherever I came from!” I said, “But imagine if I were to stop the car and ask you to get down, where will you go?” He said, “You fool! You should have been a lawyer.” I said, “I would have been much better off.” “You know I’m paying you.” I said, “Boss, don’t make the mistake of thinking you are paying me. He is paying me [pointing upwards]. If He didn’t want me to get, you cannot give me.” “What do you mean?” I said, “You could become a pauper overnight. How will you pay me? By His grace you have the money to pay me. By His grace I’m here to receive it from you.” So never make this mistake.
So please remember, Sahaj Marg it is not something to be played with. It is not something where we expect something. It is not something where we meditate for something. We meditate so that we can learn to love, make our hearts capable of love and that love goes to Him [pointing upwards]. Love Him who loves all.