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The Divine Presence in the Heart
21 January 2011, Meditation Hall Inauguration, Dubai, UAE
Hum angrezi mein hi bolenge [I will speak only in English], because otherwise I won’t understand myself! [laughter] There are so many languages here. First of all, I would like to present my brother trustees of the [Sahaj Marg Spirituality] Foundation in India, who have taken the opportunity to come and meet all of you, and also to be seen, you know: brother Sanjay Lalbhai from Bombay, brother Uma Shanker from Allahabad, brother P.R. Krishna, and brother Ajay Bhatter. We also have one representative of the Foundation in Switzerland, brother Alberto Lafranchi. And of course, our local brothers: Sanjay, brother Nagarajan, brother Mani. And, as always, the invisible support they get — their wives. They have done great work over the past so many years, and today this realisation of a project which was very dear to their hearts is because of them. And Sardarji, with his indefatigable labour, and others too numerous to — Mr. Gehi, where is Mr. Gehi? There are too many for me to individually mention, nor is it necessary. That this could be achieved in such a short time, is, I only say, Barakateh Khoda [God’s Grace] as they say in Iran.
Now what brings us together? I once asked my Guruji, Babuji Maharaj... In India — when we [Sahaj Marg abhyasis] were only in India at the time when I joined the Mission in 1964 — from ’64 to ’72, I did not see anything other than Indians. And of course India is a vast country; you have Tamilians, you have Bengalis, you have Maharashtrians, Punjabis — all the languages, all the colours. We are like the universe of Benetton: many colours, many languages, many religions. I said, “Babuji, how is it possible to unite this mob — multi-coloured, multi-lingual mob? How do you unite them?” He said, “The secret is hidden in the heart. And if you look at the heart, you will find that it is only through the heart that you can bring people together.”
I was of course, a little sceptical when we began, because I started my meditation in 1964. I had already been sufficiently indoctrinated by my religion into which I had been born. I had been corrupted by exposure to the West sufficiently to become sceptical of anything which is not rational. So I was not a very tough egg, I was like a half-boiled egg — liquid enough to be messy when broken. I suppose some of you are familiar with half-boiled eggs. If not, I introduce you to them now, because most of us are still half-boiled! We need a pinch of salt always, and that is the part of our physical organism which is always critical, which is sceptical, which is doubting, which will not give love a place.
Forget spiritual love and love of God and all this blah, blah, blah. Just take the human beings. How many of us are able to love even the husband or the wife in a pure unsullied, unsuspicious, faithful way? How many? I have asked this question in our assemblies all over Europe and the US. Fortunately the human beings are, shall we say, honest enough that nobody ever put up his or her hand. It is good. It is bad in the sense that it denotes the poor state of human beings on earth, but it is good that they are honest enough to admit that because of this [head], this [heart] cannot prevail. Our hearts do not prevail. And my Guruji said unless your heart prevails, you are only a dummy. You are like a robot wound up, and it does what it has to do in the way it has been programmed. You are nothing but a toy or doll — putli as we say in Hindi, katthputli [marionette] if you want to make it worse, a wooden doll. You all have seen that beautiful Disney thing, Pinocchio, and the transformation, how it comes.
So please believe me that we, the poor, the rich, the powerless, the powerful, the faithful, the unfaithful, the religious, the heretic, all of us are only playing out some program that has been put into us. And until we erase that program and put in a new recording (like you change a disk which has only one song)… which in a sense is the song of sunrise showing a new day, a new day of hope, a new eternity of hope. And in another way it is the swan song, the finale to a wretched existence, pre-programmed, where we don’t know what we are doing, why we are doing it.
So you see, here we have to be amenable to our program being changed. We cannot play two disks at the same time — there will only be chaos. Even though one of them may be Ghulam Ali, the famous ghazal master of Pakistan, or the other, the famous brothers Nazakat and Salamat whom I love very much. Even when you play the two of them, Ghulam Ali in one and Nazakat and Salamat in another, it is like two dogs wailing away without making any sense, any meaning. One! Not the one that we are used to, you see. Always one — that which our great prophets of this world, whether it be Mohammed the Prophet, or Buddha, or Jesus Christ, or Moses, does not matter. I personally prefer the Sufi prophets who preached the liberty of love, and the love which gives liberty. Love must set us free from all the shackles of politics, of religion, of so many things, of even our own likes and dislikes.
When I asked Babuji Maharaj, “Why do you say we are brothers and sisters and not friends?”, he said in Hindi, “Aaj ka dost kal ka dushman hai — today’s friend is tomorrow’s enemy.” I said, “What about brothers? Brothers ke aapas mein bhi to jhagde hote hain — brothers also fight.” He said, “They may fight, but they are always brothers.” You know, a brother is always a brother, a sister is always a sister. You can divorce a wife or a husband, but you can’t divorce a brother or a sister. Nahin? [No?]
So this is a brotherhood, and a brotherhood means, irrespective of any external manifestation or beliefs, we are always one because we share the same heart, the same family — of humanity. I don’t even like the word abhyasis. Brother and sister! To me all are brothers and sisters. And why not? That is how God created us. Babuji said God did not create India and Europe and Australia. He created the world and we have divided it into convenient pieces which we claim as our own. Yeh mera hai, yeh tera hai [this is mine, this is yours]. This is nonsensical; what havoc we have created with God’s creation, and look at the mess we have made. Is there harmony anywhere? Even between individuals in one house, in one family? I daresay nobody would raise his hand in that too. Harmony? What is harmony? You may find a girl with the name Harmony in some quaint old American village — not in reality.
So you see, dear ones, we have to shed the shackles of all the unnatural things with which we have bound ourselves. My Master said, “God can only give you love. The rest you have to acquire for yourself.” And I asked him how. He said use the gift that He has given you; the only gift that is necessary beyond which there is no other gift: love. Love, and see what it makes; love, and see the magic that it plays — love without restraint; love without suspicion; love without any expectation of something in return. Because in love there is nothing to return, there is only one way: go, go, go; give, give, give. Like the sun. It was what he [Babuji] always used as an example — misaal ke taur se. He said the sun is giving. And if you study science, astronomy, the millions of tons that are burnt of the sun every second, and yet it is said that it will continue to live for millions of years. And that is our existence. If the sun goes out now, in nine minutes our world will be dark (that is the time the sunlight takes to come to us — nine minutes), and then we are dead.
So brothers and sisters, let us not look on love with suspicion from wherever it comes. When love comes it is God who comes to us. It may be in a human form you like or dislike. It may be in the form of an animal which comes to you and rubs against you, like a tiger or a cat. It may be a dog which is noy-noy-noy [whimpering], but love is always love. Love is always growth-oriented. Love is always rare. And when it comes, don’t refuse it because you may never find it again.
My Master said, “You have come into my fold.” That is what he said when I went to him in 1964. He said, “It is not an accident.” I said, “Babuji Maharaj, I have stumbled into this,” because I was no seeker. I used to read a lot of books on philosophy, this, that and the other. As I said, corrupted by the West and by the intellectual tradition of the West. I had more reliance on books until I was shocked one day when my Master told me that he had taken a book to read, Mill’s Utilitarianism, (I don’t know why he chose that book) and he said, “I read a few pages and put it away.” I said why. He said, “I don’t want somebody else’s thoughts playing havoc with my mind. I would rather be ruined by my own thoughts, original to myself.” Mill’s Utilitarianism; John Stuart Mills — a worshipped figure in that field.
Second example, his mother was a very devout Hindu — prayer, what not. She used to chastise him, “Arre, Ram Chandra, you are not doing anything.” So one day, to satisfy her, he started what she was doing. He said he did it for three days and then stopped. Mummy was scandalised — “Kya Ram Chandra, teen din mein band kar diya tumne? [What, Ram Chandra? You have stopped it in three days.]” He said, “Mummy, suppose I am an officer in an office and I have one of these old bells you have to ring, and the whole day I am ringing it for my peon to come. That is what you are doing — Ram, Ram, Ram, 1008 times, 10,008 times.” People with beads, whatever be the prayer (rat-the hain [repetition], we call it in Hindi) going round and round, round the mulberry bush, no response.
I remember once when we were in Chicago, we had just had a lecture, and Babuji and I were [standing] on the pavement. One big tall American boy came and asked something about what we call this japa — repetition, the same name repeated again and again. Babuji said you can as well recite your own name. Shocking! Had it been any other religion he might have been murdered on that spot! There are violent religions, where you cannot dare to say something that is in your mind openly and freely. Where is the freedom? He said, openly, you see, “Repeat your own name.” I said “Babuji, you really mean it?” He said, “Of course. It only makes you benumb your own brain and your mind yourself. You sort of mesmerize yourself into a condition which you think is divine or something holy or whatever.” He said, “It is stupid. You are benumbing your brain — the one thing with which you can think, and that is put to sleep by yourself through the instruction of others whom you think of as leaders of society, holy people.” That was the second shock, you see — use your own name!
So like this, his teaching was introduced into me like when we get blood transfusions, drop by drop. The nurse keeps monitoring so that it does not flow in too fast, but it has to be integrated with my system. It is as bad as if you have the wrong group of blood; doctors tell me it can be disastrous. You can even die. Therefore you have to know the blood group. Even worse with organ transplant — if your system does not accept it, the organ is of course dead, but you are also dead with it. But my master said, yeh to keval maut hai — it is only death of the physical thing. What happens to the soul, the atman? What happens to it? So until we are able to liberate it in our lifetime… By doing what? Not by worshipping, but by loving. Whether it is God, or a human being, or kuthha [dog], you love and your purpose is achieved very easily, because there is life in everything, there is God everywhere.
Can we dare to say that there is no God in a dog, or in a buffalo, or in a crocodile, just because we are afraid? They become carnivorous and dangerous and we shoot them without even knowing what we are shooting at. And then we see movies where there are lions going around in a farm in Africa, with a white couple who hug them and kiss them and frolic with them. And we say, “Yeh kaisa mumkin hain? — how is this possible?” There is only one answer. Like the Reebok, or whatever it is, ‘Just do it’ [someone says it is Nike] — Nike. I am sorry, Reebok! [laughter] Just do it. Love and see.
So this is all that Sahaj Marg is about. We have no philosophy, we have no theology, we have no gods. What makes Sahaj Marg unique? And what, if I may dare to say, brings all of you here, so many of you, is because we have no name of God in our system, we do not worship God. We have the divine presence in the heart without which we cannot exist, and that we try to promote, we meditate on it. First of all, we have to recognise that it is there. God is not out there, somewhere, but He is right here in my heart. Without Him here [heart], I would not have Him in my mosque or my temple or my gurudwara or anywhere. We have created all these things. So this [heart] is the originator of all: good, holy, life-giving, evolutionary. This [head] is all the shaitaani [devilry]. From here [head] all the shaitaani comes — how to make atom bombs.
You know, I saw one old movie. It was not a movie. It was a feature film about he Zulus — Shaka Zulu. Before Shaka came on the field, their spears were only this much [about three feet long], and they just used to wave it around, one on each side, for about half an hour and went home satisfied; there was no loss, no gain. Neither side won, it was status quo till the next time they fought again — again waving spears. But good old Shaka came. When he was a boy, his village had been pillaged, I think his mother was killed, and he was hardly six or seven. They ran for life and he carried the memories of this attack. And when he came of age, he designed a spear that was about eight feet long, and now it became a lethal weapon; not just something to be brandished, but something to be used. And he wiped out tribe after tribe until he became the boss of the Zulus — Shaka Zulu. And the funny thing is, he became such a terror, such a tyrant, such a despot, his own sister had him killed. One day she called him, and as he was coming he was speared from behind by his own people, because this is the destiny of all despots. Those who have revered the despot worshipped him because he gave them power, money, position; and one day become the objects of his despotism, and then he goes.
This is the value of temporal power. You read about it. Which North African country has the President of...? Algeria? Tunis! The only thing that everybody is now unhappy about is that his wife took away 150 tons of gold! Even that, you see, in such a disaster, she takes away the gold. You know somebody will murder her for that gold. So it goes. If they had the love of the people, would they have been ousted? Would they have had to run? With or without gold, it does not make any sense.
So Sahaj Marg uses love for worship; and the only thing that it worships is love. Not the love of the wife or the sister or God — love. It flows from my heart. It must flow from your heart without any question of where it is going, where it is directed, do they deserve it. In love, if you think of deserving, you must ask yourself the first question, “Do I deserve to be loved?” Every person, man or woman, if they ask this question of themselves, “Why do we make ourselves so much, and dress well and have good manners?” I tell these Europeans, the white people, politeness is a hypocrisy. Somebody gives me a sip of water, I say merci beaucoup, danke schön [thank you very much]. Why? We don’t do that in our culture in the East. Somebody opens the door and the woman has to go first. Why? We would go first because the woman has to be protected.
So what is love? If you have to embellish love, if you have to dress it up, is there anything inside it at all? — is a fundamental question. How many of us worship or love God when we worship? Any religion, it does not matter. I asked Babuji once, “Why do we thank God? You are saying so much about God. Why do you thank Him?” He said, “Because I receive so much from every side. I cannot say thank you, thank you, thank you; thank you wife, thank you cook, thank you dhobi [washerman], so I thank Him who receives my thanks on behalf of everybody else.” He was in western UP [Uttar Pradesh] which is largely Urdu language, more Islamized than the eastern part of shall we say Uttar Pradesh, and he always referred to God as Khuda. I said, “Babuji, you never say, Ishwar or Bhagwan.” He said, “I like Khuda.” Of course, he was always a tricky fellow, my Guruji; he always had several meanings. I said, “You like Khuda, you mean God or...” “Nahin, nahin, Khuda lafz bhi mujhe pasand hai — I like the word Khuda.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Khud jo aata hai — One who comes Himself without being called, without being prayed to, without our going grovelling on our knees towards Him, voh Khuda hain, voh mere Khuda hain, [He is] my God.” I said, “What about the other gods?” He said, “They are like poor servants. They never come. Call, call, call, they don’t come. Bribe them with zakat1 or whatever it is, they don’t come.” Pray like hell, they don’t come. So I said, “Does He ever come Himself?” He said “If you wait with love, with a vacuum here in your heart free of all the rubbish that you have put into it of Him, about Him, with Him — He comes. It is like air being sucked into a vacuumed vessel. He cannot come while your heart is full of the rubbish of civilization, any civilization, all civilizations.
So you see, Sahaj Marg, by this process of cleaning that we resort to, it cleans the heart so thoroughly it becomes a vacuum; and the only thing that comes into the heart that the heart is permitted to have, is the divine presence. So it is a very simple, I may even say unholy, thing because there is no holiness in this whole process that we are doing. We sit down, we close our eyes, we are comfortable, we meditate. We have no names for God, no forms for God because we don’t know whether He has any. And, if I am to believe my Master, there cannot be a name or a form for God, there is only a presence. You cannot catch it in a cage, or have it in a vessel and tighten it.
So when I sit day after day in meditation and progressively my heart is freed of all the rubbish of culture, of religion, of civilisation, of politics, of even human-interpersonal problems that we have created for ourselves — then it comes, it happens. Thereafter, I hope that all of you will experience that. It is not ecstasy, it is not some sort of hypnotic state; you cannot be afraid of it because it is you. You see that in some way something has come into you which has really shown you what you are, why you are, how you are, where you are. Where are you? I am nowhere. But you are sitting here. Yes, but my heart is free. I can be anywhere I choose. Only my body is limited.
You know, to come to Dubai I have to plan, I have to spend money, buy tickets, produce medical certificates that I am fit to travel before Emirates will accept me. And then of course, the physical part of the journey; and at this end, immigration, customs, blah, blah, blah, you know — so many problems in physical travel. But when you love and when He loves, if you are troubled in mind, problems of any type, of your own office, of your family, of where the next meal is coming from, meditate — something happens.
Babuji said the world cannot be changed for your sake, but you can be changed in such a way that for you the world is different now — meri duniya mere liye ab badal chuki hai. You understand? So that is the beauty. Some sceptical rationalist may ask, “Do you mean to say there is a real change in the world?” It is like asking, “What is a real time?” I mean these computer specialists and all these guys fool us, and make money off us. Real time! What is real time? Does time exist at all? If the world was spinning and stops spinning, would you have a day? No sunrise and sunset, no hours. What would happen? Ghadi sab uthaake phenk do. [Throw away all the watches.] Switzerland will suffer the most! They make such wonderful watches, you see.
So Babuji said, “Don’t think of time.” Somebody told him, “Saab, mere paas waqt nahin hain — I have no time.” He said, “Socho, dil se, to waqt kisike paas nahin hai. Yeh to khuda ki marzi hai. [If you think with your heart, you see that no one has time. It is God’s will.] Yeh hum samajthe hain ki koyi [We think that someone] has three years to live, two years to live, one year to live, twenty-five years to live. Ispar koyi bharosa nahin hai. [This cannot be taken for granted]. Don’t think that you have a long life or a short life. Life is neither long nor short. Life is what you live, and what we live for is to perfect ourselves. And when that perfection is achieved you have no more reason to live here.
You know, suppose you go for shopping and you bought everything you wanted and you sit around — it does not make sense. So my Master’s definition of wisdom, it may sound a little difficult to accept: Live as if you are going to die the next moment. Khuda jaane kab kya hoga? [God knows what will happen, when]. Am I sure that I will be present just after this sitting, after the meditation, this evening? Who can say?
I saw a beautiful Iranian film [Baba Aziz] about an old grandfather and a young granddaughter. He takes her by the hand and starts walking, and she asks him, “Granddad, where are we going?” He said, “There is going to be a meeting and I have to be there.” To chalte chalte [Walking along], they go by bus, they walk, he with his big staff — boodha [old man]. They come to a village, a lot of people; she has never seen so many people. So she says, “This is the meeting?” He says no, and then they go on and on. They come to a big place; many people, many tribes, many meeting halls. She says “Granddad, surely this must be the place.” He says no. “But, Granddad, where are we going and where is it?” He says, “You will know when we get there.” Finally they come into a barren place. He takes his walking stick and draws out his grave, and he says, “This is where I shall meet.” She says, “Who?” He says, “Him.”
So you see, meeting means only the Beloved. These are all collisions that we are indulging in in life. You collide with your friend. You don’t want to see him, you say, “Haan — yes, yes. Oh Suleiman, you won’t have any time to see me, yaar.” Or if he is even a better friend, “You must have eaten already. How can I invite you when you have already eaten?” Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy: in friendship, in marriage, in society, in community, in religion, even in places of worship.
So, all that I can say is that we have to give up all these things. There is nothing difficult about evolving out of the sordid state that we have plunged ourselves into. There is no difficulty at all. Just wake up, and at one stroke, throw away all this. One stroke, not little by little: “Today I will stop telling lies; tomorrow I will stop cheating; day after tomorrow I won’t contaminate the food; I won’t sell spurious medicine. One day each.” This life will not be enough.
For all this, we are not teaching these things. We are doing something to ourselves which puts the love of God into my heart, and His love for me is safe here, I am now able to walk a freed man, free to do all that I have never had the courage to do before. Courage — courage comes from courage. Putting enthusiasm into the heart, en theos in that language theos means God — putting God into you. When you make something or someone enthusiastic, you are putting the ability for him to feel God in his own heart and march ahead, free, fearless, with love.
So I am an old man, you know, and I am having trouble breathing. I have told you what all I have felt in my own personal, spiritual journey which has now lasted (what?) forty years, forty-five years. And I can tell you, bodily pains, bodily problems we will have under all circumstances. Saint or sinner, it does not matter. The body has its own regime with what we call the program, which cannot be changed. Prayer will not make a long man short; prayer will not make a fool a wise man; he has to study. And if prayer is to make you rich, we would all be rich. So that is a different field in which.... But when this is full, we are totally free of everything. We may be in a state in which we should feel the pain, but we shall yet sleep and wake up, refreshed, relaxed, ready for the next step. We may not have any money, but we shall sleep because, as Babuji Maharaj said, God’s greatness, His love of humanity, is in the fact that the essential things are always free: water, clean air, place to sleep on, whether it is in the desert or in a palace. These are always yours. You don’t have to ask anybody for these things.
It is when you want to better your status, material status, then you are in trouble, you have to pray to all the other falsities, false existences, false prophets, false gods — as we think they are — and suffer.
So, sisters and brothers, I am happy that I am able to meet you all here in one common ground. And this is not a meditation facility for Dubai; it is a meditation facility! It is like one of those old caravanserais, where any traveller could come and tie up his camel, fill his water pot, eat something and go on. This is the place where you will find rest, where you will find peace, where you can retreat into yourself, and renew yourself and walk out fresh.
1 In Islam, a portion of wealth set aside for the needy.