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Faith and Wisdom

 Talk given by Shri P. Rajagopalachari
at Atlanta, USA on August 22, 2003

I wish to reveal a secret. I often do. I'm always You know, I was very impressed with Bilbo Baggins -- you must all have seen Lord of the Rings - where in his 111th birthday party, when he stands up to give a speech, and I always wish I could say something like what he said -- which leaves the people, you know, wondering what on earth he did say. Because I think he said, "I like half of you as much as you like me, and the other half I like even less". (Laughter) Something like that you know. Not derogatory, not publicly offensive but which makes people wonder what on earth he did say.

Well I wanted to give a talk this evening, but I was a bit, you know, off colour. I had actually had some fever this afternoon and … I was in bed, but I decided to give the sitting. That is both a pleasure and a duty, so I always do it.

You know, I've been asking for suggestions about what we should do to bring more and more Americans into the mission. It was more of a bit of kite flying, you know. I wanted to see the reaction of people to it. Not that I needed really any advice, or… because advice doesn't work in these situations. And I have a lot of response. But I am somewhat disappointed with the responses because they are either cultural or purely gastronomic.., you know. And it made me wonder, have we changed at all in the century since Swami Vivekananda said that in India religion has gone into the kitchens. I hope you understand what he meant-that there is more sanctity associated with the preparation of food, how pure it is, whether you had your bath before you went into the kitchen etc. etc., and of course, what he said was true then, it is true today too. We are still, you know, worried about our food and its purity- I'm not talking of the biological purity of the stuff that we eat so that we don't get sick, but the so-called spiritual purity.

Babuji taught us a way of making everything palatable and good for us spiritually. He said, "Before you eat, meditate for a moment, and offer it to your Master". I don't see anybody doing it. Not one. Sometimes, when I'm at the table and there are some of these oldies from the mission, I think they want to teach me a lesson so they close their eyes and pretend to offer it to the Master, and I have a laugh - I laugh up my sleeve, you see. I say, "These guys want to impress me". And if they were really oldies, and my seniors, and so profoundly advanced in spirituality they shouldn't have to impress me, I should have to impress them. Isn't it? So just try that. Even if it's just a sandwich, or a cookie, as you say in America for a biscuit. Just close your eyes for a moment and think the Great Master is eating it. And you'll find it becomes like nectar. It's no more Indian food; it's no more American food. It's not even food, it is nectar. And nectar belongs to all, you know. There is no Christian nectar, and Hindu nectar, and Muslim nectar, and Buddhist nectar. Nectar is of the gods. So let us try these things in our assemblies. Let us not try artificially to make everybody our brothers and sisters, let us feel it in our hearts. We cannot go around and say, "Hey you, you are my brother, come here," you know. It automatically separates you.

So these are some things I would have spoken a little more elaborately in the evening, but as I said, I was too tired and a bit sick too. And I think my Master always gives me the right opportunity, you see, like this opportunity has come up by itself. It was not of my making, I don't think you wanted it, but it happens. As we say, here is the paper and here is the fire and it is burnt. Or here is the lover and here is the beloved and viola! as the French say it happens. So we should let things happen. The great problem with modern education is that we want to make things happen. Divine wisdom says, you wait, it will happen. It must happen because it is destined to happen. And what is it that enables us to wait for it? It is nothing but faith. I have always felt that faith is the ability to wait indefinitely. You cannot look at your wristwatch and say, "Well, I'm willing to wait for five minutes Chari, that is the limit of my faith." It's not possible. Faith means infinite patience, infinite capacity to wait. Till when? Well, you wait for a fruit to ripen on the trees, isn't it-you know, the fruit that ripens on the tree is the most delicious, whereas all the bananas that you import, the big Californian oranges, if they are ripened artificially, they don't have it. They look big, they look attractive, but the taste isn't there. So nature has its own way of ripening things. Things which grow, have their own rhythm of growth. A child must develop at its own pace. You can't say, "Oh, conception is over, now I want the delivery." This is not Fedex. No? We have to wait. For heaven's sake, how long? Well, till it is delivered.

You saw that movie about the Fedex plane, which crashed. And that guy was in an isolated place, all by himself. (Someone says, 'Castaway', Master says, "Oh, I'm not worried about the title, but about the story.") Four and a half years, and he did deliver the parcel. Well, that is, I mean, a hooray to Fedex. But the point is that even Fedex parcels can be delivered after four and a half years, if nature takes a hand in between. So let us always respect nature, and say, "Nature, with your permission I'm going to deliver this tomorrow morning, overnight." Why? Because I've taken twenty-nine dollars for it. Nature will help. If you say "Hell or high weather, I'm gonna deliver this, or know the reason why, Chari! Don't be surprised if nature says, "Uh huh." You know nature can be American, nature can be Indian, nature can be Australian, but nature is nature, "Uh huh." So we must respect nature. Both the inner nature of people and the external nature, which is divine, and the Nature with a capital 'N,' which is God. If we learn to harmonize these three natures, we are there. And as long as we are fighting with the internal nature and the outside nature and praying on our knees to the capital 'N' nature, we have three enemies.

God doesn't like to be prayed to. I mean, imagine you are parents and if your child is always coming and praying, "Daddy, give me five cents. Oh, thou art the real goal of human life, daddy. Today all I want is a dollar." He says, "Yes, my son, take it." At age eighteen you say "Oh dad, what a wonderful person you are. I love you dad." And he says, "What do you want, my son?" "Only fifty dollars, Dad." "Yes, my son, take it." And daddy wonders when this son of mine will come to me for something other than what I can give him. When will he ever come to me and just hug me and say "Dad, I wanna be with you." So you see God has infinite patience. We only go to Him with demands, with wants, with curses, even four letter words. Blasphemous. And He suffers all. Why? Because He is infinitely patient. He has faith, that eventually we stupid people will go to Him. But He is the almighty, and we are poor termites on earth, and we have no faith that He will come to us. You see what a parody we have made of life, what a tragedy we have made of life, that He has infinite patience, infinite faith, that these are my children whom I have created, and they must and will come to me, all that I have to do is to wait. And we say, "I want it now." And God say "Why?" "Oh! come on God, I wanted it yesterday!" That's the great American tradition. "I wanted it yesterday." And God says, "If I had given you yesterday what I have to give you today, you might not have been able to bear it."

Because, you know, things are made perfect by being heated in fire and beaten with hammers and rolled in mills and then they become perfect. Imagine a diamond. Had it not undergone the enormous temperatures and pressures associated with geological phenomena, there would be no diamond, there would only be coal. You pay two thousand nine ninety-nine, nine thousand nine ninety-nine, eleven thousand nine ninety-nine for diamonds - its always 999, I don't know why - and you admire that beautiful brilliant, as they call it. Imagine the pressures to which it was exposed, the temperatures to which it was exposed before mere carbon became a diamond. Still carbon, but not the same. So please submit. Submission is not, you know, to be beaten into slavery, as was infamously done in the region where we are, South of America. I receive letters saying "Hey, you're called a Master. I don't wanna be a slave." There's no slavery here. I mean it would be a poor Master who managed slaves, wouldn't it be? Beating them to death, trampling upon them, horse-whipping them. What sort of Master is that? What sort of a husband would he be if he had to drag his wife by her hair to bed every night? He would be ashamed of himself, isn't it? A husband whose wife is not pining away and waiting for him in bed, is no husband. If you have to beat her, trample her, what sort of love is that? What sort of a Master is the guy who's going to chain you and drag you and put you into a cell and seal you up, and say "Meditate, or else!" No, no, no. That sort of thing doesn't go in Sahaj Marg. Sahaj Marg is a way of freedom. You are free to go to heaven, you are free to go to the other place, or you are free to remain here, for as long as you like. It's all your choice. God says, my dear children, I have given you free will. I have given you an intellect. The intellect must help you to decide what to do, what is good for you. Your will power must enable you to do it. The rest is up to you. No Lord, it is going to take me eternity. He says, I can wait. Can you?

So, that is the question that faces every spiritual aspirant, you see, that He can wait for eternity because He is the Master of eternity. We are not even master of this moment. The moment you think you've never had it so good, you stumble over a stupid stone and break your leg. You are having the best holiday of your life, and a little accident, and you're in the hospital for the next three months. A drink too many, and you are in the hospital with a smashed car. A little prolonged honeymoon, and you've lost your wife. We have no control over the next moment. Spirituality says, use this moment as if it was your last. Babuji Maharaj, when I asked him, you know, what is wisdom, he said, "Live as if you're going to die the next moment". Then we would do what has to be done. Not saying, "whoa!! - what's that? Bud light-let me have one before I go. One for the road." You wouldn't do that would you, if you knew you're going to die. So wisdom is to use moment by moment, moment by moment, because there're no such things as hours and days. You know, if you have a ladder in which every alternative step is missing, you wouldn't be able to climb it, would you? Similarly, if you have your life where every alternate hour is missing, that means you're dying and living every hour. To give continuity to time means using every moment as it comes, as it should be used. That is life. Such a life never ends, because his time never ends. And the wisdom that is given to us, if you develop it for this purpose, that is wisdom. Otherwise it is merely intellect. This world is full of intellectuals, philosophers, authors, dreamers, what have you. But of wise men, it hath few. And it's unfortunately a truth that, if you look at the wise men of all ages, I don't think any of them were educated in the sense that we understand education.

You know, you can ferment something artificially, and it can ferment by itself. Wisdom is your mind fermenting within itself naturally, intelligence is artificially doing it, like ripening the banana from South America- no taste. Such intellects have no values, no ethical values associated with them. It is like a computer -- yes, or no. "Should I murder this person?" "Rephrase your question." "Should I terminate?" "Yes!" Because Terminator 1, Terminator 2, Terminator 3, you know. You don't end life, you terminate it! So, beware of intellects where there is nothing behind to back the judgement, because then you might as well feed your questions to the computer and wait for the answer.

So these are some of the thoughts that I thought I should share with you before I leave tomorrow, you see, we may not have time tomorrow morning -- there's an annual general meeting, there are some more marriages, I believe, to be performed. And you know, the moment of departure is hardly any time for deeper values - they…because they become emotionally coloured; Some say, "Well, for heaven's sake, he's going at last!" I don't blame them, because if I may say so, I feel that way myself. It's about time I left. You know. No, no, I mean this is a discussion between brothers and sisters. So we should not wait till the last moment to exchange, shall we say, feelings of love, thoughts of love, because after all an advice, if it is not full of love, is no advice, again it is only intellectual. Its like a smoking doctor who tells his patients don't smoke. There's no love behind it. He's killing himself and telling you, you don't kill yourself. So when you deal with love with persons, advice is not advice, it is tenderness. It is concern. And when we speak to others with concern, concern for others, not yourself, it goes straight to their heart like an arrow. And that's where to shoot. Not to kill, but like cupid, to win another heart. So I hope, you know, Indians or Americans, white or black or yellow or blue - doesn't matter, we're all human beings, we all have the same aspirations, the same needs. And the basic human need is love. To be loved, and to be able to love. And let us promote that feeling in ourselves, let us cultivate that value in our hearts, let us cherish that feeling towards those who are - whom we are destined to be with and to serve if possible. And there's no such thing as the growth of the Mission, or growth of numbers, or anything. There's a question of how many people can we love, so that we are happy and they are happy.

Thank you.