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Give Your Full Attention to Character Formation
10th June 2010, Chennai, India
For some time now, I have been deeply thinking about the reason for the slow progress of abhyasis, and in some cases even about the lack of their progress — total lack of progress. Of course, some are progressing well, but that too is perhaps more because of the personal attention that the Master gives them rather than by their own effort, and I am not referring especially to their spiritual practice but to their lifestyle.
You know, in Sahaj Marg we are always talking of the Master giving the inner spiritual condition, which for him is a matter of a second, whereas character formation is the responsibility of the abhyasi. I think, in general, abhyasis conveniently think that maybe the Master's role is ninety-nine percent, or more, and the abhyasi's role in personal character transformation or formation, is even less than one percent.
I am forced to this, shall I say, conclusion, because that is how it appears to be, and people are not really serious about character formation or character transformation. Why I say this is because, as I said before, spirituality is given by the Master and that cannot be doubted, you see. But their outer behaviour, their outer lifestyle, the way they conduct themselves, their politeness or lack of it, and, as repeatedly pointed out to me by abhyasis from all over the world, especially the behaviour of those very close to me — what the outside world calls the inner circle. You know, I used to feel concerned, then I used to feel pained, now I really feel guilty. I feel guilty because the people close to me, my inner circle so-called, are, one and all, arrogant, proud, demanding, oppressive, authoritarian and lack politeness — one and all. Of course, I keep telling them about this. Either they smile it off or they say, "Yes, yes, we will change now." But you know, recent affairs, especially when I was in Tiruppur immediately following dear brother Ajay Bhatter's revocation of his nomination to succeed me, it has shown the raw human nature at its worst. Gossiping, condemning, blaming — always others, forgetting the principle that when you point your finger at somebody (one finger), three fingers are pointing towards yourselves.
So what to do about this, you see. How to make abhyasis realize that the Master's responsibility or his, what shall we say, duty towards an abhyasi (if I should call it that), is hardly one percent — probably one thousandth or one millionth of a percent; whereas the abhyasi's role, responsibility in making himself, transforming himself, should be ninety-nine percent or more. It is exactly opposite.
Now, what are the consequences? People close to me think that because I keep them close to me, continue to keep them close to me, they are blameless, they are really blameless and I am only talking for fun or to show-off or something like that, you know, like chastising a pet. And people who are away from me, but who are close to me in an inner sense, they stay away.
I remember Babuji Maharaj had a dog, Honey; and he was not fond of dogs, but it was there and it remained there. It used to run around chasing the monkeys and he used to tell me with a twinkle in his eye that, "You know, Honey recognizes abhyasis, because when abhyasis come, he doesn't bark. He only barks at non-abhyasis." And, you know, I never understood the significance of Babuji praising this dog for this quality that it does not bark at abhyasis. A dog! And my people around me, they are all the time barking, shutting doors, putting away people, using my name for everything that they do. "He is ill." "He is resting." "He is asleep." "He told us no," so on and so forth.
I get letters from very, very close, devoted abhyasis who love me saying, "I cannot come, and I will not come so long as I am stopped." For them too, it is a need to transform themselves, because as Babuji once said, "Two lovers cannot remain separated because the circumstances are not favourable." You know the old saying in English: Love laughs at locksmiths. It doesn't mean it only laughs at locks. The locksmith is symbolic of every circumstance that can come between the lover and the beloved.
You remember the old story of the man who was so besotted with a girl that when she went out of town, he followed her. There was a river to cross, and the river was in flood. He did not know what to do and then he found something like a log of wood. He took that log of wood and went across the river; and then he found a light burning in the house on the first floor. He said, "That must be my beloved's room." And he saw to his surprise a thick rope hanging, and he said, "Oh, she loves me so much that she has left a rope for me," and he climbed up using it. And when he entered the room, the girl was stunned. She said, "How did you come?" He said "Oh, there was a boat, you know, there was a log of wood; I crossed the river. And you have left this rope for me." And to their horror, they found that the log of wood was a human corpse and the rope was a python!
Now, suppose that lover had been standing on the opposite side — I mean I am giving a deliberate twist in interpretation to this story. Suppose he had stood there waiting until the flood subsided? Then he found the water was muddy because it was a flooding river. He waited till the water was clear. Then he tested it to make sure that there was no contamination. Then he crossed it. What would have happened?
So for devoted, loving souls who use these excuses to not come near, I must emphasize that they are losing a great deal more than these ruffianly people who surround me and who keep people away. They too will not benefit. So what happens is that the dogs which bark at the visitors don't have anything, and the people who are turned away because the dogs are barking, they have no benefit.
So lack of correct appreciation of what character transformation means... You know, I get letters from wives about their husbands: He continues to drink, he continues to smoke, he continues to beat me. He is misbehaving with the children. I get letters from others you know, from a brother, an elder brother or a younger brother, that: My brother is still indulging in various fantasies. He watches porno movies, he indulges in self-titillation. He is masochistic, and yet to the outside world he looks something different. He will not change himself. He says these are something natural; under pressure of inner psychic needs these things happen. Then there are others who say: My children are being ill-treated. The father beats them regularly. Of course, for me it is my destiny as a wife.
So you see, people must understand that sadhana does not begin and end with the morning meditation, with the evening cleaning and the night prayer. It is not the end. That is only the foundation of the practice. The superstructure of what has to be erected is a clean structure — well ventilated, that means behaviour transparent. The man is transparent. If he is a businessman, he must have stopped cheating the government by evading taxes. He must have stopped cheating by adulteration of his products. He must have stopped cheating by using or selling expired goods. He must have stopped cheating his partners, if he is a businessman. Are our people doing it? Or do they say, "Sahib, that cannot be done because there would be no profit." They must understand that profit is what legitimately comes by buying and selling honestly, sincerely and correctly. Anything else you get by evading taxes, by cheating partners is robbery.
I am sorry I have put it in such strong terms but our friends from the business community, our abhyasis, they often satisfy themselves by saying, "Yeh hoga nahin, saab, kabhi — this is not possible. Business cannot be done this way." I say, the whole world is doing business this way. Why you cannot do it? Then a man says, "No, no, Sir. My wife denies me everything. She won't give me proper food." He doesn't talk about sex, which is the main thing between a husband and wife in our society. If that is denied, marriage is a failure. Is there a proper way of conducting your marital life, whether it is social or sexual or in any way else, to be harmonious? Should a man not respect his wife's needs, her privacy, her health condition, her moods, or just insist on what we call in India in our legal language [as] ‘his marital rights' that she must be available any time of the day, twenty-four into seven into three hundred and sixty-six — day or night it doesn't matter.
I was horrified to hear a story from an abhyasi long ago that after her child was born, on the third day or fourth day her husband demanded sex. Third or fourth day! Now whether he is a husband or an animal or a brute, who is to say? He says, "It's my right." It's an interpretation solely to the purpose of a, shall we say, crazy fellow who has sufficient power to enforce his will upon another, to use the principles of marriage to his own purpose and ignoring completely that she may have just had a child. "It doesn't matter. So what? She is a woman, isn't she?"
So those of you who are going to listen to this, I don't know how you will take all this. But, you know, I should have spoken about this years ago. But I was perhaps too optimistic or too foolish or perhaps even too afraid to put across these ideas to my abhyasis and tell them: Sisters and brothers, this is what is required of you. Always love. Love does not mean lust. Love means giving; love does not mean taking. Love means consideration for others; not a selfish concern for your own self and what you need and what you want. Love means, your income (legitimate), is yours; nothing more. Love means, in a partnership in business, if it is an equal partnership I cannot rob others. Suppose they rob me? Love means first and foremost putting yourself in the place of another before you speak and before you act.
If these things are not followed and applied to your own life, dear brothers and sisters, whatever may be the spiritual input that our Master gives us, graces us with, blesses us with, will be lost. Because it is my samskara that I will carry with me into my next life, God forbid if there is a next life, and they are governed by what we do here, what we think here, which is how samskaras are born. So I say, beware, be alert, understand these principles properly, apply them to your own life, examine yourself. If necessary, in your diary be very frank and say, "I have stopped beating my wife." Truth, if it is the truth. "I have stopped telling lies to my partners. I have stopped cheating. I have stopped adulterating. I have stopped self-titillating. I have stopped beating my children." All these are relevant to your spiritual diary, if you want to be honest about it, so that anybody can read what you have written. Then only you will be aware. Because now, you know, we live in the secrecy of our inner self, nobody knows. So we have this question of personality problems. My personality is what I show to the outside world. My true self is inside, secret, safely buried, and I am blissfully thinking that by Master's grace I will evolve, I will go to the Brighter World, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The Master is magnanimous. He loves us, he wants to give us everything that he has, but his limitation is that unless the vessel is clean he cannot put anything else into it. We are in a situation where the Master gives us, let us say, a hundred gallon tank of milk, and two drops of poison which is our contribution, ruins it. It is so potent — human will, human endeavour is so potent. As Babuji said, "You can train a lion to do what you want in six months. But it's impossible to train a human being over a whole lifetime unless he or she cooperates." What is the cooperation that I am now trying to emphasize that an abhyasi should offer to the Master? Full attention to character transformation, knowing that the spiritual part is being attended to by him, meticulously, every moment of our life, with total concern for our spiritual welfare and our future.
I exhort all of you who will listen to this to take it seriously; if necessary, read this again and again if it is available in written form, and apply it every moment of your life. Think ten times before you address your friend. Think twenty times before you refuse somebody entry into my place to meet me. Do not shout; imagine what it would be like if somebody shouted at you. Do not push people; you don't like to be pushed. Do not force yourself on your wife. And do not make negative comments all the time. "There is no salt in this, there is no sugar in this. You are ugly," you know
I don't want to see anything in you. Because, by force of circumstances, call it health, call it whatever it is, I really cannot see any of you now, beyond six feet, and my seeing your spiritual condition if I am able to do it, is of no use, because what is going to carry you into the next level of spiritual welfare, spiritual achievement, is you yourself.
I pray for all of you .