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This Is What Sahaj Marg Is
Ashram Inauguration, 11 February 2011, Haldwani, India
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am happy that in this Himalayan region we have the fifth ashram. You know we have ashrams in Dehradun, Roorkee, Pithoragarh, Satkhol, and now Haldwani here. Of course there is a small place in Almora which, incidentally, I think was the first Himalayan centre in the Mission, created I think forty years ago, something like that.
I am happy to see so many of you here. I frankly did not expect more than a hundred. And I must also congratulate brother Chuphal and his team for the excellent work they have done here, and for the speed with which they have achieved this.
Now it is up to all of you to use it for the sole purpose for which we make ashrams – spiritual advancement. An ashram is a place of rest, of retreat, of introspection and of meditation. So these places are to be used only for this purpose. Our ashrams are never let out for other purposes. Of course we celebrate marriages of our own abhyasis, in a very simple, non-ritualistic way. You all know that Sahaj Marg is a departure from the traditional practices of the religion of this land, Hinduism. We do not believe in rituals, we do not recommend rituals, because rituals have no life. The difference between seeing a tree and seeing the painting of a tree, or for a woman to see the picture of her baby and to have a baby in her hands – that is the difference between ritualistic practice and reality.
We don’t even call Sahaj Marg a practice. It is a way of life where meditation, at the beginning, is something you do in the morning, in the evening, and at night before going to bed. But slowly that meditative state must become something natural to you through the waking and sleeping hours, that means twenty-four hours a day. When that stage is reached, you will find that all your actions conform to divine requirements – we are no more honest; we are no more truthful; we are no more efficient; we are no more educated; we are no more any of these things – we live the divine life in the way that it has to be done, and it is a natural thing.
Nowadays in this corrupt world people say, ‘I am very honest,’ or, ‘I never tell a lie,’ et cetera, et cetera. But even in telling the truth we can tell lies. And when you think of the lie, you know that is enough, you don’t have to tell a lie because, according to our tradition of yoga, everything begins here, and then it comes here, and then it comes into this – manasaa vaachaa hastaabhyaam – from the mind, to the speech, to those karmendriyas [organs of action] as we call them. So, much later only it comes here [the heart]. It is here [the mind] that all evil originates, all good also originates. As the Vedas say, the mind alone is responsible for our uplift as well as for our downfall.
So Sahaj Marg takes the mind for its field of action, the mind, the intellect – this composite which gives us all the thoughts that we have and is very essential. That has to now be regulated. And what do we do to regulate it? We use the heart. We meditate on the heart, not on the mind. From here, the education spreads out. Slowly the mind becomes subordinate to the heart. This [mind] thinks. It has no moral values, it has no ethical values – it gives us thoughts.
This [heart] brings in the morality, the ethics of any situation. Therefore this [heart] is the governor. This [mind] is the governed, though it provides all the information. Therefore Babuji Maharaj said that for two or three reasons we choose the heart for meditation. According to all the great religions of this world, the Lord resides in our heart. Secondly, it is from here that the blood circulation starts. So when you purify this and you meditate on this, it is as if this divinised blood flows through our whole system, divinising the system, like it carries oxygen to all organs of the body.
So these are two very important reasons why we do meditation on the heart. Slowly the divine voice of the conscience, as we would like to call it in modern terms, it begins to weakly, feebly, tell us, ‘Brother, halt,’ when we are taking a doubtful step. If you listen to that, it becomes progressively stronger and stronger until one day you hear nothing but this. From that day you can say, ‘I am working under divine guidance. It has taken over. I am no more in the picture except as an instrument of this [heart].’
The heart uses this whole corporeal system as its vehicle to do the work that has to be done in this world for two reasons. One, is for our own personal growth, transcendence, divinisation perhaps – ultimately if we persist; and the other, to help society to become that which my Master wants us to become. So this is like a lamp that we hold. The lamp is for you to find your way in the darkness, but it also helps those who follow you. No lamp works for you alone. You may light a candle in your room as a student, but four other students can study by its light.
Sahaj Marg is therefore universal in its application. When you grow, others grow who are near you. When you water grass, weeds are also watered. Therefore comes the need for cleaning. That which is not necessary has to be removed. So we have the cleaning, we have the meditation. And, because it’s a path towards divinisation, we need to pray also because we need divine guidance, divine help, divine assistance, and eventually let the Divine take us over and say, ‘You are Mine.’ The Lord must tell us, ‘You are Mine.’ Every one of us. Now we say, ‘God, I am yours.’ Babuji used to say, my Master you know, he used to laugh and say, ‘Okay, okay, you are His. But has He accepted you as His?’ That is the important thing. You may all shout from the rooftops, ‘I am yours, I am yours.’ I cannot say I belong to the police because Bajpaiji [a former policeman] is sitting here. He is different; I am different. I have to be taken in to it. God has to accept us. It is not enough that we are God’s creation. Through aeons of time we have become divorced from the divine state. Now we have to struggle back, and it is God’s mercy, His love, His kindness, His compassion, that He has taken His residence in the heart; and what He cannot do from outside, He is doing from inside.
But Babuji Maharaj used to say we have to listen, we have to obey. Sahaj Marg par excellence is the way of obedience. If you obey, your path is clear. What is it that stands between obedience and non-obedience? Intellect. ‘I know. I know. Why should I do it? Who is God? Where is God? Let Him show Himself before me. How does God know? It’s all right, you know He was in the Treta Yuga and the Dwapara Yuga, and it was easy, those days. But in this world of today, how not to tell lies? How not to cheat? How not to adulterate? How not to fool others? Can God do it?’
A tiny voice replies from the heart, ‘Of course I can do it, if you let Me do it.’ Each one of you must point to yourself and say, ‘If I permitted God to do it, He would permit to do it.’ But we don’t. We remain subdued in our human condition, in our misery, in our ill health, in our squalor. Why? Because we appeal to God – we never obey God. We appeal to a master of spirituality – we never obey him. Our conscience appeals to us: ‘Dear fellow, you are doing wrong’ – but we never obey it.
We have three sources of wisdom, three sources of direction, three sources of guidance, three ways in which God can take our hand and lead us on the path: God Himself; a guru when God is not directly accessible; and your conscience. All three are the same. The same voice speaks through three different microphones. Listen, listen carefully, and listen obediently. This is the simplest way of saying what Sahaj Marg is.
I do hope all of you will listen to this, follow implicitly. Discipline means to implicitly follow. If this meditation is at six you must be there at six, not say, ‘Theek hai [It is all right], we can do it at any time.’ You don’t miss your lunch, you don’t miss your dinner. No? Why do you miss meditation? ‘No, sir, I will do it tomorrow.’ Well, and then what happens next day? Every time you don’t do what you have to do, your will power is weakened and you find it more difficult the next day.
You want to wake up at six, you wake up at six – your will is strengthened. You wake up at seven – your will is weakened. Next day, seven will become eight. And then your wife will have to throw a bucket of cold water on you to wake you up, and then everything goes wrong. If you cannot start properly the first step of life every day, which is the morning, you will never do anything properly. The first step is always the most important step, because the second step comes only after the first step. Like they say, every journey begins on your doorstep. I can sit here and pontificate and say, ‘I will go to New Zealand next year. I will go to Timbuktu.’ But it’s not enough to make decisions. Do you carry them out? I know people who say, ‘Sir, tomorrow I’ll come to be initiated into Sahaj Marg,’ and they never come. Because between now and tomorrow is twenty-four hours of possible weakness, of possible diversion from the way, and possibly totally forgetting what it’s all about.
You know, God is very merciful when He gives us sleep to recuperate our physical system and makes us remember the next morning who I am. Think if you were to forget who you are every time when you wake up the next morning, where would you be? The greatest mystery and the greatest grace of God is revealed in the fact that He allows us to be conscious through sleep to continue our journey towards Him. So, make use of your sleep also. Make it a conscious sleep. Don’t sleep like a brute or like an animal, snoring away. Sleep consciously. Sleep in the awareness that even though He is there twenty-four hours, I too must respect that presence and in some way contribute to that union of Him and myself.
I am happy this new ashram is at your disposal. Please feel free to use it. It is free, there is nothing charged. You know, Sahaj Marg has no charges, nothing for being initiated, nothing for continuing to give sittings. But don’t misuse these facilities. Misuse also applies to not utilising anything. Suppose I have something, a pen, and I never write. It’s a misuse. Misuse is not active misuse alone. It is passive misuse too. So dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, I pray for you all.
Babuji Maharaj said, speaking of ashrams, he wants every house of an abhyasi to be an ashram. An ashram is not a different place, separate place. If you meditate at home, systematically, regularly, in the way it is specified, with devotion, with dedication – your house is an ashram. It is meditation that creates an ashram, not an ashram which creates an abhyasi. Remember this. A kitchen is where you cook food. If I cook food here, this becomes my kitchen. So we should not mistake the place for the activity. The activity is what governs the place. If I don’t meditate in an ashram, it is another building constructed by engineers, with money. Another building, nothing more than a building. Whereas if you do what you have to do, meditate day after day after day, the whole structure, everything surrounding, it begins to not vibrate, but to release a sort of a vibration which slowly permeates the atmosphere around. And then the village becomes divinised, the town becomes divinised, the country becomes divinised, the world becomes divinised. That is how this spreads.
And this is what I said, we have a dual duty: one to ourselves, one to our society. Our society is not Hindu or Muslim, or this or that. Our society is not Indian or Pakistani. Our society is humanity. We have no bias, we have no differences. Mankind is one, humanity is one. Therefore we are a brotherhood of human beings. We must love each other, honour each other, cherish each other. I pray that it be so.