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Humility and Service
Talk given by Rev. Master on 7th July 2006,
It is difficult to say thank you for all this, but I must confess to a certain embarrassment at all this public encomium being showered on me. I have been brought up by my father in a tradition where we don’t even praise our brothers, sisters, children. Because, as Babuji has written to me in one letter which you all have probably read, in Sahaj Marg tradition the samskaras are exposed; all that is good is hidden. They are seen by those who have the eyes to see. Samskaras are brought out because they have to go. That which is hidden, because it must not be seen, they must not be exposed. It is not a matter of public display. When I came to Babuji, I had the same lessons in a more emphatic form. In one of his letters he says, “I love you, but this I must not repeat.” I am sure you have read it.
It is an alien culture when we keep on saying, “I love you” and things like that. In the Hindu [tradition], under the umbrella of the sanatana dharma , what must be revealed only through the eyes, must not be spoken about. But I agree that, since I am supposed to have come here fifty times—I don’t know, JRD [J. R. Doreswamy Iyer] has managed to keep a record! Otherwise I wouldn’t know how many times I have come here. I only know that to JRD I owe a lot of my progress because, in the days I was an abhyasi, he was a preceptor. And he used to live just behind the rear gate of Lalbagh—191, I Main Road—a small apartment full of flies by day and mosquitoes by evening. I used to come there for sittings whenever I visited Bangalore on my company affairs. Then he was again preceptor in Madurai and I have an interesting episode [to relate], you see. We used to stay in my company apartment guesthouse. And Babuji and I were there once, and Babuji wanted to make him a full preceptor—Doreswamy Iyer. He said, “But I am worried because I don’t have a certificate.” I said, “I have brought one.” He said, “Why?” I said, “I don’t know, I just felt that it may be needed and that’s why I brought it.” So he said, “This is called intuition.” Because normally we don’t carry full preceptor certificates with us, you see.
So, JRD was blessed in that apartment in, what is that place called?—I’ve forgotten—Valamjee Mansion. So, we had a lot of contact in Madurai, much more than we had in Bangalore. And I have even visited his house and sat and had food with him. I remember he had a scooter which always had no petrol in it! And he had to do some exercise to bring the petrol into the tank or wherever it was, you know, before it would start.
So, I have a deep sense of gratitude for Doreswamy Iyer in promoting my spiritual welfare, looking after me with his humility. You know, he is a very humble person. I remember when we were inaugurating this ashram and at first, of course, there was nothing here, there was only a slope. None of you can imagine what it was. Babuji Maharaj was sitting somewhere here. And I gave a talk which he appreciated very much. Later on, on another occasion we had a small stage put up with bamboos and what not. And I remember, JRD was sitting on it and, in front of my eyes, some of the seniors of those days evicted him from the stage. And in his humility, he got up and walked away.
So that is his humility. He is always self-effacing, doesn’t talk much and does not measure his own contribution to Sahaj Marg, which is considerable. You know, in our sanstha [system], the only rewards are spiritual rewards. And like water flows from uphill to downhill, downstream, blessings also flow like that—from Lalaji to Babuji and to all others, you see. So, I pray that those blessings may flow to you all through whatever medium is available at the moment, and that you all grasp the time available to you and not waste it. Because it is so easy to waste time; it is so easy to miss opportunities.
And on this occasion, I remember with great sadness, many of our brothers who were here and have left us on false assumptions, funny prejudices. I wish they could share in what we are sharing because, for me… I remember once Babuji was sitting down with his head in his hands brooding over somebody who had not come to satsangh. I said, “Babuji, why are you worried? We are all here; one man is missing. Why do you worry about him?” He said, “I am like a mother who has a hundred children and, when the table is laid for dinner, they must all be there. Even if one is missing, she will not serve food. She will not say ninety-nine are present, that is enough. Until that one missing person comes, her heart will not rest.”
So, with this training I also feel sorry for so many people, who used to be here, whom I have been, you know, quite familiar with. Here, in Raichur, in Gulbarga, and in so many other places, in Lucknow. And it is a matter of sorrow that for no reason at all, except prejudice, except temptation of some other marga [path], you know, like Pyramid meditation, they have left. Pyramid meditation is offered by a man who used to be our preceptor. And people have gone to him thinking that what the Master could have done but could not do, he will be able to do. While I hope there will be at least some sense of satisfaction, but for me it is always a sorrow.
So, I don’t want to contaminate this joyful atmosphere with my personal feelings of sorrow for those who have left us voluntarily, knowingly, willingly. We can only pray that they come back and enjoy the fruit of sadhana here, knowing that what is available here may be copied, you know, like a cheap substitute elsewhere, but the real thing cannot be there. It is not arrogance on my part to say it but reality is always the truth, and the truth always sounds like arrogance.
So, once again I express my gratitude to all of you, for being here, for sharing Doreswamy Iyer’s joy, Brother Jagannathan’s happiness, and the cooperation of all of us. You know how much is coming up in the Mission. It is a big Mission today. It is not what it was when I was sent to inaugurate the ashram here, twenty-five years back. We have this ashram, we have the zonal ashram, we have the Spirituality Foundation in Kanakapura Road, Kaggalipura, and in Sarjapur I propose to build a facility for aged people. It is not necessarily an old people’s home, but it will be a place where people whose children are away can come and stay. We hope to have about twenty-four good rooms, there will be a kitchen, there will be a dining [hall], there will be a meditation hall, there will be preceptors. You all know the scheme and I believe some thirteen people have already given their names for it. I want to start that as soon as the SMSF inauguration is over. So, in due course, you will hear our people. We don’t announce for money, you know. I think it is obnoxious to ask for money or to demand money. We offer services.
I remember, you know, my extreme arrogance once while I was coming back with Babuji from Europe. Today I accepted what they gave, because Doreswamy Iyer is my elder brother. I always think of him as my younger brother but he always smiles and says he is three months older than I am. That is his constant reminder. So as an elder brother to a younger brother I have accepted. But when I was with Babuji and we were in a plane coming back from Rome to Bombay, he suddenly looked at me. We were sitting side by side. And he said, “You know, you have done wonderful work on this trip.” That was in 1972. He said, “In fact you have done everything. I was only with you, keeping you protected, looked after and giving you guidance. I am very happy that Lalaji Maharaj is even more happy.” And then he said, “Ask for anything and I shall give it to you.” So I turned around to look at him, and said, “Anything, Babuji?” He said, “You doubt me?” I said, “No, but, you know, I am not a servant to be tipped off because our travel is ending.” I was very arrogant. He said, “Tip kya hota hai? [What is a ‘tip’?]” I said, “Suppose you have a servant and you are very happy with him, you give him ten rupees baksheesh. Tip is baksheesh.” Then he did something profoundly humble in him and moving. He looked at me with very loving eyes and said, “A guru should not apologize to his disciple, but I have made a mistake.”
So, that was the greatness of my Master, and we should try to emulate that greatness where the greatness is not the artificial humility like some Brahmins have. They construct houses with five-foot doors so that we have to bow down like that. And all that you have is broken heads, you know, and all this bowing. This is a humility where a man walks erect, in the consciousness of having a guru who is the transcending Guru in this universe, transcendent to all. The humility lies in the spirit with which you do his work: total dedication, total love. So humility is not what we understand normally by whatever we hear, whatever we see: people bowing and scraping, as we say. Humility is a mixture of an erect pose for this earth—because of the Master who is our greatest Master alive on earth ever—and total dedication to service, to his service. The combination is humility.
So I pray that you will all learn these lessons in your daily life, exhibit them in the way you live. Our life must become something which shows our inner qualities—not praise, not encomiums. As Babuji said, “A flower smells, and it attracts the bees. It doesn’t have to advertise ‘come here for smell’.” No? And in the Veda also it is said: yathaa vrikshasya sampushitasya duraad gandho vaathi evam—like when a tree is in flower, from far off you can smell it. You follow your nose; you go to the tree. Like that a good man attracts, they say, the goodness of other people who flock to him for instruction, for guidance. And our parampara (our lineage), the Sahaj Marg parampara is like that. Humility is an aspect, almost a total aspect of our existence. No pataatope—no aggrandizement, no self-praise; even avoiding praise of others. I rarely speak up in words of praise about my Guruji. It is not necessary. I mean it is like saying the sun is beautiful. You can say Aishwarya Rai is beautiful, but to say Lakshmi is beautiful (I mean the goddess), it’s not done. Or to say that God is great—it’s not done. So, our praise must be in the way we serve him. We serve him because we love him; so our work becomes an expression of our love, not our words. Our aspect during service becomes the exhibition of our humility; not saying “I am humble, sir,” which is a lie, because anybody who says he is humble is arrogant. So, please remember these lessons. We don’t want noise; we don’t want claps. Every time I come I tell you no noise. I am happy you all obey.
You know, the other day in Madras airport after I came back from Dubai (one and a half month’s tour), there were about, I don’t know, seven, eight hundred abhyasis. I was told that the security man who has been there for twenty years, he was telling a group of policemen, “I have never seen a sanstha like this. There are eight hundred people here. There is no dancing, there is no clapping, there is no hare ram, hare ram. They are a noiseless group.”
We want silence. Silence is the language of God. When we are silent we are able to listen to that voice. Each one of us when we clamor and clap and do a lot of tamasha [create a spectacle] like people in other sansthas do, we are blocking that out. It is called the weak but eternal voice which can only be heard in utter stillness. Therefore we sit in meditation, close all the senses, five senses. We may not hear, we may not see, but we feel. So other messages are heard with the ears, read with the eyes and the intellect, but here we partake of a sense of feeling—what we feel at this moment of my evolution, of that Almighty force, that Almighty power, that powerless power, forceless force, being-less being which we call the Ultimate. So I again pray for you all. May you all be blessed. Thank you.