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Let Him Open Your Heart
Speech given by Rev. Master on 9th March 2008 at Bangalore, India
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
[Master banters with abhyasis on making some money for the Mission.] Okay. That is jokes apart, but you know this ashram is too small for us. You can all see. It is bursting. And we have a Zonal ashram—that too is bursting. I think very soon we’ll need a third ashram and that has to be big enough to hold… how many of you have seen the Hyderabad ashram? We need a structure like that. It can hold about five thousand people, Hyderabad ashram. Kirby structure. What is the total number here in Bangalore?
Abhyasi: Two thousand registered members.
Master: Two thousand registered members, and the unregistered. So we need a hall for five thousand people now. So we propose to build it in—Zonal ashram, what is that place called?
Abhyasi: Guni Agrahara.
Master: Guni Agrahara. I was almost saying ‘Kempegowda’. [Laughter] So at Guni Agrahara, we must have the main ashram. So please remember that and we will proceed as and when money comes in, because I think it will cost us not less than sixty, seventy lakhs.
I am happy to see so many of you here. I believe people have some from other centres also—from Mysore… where else?
Abhyasis: Davangere, Gulbarga, Bidar…
Master: He is advertising himself! [Laughter] Bidar, et cetera, you see. And of course, I have come from Madras.
Abhyasi: Naanu Madras, Master. [I am also from Madras, Master.]
Master: Madras? I said I have come from Madras, no? I represent all of you.
[Other abhyasis from Krishnagiri, Hosur and Kollegal also mention their centres.]
Master: Now, why I say this is not to take a roster of attendance but to see the enthusiasm with which you are all here. You know, the word ‘enthusiasm’ has a very special meaning. I don’t know linguistics or anything like that but I understand it comes from a combination of two words which means ‘to put God inside you’. ‘Enthuse’ from ‘theos’—to put God in your heart. So when you have enthusiasm, you have God in your heart. And I was particularly happy to see the two couples who were married today, both looking cheerful, happy, smiling. Because generally in our Indian marriages, the girl is brought like a sacrificial lamb, you know. [Laughter] Two women, supporting on both sides even when the girl is well-built. They support her and she is like falling, you know. And I say, “What is wrong with this couple?” But I find it everywhere. It seems to be the tradition that the girl is to be sacrificed. Actually, they are going from a home in which they were very much the queens… because before marriage, a girl is a queen in her household; nobody can oppose her. Nanagaru [Father] says, “What do you want?” Even amma becomes troubled, “Padma, Padma,” eppudu choodu [she is always saying] Padma. Padma being the girl, you see. In Sahaj Marg, why do they look like sacrifice, carrying on the tradition?
But today I found both couples very happy, the girls particularly. And that is good because marriage must begin with happiness, it must go on being happy and harmonious, and end in happiness. You know, some of Babuji’s messages, you must have read. He says we must not only accept everything that happens to us as good because our God does not give us pain and unhappiness to suffer. He gives us—anything that happens to us—to help us develop spiritually. And he says you must not only just accept and say, “Ayyo! Bhagavanthudu! [Oh, God!]” Not like that. You must accept cheerfully. “Babuji, you want to give me pain? Thank you, because it makes me stronger.” Pleasure weakens us, pain makes us stronger. Remember this. And when we accept more and more pain—I have said this so often—we become masters of pain. And the God that we recognize in Sahaj Marg is the master of pain. Nothing can hurt Him, nothing can trouble Him. When we say, “God is victorious!” or “Jai Hanuman!” what does it mean? That He is a master of pain. You can shoot arrows, you can hit Him with a gadaa [mace]. Whatever you do, He laughs. Isn’t it?
So we must not shy away from pain. We must welcome it with pleasure and say, “Yes, Babuji. This is your varaprasad [boon]. I accept. I am grateful because you give it to me in small doses, which will make me stronger and stronger, and not all at one blow like Shaitan[Satan] gives us, or our so-called friends give us, our betrayers give us.” So God is a merciful God because He gives to us—like a homeopathic dose—little by little, and we find that we become stronger and stronger. You understand?
And marriage is something in which the two people must help each other—husband and wife. And when will they really help each other? When they suffer together. I have seen couples where apparently they suffer. They don’t have much money, they have a small house, husband has to walk to his office, they have simple food and they are very happy. Whereas you have these modern luxurious houses of two crores, three crores, five crores, you know. When the husband goes to office, the wife is asleep or she is still in the BPO and coming; children—the ayah takes care of, dresses and sends to school and at the end of the week the husband says, “Which is our children?” because he doesn’t know. And the children lose touch with their parents. Lot of money but we don’t even know each other. She is going to work, he is going to work. Why they should both work I don’t know, because husband is earning, let us say, five lakhs a month. Why do you need more money? “No, no, sir….”
The mystery with money, I tell you one thing today, is that the more we get, the more we need. Not only we want, but the more we need. Because now we need two cars, two years later we need three cars—one for the wife, one for the husband, one for the children to go to school. So much more petrol, so much more maintenance, so much more car insurance. Bedrooms have to be added because we no longer sleep together.
You know, when I was a boy, sometimes we were thirty of us sleeping together: married people, unmarried people, grandparents, and we were very happy. There was no question of segregation or privacy. You know, I am always telling my people, this word ‘privacy’ has ruined family harmony. My father used to say that from the time we had bedrooms for couples, trouble in the family has grown in geometric proportions, because that is where all problems begin—in the bedroom—between the couples and among the family.
Now how shall we reverse all these changes? Is it possible? Unfortunately, there is the belief that change cannot be reversed. It can be if you are still in the car and you are changing direction to take the right road. We are always reversing directions. To come here, we had to take four U-turns today.
So you see, so long as there is love in the heart… I have never seen in my childhood, husband and wife sleeping together. And the miraculous thing is that there were babies every year. [Laughter] I am not saying this as a joke. Because there is an old proverb which says, “Love laughs at locksmiths.” So in some mysterious way, fifty of us sleeping together, wife in that corner, husband in this corner, some secret message passed during dinner or sometime in the evening, the wife went away with a blush, and the husband was happy, smiling, and somewhere, somehow they got together. It was a triumph of love over circumstances, you know? And regularly, children were born. So, you know, this hugging each other, going to bed every night together is a miserable situation because it is like a prison; the bed becomes a prison.
I want the new couples who were married today to listen to this carefully. Sleep in the same room but have your beds separate. You will find that you love each other much more because when there is a gap between the two of you to surmount, love grows stronger and stronger. Whereas when you are in the same bed and your elbow is hitting her and her elbow is hitting you, you will only say, “Kashtam, kashtam, kashtam! [Bother, bother, bother!]” [Laughter] You know, I am eighty-one, old enough to speak frankly about most topics about which all of you want to hear but you will not be told. You understand? I am not talking of celibacy. I am talking of self-control, waiting till love explodes and then that is natural, fun.
You know, there is a beautiful novel about a couple who were living somewhere in Bangkok and their house was on a mountain pass, in a valley. In mountains or valleys, you know, houses are never built like that because in rain, it can be washed away. What they didn’t know was that it was built on the elephant path which the elephants used to take periodically when they used to go away. Now this husband, he used to come every Friday with a whistle—musical, very happy. And the wife said, “Aha! Today I have to be sacrificed.” You understand what I am saying? So he used to shave in the evening, have a bath, perfume himself, and the more pretty and handsome he became and happy, the more different she became. And in the end, the story ends in disaster because her hatred for him became so great that the elephants felt it and destroyed the house one night—because we transmit what we feel. You know, that is why feelings are avoided. Emotions are welcome because we transmit nothing. When your love is strong and it is feeling and not just emotion, everybody feels. But today… that’s all you know.
So, please learn to understand what love means, what love demands, what love should respect. Love should always respect. That is why in the old days, a husband never called his wife by name. When Babuji writes in his autobiography only one sentence about his wife, I asked him, “Only one sentence? Could you not have written more?” There was a friend, close friend sitting near by. He was a very senior advocate from the Allahabad high court. He said, “You know, Parthasarathi, he has broken convention in even mentioning her name.” So they used to say “Ramu ki maa [Ramu’s mother]” or “Gopal ki maa [Gopal’s mother]”, you know? And if somebody came and he didn’t know that this was his wife and said, “Who is this lady?”, he would say that she is the mother of my children. But today, husband and wife call each other by name. “Rakhi, idhar aao!” “Lekha, idhar aao! [Come here.]” She says, “Oh, come on, Ramu, please,” with a shrug of the shoulders. “But for heaven’s sake, Rakhi, why don’t you come?” “Can’t you see I am making up?” “For what?” “So that I can go to work.”
In the old days, there was a tradition that pativrata stree [a devoted wife] was beautiful only for her husband’s sake. You know? But today beauty is public. When the husband says, “You are looking beautiful,” she says, “Shut up. We have been married fifteen years.” “Arre! Because I have been married for fifteen years, I shouldn’t say my wife is beautiful? Then what are you wearing lipstick for, and a new sari for?” “I have to go to work.”
You see where all we have been straying. Humility, modesty have gone! Today girls walk with… [Master imitates a modern girl walking stylishly] ponytail must swing. Isn’t it? Husbands are happy because they get to see something they don’t normally see. Only when there is modesty, when there is no showing off, there is humbleness, there is also chastity.
So because two couples were married today, I am sort of moved to touch on these subjects because I see society degenerating. When girls go to work today, IT field, and when I remember only two years back or three years back one girl was murdered on Kanakapura Road and her body thrown, I am very, very, very, you know—what should I say? I am not frightened, but I am concerned for the way our society is heading, because we want more and more of everything that is happy, nice, pleasurable. We give less and less time to our own cultural values.
All that we remember now politically is Kannada desha. We are Kannadigas. We must give less and less water to Tamilnadu. Our honesty, our everything has become politicized. There is no honesty here [points to the heart]. If there is no honesty here, there is no brotherhood here. “No, no, sir. Why are we fighting like this? North India–South India, Hindu–Muslim.” Why are we fighting? We are human beings. God did not make Muslims. God did not make Hindus. We made. One prophet came with good intentions. He had a revelation. He claimed he saw God. He taught. What we would call a guru, a prophet. And what he taught became a religion and now we are quarrelling. You have this in Karnataka, too. Lingayats. Did you ever see a Lingayat in our association, in our satsangh? At one time, from Bidar or Gulbarga we had some Lingayats. We had two swamijis also coming, sannyasis. Now they say, “Why do you go there?” You know, nowadays we have many Sardarjis coming to us. Even in Punjab, we have a lot of Sardarjis in our ashrams. In the beginning, they were afraid to come because the Sikh community also is ruled by fear. Their panch, they ask them, “Why do you go there? Don’t you get here what you get there?” We had only one Sikh in the time of Babuji Maharaj. Only one! Even today maybe there are, I don’t know, five or six hundred Sikhs in our Mission. Because very much like Islam, Sikhism is fear. “Idhar nahin jaana hai, udhar nahin jaana hai… [Should not go here, should not go there.]”
Religion must set us free, not imprison us, especially in our thought, especially in our mind. There must be no mind control. God is my business. He is inside me, you know. So, what business have you to do with my God? Here He is [points to heart]. He has no name. Is it a temple He is in? No. Is it a mosque? No. Is it a gurudwara [Sikh place of worship]? No. Is it a church? No. What is it, where is it and what is it called? It is called a human heart. My God is in my human heart. And if you have a human heart, your God must also be in it. And He must be the same God.
So, you see, Sahaj Marg achieves a universality, which religion throws off and says, “There is only one God. And that is my God.” So He is outside. “My bank is Canara bank. Your bank is Syndicate bank.” So, we fight. T.A. Pai, T.M.A. Pai. “My bank is bigger.” “Arre, you have three hundred rupees deposit and your bank is bigger. So what?” No? So, we quarrel over silly things, stupid things. We fight each other individually, as communities, as nations. We are afraid to speak. We cannot get visas. The Shia cannot get a visa to go to a Sunni country. What is all this? Soon, if you have trouble in India, Tamilians will need visas to come to Karnataka, and Karnataka will have visas to go to Maharashtra, and Maharashtrians will need visas to go everywhere because they say, you know, Maharashtra for Maharashtrians. All right, take it. Keep it there—dagadacha desh. Any Maharashtrians here? Maharashtra is called dagadacha desh—the land of stones and rocks.
So when you say, “This is mine,” you don’t restrict others. You restrict yourself. As Babuji said, “When you close your door, remember you are not only shutting the world out, you are shutting yourself in.” Whenever you close the door, you are imprisoning yourself. And when you close the door of your heart…. “I will only marry a Kayasth.” “I will only marry a Lingayat.” “No, no, my daughter cannot marry anybody else, otherwise I will kill her.” People have killed their daughters, their lovers, their wives because this (points to heart) was closed. There was no window. Inside the air was stinking. It became more and more poisoned and we, who were created as a human being with a loving heart in the glory of God, in His image, became a shaitan. For him they were no more wife, no more daughter. There were only objects of hate, to be killed, to be destroyed.
So, remember that the consequences of closing your heart can be terrible, disastrous. And you see it all over in the world. Today most problems, wherever they are, are religion-based. In India, it has been there for hundreds of years. In a small country like Yugoslavia, it started with Serbs and Muslims and a country, which was probably just as big as Kerala, has now six republics. You must have been seeing in the papers, in the TV. Kosovo, a small area, has declared independence. It is like Chamarajnagar [a small area in Bangalore] suddenly declaring independence. Or Malleshwaram. [Laughter]
We laugh, you see, but remember that these dangers threaten our country too. Because if this linguistic hatred, religious hatred, water-based hatred, power-based hatred, if they should become stronger and stronger and if you should have the wrong political leadership, you will be isolating yourself more and more. When I say ‘you’, I don’t mean you, I mean people. Already language created linguistic states in India. It was a shame, and that shame will never change. We are all responsible. Now what else are we going to do? So please remember, in Sahaj Marg at least—I have been saying this for the last thirty years—cut off all caste names. We don’t need them. Ramanatha Iyer. Drop the Iyer. Ramanathan—is it not good enough? What is Iyer? Is it a name? Srinivasa Iyengar. Drop the Iyengar. Narasimha Achar. They are very proud, Achars. I say I prefer it in a bottle. [Achaar also means pickle.] [Laughter] Good, tasty. But Achar, out of a bottle, is a danger to society. Srinivas Achar, Narasimha Achar. “Narasimha gothilva? [Don’t you know Narasimha?]” “No, no, sir. What is Narasimha? I know I am an Achar.”
Every time you show distinction between yourself and others, you are endangering yourself. Every caste bar [barrier] invites, first contempt, then anger. Every Hindu–Muslim problem in India starts with a bit of meat. Somebody throws meat over the wall, either in the mosque or in the temple and there is a riot. Hundred people killed, police called out, army called out. You see this every year in Moradabad, Ahmedabad, Roorkee, Muzzaffarnagar. Hatred, class hatred, community hatred, religious hatred. What have I to do with anything that I do not know anything about?
So, let us learn to permit the Master to enlarge our hearts. If you try to put more and more rice in one bag, you will break the bag. But if you are able to have twenty bags, or one bag which is big, bigger and bigger…. Master is trying to put into our hearts not just other communities or other religions; he is trying to put the whole universe into your heart. This goal of spiritual life is that my heart should contain the whole universe. And the universe has no nationality, no caste, no community. When you say, “I have money,” money has no caste. Don’t we do business with the Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Chinese? So, should we not love these people with whom we have contact? Should we not trust them? “No, no, sir, they don’t trust.” All right, doesn’t matter. But you trust. Like they say in Tamilnadu, you know, that when a dog barks, you don’t bark back. So, why don’t you love? Why don’t you trust? Remember that everything begins here in your heart. If your heart does not open, nothing else will, because you are preventing other hearts from opening.
So, in short, in one sentence I would say, “Allow your heart to be opened by your Guru.” There is no danger. Because without your heart open, you are like a flower which has not flowered; you are like a woman who has never had a child. Adi Shankara always uses this example of a barren woman, a woman who has no child. At least, in India, we recognize, you know, that she is not a woman. The business of a woman is to have a child, to be a mother, to learn to love by being a mother, to love her husband who made her a mother, to love his family who gave him to her. And like that, like a stone dropped in a pond, ripple by ripple, ripple by ripple, it encompasses the whole universe. “I love humanity because there are males and females in it, and the males contain my family and my husband and my son and my children. Therefore I, as a woman, love.” The man says similarly, “I, as a man, love.” Love what? Love the whole universe, because without man and woman, there would be no humanity, there would be no humankind. Which do you love more? There is no question of loving more or less. A mother who has five children knows that she loves the child irrespective of its merit, of its worth, its education. She loves according to need, or at least her love manifests according to need. A sick child receives more attention, not more love. Does it mean that a healthy mother does not love her healthy child, that she wants a sick child to love? It means, “I love all my children. Ramu needs my attention today. So, I sit next to him and make him sleep. Tomorrow, if it is Lakshman, I will be with him.”
So, you see our poor women, one son in Australia, one son in America, one son in South Africa. She is going all over the world to look after her daughters-in-law when they have their children. Old women wearing madisaar dhoti [a traditional sari], who have never spoken English—speaking Kannada, speaking African languages and European languages, going boldly for the first time. Whereas the man would ask for maps, for GPS settings, for more money, for credit cards. “How will I get here? How will I get there? Suppose he doesn’t come to the airport…?” The woman doesn’t think. Babuji uses the example of a mother whose child is sick and on a dark night she has to go to the doctor. She doesn’t care if she has a torch or not. She rushes out of the house. Love is her torch, love is her protection, love is her God. Let it be so for us all.