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Listen, Imbibe and Follow
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari partly in Hindi and Gujarati
Dear brothers and sisters,
It is a very joyful occasion and a blessed one, when we all cooperate in establishing a meditation hall for a divine purpose. I have often said that the easiest way of winning the Master’s heart is to participate with all your heart in His work. All this business of loving the Master and all—that is crazy. I don’t believe in it because we human beings really don’t know what love is.
There is a sacred tradition in India and in our culture, in our literature, Vedic literature, that the great forces of nature are, in a sense, gupt [hidden]—rahasya, not secret—sacred. And sacredness should not be expressed before a profane audience, before profane eyes, and should not be heard by profane ears. Therefore, in our culture we do not have this habit of saying ‘I love you’ even to the wife. People of other cultures are always astonished that in India, the husband walks ahead and the wife follows three paces behind. They think it is some sort of discrimination against women, not knowing that our women are queens in their households and often rule their husbands with an iron hand in a velvet glove, as they say in English. You can see it in every house. I have seen it even in the houses of the big six-foot-six Sardarjis, who have all that beard and moustache just to prove to themselves that they are the male and they are in charge of the house. You just have to walk through Karol Baag on a Sunday, and this big fellow, you know, with his fierce moustache and beard is combing his hair. And from the third or fourth floor comes a voice, “Arre oye,” and he runs.
So, women are leaders and men are followers. And we have seen also in our governments in many countries, women ruling the country with a firmness, but unfortunately without the softness or the gentleness that should go along with that firmness. Love must be shown in firmness without, shall we say, any violence behind it, without any ill-feeling behind it, and without hatred behind it, even in government. Our ancient governments are known for this sort of benevolent government—justice with compassion and mercy. People who have read about Portia and that famous Shylock, the Jew, know that justice must be administered with compassion, with mercy. So these are our ancient Vedic, shall we say, wealth—bits of our wealth—that we are trying (in fact we are struggling) to hold onto in today’s world, which is a grossly materialistic world, where ambition has taken the place of aspiration, where greediness has taken the place of generosity, where selfishness has taken the place of, shall we say, combined living together. And where the so-called insular families have replaced the joint families of yesteryear, in which we learnt so much: so much patience, so much sharing, so much caring.
And today we are scattered all over the world: a family with five sons, one in Timbuktu, one in Canberra, one in Idaho somewhere, one lost in Russia, and someone in South Africa. They meet only when there is a tragedy at home. Mother is sick—they come home one by one, because of this almighty leave, you see. I am not against discipline, mind you. But there are occasions when discipline has to be superseded by the freedom of love. Like today’s couples will find out that all that they have preserved as sacred up till now must be sacrificed on the altar of love. Otherwise there is no marriage. Similarly we have to think of our parents who brought us into this world, who fed us, who nurtured us, who got us educated at considerable sacrifice to themselves.
I have known of families who receive from their five children, five checks for a hundred dollars each, and the children think that they have done a great thing. “Hundred dollars is four thousand five hundred rupees! Mama mia,” you know. “My father never spent so much on me. And we are five of us spending, you know. Five hundred dollars—twenty thousand rupees! What does the old man want? He has a fridge, we have given him a car. He has a four bedroom house which he never had when he was in service himself.” But they forget, you see, that the old parents are not beggars. Even if you give a million dollars, it will not pay for lack of love. This is the ancient tradition that love cannot be bought and sold, you see. Money cannot be used to show love, presents cannot be given to show love. Love is sacred, it is secret, it must shine from the eyes; it must be heard in your speech. Cheques, you know—I have seen Americans throwing cheques. “Chariji, here’s a donation,” you know. And they expect our administration to be that grateful to them. And that is the culture of today, you see—“Oh, I have given!”
So today’s material culture, materialistic culture, dehumanized culture, deals with money, gold, silver, diamonds. The ancient culture of yesteryear, even fifty years ago, thirty years ago, dealt with love, unification of human beings, commonness of sharing; all sleeping together in the aangan [patio] on mats, waking up, all bathing at the well, dressing in one room—the women first, the men later. One bar of soap for everybody, one towel for the whole family. But now everybody wants his own or her own. My father used to say that individual bedrooms came and shattered family harmony and peace. As long as there were no bedrooms, there was peace, harmony, contentment, and yet love, which somehow managed its own business. You know, love laughs at locksmiths. That’s an old statement. Where there is true love nothing can hold it back, you know. It’s not like a dog on a leash, that the leash has to be cut. In my experience, more and more of privacy means more and more of problems—‘P’ for privacy, ‘P’ for problems.
So we are losing our culture. In our institutions like this satsangh, we are trying to retain at least what we have got. And I am happy to say that through the process of sadhana that we inculcate into beings here, through my Babuji Maharaj and Lalaji Maharaj’s grace, their transmission, the use of divine force for the humanization of human beings (that’s how we define transmission) for liberation, for elevation, for purification, but first for humanization. Animal man must become a human being first, having a human heart, loving, caring, sharing. Today there is no loving, therefore no caring. Care without love, you find in hospitals. Nurses—well-paid, crisp white uniforms. In a long life like mine, we attend many unfortunate terminal situations, and we see the person has died, and the nurse just draws the sheet and walks away. I feel more when I see a dog lying dead on the roadside. It’s a life. But these paid carers, you know. Or you take air hostesses, airline staff. Today’s management that is becoming more and more Americanized—hire in the morning, fire in the evening, take your envelope, no emotion, no human handshake. “Well, Bob, you know how it is.” And an envelope! And the poor man that has lost his job has to say, “Yeah, I guess that’s it.” This is supposed to be a human interchange! Money extracting, exploiting human beings; human beings in their selfishness and greed permitting themselves to be exploited for mere pieces of silver and gold. It is a shame that we are at this stage in our society and, unfortunately as I see it today, in the name of efficiency, in the name of higher productivity, in the name of so many temples of production, productivity, business, we are losing our values of compassion, love, mercy.
So I do pray, you know, with fervent hope, that our centres of light will bring back humanity into a state of humanization whereafter, thereafter, only can follow a state of divinization. I assure you that as long as human beings remain mere animals, whether in their love-life, or in their business lives, or in their human intercourse between people, lena-dena [give and take] (Gujarat is famous for it), maru shu [what about me], there is no evolution of the human being. You may become rich, you may become richer, you may even become the richest, but that is all that you will have.
So I have especially to bring our Gujarati brothers and sisters to some state of awakening, that unless you are able to give, not your money, not your house, not your flat (because flat you are only giving to your children), you must give your heart. And I must say that I am proud to have a brother in Sanjay Lalbhai, and a sister in Jayshreeben, who have given so much to make this ashram a reality. Without them this ashram would not be here. Because I have been hearing and talking of an ashram even when Babuji Maharaj was with us, twenty-five years ago, thirty-five years ago. We have seen pieces of land—but there it remained. Nobody wants to bell the cat, because they say, “If I put my foot forward first, I will have to give the first donation.” And then they will proceed with all sorts of excuses: “We have a big room at home,” “We have Surajbhanji who has provided a subterranean, magnificent meditation hall, which we used for many years. So what is the need for today?” With the result that what was one rupee per square foot or whatever, today has become a lakh of [hundred thousand] rupees per square foot.
You know, in Manapakkam where we have the world headquarters of our Mission, we bought lands starting from 2.6 lakhs per acre. Today it is one-and-a-half crores [ten million] per acre! And it is rising day after day, like a patient with high fever. Like a malaria, the temperature is rising. The rich people are happy, the poor people are foolishly happy; because a man who bought one acre for five rupees, is today getting one crore. But soon comes the denouement, you see. He goes to buy a flat—three bedrooms, seven hundred and twenty square feet, and he finds he has to pay forty lakhs. He says, “What? Forty lakhs!” “Plus registration,” says the vendor—nine percent, forty-eight lakhs. “Plus five percent for me,” says the broker. By the time he is through, from his crore rupees, seventy lakhs have gone. He has exchanged an acre of nice land where he had a beautiful cottage for himself for a three bedroom flat of cement and concrete, terribly hot in summer, leaking roof, neighbours knocking shoulders with him through the walls. He has exchanged misery, bitterness, disillusionment, for a peaceful life without money. I see this happening every day.
When I bought for the school—you know, we started buying land at a particular rate. Today we are paying five times, ten times that, because we have so far acquired fourteen acres. And they say, “Why are you wasting money? You can build a school on one acre.” I say, “How?” “No, no. Why do you want such big classrooms? Too much money is being wasted.” My classrooms are big. The ceiling is twelve, thirteen, fourteen feet. I want people to study in comfort, people to teach in comfort, relax; because without a relaxed brain you cannot study anything. And my friends, my well-wishers, they say that I have wasted money! I had that criticism first when we opened our meditation hall in Manapakkam. One abhyasi who is also a contractor, crorepati [multi-millionaire], he came and said, “I could have saved you at least two crores in this meditation hall,” without knowing what I had spent. I said, “How did you find out what I had spent?” He said, “No, no, quality dekhne se pataa chal gayaa [I can tell from looking at the quality]. Two crores, you have wasted, of Mission money.” I said, “My dear friend, you build for profit—your own profit, from which you don’t give ten rupees to the Mission. I build memorials for my Master. He is worth hundreds of thousands of crores, but this is all I can afford, you see.”
So this is our society, where bad work is praised. Where you should use one to four concrete, you use one to seven. It’s supposed to be good thinking, good work, good brains. In today’s world, those who are cheats, those who become crorepatis, are respected. We touch their feet. “Sir,” we say to a rich man. “What is it?” “My son is in hospital.” “So that’s not a matter of great concern. He will come back.” “But when? What do you know, sir, about what my son has? The doctor says that it is typhoid. It will take two or three months.” “That is not a matter of great concern. Just give some money and all will be well. Your son will come home—no problems at all.” The rich man gets into the car and drives off. And you even touch his feet—and in doing so, you transfer your punya [good karma] to him. Do you understand? Whose feet to touch is a matter in which we must discriminate.
We are beggars. You watch on television that the DGP of police bends down and touches the feet of the chief minister. And I have heard that there are some of these ministers that would ask, “Are you not going to touch my feet?” One has to comply or else lose one’s job. “Where is this person posted?” [Asks the minister of an officer who has failed to touch his feet.] “Sir, he is an inspector posted in Rajkot.” “Transfer him to some place by the sea.” To avoid this situation, we immediately touch the minister’s feet. If we raise chickens, we send him one or two chickens. If we sell eggs, we send him a few eggs. And we also give him an envelope [with money]. We do this not to get something done for ourselves, but to save ourselves. Do you understand? If we go to the temple, we have to offer prasad, and pay the pujari [priest]. We buy ten kilograms of peda [a sweet], twelve bananas, but we take home only one or two peda as prasad. The wife asks, “What is this?” “Prasad.” “Where has all the rest gone?” “Why are you asking such silly questions? Don’t you know that the pujari takes most of it home?”
The world of today stinks because of us. Everybody here should understand that we are the cause of this. We are willing to pay, and we have the money. We want to own a ‘flate’. (The Gujarati does not say ‘flat’. He says ‘flate’.) “I want a ‘flate’.” “For how much?” “No problem—I have enough money.” It is because we have dishonest money. We want to hide it. So, we put it in brick and stone. Isn’t it? So, a flat costing thirty lakhs is bought for seventy lakhs—thirty white, and forty, bay number [black money]. Gujarat is famous for bay number. All over India it is going on, but in some places it is ‘sixty-forty’. In many places, I believe, in Rajasthan, it is ‘thirty-seventy’—thirty, white, seventy, bay number. You see? And we consider this correct, we consider it appropriate, we consider it right. “It does not make a difference to God, this difference between ek number [white money], bay number [black money],” I have heard people telling me. People explain to me, “Sir, what do you know about this world? Bay number works here.” But in heaven, black money does not work. “Oh! There, there is no question of money.”
So, we meditate here to purify our minds, for the health of the body, and to safeguard our souls. And if we don’t do this, all this is in vain. Just coming here and sitting for forty minutes with closed eyes, we feel that the job is done, and then go to the canteen and eat samosas and kachoris. Today’s job is done! “What day is it today?” “It’s Gurupoornima, sir. Please give us your blessings.” Blessings are not like money, that they can be handed over. Blessings should come from the heart of the Master, spontaneously, just as water flows out on opening a tap. However, in today’s world we may have to open the tap, and then pray for water. “When will the water come?” “We will have to ask the government. Sometimes at four in the morning; sometimes at three in the afternoon. But we leave the tap open.” Isn’t it? Again our selfishness. When we need one bucket of water, we fill three drums—two hundred litres of water, and hoard it in our homes. Nobody does this when water is freely available. Selfishness! What do you call selfishness in Hindi?—swaarth. “When the water comes, hoard the water.” And the next day we throw it away in the gutter.
Our character must change. We must share. We must think that every glass of water we waste, we are stealing from someone else. Do you understand? We have been meditating for ten years, twenty years, fifty years, but we have not changed.
Some rich person once asked me, then how will you get your donations? I said, “Seth sahib, you gave fifty thousand rupees. Do you think this ashram was built with fifty thousand rupees?” Our ashrams are built like how water collects—drop by drop. It is built even with the aid of those who give a few rupees. Crorepatis do not build this for me. There are very few crorepatis who would even talk of an ashram. They will say, “Sir, if we put this amount of money into a hotel, we would have recovered our capital in a mere eight or ten months.” Do you know how people catch fish using bait? Here also they fish using bait. What is the fish we are after? Babuji Maharaj! “Mr. Patel, just see what this is. Fifty thousand rupees! Have you paid by cheque?” The rich never pay by cheque. Cash! For me, it makes no difference. It is an ashram irrespective of whether it is made out of bricks or stone. But in your lives it makes a big difference.
So please understand that ashrams are for a holy purpose, spiritual purpose. Many people have told me that if I lease out Manapakkam ashram for marriages, I could make one lakh rupees per day. And during the marriage season, if it is leased out for fifty days, I could earn fifty lakhs! I said that it would be a disaster. Whatever Divine Light is present here, divine fragrance as we call it, will be spoilt with one marriage. This is so because it would be a marriage of greed. One crore of rupees have been given, jewels worth two crores, cars.
What do we give here? You have seen it, haven’t you, that the marriages performed in front of the Master, with love, are the real marriages; no sauda [transactions]. That is why we perform marriages here. And look at the children that are born in the Mission. First, second and third generations have started coming. The children of our prefects are now becoming prefects. And God willing in another fifteen years their children will be prefects too. And so on, generation after generation, generation after generation.
And what happens there? Disaster. Six months later, what happens? “Your daughter-in-law is not to be seen any more.” “There is a problem.” “And what’s the problem?” “Oh, you know what the problem is!” So you see the difference between what happens here and what happens there? You have seen it, isn’t it?
This world is like that too. We can use it, but as Babuji Maharaj says, when you leave it, leave it in a better condition. And if that is beyond your capacity, at least leave it in the same condition in which you found it. Leave the world a better place than you found it. If you can’t, at least leave it as good as you found it. But in our culture what do we do? We go to a hotel and spit where we want. We throw garbage wherever we like. “Oh, someone will clean it up!” [Yet] we go abroad and there our people even take a broom in their hand. There is no pride there, no shame there. Here if we ask for a broom, they say, “Wait, I’ll call the maid.” And over there (because they get money for it), they are willing to do the work of a maid-servant. (So, for money there is selfishness, for their own selfish purpose.) Even well-to-do women do the work of maid-servants; they even pick up their dog’s mess. If you leave it on the road the police will come after you. Everybody knows this. In Europe or America if your dog makes a mess on the street, they carry with them a plastic bag and a shovel (because once it is tied there is no smell). After all he is a dog. He doesn’t know where to relieve himself. He is not a human being who knows where to do so. Everything is possible there, everything is okay there because everyone is doing it. Here we don’t even clean the baby’s mess; they call for the ayah [maid].
I should not say more, I have already said enough. All of you present here, I think, are intelligent enough. Those that are corrupted are those that are also intelligent. Simple minds cannot be corrupted. Those that have too much here [points to the head] are the ones who are corrupt. They think of how to convert two into four and four into forty. Criminal minds need intelligence. Simple minds, spiritual hearts, they don’t need intelligence. Listen, take it in your heart, and follow. That is the message for today. Listen, take it into your heart, make it part of your being, and follow and you will reach your goal, I hope, in this life.