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Love is the Essence of Spirituality
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Dear Brothers and Sisters, We are all here to participate in the dedication of this ashram to my great Master Babuji Maharaj. This is the third of the four Babuji Memorial Ashrams that will come up in India. Three are already there - Manapakkam, Kolkata, and now in Panvel. The fourth will, of course, be eventually in Delhi. We have named it Babuji Memorial Ashram, and I hope the people of Mumbai, Brihad Mumbai, will realize their responsibility in maintaining it clean, with the purest spiritual atmosphere, which must be subtle and available to all, at all time.
India is famous for building great things but for not maintaining them. From toilets to temples, it is the same story - filth everywhere, ugliness everywhere, dirt everywhere, sometimes even justified by so-called dharma, like we have justification for temples surrounded by even unsavoury things like prostitution, devadasi cults, all justified that the world is a unity, and it must contain everything. We all know these scientific facts, you see, but we don't have to manifest them in our life. Light is composed of the basic seven colours of the spectrum, but we don't paint our houses red, blue, violet, yellow, indigo, green and say, this is white.
So, this is a big responsibility that is falling on the people of Bombay, Navi Mumbai, Brihad Mumbai as they call it. And remember, this is a Shri Ram Chandra Mission ashram. It has nothing to do with caste, creed, race, sex, occupation, anything. It is for human beings of all colours, of all creeds, of all faiths, who will eventually come here only to give up everything, including their colour, their creed, and their faith, remembering Babuji's great saying, 'Where religion ends, spirituality begins'. We don't give up religion; religion gives us up. We are no longer Hindus or Muslims or Buddhists or Christians. We are devotees of the Lord who did not create religion, who did not create nationality, who did not create patriotism - who created human beings and charged us to love each other, to be brothers and sisters, to live in mutual harmony, mutual trust and mutual love.
Love is the religion of spirituality, not worship. We don't worship our Master; worship is for beggars. Babuji Maharaj has said, "Prayer is begging." "Ishwar, yeh do, Ishwar woh do, [God, give me this, give me that,] hamaari beti ki shaadi ho jaaye, [May my daughter get married,] hamare husband ko naukri mein tarakki ho jaye [May my husband advance in his career,]" etc., etc., you know. Here, we don't ask. Because when we think of the Almighty as all-knowing, as love personified, my Guru Maharaj, Babuji Maharaj said, it is an insult to Him to go and ask Him, as if He doesn't know your paristhithi [situation], your condition, as if He has no love for you that He sees you suffer, to such an extent that we say God is blind. If God is blind, then what are we human beings? We look and see, and He doesn't see? That is why we have the cheek and the temerity to sin, imagining that He cannot see because He has no eyes. He cannot hear, because He has no ears. In fact, we are equating our Divine with the three monkeys. 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'. So God is blissfully ignorant of everything that happens here and we are the all-knowers.
You see, we have invertended the whole concept of God and human beings, and made ourselves all-knowers and He is the blind fellow who is sitting up there with no ears, no nose, no senses, therefore knows nothing. But yet, we pray; we pray like hell. More and more temples, more and more hospitals, is the sign of a decadent culture, a degraded culture, a culture which is going down the drain. And India is now famous for both - more and more temples, more and more hospitals, physical sickness, mental sickness, moral sickness.
Sahaj Marg is one of the agencies, the spiritual agencies, vested with the obligation, the duty, of serving human beings, to redeem themselves in His eyes and become true lovers of God - who live for Him, by Him and in Him. I hope this ashram will fulfill the requirements of all true seekers of spiritual life, those who are looking to reach the spiritual goal of oneness with God. Not power on earth and plenty on earth and prosperity on earth - that is a part of your samskarik life. If your samskaras are that way, you will become another Dhirubhai Ambani. I don't know if he was ever happy. I don't think any great man has been happy, any rich man has been happy, any powerful man has been happy.
The English proverb says 'Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown', uneasier the purse that is fat, because you are always afraid of robbery, tax, police. Where is the sleep? As the Gita says, in this world, peace is impossible. "Ashaantasya kutah sukham," Krishna asks Arjuna. "In this world, Arjuna, where do you expect to find peace?" Not in this world. This is the world of duality. Therefore he says, "Sukhadukhe same krutvaa laabhaa alaabhau jaya ajayau. [Treat pain and pleasure, gain and loss, victory and defeat equally.]" Go beyond all this. Transcend the dualities of life. Because you cannot have good without having bad; you cannot have riches without being poor; you cannot have health without being sick; you cannot have light without having shadow; you cannot have virtue without vice.
I remember the great statement Swami Vivekananda made when he gave his famous lecture on the women of India. Referring to prostitutes he said, "Look not down upon our fallen sisters, for if they were not there, you and you and you would be there." That is this world you see. Where you eat, you must have a toilet, where you have a bed, you must have some thorns in it. Where there is a rose, there must be thorns. Babuji Maharaj said, "If you want the rose, be prepared for thorns."
There is no undiluted good in this world, nor is there a bad which is totally bad. It is a mixture. It is an amalgam of both - both opposites of life. Which is more determines what is dominant, which is less is hidden. So every good man is corrupt, every saint is a sinner, or as Vivekananda said, "Every saint is a sinner evolved, and every worm is but a Buddha involved." It is not to understand intellectually, but to have compassion on all life. If a Buddha falls or falters, remember that he was a worm once. And if a worm is struggling to climb up a wall and look for its food, remember that it is going to be a Buddha. Don't insult this, don't worship that, because both are on their way up to the Ultimate. It gives us some sort of democratic vision of all life that all life is climbing up this ladder of evolution, and in the process, every obstacle is to give it strength.
Nowadays we don't walk; we don't do anything. We sit before computers or the television sets and therefore people go and enroll in gymnasium paying Rs. 2000/- a month, walk the treadmill and do all sorts of funny things which they should be doing naturally in life. What do you do? You take opposing forces, you know, to strengthen your muscles. Without that, your muscles will become flabby and one day they won't work. So where you don't do it naturally, you will have to do it artificially.
If you avoid pain, Nature will give you pain because it is essential to mould you for spiritual evolution. Like gold has to be melted, shaped, the dross removed - it is a process. 'Tapasya' [askesis/penance] comes from the word 'tapa', heat. You have to undergo the fire of human life, and anybody who seeks to avoid it has his evolution delayed. Please remember this - Nature gives us what we have come prepared with, as our agenda for evolution. Having come here we try to avoid all the pain and accept more pleasure, more and more pleasure. Pleasure is demeaning, pleasure is enervating, pleasure weakens us. Pain strengthens us. We avoid all that can strengthen us and ennoble us, and go for all that weakens us and impoverishes us spiritually. This is the current status of human civilization. It was in the days of Babylon, it was in the days of Rome - both decadent civilizations. It was in Greece - also gone. You have to study history to know these things. Those who believe in such things have also read of Atlantis, a once powerful, prosperous state which went under the ocean when the bad overtook the good in that country, or that continent.
So it is always this palla business, you know, what is outweighing what? As long as you are able to balance which is what Sahaj Marg is all about - balanced existence. "Sukhadukhe same krutvaa" - look on both as the same. If you are doing good to somebody, you are doing bad to somebody else. You promote one man in your office; you are denying that promotion to another man. Don't think of deservingness - the human being cannot give anything without taking it away from somebody else. Only God gives without taking away from somebody else.
When we come to spirituality, we give without taking away from anybody else. Transmission, because it is from the Divine Himself, in giving you don't take from anybody else. That is why it is divine, that is why it is universal; that is why we must not distinguish between people when He doesn't distinguish between people. The sunlight is for all. There is no Hindu sunlight, there is no Pakistani sunlight, there is no communist sunlight, there is no, shall we say, Bengali sunlight. Sunlight is universal, air is universal, water is universal. So the Lord says, my transmission is my own love, given to you through the heart of one whom I choose to represent me on earth, who is called your spiritual guide. He gives without any partiality to all those who seek it. Our preceptors must think like that. If our preceptors continue to be Maharastrians and Tamilians and Bengalis and Kayasths and Muslims, they are a shame to Sahaj Marg, they are a shame to spirituality, and they are betraying the trust that has been placed in them.
This ashram is not in Maharastra - it is in India; it is in the world. Therefore it is a Babuji Memorial Ashram, not a Maharastra Ashram. I say this deliberately, because we are in one state which seeks to be separatist, and to parade its separatism in various ways, political, economic etc., fomenting hate, fomenting dissension, fomenting vice, fomenting corruption, violence, the whole spectrum of all that is undesirable in public life. We have to repair these damages wreaked and wrought by human beings on what should be a divine atmosphere of harmony, peace and love. I charge all of you who claim to be Sahaj Marg aspirants, with this solemn duty that you shall forget your separatist tendencies, everything that separates you from other human beings, your caste, your colour, your provincialism, your nationalism. We are not even Indians; we are world citizens. We are part of a universe which is teeming with life, and in His eyes, all life is one.
So with these words, I invoke my Master's blessings on all of you. May you make yourselves fit to carry on this brave, new, noble world and create it as you go along. May my Master's wishes be fulfilled, in you, and through you.