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Master's Talk to Abhyasis from the Americas
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Master: I was sort of enticed into this meeting by being given the impression that this is a statutory annual general meeting!
Abhyasi from audience: Master, we can't hear!
Master: You can't hear? Not my fault! [laughter] I mean, it's nothing very important.
Ye have ears but ye hear not. One must make an effort to hear when circumstances are bad, audibility is poor, acoustics don't exist. This is a hall which was built for meditation, not for being heard! [to abhyasi] Did you hear that? [laughter]
I am just trying to make the atmosphere a little lighter you know. I see so much of, what shall I say, 'corporate expectancy' in your faces. I am not the kind for corporate expectancies. You all know me; I am a sort of loosely put-together human being, thrown by-I don't know-destiny or whatever it is, into a field where I was an absolute stranger, like an Indian put into one of the bull-fighting places in Spain. And he manages to survive. How does he survive? Because he has a red piece of cloth in his hand of which the bull is afraid. So if you manipulate this bit of cloth properly, you can survive.
Another abhyasi: Master, we can't hear the acoustics-
Master: Better now? We should make a suggestion to the old people upstairs, that the next time they create human beings who have to talk, they build in a mike in the throat. [laughter] It would be a good suggestion, isn't it? But, if that old man is my Master, he would say this world is already so polluted by noise, as he had written in his book Reality at Dawn: We are polluting the sacred atmosphere of God with our bell-ringing, our clamorous prayers, and shouting the name of God in various languages, various religions. He might take it into his head to remove the voice box altogether! Then we will be doing this! [with his hands Master imitates sign language] [laughter]
Well, jokes apart, I am happy to see all of you together here, because in the foreseeable future, and forever after, [chuckles] I don't see the possibility of my coming to visit you in the U.S. As they say, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Abhyasi: That is okay. We will come to see you! [loud applause]
Master: Well, thank you very much! That is something I will love you for.
I wish to thank you also for this magnificent response to the new book, which has proved two things. Knowledge is unnecessary, so long as you have faith. Because if you didn't trust me, you wouldn't buy that book. Isn't it? And it has been a really magnificent response. Because when I went to Calcutta, we had donations only for one thousand, eight hundred copies. In the last two weeks after I gave a speech, which I didn't know is going to have an impact like this, we have printed five thousand and two hundred copies. And, I had to stop. It would have exceeded seven or eight thousand copies, and the printers were sort of straining at the leash. Even a good dog sometimes, when you order it around too much, tends to nip you in the knee or ankles. They said, "What is this? One thousand today, one thousand again on Monday morning, and fifteen hundred, two thousand. Of course it's good for business, but not like this-you know it's like a deluge." Say you want water in your tank and you get rains like we had yesterday evening. [Laughter-all present recollect two extremely unusual thunderstorms of rain and hail Master refers to on April 28th and 30th.]
You know, when God becomes generous, we have to be very careful of God's generosity. I think that is one reason why in spirituality we've got to earn what we get. Because when you do it by your effort (meditation, cleaning, night prayer, all this sort of thing), we become deserving, and then the deluge doesn't have to come down to make sure that every cup from the smallest to the biggest is filled.
So ours is a way, Sahaj Marg is a way, where blessings are universal, blessings are tailor-made to our capacity to receive them. Our progress goes so smoothly and beautifully that we don't even notice it. It is like the landscape, or the lack of it, when you fly high above the clouds, and the flight is so serene you know, there are no vibrations of the engines. And until you look out and see a stray cloud here or there moving backwards, you don't even know that you are moving.
Moving without knowing that you are moving; in Sahaj Marg, everything is put together like this-opposites. Powerless power, forceless force. Sometimes I think our abhyasis are going too much a step in advance of my Master and saying, abhyas-less abhyasis![laughter] They say, "Well, you said it Chari; we didn't." That would be carrying it too far. We have to be abhyasis, but travel without knowing we are travelling because there are no jerks, there are no sudden stops, there doesn't have to be any airbags to cushion your impact with the windscreen, et cetera, et cetera.
Because, you know, I like to talk in a very free and chatty way. I am not one for pompous talks and lectures. I remember once, wise guy Bill Waycott-you know, he was always the wise guy, he was always my boss. I never admitted it, but he made sure that I understood that he was my boss. I remember the day when I was in Molena and I appeared in a pair of jeans for the first time. I was sixty-six. That was provoked by my son who said that I didn't have guts to face change though I was talking about change all the time. So I went around, bought a pair of jeans, went to Pizza Hut, made sure I had a big gallon of Pepsi at my side, and got myself photographed and sent it to my son. He said, "Good for you!" And next morning, we had the AGM [Annual General Meeting] of the American Mission and I appeared in jeans, feeling you know on one side-what should I say-much trepidation: "How are people going to receive Chari in jeans?" And on another side quite brave, because Americans are quite used to even Presidents wearing jeans and I was, after all, a president, too. [laughter]
And Bill gives his talk first. He said, "We have a funny guy who is our president. He goes shopping in a suit, and comes to an AGM dressed in a pair of jeans." He then said, "I now request him to deliver the address." I decided to have one back on him. I went to the mike and said, "P. Rajagopalachari, 19, North Street, Sri Ram Nagar, Madras 18" and went and sat back. He had my address, all right! [laughter]
So, we have been surviving in that sort of friendly relationship, brotherhood, for the last, what twenty-five years or so. And it has worked well. We need relatively loose associations. Like they say in chemistry, you know, when the bonds are too hard, you get solid metals. When you have double bonds, you have things like carbon. And when they are so loose that the electrons can dance around the nucleus, and pretend they are the bosses, and the nucleus is trying hard with all its power to keep all those electrons in order (like we are doing now here), it is a loose sort of cosmic dance, where everything looks crazy, but everything is good, everything is progressive and everything has a purpose.
Sahaj Marg must be like that. Babuji said: "Discipline without rules." Now, I have heard of rules without discipline. We have a lot of them in India, as you would have all seen-rules everywhere, no discipline! But discipline without rules-that is the secret of Sahaj Marg. You begin to love what you see, what you do, and that brings into your life the requisite necessary discipline, which is not that which is imposed by the army, the navy, or the air force or the police-but something that comes from within you to keep in order that which is helping you progress on your spiritual way. That is all that there is to discipline. We are not being imposed upon, we are not being dictated to. If anybody is doing it, it is my Self from inside to my self, to this stupid self outside, and I don't see anything wrong with that. When my inner self says read, I read. When it says eat, I eat-the command comes from inside. "No, no, I am hungry here." [He points to his stomach.] But science, biological sciences, physiological sciences say, the hunger is here [pointing to his head], somewhere in the brain. And if you sort of cut off that portion of the brain, you will never feel hungry.
So you see, this [pointing again to his head] is the centre for all: our happiness, our joys, our miseries, our pain. But we cannot cut it and throw it away. So we learn to co-exist, in some way, with our brain which is our source of input for everything that we need, controlling it, to a certain extent, by meditation, which gives us the ability to regulate the function or functioning of my thinking apparatus, so that instead of just throwing random electric charges at me through my nervous system, and bedevilling me, I am able to say: Now respond!
It is like windows-with modern windows you have electronic remote controls. You push and it will open. You can let it down one inch, two inches, isn't it? The only thing that modern housewives don't have is a remote with the ability to control their husbands. [laughter] Most of them wish they could! Men say, "Thank God we have at least that much freedom left!" It's a good way of enjoying freedom while it lasts, because what the next technological phase of improvement will bring we don't know. [laughter]
Whenever I see these movies where they show these red beams indicating electronic barriers, like you see in that movie Entrapment, it's quite frightening what they can put into these things. Because I have seen in the parallel vision of the Indians, thousands of years ago, where a man fires an arrow, and it goes around you [gesturing a circle] and binds you. What you have today is nothing but the electronic equivalent of those physical weapons, which were charged with a particular mantra to enslave, to liberate, to do whatever the man wanted who had that particular mantra under his control, by having received it from the guru.
So, nothing really changes, you see. We make the same things. You see the modern archery-the bows. Very expensive I am told; they can cost up to thirty thousand dollars. But the old ones were equally effective. They just required more, what shall I say, expertise. Modern ones do everything: calculate the wind speed, direction, ballistic force of the arrow that you are going to shoot. All you have to do is to hold the bow steady when you press the trigger. So we are going from an era where the human being had personal physical control over his implements, his instruments of warfare, of peace, to an era in which we have progressively handed over control of these faculties and abilities to machines.
And this is more than exemplified by your movies, with Mr. Schwarzenegger acting in them: men coming from the future to prevent a boy being born in the past, because he is going to fight the robotic machines of the future. You see what a muddle we have created. These reflect our internal, psychological fears. These movies are not creations of a creative brain. They are the creations of a traumatic, traumatized psyche, which says: What will I do if this happens? Can I go back into the past, and remove William Waycott from the scene so that when I go back to Molena, he will not comment on my jeans? [laughter] And I send someone from here equipped with the latest gadget of 2005 into 1968 when this happened, or to 1938 when Billy the Kid was a kid, and I go hunting around. And there is a parallel robot which is going to protect him, and it goes into 'Billy-One', 'Billy-Two', 'Billy-Three'-Schwarzenegger in different forms-avatars.
In India we had avatars who were expressions of divine power manifesting on earth to liberate us from evil, to re-establish dharma or good, and to protect culture. That is how an avatar is defined. Now we have avatars which come to prevent destructions, but instead magnify that destruction until it is almost un-containable, and we end at a point where it leaves you gasping to know what will happen next. That is how movies sell. That is how people become more and more afraid, more and more traumatized with modern society, modern civilization; empires building more and more weaponry. You know, the Russians had it, the USA still has it, and every time their Senate meets, they want even more weaponry. Control from the heavens!
So you must not take this as a joke, you know. It is very serious business, where people like us, humble people, without power, without position, but with, what should I say, a vision of a world free of violence and danger, can sit and meditate with the thought that the future will be different. There will be no violence, there will be no weapons of mass destruction, and we shall create a world that shall rival the worlds of the past for peace, plenty, and long life.
So, meditation has a spiritual background, it has a very spiritual purpose. But as Babuji Maharaj said so many times, if my present is not peaceful, and if I am not happy in my mind and my mind is split into so many parts like a schizophrenic, which part of me is going to meditate, if one can meditate at all. So you see, Sahaj Marg says bring your mind together, your body, your mind and your attention in one place. This is discipline. Babuji says, "Have a separate place for meditation. Go there at the same time in the morning, because when you enter, that atmosphere comes upon you to sit and meditate." You don't have to compel yourself to meditate. It becomes automatic. First step in discipline.
Then what? Think of the Divine Light in your heart and maintain it there. So, point two, another discipline. Attention is what is necessary, without which there is no discipline. If you are driving a car and you are inattentive, you can say, well, "We were totalled." That is what you call it today: totalled, no? The car was totalled. And what happened to him? He was 'minused'. This is modern life. One minus, one plus-balance of nature, perhaps!
So first discipline is attention, putting yourself in the mood to be attentive. Second, bringing that attention into play. Third? Through that attention focused on what I am meditating upon, to liberate my mind from all the chains and bondages acquired over the years, over the ages, which are our samskaras-liberating my mind (which is now straining at the leash and trying to enslave me) so that it can be an instrument of my will. This is like training a horse. You know, a poor horse, weak in the knees, which has been pulling wagons, is of no use. What you need is a highly spirited horse [referring to the mind]-which you must train. You must not fall, and if you fall, you must go on it again, for if you don't do it, you can never ride that horse in your life. Anybody who has had a horse would know that. Mastery of the horse is mastery of the senses, mastery of my physical system-this is the third discipline.
This is all that is put in our Ten Maxims, as ten pieces of discipline. If you condense it, you can condense it into three. And when you have achieved, you say there is nothing to do. When you think of what you have to do, all happens which must happen to enable you to do what you have to do.
When you sit down to eat a nice sumptuous dinner, in, shall we say, that famous [American restaurant chain]-what is it?-Olive Garden-vegetarian paradise, you don't tell your husband, "Now come on! Switch on your hunger." [laughter] You don't switch on your hunger, you don't switch on your appetite, you don't switch on your taste buds. When you enter, everything comes into play, and it encourages you to eat what you should eat, feel satisfied when you must feel satisfied, which is when you are less than fulfilled, and walk out paying your bill. Discipline!
So, discipline becomes automatic when we know what we have to do-and when we want to do what we have to do. Therefore in Sahaj Marg, the only hindrance to our progress is our inability to want to do what we have to do. Instead we jump like a horse trying to break its reins, you know, throw its rider. That is where the problem lies. If I could school myself to accepting what my Master says-"Brother, you have to do this if you have to achieve this"-the battle is already won. But we question. "This fellow is an Indian, doesn't have much education, old, artificial teeth, Shahjahanpur-filthy place." You see how many arguments we can bring, to not do what we have to do. It is always easy. But there is only one single argument to do what we have to do: "I have to do it, because I have to do it." Voilá! It's as simple as that. And that is what is really surrender, though we make such a big fuss about surrender, and we rebel against it. We say, "No surrender! I am not in the army, Chari. I don't want to be a slave. I came here to be a master!" But as you know, they have this famous saying in the army, in the military, all the world over: "One who cannot obey can never command." Put that deep into your pipes and smoke it! "One who cannot obey can never command." It doesn't say he will be a poor commander. He can never command!
So, let us be obedient. Let us learn to obey the only thing that we have to obey, which is to know that 'I have to do it.' The rest follows as easily as, the English say, falling off a log. And everything is won in that one stroke of surrender, because that surrender makes you attend, that attention makes you do what you have to do in the proper way, and achievement is almost instantaneous.
It was not my intention to speak about Sahaj Marg at all, but you know, wherever I start, I end up in Sahaj Marg. [laughter] So I am grateful to you for giving me an opportunity to open up a bit, I am grateful for the opportunity to see all of you, some of you after many years, and I hope we shall meet frequently, without my insisting you come here or your insisting that I come there.