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Master - The Only Friend
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Today, I thought I would bore you a little about samskaras. We have been hearing talks by erudite brothers like brother A.C. Shuklaji; tomorrow also there will be erudite speakers, and one thing I keep remembering - there is this phrase in the Vedas which says, punyam paapam vidhurya - go beyond both punya [virtue] and paapa [sin], because if you read Babuji's, my Master's literature carefully, we have to be totally free of everything.
This world is full of two types of people - one half beating their breasts and saying, "God, forgive me. I have done this, I have done that," all the time remembering what they have done in the past, and suffering consequently. Babuji said, "Whatever you have done, you have done. Forget it." Because what has happened cannot be changed, can it? So if you remember it, you are reinforcing that impression, and he said, "That is the sin." Remembrance of things past is very much a sin, whether it is a good past or a bad past, according to human evaluation. It is as bad to remember a lover you could not marry and weep over her, like you find in Mirza Ghalib, you know - very romantic, very emotional, but useless. A gone lover is a gone lover. Think of now. A dead father is dead. Love him. If you have to remember him, remember him with love, but don't remember him with guilt, or with anger, or with hatred. I know boys who say, "Oh, when he was alive I could have done so much to help him." Why didn't you? No use having remorse after the person is dead. "Nahi sahab, uski atma ko kuch tasalli mil sakti hai. [His soul could get some comfort.]" Forget it! You cannot communicate what you feel to him. So, you see, we are sinning by remembering.
Of course, I said this once somewhere in Lucknow or somewhere, in a Hindi speech, and I was confronted with seventeen questions - "Then why constant remembrance? It is like remembering God, you know. Can remembering God be a sin?" No, because you are remembering God for the future, not for the past. When you think of your lost lover, or your sinful past, or the charity you were able to give hundred years ago, that is - you are living in the past. But when I remember God or my Guruji, I am thinking of the future. So constant remembrance brings us to the future and my future is what matters, not my past. Of course, people who want to argue can say, but does not my past influence my future? Up till now, yes, next moment it need not - depends on you.
So you see, guilt, feelings of guilt, are only from the past; feeling of pride, that my uncle built a dharamshala [rest house] there, my father-in-law built this mandir [temple]. Babuji said, what is the use if your grandfather was a Maharaja [emperor] and you are a rickshaw-puller? Remembering your grandfather was a Maharaja is not going to make you a Maharaja; you are still dependent on the sawari [person who rides] to throw you two rupees or three rupees at his wish, to call you, "Gaddha, theek se chalao!" [Ass, drive properly!] Isn't it?
So no good, no bad of the past is good for us. So there is no such thing as a good past or a bad past. There is only the dead past. And in English literature somewhere, there is this phrase, you see, 'Let the dead past bury its dead.' Dafan kar do usko [Bury it], once and for all. We should live in the present, thinking of the future. If you do that, there is no more samskara formation. What Babuji emphasized all his life was that we should live in such a way that we don't add to the samskaras that we have brought with us. Because every time we sit in meditation, we do cleaning, or a preceptor gives us individual sitting, or the Guru Himself gives us a sitting, we are being cleaned of the impressions of many lives. But if you allow the past to influence you - "No, no sir, my grandfather was a great dharmakartha [benefactor], he built this temple. I have to maintain it, I have to do puja, I cannot let his memory down," your future is gone. Because your future is in the past, very literally. Now what is the use of a man whose future is in his past? My future must be in the future, not in the past, and it has to be built in the present.
So, please forget all these unnecessary religion based, society based ideas of past, present and future, of guilt, of praayashchitta [atonement]. There is no praayashchitta which can cure you of your past. Only thing to do is to remove the impressions. And if those impressions are removed, there is no past left. If a house is razed - you know in Ahmedabad, you find old houses are destroyed. One day it is there, the next day it is not there. It's all flat ground. You don't know even where it was. Highway is built; old road, we don't know where it was. So where is the past? And if a man says, "No, no, this road used to run from here that way," what use is that knowledge, that information? Useless. I want to know where is today's road, and where does it take me, and how fast, and how well, how safely. "Nahin, nahin [No, no] sir, we cannot forget our past - they were good old days! I remember I used to walk with my grandfather." Very good! That is finished. That is why Babuji said living in the past, even with the past avatars, is no use. We have people who are Rama bhaktas [devotees]. But if that avatar was enough, surely there was no need for a Krishna avatar? Isn't it? If my grandfather was all that was important, I don't need a father, but without a father I would not be here.
So you see, we have to live in the present even where God is concerned. Who is my present God? He can only be my Guru. All the time we people, especially from the Hindi belt, you know, who are familiar with the Ramayan, with the Hanuman Chalisa, they are going on dong,dong,dong,dong, repeating, repeating What have they achieved? They have a silly bath in the morning at four o' clock in minus five degrees cold water, beat their wives a little just to make her aware that he is a great man, that he is a Hindu Brahmin, that he is pure, pavitra, etc., and go and cheat in the office, or the bazaar or in his shop, come back in the evening, do his sandhyavandan [evening prayers], try to wipe off the sins of the day by mantra, and go to bed thinking that he is a good man. "No, but you have been cheating all the people who came to buy things from you." "Sir, everybody does it. Otherwise I cannot survive." Are you thinking of survival here, or are you thinking of survival there? Because if you are willing to survive by any and every means here just because everybody does it, then you will go where everybody goes. Isn't it? "Usmein kya harz hai saab, jab hum sab dost hain to ek hi saath chalenge." Theek hai, jaaiye. Wahan bhi taash kheliye, sharab peejiye, aur bar bar aate rahiye. ["What is wrong with that! Since we are all friends, we will go together." All right, go ahead. Even there, play cards and drink, and keep coming back again and again.]
There is no friendship, no companionship in Sahaj Marg. There is only brotherhood. Babuji was very specific. Friendship is always pulling us down. You know, if there is a group of friends, the least of them gets his way. The intelligent fellow wants to say, "Chalo yaar, [Come friend,] we will go to the library and read Plato." Second man says, "What is this yaar, all the time reading, reading, reading. Chalo chaat khate hain." [Let us go and eat some chaat]. Third fellow says, "Yaar, thak gaye hain chaat khate, khate. Chalo taash khelte hain." [I am tired of eating chaat, let us play cards.] Choutha kehta hai, thoda sa beer peeke karo, yaar, mazaa aata hai." [The fourth person says, "Let us drink some beer, it will be fun!"] And that is where you go. The lowest is always pulling you; the highest has very little influence on you, because you want to retain your friends.
The first complaint I find from new abhyasis after some months or a year or two is, "Sir, I have lost all my friends." "Very good," I say. But they say, "Very bad! I have no social life anymore. I don't go to temples, my friends have deserted me." What is the use of friends who desert you when you go up? If you are promoted from, let us say, Secretary to Collector of this district, can you carry your secretaries and your peons with you? In worldly life, you don't care a damn about your old friends. Three months after you are made Collector, if your former Under Secretary, or junior or whoever it is, looks at you and says, "Good morning," - "Ah! Bhatt, isn't it?" And he is happy. "Arey, Collector sahab remembered me!" And you think you have done a great favour by remembering your own friend. Isn't it? So, money comes, and position comes - friendship does not matter. "No, no sir. That was in the past. He used to be my assistant. I used to be kind to him. Kabhi kabhi ek coat de diya bichare ko, sardi mein. [Occasionally I used to give the poor soul a coat for the cold.]" Even then with condescension that I did this and I did that, for him. But when it comes to spirituality, you must have your taash playing [playing cards], daru pilaoing [drinking], chaat maroing [eating chaat] friends with you, because they are your friends - dosti [friendship]. Dost dost na raha. Pyar pyar na raha! [Friend remained friend no more, love remained love no more!] Nahin? [Isn't it?]
This is the state of our society. You give more for friendship than for friendship with God. So many people come for abhyas, join the Mission, and after six months they leave. They say, "Sab sahab, wahan jaate hain. Main akele yahaan aake kya karoon? [Sir, everyone is going there, what will I do alone here?] I ask one question - "Jab wahaan jaaoge, koi saath aane waala hai aapka? [When you go there, will there be anyone to come with you?] Ek din to aayega zaroor. [The day will come, for sure]. "Nahin - Babubhai, Rajubhai, chalo. Ek saath chalte hain." [No, Babu, Raju. Come, we will go together. "Tame jayi aao saheb!" [You go ahead, sir!]
Nobody is willing to follow you there, where you have to go. Remember this, and then guide your lives in the right direction. Jo wahan nahin aane ke liye taiyaar, woh yahaan aapke liye kya kar sakta hai? Aapko dhoka de sakta hai, aapko galat raste par le ja sakta hai, aapko chakoo mar sakta hai, sab kuch kar sakta hai, lekin saath nahin de sakta hai. [Those who are not ready to go there, of what help can they be here? You can be cheated, you can be taken on the wrong path, you can be stabbed, all this can be done, but you cannot get them to accompany you]. Babuji Maharaj kaha karte the, saathi wo hai jo yahan se lekar ke anth tak jo mera saath rahega, wohi mera saathi hai. Aur Babuji se hamne poocha, saab, aisa koi ho sakta hai? He said, keval guru, kyonki Guru apne jaan tumhe de sakta hai, dost kabhi jaan nahin deta hai. [Babuji Maharaj used to say, "A companion is one who is with you from here until the end." I asked him, is there such a person? He said, "Only the Guru, because He gives his life for you; a friend never does."]
Of course, you all know the English saying, 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'. Have you tried to get three hundred rupees from a friend when you are in an emergent need? "Arey yaar, why didn't you ask me this morning? Just now I bought five Reliance shares." Three hundred rupees! Two thousand? Second time if he comes, biwi se kahoge, darwaza band kar do, kaho seth nahin hai ghar mein [when he comes again, you will tell your wife to close the door, tell him the master is not at home]." Yes or no? Everybody knows all this, but you say, he is my friend. Isnt' it?
Women know this - they have boyfriends. They want to do something which is not permitted. "Nahin, nahin, [No, no,] don't you trust me?" I am giving a caution of advice to girls. "Don't you trust me?" Trust kiya to barbad hua. [Trust and be destroyed]. You must trust him only when he is trustworthy. I don't trust a camel or a pillar or a kutta [dog]. Why should I trust a human being who wants to take advantage, who promises when I know he won't keep up his promise; who is an opportunist and not a friend? A friend must have my interest in his heart, not his interest in his heart. It is like otherwise going to murder somebody for money, and saying, "Yaar [Friend], don't put up any resistance. It will only make the whole place bloody. Gala dikha do, ham kaatke nikal jaate hain. [Stick out your neck, I will cut it and leave!] You are my friend. I don't want to give you pain. Jhuk jao [Bend down]." And you will say, "Wonderful friend! You see how considerate he was? Maarte waqt bhi usne kaha tum jhuk jao to dard nahin hoga tumhe. [Even as he was killing me, he asked me to bend down so I would not feel the pain!]"
So you see, Sahaj Marg does not recommend friendship. He travels fast, fastest, who travels alone. Friendship is all right when all of us have the same motive. Like if I am going to Delhi, and she's going to Delhi, and he's going to Delhi, we can travel by the same train. But somebody going to Amalner, somebody going to Jaisalmer, somebody going to Wankaner, we cannot travel in the same gaadi [train]. So you see, forget friendship. If you are serious about Sahaj Marg, you'll lose old friends because they have to be lost. Everything old has to go. Before Makar Sankaranti, you destroy all old stuff - kooda [rubbish]. Before Holi you burn everything that is old - kooda. Before spirituality, all that is old, you have to throw it away. "Na sahab, angrezi mein kehte hain - Old is gold. [No, sir. They say in English, old is gold]." We are not here for gold. We are here for That which cannot be had here.
So these are small messages from our Guruji's writings, which you must observe, which you must study, and which you must follow implicitly. If my friend will not go with me, he cannot be my friend. We are schoolboys together. But one boy has got admission in Nagpur, another boy has got admission in Amritsar, third boy in Kozhikode. Don't we go? We may weep at the railway station - few tears. After three months if you see each other, you won't recognize. "Yaar, don't you remember me? We were together here?" "Accha, saala wohi hai tu?" Bas, ho gaya. ["So, you are he!" That's all].
Friendship, today's friendship is based on how he can help me, not how I can help him. I am re-emphasizing this idea of friendship because too many people suffer through friendship while they have friends, and think they suffer when those friends have gone. So please remember, samskaras will be taken away by the Guru and by your sittings and your cleaning. You have to live in such a way that you don't add to your samskaras. How not to add to samskaras? By living in a state of constant remembrance, so that what you do, what you think, doesn't have any effect on you. Then spirituality can be a very quick and easy success. Otherwise, you know, it is like somebody sweeping, and you are going on throwing cigarette ash, and packets, and spitting there. Next the servant comes again, it is unending.
So, I hope we will all have sense enough to follow the Guru's teachings, which are very simple. The practice is even simpler because you don't need any brains. You will only have to be obedient. The biggest advantage in obedience is, do it without thinking, without questioning, and it will take you there. Otherwise it is like one of these passengers who gets into a train, "Sir, I want to go to Delhi. Will this train go to Delhi?" "Yes." "How do you know it will go to Delhi?" "Because I am going to Delhi." "But did you enquire that we are going to Delhi and this train will go to Delhi?" "Yaar, I would not be sitting here otherwise." "Saab aap kahan ja rahen hain?" "Mujhe bhi Delhi jaana hai." "Aapne sab pooch tach kar liya?" "Saab yeh kaisa prashna hai? Aap utar jayiye." ["Sir, where are you going?" "I too am going to Delhi." "Have you made all the enquiries?" "Sir, what type of question is this! Please get down.] Samjhe? Samjha hai na? [Understood?]