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Not to Get but to Become
Seminar for Abhyasis of Russia/CIS Countries, 17 January 2012, Chennai, India
Dear sisters and brothers,
It is for me a very, very happy moment to see all of you here. I don’t think you are here; I feel I am in Russia. Do you know why I say this? When I accompanied my master, Babuji Maharaj, to visit the western world in l972, he said, “I bring India to you. I make prefects so that you do not have to go to India for spirituality.” And then he said, “But it is still necessary for heart and heart to be together.” So we have to meet, sometimes there, sometimes here – There or here, not Russia or India. So we have to be together somewhere, sometime, in our effort to progress in Sahaj Marg.
Now what is this progress? Many abhyasis make a mistake; they think they have to get something. That is a big mistake. We have to become something. We are not going to become this or that, or to become saints, or to stop becoming this or that. We have to become as we were originally created at the moment of creation – a soul with nothing in it. So it is really a process of un-becoming. In our sadhana, in the practice of Sahaj Marg, we have to throw off all that we have accumulated until we come to that original state. Until we do that, we have to come back to earth again and again in the process you call rebirth, not because God sent us here but because we need more and more time to do this.
So please remember, we don’t get anything in Sahaj Marg; we are here to become something. I hope some of you will not be disappointed to hear this. We are [here] not even to become happy. We are not here to become healthy. We are here to become what we were Then. If this is understood clearly, then Sahaj Marg becomes easy – no disappointments. [When] we have expectations of happiness, of goodness, of kindness between ourselves, we are condemning ourselves to disappointment. Many people leave Sahaj Marg only because of this. We must not expect. That is why I gave one axiom: Expect not for then you will not be disappointed. Don’t expect even abhyasis to be kind, to be polite, to be good, because in the beginning all are animal human beings. And as Babuji Maharaj said, “We have to evolve from animal human being, to human human being, to divinised human being.”
This is important. This is important because when we gather together like this we think every abhyasi is already a liberated abhyasi. We have abhyasis who joined this morning and we have abhyasis who have been here for forty years, fifty years. We are like those climbing the mountain, one behind the other. So most important – we don’t expect from abhyasis anything, because this is the field of greatest disappointment, disillusionment. So what did Babuji say? My brother once came to Babuji Maharaj in Shahjahanpur and my master said, “Why don’t you join Sahaj Marg?” Then my brother told him, “My brother,” meaning me, “is the only person in whom I have seen some change.” Babuji said, “Why do you look at others? Look for change in yourself.” Then my brother became an abhyasi.
So always look into yourself – not like looking in a mirror which is narcissistic, as they say, but look into your heart always. Am I doing what my heart says? Am I listening at all to my heart? Am I smiling with my heart or only with my face? If I do all these things without the heart, I am a hypocrite. If you look at today’s human beings in this manner we have to accept that most of the human beings are hypocrites. Their smile is not genuine, their words are not true, their actions are false, and their love is humbug (false).
So the first lesson is, not to look at others, only at yourself. Babuji Maharaj said, “When in doubt, refer to the heart.” This we must practice always. A person may look unkind, you may not like his looks, but if you look here [the heart] you find he is a good man. A good man need not be tall, handsome, you know. Goodness is an inner quality; wisdom is an inner quality. You cannot look at a person and say who is wise. You cannot even look and say, who is educated. That is why wise people have said, “Be silent,” because when you open your mouth you only expose your ignorance, your falsity, and all that you say are lies. So that is the second lesson [chuckles]: Keep your mouth shut; keep your eyes and ears open.
So you see, Sahaj Marg becomes very simple when you know that you are here to grow, not to get; when you know that all of us together are here, but I am alone, each one is alone, and it is into my heart I have to look to see whether I am going in the right way. And Babuji Maharaj said that because all of this is so difficult in modern life, he gave us a simple way: Just follow the master.
Now here comes a bit of difficulty because in this modern world, because of all the lying and hypocrisy, we have learnt to be judgemental. And when we try to judge the master we see Babuji Maharaj, a frail old man – not weak; weak is not the right word – who does not seem to be very educated, living in a simple house, and we say, “What is this? He is going to lead me?”
So you see, we lose an opportunity. It happened to me when I saw Babuji Maharaj for the first time in Shahjahanpur. If I had continued with that judgement I would have left. Fortunately he made me stay. He said, “You have just come. How can you go?” So he sent somebody to get the baggage from my car, pumped water into a bucket for me to have a bath, and in a sense, he saved me that day. From what? Not from the devil or Satan or something like that. He saved me from myself.
We must understand that there is nothing outside ourselves which can stop us, which can harm us, which can deceive us – nothing at all. Everything that can do these things is within us – the second reason why we must follow the guru, because in no thought, in no action I can trust myself. So you see – two reasons.
Third reason: in modern society, in modern life, we are only taught to look after ourselves, love ourselves – a narcissistic attitude to life. “If I am well, if I am happy, if I am healthy, if I have a big house, if I am rich – okay, devil take the rest.” But Babuji says, “No.” He says, “If you are a rich man in a big house, opulent (opulent means visibly rich), and surrounded by poor people with nothing, you will be robbed everyday. Forget security because even security [guards] will rob you. So, learn to be like them.” What does it mean? It does not mean we have to be beggars or sleep in huts, but be simple and in tune with nature. You understand that, no?
It is very difficult to understand what it means to be simple because I have seen rich people in America, especially, who wear Armani suits and have these Porsche cars, and they say, “I am simple.” So what is simplicity? Simplicity means to live in such a way that other people, poor people, rich people, they will not be afraid of coming to you. Then only you are simple.
I remember Babuji’s house (maybe some of you have seen it in Shahjahanpur) was simple: no carpets, simple wooden chairs, most people sitting on the floor. You know India is the land of the poor. If there is one rich man there are a million poor people. And if you live in a rich manner, with carpets and ivory furniture and gold and silver, they won’t come to you. So if you want people to follow you, accept you (I mean abhyasis), you have to progressively become simple in your language, simple in your way of life and simple in your habits.
To be in tune with nature – what does it mean? Be like nature. When it rains, it rains. When the sun shines it is wonderful. When it is windy it is windy – natural. We must be natural. We must show our heart, but we never show our heart. We hide it. We say. “I love you,” but the heart does not cooperate.
Bodies love but not the heart. Therefore there is so much human misery in today’s life: false love, divorce, separation, multiple liaisons – everything, the whole gamut of miserable living. You agree? Especially women will agree. Because women, poor things, are able to show their heart, but man only wants the face. Therefore in our Indian society, in the olden days they covered their face, not in the complete covering way but they looked down, they would not look at you like that. There was humility; not arrogance, “Look at me.” Now it is like the spider; it has a big web, very beautiful and the spider is waiting in one corner, and this poor fly comes in and slursh. [like a spider eating] The spider’s lunch or dinner!
This is what is happening to the women of today. Women are the protectors of character. You know if I talk about this generally women become very angry. They become frustrated because in one of our very holy, very sacred literature, it is said specifically that when women become bad, society becomes bad. You know even in the Bible, the woman is the temptress, tempting, “Come, come, come, come,” like that, and they suffer. It is the women who must be humble, who must dress properly, who must keep their eyes lowered – everything which they don’t like to do in modern life. But at least if you are following a spiritual path, you should try it.
So you see spirituality, when it says be simple and in tune with nature it might be seen as applying more to women than to men. It is not so because men have to go out to work, to earn money. So there life is more difficult and more open; the ladies’ life must be more closed, not secret but sacred. In India, the philosophy of India says, “Look upon every woman as your mother,” because a woman’s place in life is to be a mother. Therefore it is sacred, a mother is sacred. In every country in this world, in every culture, in every religion, it is the mother who is important.
We do not worry about the father; we only worry about the mother. If you ask somebody who is going on a holiday, “Where are you going?” almost always the answer is, “I am going to see my mother.” Poor fathers! But that is how it is, you see. As long as the mother is living she holds the family together; the moment she is gone the family disintegrates. So the mother is the centre of life, in the sense that family is the centre of life. So the female has to remember that her fundamental position in society is to be a mother, and she can be a mother to all. You know, as Shakespeare said: the law permits it, society wants it, and we all love it.
There is a story about a family which had relatives in another village. In this village there was a mother with a son who was a bit of a simpleton. In the next village a relative died, a lady. So this woman here was very old and unable to go there because she was sick. She told her son, “Will you go and do this duty of offering condolence (sympathy)?” He said, “Yes. Tell me what I should say, I will do it.” “Just go and say, ‘Your mother was not only your mother; she was mother of the whole village.’” He went and everyone was very happy. One year later another lady died who was the wife of someone. Again the mother in this village was sick. She said, “My dear son, will you go again because I am not able to go?” He said, “Mother you have taught me what to say. I will go.” This time he went and with tears in his eyes he said, “She was not only your wife; she was the wife of the whole village.” [laughter] We laugh, but today society is also like that.
Swami Vivekananda has given a talk about the women of India. He always worshipped woman as mother. In his lecture he says, “Do not look down upon these fallen sisters,” (meaning the prostitutes), he says, “do not look down upon them, do not hate them, for if they were not there, you and you and you would be there.” So you see, we have to look with compassion on those who are not able to make the grade. We must accept them and help them to grow, and to do this we must love them. This is also clear in the stories from the Bible, when people were gathered to stone a woman, and Jesus came and said, “Let the man who has never sinned throw the first stone.” So my understanding is that men sin and women get stoned for it.
In Sahaj Marg there must be only love. If you are reading the messages that we get from Babuji Maharaj, almost two in three messages speak of love. Love is spirituality. If somebody asks you, “What is spirituality?” you must say, “It is love.” Not the physical love, the lying love, the hypocritical love, but the divine love of the heart. According to spiritual law, the physical love between man and woman is permitted only in marriage. This is a difficult statement to make because many people run away at once.
You know when I was with Babuji Maharaj in l980 in Denmark, my wife was also with us. Now we don’t celebrate these things, but somebody reminded us that it was our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. So some of these girls laughed at my wife and said, “Sulochana, you’ve been living with the same man for twenty-five years?”
So that is today, modern life. I hear of married couples, thirty-eight years married – divorced, divorced at seventy-eight. Not permitted in spirituality, because in spirituality, marriage is a situation, is a created situation, where two people work together to help each other to get rid of their samskaras and to progress together in spirituality. It is a must. Therefore it is said, marriages are made in heaven. Because it is with that design we have come to this earth, to make this life the only life from which we shall evolve.
It must happen if we obey the law of love which demands responsibility for what we love. You cannot love and, like a handkerchief, throw it away. Love means responsibility. And if you happen to be a preceptor, or a prefect, or a guru, you must be able to say, “I love all,” with my heart. Then we are really abhyasis, we are good prefects – not because of what we do, but because of what we have become. I pray for you all. May you all be capable of such love.