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Oneness of all Humans
Speech given by Rev. Master on 23rd July, 2008 at Lucknow, UP, India following a speech by Mr. Chandran, spokesman for India and Bhutan at the United Nations Organization.
Respected Mr. Chandran, we are very grateful to you for your presence in this spiritual assembly, which in the terms of my Guruji, Shri Ram Chandraji Maharaj of Shahjahanpur, should always have an atmosphere pervasive with spiritual values. When a couple of years ago, we were permitted entry into the awesome institution known as the United Nations, I must confess that I was a little nervous of how this, you know, the marriage of a very rich man with a very poor girl will survive. I discovered that throughout the history of romance, poor girls, so long as they were pretty, were able to marry very rich people and make happy homes. The opposite was never the case.
We are a very humble, generally invisible, mostly unknown organisation, for the single reason that we do not charge any fees for membership, and most of our ashrams have free accommodation and food, that being my Master’s specific charge, that in a country where even food is not available to most people, we should never charge for food. Of course, we do not have the resources that we would like to have to feed all the poor in India. Nor can I say that our abhyasis fall under the category of poor. But there are suffering people who cannot afford… For instance, I would like to say that in 1964 when I joined the Mission, I had gone to Shahjahanpur and my Master was expecting a busload of abhyasis from Sitapur, not very far from Shahjahanpur. And the bus fare was I think two rupees two annas, or something like that. And he said, “Poor people, they cannot afford this bus fare. So we should not charge them anything.” I said, “Babuji, people come from South India paying eighty rupees for train fare, and you are not expressing any sympathy for them.” [Chuckles] He smiled and said, “There is nothing political or geographical in what I say. I am only saying, if people cannot afford even two rupees two annas, how can we charge anybody?” So our feeding is generally free of charge in our ashrams, accommodation is free of charge, irrespective of time limits. There is no time limit. That is the first thing we have tried to ensure at all our ashrams.
Number two—Mr. Chandran would have seen just now—nine weddings were performed, and most of them were inter-state, inter-communal. Because when people want to be married, I make it very clear that there is no question of dowry ever. Dowry has been the biggest evil in our society. It has made families beggarly in their final result. Three daughters to marry, and the old man had to spend all his life savings and live on charity from other relatives. This is a well-known phenomenon in India. But so far we have conducted almost two thousand marriages and I wish to assure Mr. Chandran, that there was no dowry, no expense—mere exchange of garlands in the old tradition, that love must join two hearts; not money, not race, not culture, not creed, not at all religion.
Of course, what we have done is a mere scratch on the skin of an elephant or a buffalo, but we are trying to bring about such social changes. I have been haranguing our audiences all over India to drop their caste names. No more Iyer, no more Naidu, no more Sethi, but you know the response is very poor. Maybe half a dozen Telugus have dropped their caste names; maybe some Sardars have dropped the Singh. No one has dropped the turban except one boy who lives with me—Satbir—because they are afraid of society. Now, in a society which is prepared to resist change to the extent of, as in U.P., even murdering its constituents for a mere change of name or throwing away of your janevu [sacred thread of a brahmin], it is indeed a big challenge.
I hope all of you are listening carefully to this suggestion. Please drop caste names. If you cannot drop that small thing… You know after the Indira Gandhi assassination, thousands of Sardars removed their turbans and their hair, because they were afraid for their lives. So it is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of fear. When you are afraid for your life you will change anything. But when you are afraid of your own society... Biraadari se hataa denge. Yeh kar denge, woh kar denge. [They will expel you from the community. They will do this, they will do that.]
You know there is a famous example of a musician in South India, a Malayaali gentleman, Yesudas, born a Christian. Because he sang songs on Hindu deities, saints, et cetera, in his beautiful voice, the church threatened him by saying that, “You will not be buried in holy ground.” That sort of blackmail, religious blackmail, you know, our country is full of this. This sort of blackmail must stop, and I believe that in this Mission we have no blackmail at all. We have here people from so many religions, so many nationalities. Shri Ram Chandra Mission today exists worldwide in about ninety-two countries. I wish Santosh Khanjee will give Mr. Chandran all the details of all the countries where we are, where we are registered.
We have no religion—we are not irreligious, mind you. Religion is something which is an appearance before God in all humility, as we understand Him with our hearts. Religions only teach, specify. And, as my Guru said, religion has two instruments which have ruined India, its future, and perhaps forever. What are they? Temptation and fear. Fear of punishment: if you do this, you will be punished, if you do that you will be punished. Praayashchit! Praayashchit! Praayashchit! [Atonement! Atonement! Atonement!] What is the temptation? A heaven of which we know nothing—you have never heard of it, you have never seen it, you have not even experienced it.
Here in this Mission we promise you that if you do your meditation properly, follow the niyams [principles] properly, you will experience. Until you eat a jalebi [a sweet], you don’t know what is a jalebi. If you experience that peace of mind which, according to the Christians, surpasseth everything, and of which Babuji said, “The only sure way of bringing peace on earth and goodwill to all men is to make them have peace of mind first.” Nobody who is at peace will take up the cudgel for any cause. He is content to remain at home. If we could bring peace of mind to everybody, there are no more wars, not even ‘a war to end war’ as the United States is always saying, and that is our endeavour. That today we have here people from the UAE, and people from Israel, Jews. I mean there are representatives of everybody that you can think of. And the first thing that we ensure is equality among sexes.
We don’t talk much of empowerment because empowerment has the idea of power behind it. Sahaj Marg says, we don’t use power, we have forceless force. Love is the only force which has no force behind it. No compulsions, no inhibitions, no “you cannot do this and you must do that,” no Ten Commandments—thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, ad nauseam. But we have a set of principles which says, this you must do. Love thy neighbour as thyself, is one of them—love all as your brothers and sisters.
Women are the mothers. Without them the human race will be extinct. Love them, cherish them, protect them. Empowerment comes with all these things, you see. Our Indian women, in my experience, have been queens of their households. They may walk outside with their ghunghat [a veil concealing the face] down, three steps behind the husband. The western culture has misunderstood this humility in the woman as some sort of slavery, you know, and say to me that they walk like dogs behind their owners. Not at all. Go into an Indian household and you will find what power women enjoy. That has never been touched. We are not talking about that power. We are talking about a power where like Mandodari could advise Ravana—without effect of course, but that was not her fault. Where Kasturba Gandhi could advise her husband, though she paid with her life for it. They have this sort of sixth sense, intuitive capacity, which men don’t develop. And with that they guide a family through all the troubles and travails of an existence in India that has no possible predictable value. One moment you are happy, next moment there is tragedy in the family.
So we are in a sense, Mr. Chandran, trying to break into the society’s roots and nourish them from there with good values. It takes time to go up to the top perhaps, but I assure you, Mr. Chandran, that in our aims we have the highest. It is the oneness of all humans and a human brotherhood in which there is no separation, no alienation, no differentiation.
I thank you once again, Mr. Chandran, for being here and guiding us, and we look forward to your continued guidance.