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Our Function in Life
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Dear Brothers and Sisters: All over India, religion is a problem. Not because religion is a problem, but because it is misinterpreted by purveyors of religion: the priests, those who perform rituals, because they need money. All over the world it is the same in fact. You know, the Christian religion started with Jesus Christ, and one of the most famous episodes in his short life was his liberating the pigeons in the temple, overturning the money changers' tables, trying to purify the religion of those days and, of course, he was crucified. In India, it is the same. I was in Jerusalem and I walked up the path, which is called Via Dolorosa - the road of sorrow, on which Christ is supposed to have walked with the cross and culminating in his crucifixion. On one side you have Jewish shops and on the other side you have Muslim shops - all selling artefacts of religion, made of brass, of wood, of gold, of silver. But same story, you see. The same story in the temples; the same story in the mosques; the same story in the churches.
So, Tumkur does not have any special reason for Sahaj Marg not developing; because we cannot change religion or destroy religion. In Sahaj Marg we destroy nothing. Babuji Maharaj said, "We should liberate ourselves from whatever we have got in." And that is basically an individual process. If I fall into the ditch, I come out of it. I cannot expect all the ditches to be filled up. When somebody falls into a well, you cannot close all the wells. We must teach people not to fall into wells first and, if they do, how to get out of it. If they cannot, we help them - three stages. If they don't accept the help, then God willing, whatever happens will be God's will.
So you see, to blame religion for the lack of growth of Sahaj Marg is not true; it is not right. Of course, it is also right in a sense, because we, the people who are responsible for bringing Sahaj Marg to the people of any place are not doing the job properly. Why? Because we are afraid to speak. Why are we afraid to speak? Because we are not convinced ourselves. It is well known, especially in Karnataka, that preceptors are still whatever they were before joining Sahaj Marg. They still go to temples. They still perform rituals. They still have pictures of devi, devtas [gods and goddesses] at home. And if you ask them, "What are you doing?" they say, "Sir, what to do? My husband is not an abhyasi. My father-in-law is not an abhyasi and I am the only abhyasi in this house."
Well, you see, suppose there is no power and you have only one candle at home. You light that one candle. You do not blow it out because there are no candles in the other rooms. You take the candle from room to room wherever it is necessary. So, we should be able to start influencing our own people first. But we are afraid. Husband is afraid of the wife. Of course, husbands are always afraid of wives in any situation. Wives are afraid of husbands because they are selfish: they want their silk saris, they want their jewellery. So they dare not go against their husbands. And everybody is afraid of the senior generation. So the man who smokes continues to smoke. The one who drinks continues to drink. So wherever desire is involved, we are prepared to break away with tradition, with religion, with relatives. But, it is not yet understood that spiritual values are most vital to my existence. In fact, spiritual life is life. Until that conviction comes we cannot talk with courage of conviction.
So my first request to all of you is to build this conviction in yourself by practising it honestly, sincerely - each one of you for yourself. There is no use in partial practice. In a marriage you cannot be a partial wife or a partial husband. Can you? It is a total involvement in that institution called matrimony. These girls are all students. They cannot be partial students. They may attend college for a few hours, but they are students as long as they are in college. "No, no sir! We are partial students. Rest of the time we go here and there. We do what we call chatting on computers; surfing." And there they stay all night. You know, people surf the net for no reason. I mean, it is not for education. You do not get information. You just go on surfing and then they pretend they are working. So until your heart becomes involved in Sahaj Marg, you are not going to speak about Sahaj Marg, you are not going to practise Sahaj Marg properly enough to be convinced. And therefore you are going to be the poor ambassadors of Sahaj Marg. This must start with prefects, the preceptors first.
Karnataka is a very fluid state. Everything goes, anything goes. Here - politicians involved in religion, religion involved in politics, brigands involved in politics. Veerappan abducts one of your very prominent people and that is front-page news. You see, it is a very mixed state. Also it is a very lazy state. I have heard from my childhood that Karnataka is a sleepy state. If they go to sleep, it is like Kumbhakarna, you see; until they are awakened, they will not wake up. Bangalore was bad enough. Mysore was said to be the city for retired people. That means retired are totally inactive. You know, just sleeping, getting up to eat some majjige, murukku [a snack] or something like that and going back to bed. How can such people become good abhyasis? If they are not good abhyasis, what are they going to learn by practice about Sahaj Marg? If they have not got that conviction by practice that in me this has produced this and this and this, how are they going to talk about it? How is Sahaj Marg going to spread? I don't think, except by the grace of my Master, it will spread in any other way. That is how it is spreading now.
Year 1990 to 2004 is fourteen years. As somebody remarked in the car when I was coming here, Ramudu's vanavasa [Lord Rama's exile] was fourteen years in the forest. Sahaj Marg has been in the forest for fourteen years! I always tell people in any new centre that if each abhyasi brings one abhyasi per year - only one, not more. Let us say the centre starts with five abhyasis. Next year, it will have ten. Five have brought five. Third year, ten must bring one each. It becomes twenty. Fourth year it becomes forty; fifth year, eighty; sixth year, 160. In six years - 160; seven years - 320; eight years - 640; nine years - 1,240. In ten years, 2,560 abhyasis should have been here in Tumkur, starting with five abhyasis in 1990. How many are there today? Just this. And most of them are new abhyasis. So where are the old abhyasis? The rest of the hall is filled with people from outside. You know, the tail of the comet. You know, what is a comet? Vaalnakshathram they call it in Tamil. Something goes and something follows, like that, you know; by accretion, we are growing. In fact, in the whole of Karnataka except Bangalore and now probably Mysore to some extent, nothing has grown. I go to Gulbarga. I go to Bidar. I go to all those north Karnataka centres. I see the same faces which I have seen in Babuji's time. Many of them are no more there also. Some have left the Mission. Some have left the world.
In Karnataka there is another problem. The elder people think that the younger people know nothing. I mean this is a common arrogance among the middle-aged people in India - that the youth are useless, the old people are useless. In between is the creamy layer or cheese you know, which does not exist. Because they have neither the courage of youth nor the conviction of old age or the wisdom of old age. They have only the arrogance of middle-age and they are running the country.
So, what Sahaj Marg needs is not to analyse the cause or the reason for not spreading. It is for our abhyasis to become real abhyasis; not just wearing a badge or occasionally meditating when they have nothing else to do. It is not a part-time activity. It is not an activity to be indulged in when there is nothing else to do. Nor is it a social event that when there is a gathering, you come here and close your eyes and do - what you do, I don't know. Because unless you are systematically meditating day in and day out, following the paddhati [system] prescribed, this meditation is not easy. If you are doing it regularly, according to the prescription, in three months you will be at the gate of liberation - three months! Babuji said, "If you can do it effectively, in one sitting it can be done." Because within three months, I had a state of samadhi; I was totally lost. I had no consciousness and Babuji had to wake me up. So I am telling from my experience. There may be people here who have done it in one sitting - God bless them.
So first and foremost, dear brothers and sisters, is for you to become a good abhyasi. You don't have to go around talking. Because it is like a lamp which is lit and one which is not lit - the one which is lit, shines. If you are doing your practice properly, it will show in you: in your conduct, in your speech, in your behaviour, in the way you are. What is the difference between two identical lamps - one of which is lit and one which is not lit? One sheds light, the other has no light - that is all. The light is the difference. What is the difference between day and night? Not that the sun is there, [but] that there is light. What is the difference between an abhyasi, and one who pretends to be an abhyasi and one who is not an abhyasi at all? Only the abhyasi shines. How does he shine? You look at him, you know.
You know, once one of our preceptors went to Australia, and he was having lunch at a table with somebody else. And somebody from another table far away came and said, "Do you mind if I talk to you for a minute?" This gentleman said, "No, no, it is okay. What is it?" That person said, "I see something very special about you. Are you doing some meditation, some yoga?" But this man did not have the guts to say yes. He would have been the first abhyasi, probably thirty years ago. "Heh heh heh!" he said. Because he did not want to attract attention to himself. And he walked out of the hotel. One lost opportunity - Australia is still sleeping.
So you see, we have nothing to blame religion; because we are still stuck in the mire of religion, every one of you here - no exceptions. If you are a Lingayat, you are still a Lingayat. If you are Iyer, you are still Iyer. If you are an Iyengar, you are still an Iyengar. Howdha? [Isn't it?] The only thing you have a right to be is a girl, and for them to be boys - nothing else. Because that difference God made. Rest of the difference we have made. You understand? So do it sincerely, do it regularly, do it with devotion. And like every girl is told from the time she is born - "Someday you have to be a mother." They are not trained. They are only told...told told told told, you see. And they know they are going to be mothers. Every man knows that someday he is going to be father. We must understand that someday we have to talk about Sahaj Marg. Because, it is like a musician, you know. One who learns music and does not sing is useless! Where is your music? Where is the light? "It is there, sir, in the oil in the wick." Howdha?
So if there is light, it must show itself. It must guide others in the darkness. It is not a duty; it is not a right. It is its function. If you have learnt, you must teach others - it is not only for yourself. If you have eaten, you have to feed others. If you are strong, you have to help the weak. If you are rich, you should help the poor. If you are educated, you help the uneducated. If you have a hall like this, you give it to those who have not, so that we can come and meditate. You understand? It is our function in life. It is not my duty. It is not my right. Nobody can compel me; nobody can order me. Even I cannot be ordered. I say it with all apologies to my Guruji. I do it out of love. If it is not there, it will not be done and it need not be done.
So, how can you love? Unless you love what you have become from what you were, and now you want everybody to become like that. Like every mother teaches her daughter how to make rice, how to boil milk without letting it boil over. It is not a duty. She doesn't say, "Go to hell! You will learn when you are married." It is out of love she teaches. Similarly, we have to teach out of love for human beings. Not because you are from Tumkur or Annigere or whatever it is. Because I am here, I have to teach those who are here. I have to give what I can to those who are here. And when I have to go, I must go with the satisfaction that I have done what I could, where I could. Will we be able to live like this? You know, there is one wonderful old quotation in English. I don't know it fully, but in saramsham [summary] it says, 'I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do, any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I may never pass this way again.'