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Practise and Stop Preaching
Talk given by Shri P. Rajagopalachari
For you all, discipline means coming before time, for me it means waiting for you. I mean, that is one of the invertendo principles of Sahaj Marg. Like a mother waits for her children to eat, I have to wait for you all to come and receive what you have to receive. I remember in the Mahabharat serial, when they are all in the jungle, the five brothers and their mother, Kunti, this young fellow, Bhima, is always hungry. And he is the first one to come and pester his mother saying, "Mummy, mummy, I want my lunch." And she says, "Bhima, you are always hungry. And if I start serving you, you will eat up all the food that I have prepared for all of you."
Babuji used to say, "I am waiting for one abhyasi like that who will come and take away everything from me." So, may I say, I am also waiting for an abhyasi who will come and, to use the words of Babuji Maharaj, "Loot me." The early bird does not catch the worm, he takes away the granary!
I think a sign of seriousness of purpose, a sign of spiritual longing, of aspiration, is to not miss the bus. Babuji always used to bewail the fact that people go and stand in line for a cinema ticket half an hour before the show, just to see some stupid things happening on the screen, all of which is illusion. Today's civilisation panders to such illusory goals. Today's security requirements for aircraft, aeroplane flights, we have to be there two hours before flight. You have to take off your shoes, you take it off; you go behind a screen and undress - if he asks you to, you do it. I mean, otherwise you don't get on the aircraft.
But in spirituality we are treated, what shall we say, with gentle gloves of kidskin. We are pampered, we are treated like royalty. In my Master's days, when I was new in this Mission, we slept on cold stone floors in the winter, with the temperature just above zero or at zero, with the hay spread on the floor for warmth, and that cost a lot of money - my Master was not able to afford it, even that.
Today, we are put up in comfort with wooden floors, heated, carpeted, airconditioned rooms, all of which I think promote in us, if not a disinterest in spirituality, at least a sense of, shall we say, degrading the interest in spiritual life. Because the temptations of the material life, its luxury, its glamour, are so much. I don't think any of you bathe in cold water here in the US. I don't hear even one protest! It's good to bathe in cold water at least in summer, because it keeps you in touch with - you see it's all right to talk of Babuji saying, 'Be in tune with nature, be simple and in tune with nature '. And we think wearing a $100 tee-shirt is simple, because there are tee-shirts for $400 which we didn't buy. Wearing a pair of shoes for $250 is cheap because, simple, because there are alligator skin shoes for $2500. "But, Chari, mine only cost $70."
So you see, we are always comparing ourselves with what we could have done rather than with what we should have done; and beguiling ourselves, deluding ourselves, into a sense that we are leading simple, humble lives. We run around or drive around crazily in $60,000 cars ¾ simple ¾ because you know in the next lane there is a red Ferarri which costs a quarter million. And we say with a plaintive voice and a look of longing, "I wish I could afford it." There goes simplicity at 200 miles per hour!
So you see, when we preach, we must practise. I remember a young man who came to give me some service two days back, and he gave me some advice about how to look after myself. And he said, "Well, I guess I preach more than I practise myself." So the first principle of Sahaj Marg should be to practise and stop preaching.
One problem with the growth of our Mission, as far as I can see here, has been that our preceptors [prefects] preach more than they practise themselves. And they preach loudly and vociferously and repeatedly because their conscience pricks, their inner voice says, "Hey guy, you are not doing this." So we preach it all the more louder so that by default, as we say in computer language, if not I, my brother would have done it. So we can always go to the Master in the Brighter World and say, "Babuji, I was not able to do it myself, but these seventeen guys whom I have brought with me, they did it. Isn't it better that I should make seventeen people do it, rather than I should do it and not have anybody else do it?" This seems to be the sort of arguement with which we beguile ourselves, with which we still our already still voice of the conscience, and fool ourselves into thinking that we are good guys.
So let us please get on with the job of practising Sahaj Marg, remembering that what you do, what you speak, what you practise, makes of you an example for Sahaj Marg - rather than all the teachings and the books of what you are going to do, to spout yourself from one tenth digested material. Few of you really know what Sahaj Marg is, what it is all about, what the Brighter World is. The Brighter World to us seems to imply some sort of a fantastic world somewhere in the best part of California, you know with scenics, splendid shopping malls of the latest design, everything cheap so that we can afford it, the best food, no noise, stillness. We have created a sort of a Brighter World of our own desires, like the heavens of religion offer us temptation, each one with a heaven of its own variety. The Hindu heaven is understandably a place where you can be lazy, hang around doing nothing and occasionally glance at somebody who is seated on a high chair who is supposed to be your guru or god - that's it. Another religion talks of rivers of wine, houris, etc.
So we should not degrade Sahaj Marg into a sort of institution, where we are guided by temptation and fear. Fear of this world and temptation for the Brighter World, with a heaven structured each one according to his own imaginary longings for desires to be fulfilled there if not here. This is a big danger, and this is what is impeding the growth of the Mission, this is what is impeding people from coming into the Mission, because when you say "Hey, the Brighter World, you know, you do nothing." And he says, "Well, if I have to do nothing, well I have it in my own religion. My religion offers me the same sort of heaven already. What's so wonderful about your Brighter World?"
Many of us are held back by the fear, as I was at one time, and that fear is no more a fear but a certainty, that if and when I do get into the Brighter World my Master will have a new assignment for me. It's like James Bond, you know, he comes back with his life intact, and with Q with a frown on his face because all his inventions have been destroyed, and there's Mr. M waiting with tickets for Venice or St. Petersburg or wherever. He says "James, you have a three week vacation. You can have it at the end of this assignment." So there goes the Brighter World. I assure you the Brighter World will not be what you think it is going to be - either way. And the best way of finding out is to get there first. And the only way of getting there is to do what you have to do right here and now, faithfully, sedulously, day after day, practise Sahaj Marg as it is meant to be practised. Stop preaching, get on with the job. And that reminds me that it is now ten o'clock and we must meditate.
Please start meditation.