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Promoting your Spiritual Welfare
Talk given on 14th January 2007 at Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
[I see that many are leaving the meditation hall] even before I get out of the chair. This is not only bad manners, but it shows a misunderstanding of spiritual values, that you are not interested enough to wait until you know that the programme is really over. Somebody announces that evening satsangh is at four, or five, or six, and you all get up, when I may decide to sit down again and give you another sitting. I may. So this is lack of manners—more important, it is lack of understanding of your spiritual welfare: how it can be promoted, how you have to wait, how even a dog waits till it gets its slice of bread—and that patience we don’t have. I am not chastising, I am advising.
In this connection I wish to say, in English, a few words about what Kannan said just now. Gnanam means wisdom, higher knowledge. Gnanam does not come from books—puthagathill irundhu gnanam naam pera mudiyathu. How do books result? Gnanis are people who have connected themselves with the presence in the heart, the spiritual presence in their own heart, and derive wisdom from inside, like the water in the well comes from inside the well. And that wisdom they give to us. And those of us who can understand—because their wisdom is condensed in sutra form, you know, short words; two, three words in a sentence, two or three sentences in a book. Satyam vada, dharmam chara [Speak the truth, be righteous], you know, things like that. These disciples who are capable of understanding, by living with the guru, obeying the guru, meditating with the guru, receiving from the guru, they are able to receive that wisdom which, later on, generation after generation, they expand into books for our understanding, common understanding.
So, when you read a book written by a guru or his disciple, you are seeing a garden where there should be only seeds. The guru gives the seed, we grow the garden, take the seeds again. Therefore, out of a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, five hundred thousand abhyasis, Babuji said, “If I get one dozen capable people, I can change this world.” He said it with regret. He said, “Even twelve people I am not able to get.” So, we are seeing growing satsanghs, you see, and where are the twelve?
People are still diverted from their path by the necessity to go for breakfast first. All those who are getting up and running away, I am sure did not have their breakfast yet. I’ve seen this from the day I joined the Mission. Even while they are sitting here, they are thinking of when the satsangh will end, so that we can run and stand first in the line for breakfast. Stomach comes first before the Holy Spirit inside us.
I should be ashamed to say such things in my satsangh, but I am proud that I get an opportunity to voice my opinion, you see, of what my so-called followers are doing. Is breakfast so important that you have to run away instead of waiting to see whether the programme is really over? Please, tell me. Or will you die if you don’t have a breakfast? Many people say, “It is free. Let us not miss it.”
Well, breakfast is to be enjoyed, is to be eaten; it is to contribute to your health. But if you neglect spirituality and are in a hurry to run even before the transmission is over—because I am sure in the minds of people who are in a hurry to get to breakfast before the others, they stopped meditating even when we just started it. Their meditation was on idli, saambaar, vadai, pongal, whatever is available there. May you be blessed—I will give you more and more of that. I will also add some sweets. But remember that is as much a temptation to drag you away from the path of spiritual discipline. And it is not hunger, it is greed—it is laalach. And the anxiety to get there first, eat first, get to your scooter or car first, go home first. You understand? This is the ‘State of the Union’ in our Mission today.
I am truly ashamed of myself that after thirty years in the Mission, or even more, (’64 to 2007 is forty-four years almost), the satsangh is still in the state in which it was in 1964, when I joined the Mission. And Babuji said the same thing, not publicly because he said the Mission will get a bad name, but to me. He said, “Dekho, yeh log to pehle se hi naashta ke baare mein sochne lage. Jaldi hai inhe. Itni bhookh lagi hai to yahaan aate kyon? Pehle khaake aana chaahiye inko. Bhookhon ko to hum manaa nahin karte hain khaane se. Inhi ke liye to banaate hain hum khaana. To aise log adhyaatmik path per kaise tarakki paaenge? [Look, these people have started thinking of breakfast at the very beginning. They are in a hurry. If they are so hungry, why do they come here? They should have eaten first. I do not deny food to hungry people. It is for them that the food is prepared. How will such people progress on the spiritual path?]” These were Babuji’s words repeated to me day after day after day, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, almost.
It pains me to say these things, but since there are so many of you, the message will carry farther. So remember, by reading you won’t get anything unless you read sincerely, faithfully, with the intention of learning from it what the author really said. Words mean nothing. Upanishad means to sit near the guru, listen, absorb, make it [part of] yourself. Books are only an introduction, the kindergarten of spirituality, some idea of what the guru said, some idea of what he did. When Babuji writes, “I also meditated,” what was the meaning of this ‘also’?—have you ever thought? Who else meditated? Do we think? No, we are happy.
And like in some religions which are very convenient for human beings: “He meditated, he achieved, he sacrificed his life for ever and ever after, so that all of us are free.” Don’t be misled by such thoughts. Thank you.