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Resonating with the Divine Being
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
I really don't have anything to say because, as we say, doing is better than saying. And in Sahaj Marg, doing without doing is the best. I have written a whole book on this-doing without doing, action in non-action. But it is customary to say a few words of blessing when we prepare for the next meeting. We make a mistake when we say this celebration is ending. Nothing ends. Love has no end and it cannot be split into pieces-avicchinnavat, as it is said. Since I am a Vaishnava, I will talk to you a little about bhakti [devotion]. Bhakti is said to be like a flow of oil, you know-there are no droplets. When you throw water it breaks up into drops, piece by piece. Oil flows continuously-taila-dhaara-avicchinnavat.
So our celebrations are only like pearls on the string strung into a divine necklace. You cannot weep and say, "Ayyo, this pearl has ended, this pearl is beginning." You cannot have a pearl twenty-four inches long. Even God has not created it. So by nature, pearls are beautiful, small, spherical, colourful-very precious. So, precious units strung on what? Maybe silk, maybe gold thread, maybe nylon, but Lord Krishna says in the Gita: I am the string which holds the pearls together and allows you to form a necklace-sootre maniganaa iva.
So it is the string which is important, not the pearls. Every woman who has had the misfortune of breaking her necklace while dressing for dinner, and then having to hunt around on the floor for the valuable pearls one by one, with her husband standing glaring at her, knows the value of the pearls, knows the problem when you lose it, just by having the string snap. And knows what a husband's wrath can be because it spoils the whole dinner, and the night after the dinner, and probably another week after that, because you have to send it for re-stringing. Now this re-stringing is what we do here.
We don't provide the pearls. The pearls are your hearts. Some of them have been so badly encrusted with the filth of life that they look like pieces of charcoal. So they have to be carefully cleaned, a little heat applied, a little soap and water; then, when they are shining, you add them to the string which is the Divine thread that holds the universe of love together.
So we are really creating here necklaces of invaluable purity, invaluable love, of wealth in the true sense of the word, that the Lord Himself desires to wear such a necklace round His neck. When they have descriptions of the Lord in our Hindu literature, they describe His dress-pitaambaram [yellow cloth], His jewel which he wears on His heart-vakshasthale kaustubham, etcetera, you see. And the necklaces are the priceless gems of those divine souls of divine purity, divine love, divine bhakti, which adorn His neck. So each one of you has to be happy that you are selected to be the pearls of such a necklace-the string of which is the Divine itself.
Now, unless the pearls are willing to come together, there cannot be a necklace. "No, no, I am independent. I am European, I am American, I am Kayasth, I am Brahmin"-no necklace. Pearls have no religion. Pearls are not divided by language. Pearls are united by their beauty, purity and love. That is what unites all of us here. I am not talking of your external beauty, of your face and form. They are not at all relevant in an arena or an august audience like ours, where the Master looks only at the heart. If the heart is pure, if it is shining like a jewel, it is His, not by right of possession, but by the right of the Creator who has created something extraordinarily beautiful, pure, and therefore says, "Let Me keep what is Mine." And if you say, "Lord, was I not yours when I was dirty?" He says, "You were, but you discarded your Self by looking at yourself in the mirror, and looking at your certificates of qualification, and looking at your salary and your bank statements, and saying, 'I am great.' " When you are 'great', you are not fit to adorn anybody's neck, because you adorn yourself with your own greatness. You know, svayam sringaar you can call it-one who beautifies himself or herself, takes pride in it, is not fit for the Lord.
The Lord only wants that beauty which does not know it is beautiful, that purity which does not know it is pure, not because it does not know impure and pure, but because it is not conscious of itself. It says, "Lord!" That's all! Hands are outspread. It does not even say, "Here I am." Who are you to say, "Here I am"? He knows where you are. It is arrogance combined with ignorance to say, "Lord, I am here."
He says, "Don't I know it? You call me the All-Knower, the All-Seer, but you don't trust Me to know that you are here."
And you say, "I am so-and-so," and He says, "Yes, I know."
"Lord, how can you know it? You have neglected me for sixty-seven years of my life."
"My dear, I did not neglect you. You neglected Me. When you thought I did not know, I did not know. When you think I know, I know."
Lord Krishna says in the Gita, "As you think of Me, so I am. If you think I am a merciful Lord, I am merciful. If you think I am a giver, I will give you. If you think I am a Lord of punishment, I punish you. I only reflect your expectation of Me-nothing more, nothing less." So when you cease to demand anything, cease to be even present but are there, He's happy. Then He looks and says, "Oh, they are here. They are Mine." Mine, without being possessed. In the human world, 'mine' means possession.
So this divine game is not a game of asking and giving, seeking and finding. It is a case of being, being and pure being. Therefore Babuji said, all this process of whatever we are doing now-talking about, sitting, meditating, reflecting, constant remembrance-they are steps to becoming that Being which is a vibration with the Divine Being, resonating. I always like to think of resonance. You see, when you have a note, C-sharp, and you tune your instrument, you 'ting' and this goes 'ting'. You don't have to pluck the instrument. Similarly, the Lord does not have to play on our hearts, neither by giving us love or by withdrawing it, neither by giving us wealth nor withdrawing it. He resonates and we have to make ourselves resonate with His divine vibration, what they call the Cosmic Constant. Not Einstein's cosmic constant, but the divine Cosmic Constant which the Hindu religion has purified, recognized, and nominated and spoken about and described as the vibration of the 'Om'-the ancient mantra. The Veda says: Om iti ekaaksharam Brahma-it is the Brahman, the Ultimate, spelt out, defined by one single note-'Om'. And about that, great saints have written volumes-that it is compounded of three sounds, 'aa,' 'oo' and 'um' and things like that, but that is trying to split the un-splittable. It is like defining light as being consisting of seven colours of the VIBGYOR: violet, indigo, blue, green, etcetera. This is research.
Research is breaking up things-splitting the atom into the nucleus and what not, and those into the particles. And because they run out of names, scientists call them 'charm' and 'beautiful', and I don't know what else. And in this, scientists gloat over their victories of research, breaking up things further and further and further, and getting Nobel Prizes. They break it up into another small bit which is one-seventeenth of a one-seventeenth of a one-seventeenth of a billion, and get a Nobel Prize of seventeen million dollars-because we reward breaking up. Even in politics-you break up a country into two, now you have two presidents, two cabinets, two armies, two commanders-in-chief, two of everything. You break it up further into four, you have four Presidents, four armies, etcetera. So, you know, the world lives on breaking up. Once upon a time we had Engineering. In my father's days there was Engineering, there was Arts-there was a Bachelor of Arts in Science-B.A. in Science, B.A. in Physics, B.A. in Chemistry. Then there became Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science. Then Bachelor of Arts became B.Com., B.Ed., etcetera. (The B.Ed. is fortunately very much intact in family life: B-E-D.) But in Engineering, you even have Sanitary Engineering-laying sewage pipes. Because people don't want to say, "I am a Sanitary Engineer," they say, "I'm an Engineer. I deal with sanitation." And sanitation is very important, because we don't like smells. We want perfume, forgetting that perfumery is also a smell.
I remember I had a talk once with Dr. Gertrud Pütter in Germany. We spoke together for about two hours. We were passing some place in, I think, Munich, and there was a sudden stink and she said, "Ah, bad smell!" I said, "No, good smell." She said, "Oh, Chariji, how can it be good?" This was when I was there with Babuji Maharaj. I said, "Gertie, like light has a spectrum, smells also have a spectrum." You break up a smell and you get this smell and this smell, violet and orange and red. Now which is good, which is bad, it depends on your taste. If you ask a pig, "Which smell do you like?" you know what it will answer? It would not go for L'amour or Chanel No. 5. It will go where it knows it will get what it needs. And nowadays you find they are compounding perfumery based on such technologies. All of you Western women will know it, because there are elements in perfume which must excite, which must seduce, which must entice, you know. Nature has done all this and now man is trying to copy it all over again, after rejecting the bad ones, keeping the good ones, and finding that the good ones repel.
So we have to accept nature as it is. Learn to live with nature means not learn to live with a nature where we have sandalwood sprayed inside the room, water purified, walls whitewashed-nature as it is here, now. This place is blissful. It was pouring cats and dogs, wasn't it? I didn't see anybody miserable or frightened. Normally you would have rushed to get out of this place. There would have been rumours of some dam breaking, flooding in Tiruppur; the God in the heavens being angry, etcetera. But serenity prevailed; we had a good meditation, we were all comfortable in the most uncomfortable possible circumstances. How and why? Because our consciousness was diverted elsewhere. So the secret of comfort, of happiness, is in utilizing our consciousnesses in the right purposeful way. That is what we learn here. Think of happiness and I am happy. Think of sorrow and I am miserable. I can be miserable without any need for misery.
You know, my father used to tell the story of his very close friend, an astrologer, who predicted that he [the astrologer] was going to have a son in a particular month. And the son was born. When the son was born he cast his horoscope and told my father, "He is going to die within a year." And the child did die. Was it because of astrology or because the parents neglected their child, knowing that it was going to die? Which was the cause? So you see, this sort of thing is dangerous. Or like the parents of a great soul-I think he was called Markandeya-who was destined to live sixteen years because the parents chose such a child. They did tapasya [penance] because they were childless even at the age of seventy or eighty. Lord Shiva blessed them and said, "You can have a child which will live hundreds of years, give you a lot of happiness-ordinary child, long-lived. But you can also have a divine child, full of divine wisdom, destined to go to the Upper Worlds, living only sixteen years." Wisely they chose, but later on as the child became older and older, they were sinking deeper and deeper into misery. "Oh, only fifteen years left." "Oh, only fourteen years left." "Oh, only twelve years left." You see how much misery we buy for ourselves, thinking of the future.
Sahaj Marg says, "Don't think of the future. Do something about the future now." What is it that we can do? Become immortal whilst we are still mortals. Bajpaiji was waxing eloquent about a long life. You know, really speaking, as philosophers have said, great people have said, a person begins to die on the day he is born or she is born. That is when death begins. And we say "But life has begun!" What an untruth, what a lie! What a strange way of palliating ourselves with lies that we tell to ourselves. I do not know whether it is true, but I am told that Muslims weep when a child is born, because a divine soul from a divine realm has been brought into this sordid world of ours, stupid, full of misery. And Hindus dance with joy. It is as if we are happy when our father is sent to jail, and miserable when he's let out. You see how much foolishness there is in our thinking, in our way of living.
Life is always limited. Existence is eternal. We are all eternal in our existence. But when we blow a balloon, and tie it, that poor air which is encapsulated in that balloon is a prisoner of that balloon. Children are happy. And when the balloon bursts and the air is liberated, the children are miserable. So, a proper understanding of life and death is necessary. Life and death are phenomena in which existence is involved. Like a day means twenty-four hours-a day and a night. "No, no. I don't like the night, I hate the night. I am afraid of the night." You cannot have a day with only day- which means you are facing the sun all the time. You would roast to death in about three hours. So nature gives us this rotating sphere of ours so that we have day to work in and night to relax, recoup our health, energies, and face the next day again when we are facing the sun. Otherwise one half of the world would be blistered, the other half of the world would be frozen cold, in stiff, cold death.
Change is what makes life possible. Imagine a king with his coffers always full, with his women always loving, with him eternally potent-he would be miserable. "What is this life, Lord?" he will say. "Honey and whatever it is for breakfast; more honey and whatever it is for lunch; my beautiful queens around me all the time. I'm not even tired so that I can rest a little." Would such a man enjoy such a life?
So, beware of not liking change, because without change there is no progress. Without becoming, there is no being. Every phase of what we pass through in our sadhana is a step in our becoming into that being which at that stage is changeless, eternal. I pray that my Master would bless all of us with this progress, put us through the course, mercilessly if necessary.
You have seen movies of the Marines in the U.S., and how they are trained. They are almost killed. And if a man is about to die, the colonel comes and says, "Throw him out." There is no mercy. Where there is mercy, it is love misplaced. A judge can be merciful. But we seek mercy not because we are contrite or do not want to repeat what we have done before, but because we are afraid of punishment. If they say, "There is no punishment, do what you will. You have free will," who cares about God? Who cares about judges? Who cares about pain, pleasure?
So we have God to train us, we who are willing to be trained to go to Him, and we must suffer the rigours of an exact, exacting life of sadhana. Most of the world does not like to sit for sixty minutes in meditation. They hate the idea of cleaning because they say, "What? Why should I feel I am dirty?" Well, you don't bathe because you feel dirty. You don't look at yourself, evaluate your skin, "So many milligrams of dust-now I'll have a shower." If there is enough water, you are willing to stand under the shower for six hours like a buffalo under the rain. Isn't it? So what are you afraid of cleaning? It is like a child which does not want to go to the toilet because it will be excreting the ice cream and the cake that it ate the previous night. "No, no, mummy, I don't want to go to the toilet. I don't want to lose it." "Honey, you will die!"
So love demands, you see, that there are filters interposed in our inputs. Our senses are such filters. We are misusing them to permit anything and everything to go into our consciousness. We are misusing them because this is like a camera which is eternally open with its lens. What picture will it take? It has to be selective. Nature has given us a nervous system which can be overloaded-and if there is an overload, either there is unconsciousness or coma, possibly death. In today's life we are overloading our circuits all the time. Every sensory circuit is overloaded-touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision. They are always constantly overloaded. We are not fatigued because we work too much; we are fatigued because our sensory systems are so overloaded that they don't have time to recoup. And you don't ever manage to get enough sleep. More and more of sleep, less and less of refreshment in sleep, you wake up yawning, miserable-another day. But we don't take steps to put sensory filters in our input system because we love what we see. I love yellow, I love this, I love that, you see.
Therefore, it was nice of brother Bajpai to give you this definition of love from the Narad Bhakti Sutra. Love is subtle, love is also supposed to be secret because it is sacred. Love between two people or between God and His bhakta [devotee] is a sacred thing, not to be worn on one's sleeve, not to be ecstatic about in public, not to be exposed in Trafalgar Square or in Piccadilly. It is like the undercurrent in a river. We have forgotten those values of love. Today there is blandishment, there is vulgarization, open blandishment in the name of love, so-called. There is nothing to be ashamed of in love.
Love opened is like a bud of a flower pulled apart-the flower is destroyed. Nature must open the buds, not the monkey-like hands of a fool who thinks he can open a flower and get away with it. So beware of opening things which are not open. Remember the story of Pandora's Box. I'm sure all of you who have studied a little bit of Western literature know about it. You open the box and you let out all the evil in the world. So we need a lot of wisdom to be put into our heads which fortunately even today have retained their capacities to be wise, if that wisdom is given. Unfortunately, today's media, whether they are schools or television or movies or newspapers, only pander to your lower senses, selves, desires, tastes. Therefore you open a newspaper, it is full of rape and abduction and murder; movies are full of sex and violence; novels are nothing but trash. And they are more and more because the public demands more and more.
You know the security rating in the movies-rated 'PG-13', with parents cautioned for violence. So the parent is supposed to sit there and allow his children to view it?! And how is he going to restrain the input? And he is horrified when he sees the same child watching it alone. "No, no, I told you, you are never to watch it without me." "Yes, but Dad, what's the difference? With you or without you, I am seeing the same thing." Dad has no answer. In our countries we would beat the child. In your countries you would go and weep a little, pray in church, and allow the child to see 'PG-13' rated films, with parents warned for sexual content. So you see, they do the warning, they are happy. "We have put the warning on the movies; it is not our fault. No, no!" Whose fault is it? "Well, when we market it, we don't say you should buy it." Absolved! So the producer is absolved, the seller is absolved. The parent says, "Yes, but you know, the child can read. I sent him to school. But the child insists." Especially in the Western culture, which I'm sorry about, there is this increasing tendency to feel that the child must know and learn from its own experience, which means you have abandoned your sacred trust and relegated it to the classrooms and whatever else there is in the school. And then when something happens, you weep.
The family is the first place where training begins. Training starts from the cradle. But in modern culture, even in India, the so-called potty training has become more important than real training of an ethical and cultural nature. Potty training is 'important' because the child must not be allowed to dirty its clothes in a bus or in the plane. Culture, that is true culture-ability to control your bowels?! Isn't it? I don't know what you call this-whether it is shameful or shameless or beyond both. To be able not to respond to pressures from inside you, show the degree of pressure from inside-and if you are trained out of that, and if you expect your alimentary system to respond to hunger at eight o'clock and to toilet at twelve o'clock, you are sort of sealing up your system from all sensory possibilities, and one day you end up with colon cancer and things like that. People are irritated. A man finds himself in a board room at 9:30 a.m. The chairman is a privileged person-if he has to go to the toilet, he can say, "Harry, carry on. I'll be back in a minute." But the rest cannot. And they are holding it tight, they are getting irritated, everything goes wrong in the board meeting-wrong investments are made, wives are divorced-all because you could not go to the toilet when you needed to. Yes or no?
So Sahaj Marg says: Be natural. Sahaj Marg says: Respond. Allow your inner system to respond with the wisdom that God has given it. People come up to me and say, "Chari, clean me because I have horrible thoughts." I say, "But they are your thoughts. We didn't put them into your head." So you see, your inside you have to control. That is what Babuji calls character formation. Spiritual life He can give you. Spiritual progress is assured. The spiritual destination is eternal for all of us. Character formation is our individual responsibility. I recommend that to you.