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Oceania Seminar, 21 December 2011, Manapakkam, Chennai, India

You have all seen me, and as the English proverb goes, seeing is believing! So now you all must know that I cannot travel that far. I would have loved to travel. One of my ambitions or childish desires was to drive around Australia, right along the coast, right around that enormous continent. But I only got as far as Perth and we did some fifty miles. So we have a lot of childish dreams which we don’t expect to be fulfilled. And then we have youthful dreams of romance, love, good jobs, a lot of money, holidays – all pleasure oriented. And only after we are about a wife and two or three children into life, we are faced with serious issues of life, really serious issues.

I think the Mission in Australia is something like that now. With the coming of the Bringelly ashram, we are faced with the hard realities of having created something, to maintain it, to use it properly, to pay taxes – all that goes with property. One of my regrets will be that I may not be able to see the Bringelly ashram, but who knows? We keep faith in possibilities, and I also have faith in possibilities because these guys are tempting me to go to Singapore and take the A380 flight. [laughs] And I have somebody sitting with me all the time, Satbir Bakshi, who is aching to travel by A380! Almost every morning he is reminding me, either I should go from Sydney to Singapore and vice versa or he proposes something even more astonishing: Dubai to New York. I wouldn’t be surprised if he discovers a flight from Dubai to Fiji around a circular route! Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how much I would love to be with you all in your country, and also to go to New Zealand where I had a lot of fun visiting the sites where Lord of the Rings was filmed. There was a faint hope that I would go to South Island to see places there where Gollum was more active! But anyway, all that is in the past.

What I would now have to suggest is… you know, I don’t like the word sacrifice. I don’t think I have ever made any sacrifice in life. I mean, giving up childish hopes and aspirations, they are not sacrifices. They are coming into the world of reality from the world of unreality, from fantasies and fiction to reality, to hard life. In my hard life I don’t know what sacrifices I have made. I have enjoyed my spiritual life; my relationship with Sahaj Marg is something like a love affair. I don’t want it ever to end and that’s the promise in Sahaj Marg that I like – towards Infinity; there is no end. Some people are balked when they hear this: endless journeys? Well, it is only a small mind which says I will go from Perth to Sydney. Isn’t it? Or from Sydney to Bringelly – even shorter. I like enormous travels, and Sahaj Marg promises just that. And fortunately, if you go into the philosophy of Sahaj Marg, study its practice properly, you know that everything you have to do is compressed into this short life, the terrestrial life as a human being. It’s nothing, I mean, if you compare it to eternity, the forty or fifty or sixty years as an abhyasi, what is it worth? It is like my walking on the floor and saying the soles of my feet are getting sort of worn out. The soles of my feet in comparison to my six feet – what is it? And that over eighty years.

So you see, we don’t need courage; we need hope, we need faith. Whenever I hear the words courage and sacrifice mentioned I am a bit upset because we are unknowingly, ignorantly, presenting the wrong side of Sahaj Marg. It is like not using our metal coin because it gets worn out passing from hand to hand. It is not my concern; that’s the government’s concern. Isn’t it? We don’t want to hoard that coin in a tin box and put it under the root of a tree. We want to use it, and in using it if it gets worn out, it is none of my business. So similarly, the soles of my feet, I have nothing to do with them. The soul here [points to heart] is what I have to do something with, and it is unfortunate that this soul which is sort of imprisoned in my heart could have had a free, happy, productive life, had it not been enshrouded in partial darkness created by our samskaras, which are created by our desires, our fears, our actions and our thoughts. You see, we have entrapped the soul. The poor soul has come into being, has taken on an incarnation as Babuji keeps repeating again and again in his messages, planning to have this one single mortal life on earth as a human being as its last, and had we but stuck to that program that the soul in its wisdom made, we would not have to live a second human life. But when we come here the body takes over. Its insistent demands, desires, lusts, avarices, hates, prejudices – it keeps the poor soul languishing. It is like all those stories about the ivory tower on top of which the pretty girl is imprisoned: no stairs, no hope.

I am not doing anything wonderful when I participate in the spiritual endeavour, this glorious adventure when I say, “Open and escape!” It will be a real escape of the soul of each one of us if we are able to do this, and the soul will be so pleased, so happy that perchance it will bless the flesh and say, “If anybody else incarnates in your flesh, let that soul have an easier time than I had here.” You see, you are imprisoning yourself. Everywhere else we have this problem of being imprisoned by others, entrapped by situations. Isn’t it? But in this situation of a human being, in this one incarnation which should be very short, very sweet, and just a transit job, like twenty minutes at an airport, we have foolishly enslaved our soul which is the master of our existence, and the body has taken on the role of the master. So we have to do a fourth dimension trick. In the fourth dimension or the fifth dimension, it should be possible to pull a ball out of shape and open it out into itself without cutting it. We can do that with a glove but that is not a ball. My soul in my body is something like that. I have to bring my body inside out to bring the soul out and then the soul says, “Bye-bye, may you be blessed.”

We have to deal with the material life very wisely – wisely, not in the Greek sense which unfortunately dominates the entire western philosophies, psychologies, way of how to live. It is Greek culture which dominates especially the occidental life, the pleasure, knowledge. None of these things we require. We don’t require pleasure; we don’t require knowledge. Knowledge of what? For what? We don’t have the knowledge which we need. We have seen movies of jail breaking, Sean Connery, beautiful, coming out of those famous prisons of the West – impregnable. But this simple thing which our science of yoga in India says can be achieved so easily – as Babuji Maharaj says, turn your head from here to here and there you are. Because here there is no physical opening, there is no physical release, there are no physical endeavours. “Sit quietly, comfortably, so that you are not disturbed by the body; meditate for an hour.” Isn’t it? This we are not able to do. We say we have no time. Prefects say, “I cannot give more than one sitting a day,” because if it is the lady, the husband doesn’t want it; and if it is the husband who is a prefect, the wife doesn’t want it. He or she says to each other, you are not giving me enough time. To work as a prefect is a commitment to yourself. Every time you work on somebody else, remember, you are also working on yourself.

At one stage in my career in spirituality, when we were in I think Cleveland, Ohio, Babuji Maharaj one morning said, “Now you don’t have to meditate at all. But the time that you save must be given to my work.” I said, “I am already giving you so much as a preceptor. I am giving some days twenty-four sittings.” He said, “Yes, but this time too must be added now. What you would do during meditation, cleaning, et cetera, maybe another one-and-a-half hours, that too comes to me.” I said, “Of course. What else will I do with it?”

So, you see, he was a demanding master but it takes time to realise that he demands more and more from you, for you, not for somebody else. If I tell one prefect, “Give John Smith three sittings a day,” John Smith will of course benefit, but you will benefit more because you are doing selfless service. And every time you do an act of selflessness, you involve yourself in an act of selflessness, totally selfless, you go up ten rungs in the ladder of, shall we say, eternity. We don’t realise how much we are able to help ourselves by these petty things like talking to somebody lovingly, sharing somebody’s pain. We are happy to share in everybody’s pleasure. “One more for the road?” “Why not?” One more for the road is one more for the grave, remember. One more for him? Give it.

You know, that old story of a school girl who was going back home and she saw an old man digging a hole to plant a mango seed. She said, “Grandfather, grandfather, why are you planting the seed? You will never eat its fruit.” He said, “My dear, but you will.” We must realise how much we are living on what our forefathers created. When it comes to politics, we are able to talk very feelingly about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela. What did they do for us really? They fought enormous wars, killed thousands and hundred thousands of people and established an independence I don’t know for what.

Throughout the history of human beings we have been partitioning this world into smaller and smaller bits, creating more nations, more states – more independent. And [yet] unfortunately, dependent on each other, which we forget, which we do not wish to acknowledge, because my independence (I am talking of the political arena) must not be dependent on somebody else. And this we flaunt on our New Years’ and our Independence days. Stupid! And we fool ourselves by saying I am Australian, I am British, I am negro, I am white, I am Mexican, and thinking I am great. We are all two-legged bipeds struggling for life, doing the same thing, scratching the same earth, earning the same stupid copper and silver coins, languishing for love, struggling with families, breaking our hearts. Can any of you tell me that this is different from country to country? Then what are we boasting about?

This is time to drop all ideas of nationality, of colour, of race, of creed, and understand that we are all the same having the same problems, the same desires, the same needs and the same aspiration to be free of all this. This intelligence, this wisdom, in fact, if it comes to us, we can take the first step towards spirituality. That is what we mean when we say give up all prejudice. The prejudice is in the fact that the Australian thinks less of the New Zealander, and the New Zealander perhaps thinks the same thing about Australia. “A huge chunk of a continent with nothing in the centre of it.” Isn’t it? Seventy thousand miles of coastline with nothing inside. An amoeba is better, because it can divide in two without your help. Isn’t it? A lizard is better; you cut off its tail, it will grow another tail. What will you do if somebody cuts off a finger? You are going to be fingerless all your life. And when your heart breaks, which cardiologist is going to revive it? Isn’t it? So please learn to be broadminded, give up all these fancy illusions of separate indulgences, of separate prosperities in which other people should not interfere. “By bringing in other people, we will lose our affluence, our standards of living.”

You will be surprised if you were to read certain sayings of the pygmies, that they were afraid the white man would rob them of their way of life! They are able to sleep on the sand of the desert. Their only possession is an ostrich egg to hold water and they know where to find water. They just dig, put in a straw, and suck it out and fill up their ostrich eggs. They are called sip wells. And we with all our geology and our satellite finding centres, space-oriented, from there we want to find out what is here. We dig and we dig and we dig.

Kamlesh Patel was referring to a million holes in the earth, one metre deep each – because we have no patience. We don’t want to go deeper and deeper to find water eventually there. Similarly, we don’t want to penetrate into the heart of those whom we love. “Superficial heart. Nah, I don’t like. She has no heart,” or “He has no heart – heartless!” Why? “Because I made soup this evening and he said he didn’t like it. He wanted it as his mama makes it.” So, how difficult is it to change your soup to keep a heart? So we lose out. Every time we lose a friend we have lost a part of our life.

I used to be in Yugoslavia and there they say every time you part, it is a little death. How much more among loved ones? Every parting should be a bigger and bigger death. And we are freely willing to part. In some societies I have found, their baggage is packed. Why is it packed? “Oh, I may come in the evening and I might not find my wife at home or I may have to leave.” And they call this a marriage! I would just call it a registered meeting – not a marriage at all. Licence to mate once or three times or thirty times and then separate. What are today’s marriages? If this is all you can do with yourselves amongst yourselves, what are you going to do with Him?

So you see, it is a very profound problem – very easy but very profound. It is like that Rubik’s cube, which adults were struggling with for eight hours, twenty hours, forty hours without solving, and a child, like that guy there, could solve in forty seconds. It requires genius of a special type to use the heart for what it was meant for – as a holy receptacle for a soul that has come into it, whose doors are open and from where the soul can be liberated at any time of its choice. That is what the heart should be. Now, it is not only a prison for my soul, it is a prison for myself; my whole self is imprisoned in my heart when you have or when you indulge in foolish loves and escapades. Isn’t it? All right – you want to imprison, do it.

As Babuji said, “Never lie to yourself.” Because if you start lying to yourself, you don’t know what is a lie and what is the truth. And when my heart becomes my own prison, that is where people commit suicide or destroy civilisations, countries, cultures, libraries. It is possible that an individual does it because his heart is his prison; it is possible that a whole culture does it because that whole culture is imprisoned in its lies, in its foolishness and its violence. And it is possible that the whole globe is doing it too. Today, when we have got this fantastical thing that is called globalisation, where all that is being spread around the globe is – what? More and more misery, more and more poverty. Rich becoming richer; poor becoming poorer.

So you see, it is a big problem for all of us because we have permitted the world to come to this level by extolling or praising for patriotism merely political and army leaders, and forgetting the wise men who brought some light into this world, who are still struggling to keep it alight, who perhaps in some societies they are trying very hard to exterminate. So let us beware of these things, my brothers and sisters. Let us learn to be wise. Wisdom means giving up all differences. Philosophy is everybody’s; God is everybody’s; the way to God is everybody’s. I pray for you all. Thank you.