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Soldiers of Spirituality
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Many activities will be conducted. SMRTI has been taken over by the [Sahaj Marg Spirituality] Foundation. So all the training activities will be conducted by the Foundation. The Foundation has also taken over responsibility for feeding of abhyasis in Tirupur, Ongole, Manapakkam, Hyderabad and Satkhol ashrams. All these five ashrams are free; abhyasis don't have to pay for food. Progressively, the Foundation will try to take over more and more ashrams, and therefore, as you have noticed, the donations are now going more into the Foundation than into the Mission. Similarly, we have a medical centre in Satkhol and also a dental centre, all free. In Manapakkam we are building one in the Ashram itself. It has been and it will continue to be free.
So the Foundation is there to cater to the, shall we say, humanitarian needs, educational needs, by providing free tuition to deserving children. The Foundation is already spending many lakhs of rupees on school fees and health care; medical bills are being paid by the Foundation. So the Foundation will take over the social responsibilities of the Mission.
And I am hoping that we will - like this land on Kanakpura Road yesterday, which we have bought (it is about 5.25 acres and the cost is about 52 lakhs of rupees) - we will be building a Retreat Centre. Retreat Centre means it is not an ashram like this. But there will be room for a maximum of a hundred people at a time in dormitories (there will be some rooms for permanent staff) who will undertake the training courses. And there will be a small meditation hall enough for a hundred people like in Satkhol. So there will be no weekly satsangh and things like that there. Strictly training. The idea is to have training courses run throughout the year - not three days and six days and one week - but one month at a time, twelve batches per year, starting from physical, mental, educational, moral and spiritual.
It will be a full one-month course because in the Mission you know, there has been too much talk especially in Karnataka. "Babuji Maharaj bad thar. Nee sumna kooth kolli." [Babuji Maharaj is coming. You just sit quietly.] I have heard this for the last twenty-five years, especially here. So that is not "abhyas". Abhyas means effort. Abhyas means dedicated regular systematic practice. Abhyas does not mean closing your eyes and sitting quietly and letting your mind wander. So all this must be corrected for the future, because as we get more and more abhyasis, there is inevitably a dilution of quality and that is not desirable.
So these training courses will, I hope, wake you up at four thirty in the morning, provide only cold water for bath - I am sorry I don't want to put nails on the floor [laughter] but if that is desirable, well why not, in special cases. So it will be a really you know, well structured, effective I hope, training scheme so that abhyasis will become real abhyasis, real seekers and not just coming and sitting here for half an hour pretending to meditate and complaining that I have been meditating for twelve days with no progress.
I have had complaints from abhyasis who started three weeks ago that they are not feeling anything, that they have not noticed any progress. You know, in Tamilnadu we have a saying, girls who don't get pregnant, they go around the arashamaram. (You know what is the arashamaram? The peepul tree.) And one girl went around nine times and felt her belly to see if she was pregnant. Neither pregnancy, nor spirituality, work that way. Hard work, dedicated work, systematic work, honest work. If you pretend you are meditating, it is only your fault - you are the loser.
So you see the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation has a big agenda of activities. The Mission will be purely spiritual, financed by or funded by the Foundation as we go along, so that they are relieved from 'Where will the money come from?' So that is in broad outline what the Foundation is for.
The first is here. We are hoping to get a donation of land just above Palghat up in the mountains at four thousand feet, a fifty-acre site has been promised to the Foundation. In Pune, there is a five-acre site also being donated to the Foundation. Like that, we will have to start with at least six or eight Retreat Centres in India. So that one batch of hundred at each Centre is eight hundred people per month. That is about, you can understand, nine thousand six hundred people a year, much more than we can do now. There will also be courses for prefects similarly rigid. It will be something like the training combining the army and the yoga, because without physical and social discipline, there is no proper yogic life.
In India we have been too used to the idea of sannyasis, you know, because they can do what they want, they can appear like ghosts, they don't have to be clean. In fact, I remember when I was travelling in South India, near Pazhani there is a place called Oddam Chatram. It was said that there were only four realised people in this country of ours and one was there, and I stopped to meet him. He lived only on tea and beedis. So devotees who came offered him packets of beedi and cups of tea. And he had the excellent reputation of not having bathed for twenty-five years. That is the sort of reputation that India and Indian yogis enjoy - one does not bathe at all, one does not eat at all, one does not go to the toilet at all - all great virtues in our tradition. And our people go to them and fall at their feet and give them their money, and pretend that we are spiritual. Same thing happens in our temples; same thing happens in our maths [monasteries] - no discipline. Because most of them want your money, and we are willing to give it there, where you don't get anything. "Just because Swamiji said so." And who is Swamiji? Because he wears yellow clothes, doesn't shave, doesn't wash his mouth, doesn't brush his teeth - because he is holy! His mouth smells sweet, yoga says so. His voice is sweet as the cuckoo and anything he does is right. That is our, what should I say - our sampradaya [tradition], our itihaasa [history], our Purana.
All these have to change. You know, Sahaj Marg is out to revolutionize your approach to divinity. Take divinity away from everywhere in the world, you know, from temples, from mosques, from churches and from maths, and put it here [points to the heart] where it really belongs.
So I think the time has now come to, sort of, select. When we have three grains of rice, you cannot do the shaladai [utensil used to separate the grain from the chaff] business. But if you have a bag of rice you start taking out the stones and the chaff. So we now have enough abhyasis to start playing with this cleaning process, really like the decoction of coffee.
So please be prepared for it; it is going to be tough, but we want soldiers of spirituality. You know, in one revolution in Europe, they were called "The Soldiers of God", but they were killers. We don't kill anybody. We only kill our own samskaras, our own bad habits, our own negative thinking. And, therefore, we emerge from within ourselves as divinised persons.
So Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation will play a very big role in the future of Sahaj Marg. And the two organisations, Shri Ram Chandra Mission and the Foundation, will do the work together and, I hope, establish a sane, healthy, spiritual society.
It starts with brushing your teeth in the morning. I am sorry to say that most people today have bad breath. They are not aware of it, they deny it if you tell them. If you tell your friend that you have bad breath, you are in danger of losing a friend. There is a very simple test - [blows into his hand] and smell it. You can smell your own breath. And ladies are no exceptions. Just because they powder their face and use perfume, it does not mean they do not have bad breath. There are as many women with bad breath as men. Please apply this test and clean yourself up, because when some people come near me and sit, I get nauseated. And when I turn away they get upset. They say, "Sir, every time I come to you, why do you turn away?" Now I cannot tell them because I may lose an abhyasi. You know I shouldn't say this in public but very often I don't know how husbands and wives can sleep together in the same bed with such bad breath between them. This is not a matter of joke. It comes out of bad eating habits, bad oral hygiene, and not using tongue cleaners. I know a friend to whom it was suggested and he denied that he has bad breath. He said he had never needed a tongue cleaner and he would take it as an insult if it was presented to him. It costs a few rupees.
So, you see, that is where it starts. And be prepared for it because this is going to be rigorous discipline, strict discipline. Prefects are no exception, office bearers are no exception, nobody is an exception.
So I hope you will donate well to the Foundation because it is a big program of work. The idea is not to make the Foundation rich, but to relieve the Shri Ram Chandra Mission of so many of its current expenses. And the Foundation is better equipped to deal with all these things.
Now today we have the election, so I hope all of you will go and vote. I hope you will vote sensibly, because no government will be good unless you vote properly. If you are going to vote on the basis of caste, or language, or religion, you are damn fools! And you don't deserve to be in Sahaj Marg. In Sahaj Marg we vote only for God and people who are godly and who will do godly work. Look for such people, vote for them. Forget your Kannadigas or Tamilians or Telugus or Naidus or anything. Human beings want good government, and good government you have to elect.
So that is the message for the day. Thank you very much.