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Transmission - The Vitality of Life
Inaugural Session, Scholarship Training Programme for India
My dear brother Alberto, dear sister Veronique Nouzille – you know, they are the pillars of our training establishment and, I daresay, without them there would be no training courses in Sahaj Marg. So please listen to what they say carefully, with respect, and try to implement whatever education we are trying to impart here.
I was, for a moment, indulging in self-pity that during my days with my Master, we did not have the benefit of such programmes. In fact, we had no verbal teaching at all – spoken. Babuji said: Do it and feel. Our education under my Master’s divine feet was very fundamental: Read the books; if you have any doubt, ask a prefect. Better still, he told me once confidentially, “Don’t ask your prefects because they don’t often know what they are speaking about. And the bigger difficulty is that to defend their own ego, they will give you some answer for the moment which, if God wills, could be right; if not, useless.” I am not saying this to denigrate the importance of prefects in our Mission because Babuji Maharaj has said the prefects are the arteries of the Mission. It is very correct and it is a wonderful institution which I think only our Mission has – this institution of prefects worldwide who take my Master’s teachings all over the world, but not the book learning or the scholastic part of it, but the ability to transmit. Like the arteries don’t transmit food, or drinks, or vitamins; they transmit blood. That is the function of the heart. Purification is done by the lungs, by a process known as osmosis. Carbon dioxide is taken out, oxygen is put in and the oxygenated blood goes through the system. Cleaning is [akin to] supplying oxygen.
So the vital element of teaching in Sahaj Marg is transmission. Believe me, transmission is a process of training, it is a process of giving you life – pranasya prana [life of life]. It is also a process of transmitting the guru’s grace and energy into us. It is, if I may use a medical parallel, like a blood transfusion. When my system has not enough blood, blood is taken from a donor, compatible with my own, and I receive blood. It is called a blood transfusion.
So for abhyasis, you must learn to understand that you can no longer depend on your own resources. “My blood” – it does not exist. If you have been a good abhyasi, the vitality in your body, élan vital as the French say, is his vitality, the guru’s vitality, because he has put it into your blood. What you understand of Sahaj Marg is again what he has imparted to us through this vehicle of transmission. He never spoke. He said it is not important, and speech is a corrupting influence because it depends on who the speaker is, it depends on what he says, it depends on you – how you understand it. Most people understand what they want to understand, not what it says.
So speech is a very, very, very poor medium of transmitting instruction, knowledge, education. But with increasing the need to know something about the system, Babuji Maharaj was quite, I won’t say sad, but he was not very happy with the idea that we have to print even books. He said the ancient rishis [seers] had no books. Under religious systems, of course, they had the mantras and the slokas [verses] which were given by transmission through the voice, but they did not understand the meaning. It only served to preserve it for future ages.
So you see, we must depend first and foremost on our transmission which we receive, either through a prefect or from the Master himself, believing that it contains everything that I need. It contains instruction, it contains knowledge, it contains life itself – the force of life, the vitality of life, that which sustains me – in a sense that is dharma [righteousness], which protects.
So, I don’t want to reduce the importance of these sessions; they are important, but important only in the third degree or the fourth degree. If you think you can learn something here by which you won’t need to receive transmission, it would be a very sad state of affairs, because it is like reading the newspaper and trying to find out the truth. No newspaper tells the truth; they only supposedly report events. What is the truth – you have to find out. It was called in Sanskrit, jijnaasa. How to find out the truth is through a process of reflection, of meditation. That is what we are doing here. So ‘what is the truth of the transmission’ means that again you have to sit in meditation and say, “Please, what is this transmission all about?” And you won’t hear it; you will feel it.
So Sahaj Marg abhyasis must learn not to depend on the spoken word, not to put their faith in the spoken and printed words, but to put faith in only one medium which links me to my Master – his transmission from his side and, if possible, the abhyasi’s love from his side for the Master. Which only means – which means what? It is a two-way function: the love of the abhyasi for the Master brings out his grace, his education, his instructions, his life itself as a sort of a divine echo from his heart to my heart. And his divine ability makes it possible for him to give that which nobody else can give to us.
So brothers and sisters, pay attention to what you listen; develop the ability to sift it to see what is valuable, what is necessary, and what can be rejected.
At one stage in my life when I was with Master in the USA, he said, “From today you are not to meditate for yourself.” I said, “I don’t understand.” He said, “Morning meditation is no more necessary for you, provided you give that time to me.” That means I had to give more sittings, which means also that there is a time when we receive, and there is a time when we give. Like the water tank on my roof only takes water to give it, not to retain it. If it retained it, it would stink. Similarly, when we have this capacity of giving what our Master gives us, it is like a river which is flowing, ever-pure water sustaining life itself. But if you try to dam it and keep it for yourself, it is useless. It is useless both to yourself and to everybody else.
So what we receive must flow through us to others. What love he gives us must flow through us as love for all of you. What education he gives to me through my transmission must again be distributed. The life that he gives in his transmission must again be distributed. It is as if one seed produces one plant which grows up into a tree and produces a million seeds. A tree which produces only one seed is useless. A tree which produces nothing is only fit for firewood.
So you are all here to learn, to absorb the vital part of what you will hear or discuss and find out for yourselves, and then your duty becomes that of a feeder: now you give. In our country, poor-feeding is supposed to be very good. In summer they have these water pots outside temples and the bazaars for distribution of water to thirsty people. All very good, but that only sustains physical life. There is a physical life, there is a mental (intellectual) life, and there is of course, the eternal life which we call the spiritual life. It is that life which we must sustain.
Physical life is subject to the law of samskaras, you cannot extend it. No rishi can extend it, no god can extend it. If you are destined to live x number of years, you will live. When you read the Puranas, or you have seen the Mahabharata, Ramayana, all these things, sages have died, gods have their end, avatars – finished. So life on earth in a physical (bhautik) body has limitations in space and in time. The spiritual life is eternal, neither bound by space nor by time. It transcends everything.
So when we participate in this wonderful, shall we say, voyage of Self-discovery – because essentially when we meditate, and we approach the goal, Babuji said, what you discover is not God but your Self, the Self being synonymous with the divine existence. So I pray to you that you will all have the wisdom to know what you are going to do here, what you have to do here, how you have to do it, and go back, not as better educated or wiser beings (of course, we need all that), but as spiritual people who will have the large heart that my Master had, which says, give, give, give.
Even in our normal life when a cow stops yielding milk, they say it is only fit for the butcher now. That which stops yielding is of no use. A tree which has passed its prime and cannot have any more fruit is cut down. Nature destroys everything that will not allow nature itself and its gifts to go on and on, eternally in time. If you participate in this process, in this chain of circumstance, in the chain of transmission, your life will be a spiritual life. By that I really mean that a spiritual life does not mean health, happiness and all these funny things; they are all dependent on samskaras. In a life of samskara, your health, the quantum of happiness that you will have, the amount of enjoyment and pleasure that you will experience, the length of your life, everything is fixed – inalterable. Nobody can alter it. What can be altered is the state of my mind, which says, “This is nothing. I am here for the nonce,” which means whatever it means, starting from zero (child dead at birth) to two hundred years perhaps. How long you have lived has no meaning at all.
Babuji Maharaj said, don’t try to add years to your life, add life to your years. Like you are digging canals and if there is no water, whether the canal is two kilometres long or two thousand kilometres long has no meaning [if there’s] no water. Do you follow? So the essential thing in water is water, not the canal. The canal is only a means of conveying water. Similarly, the essential thing in you is the eternal life. This temporal life which we call physical life here, which is full of dvandvas (opposites): pleasure and pain, health and sickness, riches and poverty – well, it is the fate of all. Whether you are a beggar or a king, a fool or a savant, a rishi or a sinner, it does not matter. In one of the episodes of the Mahabharat, you see Jamadagni the great rishi being murdered by four sons of the ruling king at that time. Great saint, but that was his end. Ravana was a great vedavith (master of all the knowledge of the Vedas), and yet what happened to him?
So, wisdom, wealth, happiness, power, strength, they are no guarantors that you will be happy or protected. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. So Babuji Maharaj says: Live simply and in tune with nature. Plants and animals and trees don’t seek protection. They live in tune with nature. They are wet when it rains. They are dry when it is hot. They eat when food is available; otherwise they just go to sleep and maybe even die in that sleep. Our lives have to become progressively more and more simple, more and more self-dependent, not dependent on the outside world, because as long as you are dependent on the outside world, we are slaves. Because when there is an inner and an outer, the inner wants the outer. We seek pleasures from outside, we seek wealth from outside, we seek knowledge from outside, and we suffer. When you understand that all this is within you, we are independent of the outer universe. Then comes the real life of Self-dependence, which progressively goes on to depend on some master, on nature, on god; and then your life is serene, not bound by circumstances outside yourself, which is bliss.
So I pray that this education which you will receive here will help you to achieve this – not to claim that you know Sahaj Marg better, because you will never know it better. Nobody can know what is Sahaj Marg. Nobody can know what is life. We are all living, we all see children being born. If you have been subject to death in your families, you would have seen cremation grounds. Yet, we do not know what is life. What is it that keeps this body active, laughing, crying, suffering, revengeful, patient, friendly, giving, taking? What is it that was there in this which has disappeared?
For your satisfaction, it was a question asked by a young boy called Nachiketas. His father was doing some yajna [religious rituals], he was a ritualist, and he was giving daan [charity] – “This daan I give to so and so. Go-daan [gifting of cows] I do to this fellow,” whatever it was. Nachiketas was impatient. He said, “Father, father, to whom are you giving me?” The son asked this several times. The father in a spirit of annoyance said, “I give you to death!” So this young fellow, probably eight years old, went to the kingdom of death. Lord Yama was absent. Nachiketas had to wait for three days. And when he finally arrived, he said, “I am sorry you had to wait. For each day of your waiting, I give you one boon (one varaprasadam). You can ask for it.”
So Nachiketas said, “May my father’s anger against me be removed.” “Done. Tathaastu. [May it be so.]” Then he wanted to know what was the true meaning of some ritualistic homa [sacrificial ritual]. “Granted!” – finished. Third, “What is it that lies beyond death?” And then Lord Yama says, “This is a thing which even the gods do not know, great sages do not know. In fact, nobody knows.” He says, “Then the more they do not know, the more I want to know it.” Yama just smiles and there the story ends. And in English literature, it says, it is a bourn [a destination] from which no man returns – Shakespeare, I think.
So even dying cannot teach us what is beyond death, because presumably we have all died, not once but hundreds of times, thousands of times. And what do we know about death? Had we learnt what is there after death, would we want to die again in this life? That is the wisdom that our Sahaj Marg system of meditation will impart to us, not through the brain, but through the heart, which is why we have to keep our heart always open, never shut. Remember that if you close the window because of mosquitoes, you are also hot inside and you cannot sleep. An open window means that anything comes in: maybe mosquitoes at night, flies in the day, also a cool breeze, vision of the sky with its stars, tranquillity – in tune with nature.
So most importantly this must tell you that it is not enough to keep your ears and eyes open; you must also keep your heart open. I pray that it may be so.