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Take Spirituality Seriously
11 July 2010, Silguri, India
Dear brothers and sisters,
One definition of yoga means skill in action (Yogah karmasu kaushalam). And we cannot just meditate and expect to be maharishis and divinised, unless you pay sufficient attention to bhautik kaaryas [worldly work] — what we are doing here — and master whatever we are doing. I am constrained to make this clarification because of this debacle of the microphone. Every fellow and any fellow cannot come and do it. You must learn first; you know, it is a simple thing to balance. Do you know how many microphones we have lost? I know because we pay for it. Not Silguri, not Kolkata, not Silchar, not Ahmedabad — the Mission pays. So please equip yourself first to do something before you do it.
I have just told our Secretary sahib, Mr Uma Shankarji, and others to listen to this, that when we have abhyasi training programs, this aspect of our material life should be stressed: even driving a car or a bicycle or cooking — try to do it simply, effectively and well. That is where yoga begins. If you look at the Ashtanga Yoga of Maharishi Patanjali, it starts with the root and ends up with the highest — eight steps (ashtanga). Of course our gurus have, in their mercy for human beings, removed most of the steps and we start with dhyana [meditation], but that does not mean we should continue to be ineffective useless ignorant Indians.
I have been watching over the last forty years in Sahaj Marg that as human beings we are not improving. What you are inside Master knows (your spiritual condition), but unless you are within as you are without . . . inside and outside must be balanced, thought and action must be balanced. Say what you mean and mean what you say. These are fundamental tenets of Sahaj Marg. You cannot get away with cheating people and telling lies and saying, “I am a good abhyasi. I have been in the Mission for twenty-two years.” All those twenty-two years are a waste, because perhaps you would have been a wonderful daaku [dacoit] had you stuck to that. Now you are neither that nor this.
I am afraid our prefects don't emphasize these fundamental requirements of an abhyasi. This is not a question of satyam vada, dharmam chara [speak the truth, be righteous], and all that Vedic ritual, where you have to say the truth, talk the truth. Here it is ‘say what you mean, mean what you say’. If you are doing business with your partner and you are going to cheat him, tell him from the day you sign the partnership deed, “Be prepared for the worst human behaviour from me, my friend. We start as friends; let us not end as enemies.” And if he says “Why? We have been friends for twenty years,” you say, “Human nature is human nature. Greed is greed. Only God knows how I shall behave when we have money. Will I give you your fair share? Or will I be even more fair and give you more than you deserve or is proper to you?” We should do these things. It is better to lie in the beginning by telling the truth than have . . . you know, I see business partnerships dissolving, brothers fighting brothers, brothers killing brothers. Where is Sahaj Marg? It is not enough to flaunt a badge and say “I am an abhyasi. [Here is my] ID card.” You understand? I am very sad to have to make these remarks because I have been now nearly forty-five years in this Mission and what Babuji said in those days I am still to say now.
There is a saying that the truth is what is said again and again. But I don’t want this truth that abhyasis (of Babuji’s times, of Lalaji’s times, and today, they are all supposed to be advancing on the path of spirituality), just satisfying themselves by coming for satsangh and saying, “Wonderful! Today’s satsangh was wonderful.” I don’t know whether they know what is wonderful. Have we ever experienced anything wonderful? Because every time when I say “That is all,” and I find eyes already open, it is as if they have been waiting for “That’s all.” It is impossible to open your eyes as soon as I say, “That’s all” unless you have been waiting for relief from this stupid thing called meditation. You understand? How can you get up like that?
You hear a good bhajan [devotional song] and you feel like listening to more — ten minutes more, fifteen minutes more. Aakarshana shakti you call it — attraction. It seems we are attracted more by the things of the senses (panchendriyas) than by the inner condition of peace, tranquillity, harmony that we experience in these satsanghs. Because we are not patient enough to see what it is that I am experiencing. We forget what Babuji Maharaj said: There must be an awareness of what is going on during meditation, but it should not become the awareness of the outer world. In effect we are trying to separate our inner Self from our outer self. Inner Self — the serene soul (atman), ever-observing. Its purpose is observation; its only function is observation. It should be able to observe now what this stupid body of mine is doing, what my senses are doing, what my mind is doing. We are not doing it.
Even today I heard a telephone ring somewhere, maybe not here, but I know people who put it on vibration mode so that it will not make a noise, so that I will not know what is happening. It vibrates and they open with one eye and look at the number so that they can answer immediately after satsangh. Their attention is focussed on their telephone — some silly appointment somewhere, some stupid transaction. Is this all we come here for, paying money, taking trouble, people from pahaad [the mountains] coming down paying a lot of money for the bus-charge? And, is this what I come here to see again and again and again in Silguri, in Timbuktu, in I don’t know, Ahmedabad, Allahabad? I can only say it makes me very, very sad to see people who don’t want to miss a business opportunity, losing the spiritual opportunity of every satsangh under one misguided notion that ‘Guruji karenge hamare liye’ — that he will do it for us. Of course, he is doing for us, but we are throwing it away. Are we retaining this condition? Will you be sad to go away from here? I am not sure, you see.
So, sisters and brothers: don’t waste your money and your time coming here if you are not serious about this. I know people come here because some friends are coming here. Friends are cancelling, he also cancels. “Nahin sahib, hamara group booking tha [No, Sir, we had a group booking] — one ticket.” Vahaan jaane ke liye to alag alag lena padega. [To go There you have to get tickets separately.] There is no friendship in spirituality. There is brotherhood.
Babuji Maharaj told me very soon after I joined the Mission — he said, “Parthasarathi, don’t worry about enemies. We know all about them. Beware of friends. Beware of friends! Khabardaar! Doston se door raho. Hum bigadte hain doston ke kaaran; bante hain dushmanon ke kaaran. [We are led astray by friends. Enemies make us.]” Because dushman [an enemy] keeps us alert, aware, prepared under all circumstances.
And who is our dushman in aadhyatmik life — in spiritual life? What we normally say is death. But that is not true. It is our desires which are our enemies, which divert us, make us deviate from the path. But the sadhana is neglected and the outer world continues to have its effect, whatever it may be, of that moment on us, and we are here boasting that I am an abhyasi for twenty years, for twenty-five years, forty years. In the terms of Babuji Maharaj, “Pata nahin yeh log kya karte rahe chaalis saal, ki ab tak yahin hain! [I don’t know what these people were doing for forty years that they are still here.]” Babuji Maharaj used to say, “Parthasarathi, this is worth thinking upon, you see, what they are doing for forty years, when one meditation, if properly done, should suffice?” One single meditation! As he put it beautifully, “Turn your head from here to here, and you are There.” But we are not able to do it. Why? Because we are not willing to do it. We are always thinking of our worldly problems, our worldly needs. “Kal ka khaana kahaan se aayega? — Where will my food for tomorrow come?” Arre, think of your today’s food. What is the authority, what is the guarantee that somebody will be alive for dinner today — or even for lunch? What is the guarantee?
So, every moment must be dedicated to that future which is eternal, and not for this future, which we do not know even whether it is going to last a second, or for years and years of a miserable existence. It is very sad to have to say these things. I had been hoping to give a good speech today. I don’t know what is the meaning of a ‘good speech’ but if you look at what is hitkaari — what is good for you — this is a good speech. I know many of you will go outside and say, “Same old story!” Remember, in Sahaj Marg, there is no idea at all of reward and punishment. God does not reward; God does not punish — God is. That is His condition. He says, “I Am.” What should we do? If God could speak to us, He would say, “You are my children, and you are wandering on the face of the earth again and again, lifetime after lifetime. Why? You know your home. Your original home is here. Should you not be in a hurry to get to Me, back to your old home, your original home?” Which is what Babuji calls our spiritual destination — going back home (ghar vaapas lautna). Should you not be in a hurry?
Now you come here, you are in a hurry to get back to wherever you have come from, and that is bothering you throughout your meditation. “Aaj kitni der lagegi? Bees minute ka hoga ya tees minute ki hogi pooja? Ya saab kabhi-kabhi paintalis minutes bhi. [How long will it take today? Will the meditation be for twenty minutes or thirty minutes? Sometimes it goes on for forty-five minutes.]” “Aaj ek ghanta poora lag gaya, kya karen? [Today it went on for an hour. What to do?]” Ye hamare bus ki baat nahin hai. [This is not under my control.] What Babuji Maharaj said, “You can begin; only He can end” — whether it is meditation, life, a train journey, a bus journey, anything. I begin and He ends, whether I am going to fall, whether I am going to fall dead, or whether I am going to make that the next beginning for the next ending. Remember, nothing is in our control, except ‘well begun’. If I can begin well from my side, for my part, I have done what I can and the rest is up to Him, as always.
So brothers and sisters, I request you — take spirituality seriously. This is not a tamasha [for fun], or a club, or a Sunday gathering, just to dil behalaave ke liye ya samay kaatne ke liye — it is not meant for your time pass, as we say in North India. Remember that of all the resources of nature, whether it is health, whether it is wealth, whether it is fame, prosperity, everything can be recovered but not time. Time cannot be recovered. That is why we are all, when we become old, regretting that I cannot get the time I wasted back now, because now I am wiser, I can live my life in a better way, in a more purposeful way; whereas the first fifty years of my life were wasted in looking for pleasure, in looking for prosperity, and achievement.
Let us not continue [to waste time] — whether you are young or old, it does not matter. And it is not a matter for despair that I may have only one day to live or fifty years to live, because spiritual destination can be reached, as Babuji Maharaj said, in just one proper meditation. Now try to find that one proper meditation every time you sit for meditation. Start with a prayer; not “O Master, thou art the real goal. We are . . .” this is like children’s rhymes, you know — they repeat without knowing what they are saying.
Make the desire your life’s desire, and say, “O Lord, let this be my last meditation” — not looking for death, but looking to achieve in that single meditation, a leap from here to that eternity which we call our original home, remembering that Babuji said that an abhyasi should have neither desire for life nor for death. Life does not end — bodily life ends. When we say that the soul is eternal, it means life is eternal. We are caught in this body. We have become enamoured of this body. We have become slaves of its desires, and those slaveries (plural) are guiding our lives.
Our wishes are putting bar to our advancement, nothing else. One single line in the prayer is enough: Lord, my wishes are putting bar to my advancement. Please put an end to this life which, minute after minute, day after day is thwarting me in the pursuit of my spiritual life. Take me into that life which is divine, eternal and never-ending.
Thank you very much.