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Taking Responsibility for Ourselves
The translation of a talk given partly in Hindi 8th December 2006, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Dear brothers and sisters,
You all know I’m very happy to come to Hyderabad—one of the centres where I like to be, really. I am also happy to say that this time I find a little more discipline than on previous occasions.
You know, when a river flows within the banks, it is safe. Even when it moves one foot, there is danger. The problem with you all is when you are on the road, you are all very disciplined. But the moment you see me you come one foot, two feet, three feet and—that must stop. I said that must stop. Okay?
Otherwise, this is like a little bit of heaven you know—nice, well built, good food, nice place for satsangh, meditation, well-administered centre, lot of cooperation. This is not like Uttar Pradesh. I’d like to say it because some of our abhyasis are here from Uttar Pradesh. There also there is a lot of love, but there is zero discipline. Here, I’m happy to say that over the years we have come to fifty percent discipline—which is good, you know. But I wish to see at least ninety percent discipline. There cannot be hundred percent, I recognize, because I should come for satsangh, [but if] I become a little ill, I don’t come for satsangh myself. So you would have the right to say, “What sort of fellow is here? He comes to Hyderabad but doesn’t conduct satsangh.” But you know, I do my work wherever I am. I can do my work for Hyderabad from Madras, I can do my Madras work from here. But you have to be physically present here, therefore you must be disciplined—properly seated, less noise.
I don’t know why so many of you are coughing so much. Surely it is not that cold. Of course it’s always surprising that local people feel everything more than outsiders. I go to Delhi, I find everybody in woollen jacket, topi [cap] and what not, you know—and I go like this—because you think, “I am in Delhi, it must be cold.” There is also some ego associated, you see. “Delhi is very cold, sir. Aligarh is very cold. Moradabad is very cold, even colder.” And then when you say it is very cold, they will say, “Sir, you would not have experienced such cold until now. Stay ten days longer.”
You know, when a son passes very well—gets hundred percent mark in everything—the father will say, "I don’t know when this fellow studies. I don’t see him study, but you know, he comes first every time.” One side of ego. The other side is if the boy fails: "Aiyyo paavam [Poor fellow]. You know, all night he studies. You see what has happened. Corruption, sir, corruption in education, corruption everywhere." So if my son does well, he is a genius; if my son does unwell, or badly, schools are corrupt. No? This is modern thinking. We don’t want to take responsibility for ourselves, at all. And when you go to the office and somebody says, "Sir, your son has failed?” “No, no, no, please don’t ask. I’m not ashamed, I’m annoyed, I’m angry. Corrupt government, corrupt education. Poor fellow, night and day he was studying. His mother was also awake. And of course I’m always worrying, you know. My son...” “Oh, corruption?” So they are happy.
We in India must learn to take responsibility for ourselves, upon ourselves. I have seen so many cities all over the world. You don’t find people spitting and throwing rubbish. In India we believe our government will clean. “The government does not do anything, sir. They only collect taxes.” “Where does the tax money go?” “It goes into some people’s pockets.” Then why don’t you people take responsibility for one road? Firstly, do not throw rubbish on the street. Here it is almost religious that the trash from the house must be thrown out. The women sweep the house, then throw the trash at the neighbour’s front door, not their own.
There is a story about a very poor family. Every day all they ate was dry bread. One day there was a religious festival, and they wanted to show off that they also eat mutton and biryani and all. So they bought food for two rupees and threw it outside. They did not eat it, but just to show people that we have so much food to eat in our house that we even throw out two rupees worth of food. This is called ostentation, arrogance, deceit. Do you all understand?
So we are more involved in thinking what others think about us, but we never think of what I should think of myself. We must think: what am I? What do I have that I am so arrogant? I talk nonsense, I tell lies—why? “No, no, sir. For the last seven generations my family members have been like ministers.” “What do you mean, ‘like ministers’? Were they ministers or not?” “Yes, yes, you can assume they were. They lacked nothing. We had a horse-drawn carriage, a coachman. My mother’s hands never got wet [doing domestic chores].” “How is that possible? She bathed, didn’t she?”
So we are all living in the past. We are living in false pride, false virtues, dirty lives, buying good things and throwing bad things out. Whereas in God’s language: give more than you receive; give more cleanliness than you find when you come into this world; less noise—don’t pollute the universe with your noise; love everybody, don’t hate anybody. As my Guru Maharaj said, religions have no God, God has no religion. But today you see [in] all the world there is only fighting, fighting, fighting, fighting. "Kill—first," you see. Why should we do it? Each one has his own private religion. You know, even money-making is a religion. Somebody worships money; so what whether he is a Hindu or musalmaan [Muslim] or isaai [Christian], his God is really money. “Whom do you worship?” “Sir, I don’t say this to anyone but I am attached to gold, and people say that to get gold I need Goddess Lakshmi’s grace. So I worship Lakshmi.” “Have you seen Lakshmi?” “Nobody would have seen, sir.” “Then why do you do it?” “My wife says that if I don’t, how will I pay the children’s school fees tomorrow?” Isn’t it?
Some people believe that what they say is righteous. “I say so.” “So you know everything?” “I am not so arrogant as to say that but… you could assume so. If it weren’t so, why would people come to me?” You see, Indian life—it doesn’t matter what religion we belong to, rich or poor, because the rich are as culpable in keeping the cities dirty as the poor. The poor at least have no money. But the rich, they have to throw their cigarettes out of their cars, they have to throw their potato wafers out of the car, after their picnic they have to throw everything on the ground, but their cars must be clean. “No water in Hyderabad, water problem, but my car must be washed with two-hundred litres of water! No water in Hyderabad and summer, but my lawn must be watered because I’m a rich man.”
So this is how we live. We create misery, we create poverty, we create hunger. How do we create poverty? By wasting things. How do we create hunger? By buying more bread and butter and all that, when I don’t need it—by buying and throwing it. “No, no, why don’t you give it to those poor people?” “Sir, if I give today, they will come again tomorrow. I cannot give.” “But whose job is it? You have more than you need.” “No, sir. Giving people food and drink is God’s work. It is not my responsibility. I have a wife and four children. That is enough for me.” “Yet you waste so much?” “It happens like that, sir. We will try not to waste.”
So, we are being immoral without being immoral, we are liars without being untruthful, because everything we say is for pride, personal pride, to look well in the eyes of the others. And among Hindus, one of the greatest compliments: "Oh, he goes to the temple every day, sir." Ask them what they do there—whether they pray or they go there to eye beautiful girls. They mainly go for that reason. “What did you see?” “Nothing much, sir. Today we did not enjoy the prayer.” “So you expect enjoyment in prayer?”
Same thing here. “Meditation? It was not as enjoyable as that sitting you gave three years ago in Gulbarga or somewhere.” “Oh, you remember so much?” “How is it possible that you give and I do not remember?” You see, lies even in that. Since they cannot tell the truth, they tell a lie. “Tell me about yourself.” “Sir, I do not want to brag but my family has been well-endowed for the last seven generations and more.” “And what do you do?” “No, leave it, sir. Today’s world is very corrupt. Those who should not be wealthy, are wealthy.” Do you understand?
So, I want that we should become honest first—honest with ourselves. Don't worry about what the world says. World will say so many things. We are not concerned. Until you can look at your face in the mirror and not feel guilty looking at yourself, not afraid of looking at yourself, you are not clean, you are not honest. I pray that by God's grace, you will all become like that, through whatever we are trying to do here.