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The Beauty of Meditation
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Suppose you are a krishak [agriculturist], you don't take one kilo of seeds and put it in one hole. Isn't it? So you throw seeds-it is called 'broadcasting' in English. The sower goes and broadcasts his seeds. Everywhere there must be seeding; then you get a big crop. But if you dig one hole, and you are idle and you say, "Ten kilos-best seeds, sir!" you will get only one [laughs].
So we have to speak knowing the occasion, the place, and the people in front. Who am I speaking to? There is no use in speaking like a gramophone record, you know, like Lata Mangeshkar-wherever you put that record, it is the same music. People may enjoy, people may not enjoy, but the music has no meaning. No? Suppose there are a group of sannyasis-serious people who have renounced the world-and there you play Lata Mangeshkar-"Hum pyaar me jalne waalon ko, chein kahaan aaraam kahaan" [song lyrics], "Shiva Shiva!" they will say. That is why when Vishwamitra was doing tapasya [penance], all four divine maidens were sent from devalokam [abode of the gods]. People normally don't know, but all four came. Not only Menaka-Menaka was last. Rambha came, Urvashi came, Tilottama came. When all three failed, then came Menaka. So it took four divine ladies to break his tapasya.
And here, I am told, you know, people are meditating and they suddenly hear a noise and they look. [laughter] What sort of tapasya is this? When you sit in meditation, you must go deep; and when you go deep, nothing must awaken you. That is real meditation. And what is the great beauty of meditation? In the Gita, Lord Krishna says, "Dhyanaath karma phala tyaagam." It does not take you to heaven. If anybody says, you meditate and you go to heaven or brighter world, it is not correct. By dhyana, karma phala tyaagam-my karma phala [fruit of actions] is all washed away, and because I have no karma phala left in me, I have no punarjanma [rebirth].
So this we have to understand. You have to read the Gita properly. We all call ourselves Hindus, we all quote scriptures, we all say we are bhaktas [devotees]; we are idol worshippers, roopa worshippers, naamaa worshippers [worshippers of form and name]. Where is the Gita in us? Of course there is a Gita Nursing Home here, you see. [laughter] So we have to know what our religion says first, if you are religious. Spirituality fortunately makes it easy for me. I don't have to understand what religion is; I don't have to know what spirituality is; I don't know what is heaven, what is hell-all unnecessary. What is important? As our brother told you, "Satsangh with the Master, love for the Master, obedience of the Master"-only three things. Get Him, follow Him, do what He says. If He says, "Sit"-you sit. If He says, "Meditate"-you meditate. If He says, "Stop"-you stop. "No, no, sir, only you told me to meditate; now you are saying stop. What sort of guru have I got? One minute he says, 'Meditate', one minute he says, 'Stop'. Another minute he says, 'You stand there and do volunteer work.' All are meditating and I am standing there. All are eating, I am cooking." Where is the obedience?
Obedience is really tested when you are asked to do something you don't want to do. Suppose I tell my students, these beautiful girls, "Go to the cinema; no meditation today," they will say, "What a wonderful guru we have," and they will take me with them, you see [laughter]. So the guru's biggest danger is his disciples-because instead of making them like himself, he will become like them. [Laughter] Therefore in Shastra it is said, you must avoid or not get too close to three things: children, women, and what else? I don't know, I've forgotten; it is not necessary, these two are enough!
I know people who don't meditate because they have to look after the children. Children have a place in life. You know, cows and horses in the jungles-even when they are running the calves are born. Within two minutes that calf has to stand on its legs and run with the mother, otherwise it is dead. There are wolves, there are tigers, there are lions. "Annam na nindyaath," [don't abuse the food] says the Upanishad. So they don't do ninda [criticism]; they eat within two minutes. And our children, they take at least five or six years to be able to manage for themselves. Why is the human being born so dependent? Without the mother it cannot exist, because the mother has to feed it. There the calf or the baby deer instinctively knows where the milk is. It goes to the milk. But here the milk has to go to the baby.
So the human being has been created very funny, you know. I wonder what God was thinking of when he made human beings. At the same time you are the weakest, stupidest of creation. And you are praised as the highest evolution, as my friend said. I think God created human beings as an example to the rest of creation. "See, I can make the most stupid, weakest idiot in creation who is born absolutely dependent-absolutely. Because if that baby is left alone, it will not last three minutes. And yet he can become like Me-Myself." This is humanity.
Human beings can be utterly stupid, utterly sinful, and they can be utterly intelligent, wise and divine. In this transition from this to that, what is it that plays its part? Gu-ru [laughs]. It is like saying, ah na, annam. Sanskrit is a nice language you see, but I don't like it. Because they indulge in all sorts of peculiar divisions. Bha-rya-what is bharya [wife]? One who is heavy to bear! I mean we can create so many meanings, you know, if you have an imagination. If you read Panini Sutra, he starts with a, a, a, a, a, a, a-and all the a's have different meanings.
I mean when a donkey brays maybe the female donkey understands it, but we don't know. So similarly Sanskrit is for people who know Sanskrit. Leave it alone. What plays its part, is three things: I must respect my dependence and promote it further by becoming more and more dependent, not on myself or my family or my society, which can only protect my life, but on Him who made me like this and who can make me like That. I have to continue to be dependent. Because, for Westerners especially, dependency is something of an insult. "I am dependent? Look at me! We have conquered the world, we have created satellites, we have created computers, we have created atom bombs, missiles. Name it, we have done it," says the Westerner, the white man and his white intellect. It is all destructive. First thing is-your ego destroys you. Then your creation destroys the rest of the world. What is it that will really promote harmony and love in this world? Humility. In the Bible it says, "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." But you see, Mr. Bush wants to take vengeance on Iraq. You are here to wreak vengeance on people who don't know English, to whom you cannot speak? But what you sold to them they are using against you. Iraq was armed by the British and by the Americans. Everybody knows this is a matter of fact; everybody knows there was nothing there. There were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Now Bush is blaming the CIA. Blair, the Prime Minister of England is saying, "My intelligence agencies failed."
What do we say? "Sir, my thinking failed. I did not think properly, sir. I was tempted, sir." How can my thinking fail? Thinking says, "Don't do it." Desire says, "Do it." Now desire is not thinking. A friend says, "Come let us have a glass [of alcohol]." This is how schoolboys are spoilt, you know. They say, "You don't have any spunk in you. Look, I am taking it." Poor fellow! Because he wants to be well thought of by his classmates, he starts drinking. His friends are able to manage to swim across the river, this fellow drowns. You know, every year boys from college are drowned because they are going to Bhadravathi [a river] or somewhere. Three boys know to swim and they are in the river. Two don't know to swim. They taunt them. "You call yourself a man? Come yaar," and the fool jumps. And because he is a fool he is drowned. Every year this happens. "Can you lift this man?" "Yes, I can." You lift him and you break your back. Prove to yourself that, "I was born a weak, stupid creation, worse than animals, worse than birds, and yet I have become This," then creation will bow before you.
You know, it is said that when Buddha goes, everything in creation bows before him. They don't know what he is. Ants bow before him, elephants bow before him and devas [the gods] bow before him. Why? Because they know that you could not run as fast a deer, you could not hear what a dog can hear, you could not see what an eagle can see-and yet you are superior to all that. Through what? Not sharira bala [physical strength] but manobala [mental strength]. Meditation teaches you how to use your manobala for your own evolution, from the cheapest, stupidest and laziest thing in creation to that which, according to my friend Lord Krishna, works all twenty-four hours of the day. But in between if you want to stop working and take rest, you cannot be Lord Krishna.
You get married-all these girls are going to get married. You need to cook morning breakfast, then afternoon lunch and night dinner. One husband and three meals every day. [laughter] So, you see, there is no rest in life. Life was not intended for resting. Any doctor can tell you that the thing which starts acting when you are born, even during pregnancy and which stops only at death is your heart. Now we are feeding our stomachs. We are very much concerned for our stomach-it is a useless organ. It demands more and more. It wants sweets, buttermilk and things like that, and to that we are pampering. We want jilebi, we want this and we want that. But the heart which is working for you, in you, we are neglecting totally. Everything that we do, we are doing against the heart. Smoking we should not do, it is against the heart. Drinking we should not do, it is against the heart. Meat we should not eat, because it is high cholesterol and heart will suffer-we are eating. "But sir, sometimes we have to satisfy ourselves." That is why there are cardiologists. We never think of what is good for the heart. Love is good for the heart, but we hate. "No, no, sir, I hate him." Your heart is going to suffer. You are the next patient for the cardiologist here. That which is keeping you alive (dub-dub, dub-dub, dub-dub), we neglect.
Sahaj Marg comes and says, "I transmit to the heart." You know where the transmission goes? Not to the stomach, not to the head, not anywhere else, but to the heart. Transmission goes heart to heart-why? Babuji Maharaj has said, "As the body lives by the soul, the soul has to have its own prana. That is pranasya prana." So the transmission is from the heart, to the heart. It strengthens the heart. Babuji Maharaj used to say that if there is a good, sincere and regular abhyasi, his heart can never fail. It is like saying, "Sir, he has been doing push-ups and dumbbells for ten years, but he is still forty-two kilos." How is it possible? Or, "He is eating ten parathas in the morning and fourteen in the evening and he is only twenty-two kilos." Or, "This fellow is studying all his life; he is in the library all the time. So there is something wrong."
So abhyasis, if they are practising sincerely, the first thing that is strengthened is their heart. A strong heart means that your life is strong. A strong life is equivalent to lengthening your life till such a time as you have completed your destination. What is life but a destination? If I get into a train at Tumkur to go to Bangalore, that is my journey. I should not die before I reach Bangalore. My train should not stop before I reach Bangalore. Engine must not fail before I reach Bangalore. "No, no, sir, why is it not going to Delhi? If the train is good, why is it not going to Delhi?" "Arre baba, I have only to go to Bangalore; for me it is enough." "But sir, this is the best train. We have the latest conveniences, modern toilets." But I don't need it.
So when other paddathis [systems] come, other sansthas [organisations] come and say, "We will take you to devaloka. You know in devaloka you can sit with Indra and watch the divine kanyas [girls] dancing. You can see Urvashi, Rambha, Menaka and Tilottama dancing." You know what happened to Ganga and Shantanu? He was in the devaloka by invitation, I think. Ganga was sitting opposite. If you have seen Mahabharata, you know the story. Brahmadev had brought his daughter to the assembly. There was some wind and her dupatta fell, and all the rishis [sages] respectfully, humbly lowered their gaze. But this fellow was looking at Ganga, enjoying her beauty, and she was looking at him, enjoying his beauty. Brahmadev got angry. He says, "You are doing this in devaloka?" And he cursed them, "One life as a human being you shall suffer; go to mrithyuloka [mortal world]," he said. This is not bhuloka [earth], this is mrithyuloka in Sanskrit. This is the only world in creation where there is death. Nowhere else this phenomenon of death exists. They don't know what death is. So they came to bhuloka as a result of the shapa [curse], and what was the shapa for? For kama-desire. You understand?
So you see, even in devaloka you can be a victim of desire. You can be in Brahmaloka [abode of gods] and also be a victim of desire. Even Vishwamitra who was in tapasya was tempted after four girls came. Now, how not to be tempted is when you meditate and you go so deep that even if the universe explodes in the Mahapralaya, you are still where you are. There are few entities, I am told, who are like that-the sapta rishis. Everything else dies in Mahapralaya. But the sapta rishis are alive, continuing to exist, so that they can bring the fresh creation into being. There are only seven of them. But it's enough. That is what keeps our universe going.
We have to be so deep in meditation that we know nothing and yet everything is happening through you. This is for those people, who think that if they don't work, if they don't study, they are useless. Society will tell you, "What are you doing? Closing your eyes and imagining funny things? We are working, you see." If these people were not in utter depth of meditation, where nothing exists, not even time and space, the world would not exist, the universe would not exist. So the people who are meditating, absolutely within themselves, in touch with divinity, are the real workers for God. Not those who are ringing bells and chanting 'ohm bhurbuvaswaha '; they are not working for God, they are working for themselves-dakshina. You take two bananas, they take one. You put prasad, they take it away. They are slaves, using the name of God for their own purpose. And we go, fall on them and end up in the temple. And we bring back the one banana they give us as a matter of grace and say, "Divya prasada." [divine prasad] You understand?
So when you meditate, when you go deep into meditation with no thought in your head, not even of God-we don't think of God when we meditate. That is why we are criticised as being people without religion. Now one question I always ask. Christ was born Jesus; he was a Jew. I mean everybody knows it, it is matter of history. Yet Christianity came from him. But Christ was not a Christian. Accepted? Buddha was not a Buddhist. When he was born, he was a Hindu. He became the Buddha. Gautama became the Buddha, which is a state of existence-a spiritual state. Like Christ is a state, Buddha is a state; central region is a state for us. Mohammed was not a Mohammedan, because there was no Islam at that time. Yet they are all great figures today in religious history. How did they become what they became without being in a religion? Jesus destroyed or tried to destroy Judaism, and he became a great saint. Isn't it? Buddha renounced everything and meditated and he became a great person. So did Mohammed, the Prophet. If they can become what they became without having to go to temples, without having to go to mosque, without having to go to church, why cannot we do it? Tell me.
So throw away everything. The Gita says at the end, "Sarva dharmaan parityajya maamekam sharanam vraja"-throw every single thing away and come to me alone. "Aham tvaa sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa sucah." [I shall protect you from all the sins, don't grieve.] This we don't accept. "Dhyaanaat karma phala tyaagah, tyaagat shaanthiranantaram." He says-by meditation my karma phala should leave me and because of that, I must have that ultimate peace which is called shanti. Not this shanti of temporary bliss, of alcohol, of sex, of richness, of air-conditioned comfort. This is not shanti. Shanti means absolutely everything is lacking except existence of which there must be no consciousness and no experience. 'Sacchidaanandam' [Existence-consciousness-bliss] is a lie. If I am to exist and I should know I am existing, and I must be blissful in my knowledge, that is a very superficial state of existence. If I am existing to myself I don't know I exist, and if you call me, I don't know what is my name. Like Valmiki, the robber, when he started chanting 'mara, mara, mara'. You know, he could not say Rama because he was a paapi [sinner], such a big paapi that he could not even take the name of the Lord. So the rishi told him to say 'mara, mara'. And when he said, 'mara, mara' it became 'Rama, Rama.' And these ant hills formed over him, you see, they are called it valmikam in Sanskrit. Therefore he was Valmiki-one who was born out of a valmikam. How did he become that? How did a daaku [robber] of whom everybody was afraid become a great saint? That was the transition through meditation. And in meditation, we must have patience, we must have faith, we must have conviction.
There is a story of Narada who was going to heaven to meet the Lord. When he was passing through the jungle, he met a rishi who was meditating. He said, "Where are you going, Narada?" Narada said, "I am going to heaven to see the Lord." So the rishi said, "Please find out how many janmas [births] I have to take before I am liberated." Narada said, "Okay, I will do it." Some distance later he found a mad man dancing. He said, "Narada, please find out when I will be liberated." After some time Narada returned. The rishi asked, "Have you brought my answer?" He said, "Yes, you have two more janmas." He said, "I have done so much tapasya, I have meditated so many years, I have been devoted and yet I have to live two more? Devuda!" [O God] the rishi said in despair. Then Narada came to the mad fellow who asked him, "Narada, what about my answer?" He said, "You have to live as many lives as there are leaves on this neem tree before you are liberated." The mad man said, "That is all?" and he was dancing with joy. And a voice from above said, "You are liberated this instant."
So time has no meaning. "Sir I have been meditating ten years; enu guthilla." [I know nothing.] We have not come here to know anything. "Enu sikkilla." [I have got nothing.] We have not come here to get anything. If you say, "I have not become anything," that is the only thing you have a right to complain about. Now our friend said, "Guru comes and goes; yet there is no transformation." There is transformation, whether you like it or not. But you don't see it; you deny it if it is there. Why? Because we don't really want to become good people, we don't want to become truthful people, we don't want to become honest people. "Sir, how will my business thrive if I am honest? Will you take responsibility for me?"
Babuji said that Lord Krishna had made him a promise that every sincere abhyasi would not lack for shelter or food or clothing. You will have something to wear, you will have somewhere to stay and you will have something to eat. If you say, "No, no, I want chiroti," you won't get. What you need to keep you alive, you will have. What you need to protect you from the weather, you will get. That much is assured to everybody. But if you want to be a millionaire owning seven houses, one in Molubagal, one here and one there; that no Lord can promise you. He will not promise you because you don't need seven houses when one house is enough.
So we have the promise of the Yugapurusha Himself you see, that a sincere abhyasi will never starve, will never be without shelter, will never have to go naked. What more do you want? "Sir, how to believe?" We will believe when, like many famous people have suffered in life, you find everything is going, but still you have a place to live in, still you have somebody to feed you and still you have something to wear. But if you say, "Sir, but I was living in an air-conditioned room, I had silk clothes " "That was not the promise I made," the Lord says. "What I promised you, you are still having. Rest was your creation-this is my creation." Babuji said, "Throw away your creation and His creation will come into being."
So we have to be prepared to go towards simplicity in existence-simple living, simple food and clothing, simple manners and simple way of speaking-everything must be simple. Be simple and in tune with Nature. Then everything in Nature understands you. If you are talking Kannada, some don't understand Kannada. If you are talking Telugu, I don't know who understands Telugu except the Telugu people. But if you are going like Shukabrahma, you know, the most famous saint in the Hindu pantheon was Shuka, Parashara's grandson, Vyasa's son. When he walked, all the universe bowed before him. He was such a great figure. And what did he do? Nothing. What do you mean 'nothing'? Nothing, because he sat and meditated. Like many people in the West ask us, "Yeah, Chari, but what do you do when you sit and meditate?" "I do nothing." "For doing nothing do you require so much place, so many people, so much time. Don't you think in an effective method, Chari, it must be happening like that [snaps his fingers], like in our Western technology, you press one button and half the world is destroyed?" Here it takes time not to destroy; here it takes time not to create; here it takes time to keep what God created as God created. Understood?
So this is what spirituality means. By doing nothing, we get everything; by knowing nothing, we give knowledge to others; by earning nothing, we are able to give to everybody what they want. This is the description of God. He has no knowledge, yet all knowledge comes from Him. He has no power, yet all the powers in the universe are His. He has no life, yet He gives life to everything on earth. That is the divine condition to which we aspire through meditation-through dhyana-and to which you are invited to participate, and try to become like that with His blessings.