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This I Am
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Dear brothers and sisters, revered Father Aruldass and some of our sisters of the Christian Church, I am happy to see all of you here in Trichy. I have not been here for some years now, except to briefly open this school and visit this ashram. It is heartening to see so many of you today.
Once Babuji Maharaj was asked, "Why do you want more and more abhyasis? Is it not enough if you have one good abhyasi, one high-quality abhyasi?" something like that, you see. I will come to his answer later, but there is a famous story of a rishi and his wife who were childless, and prayed, or went on tapasya [penance], and God manifested after a long time and said, "What do you want?" They said, "We want a son." So God answered, "You can have one who is excellent, wonderful, highly qualified in every human aspect, intelligent, wise, spiritual, but who will live only sixteen years. Or you can have someone who will live for five hundred years, but will be run-of-the-mill. They opted for the first one. Of course, most of you here know the story.
Why I am referring to this story here is: in Sahaj Marg I am sure Lalaji Maharaj did not make this mistake. But perhaps he said, "Why, O Lord, would you restrict your blessings to one divine child, when you could have everything on earth, in creation, mirroring your high, noble, divine self?" And I am sure God must have been pleasantly surprised that there is somebody who could make such a request - because it is unselfish. It is not self-centred. To want that every son in every family, every child in every family, every calf in every cowshed, every hen in every poultry-yard, should have a divine self shows an immensely human heart which is yet divine, that, "Not me alone, my Lord, but all should be like this." So Sahaj Marg insists on such a heart - that we don't pray for ourselves. In fact in Sahaj Marg, prayer for yourself for anything - I am happy to say - it is not considered sinful because in Sahaj Marg, there is no concept of virtue and vice, or sin and this and that - no opposites. But it is considered selfish and not done. We can pray as much as we like for others, but never for ourselves.
Babuji Maharaj, in his own inimitable fashion, answered that question, "Why do you want so many abhyasis?" He said, "We come from infinity, we seek infinity. So is it not natural that I want so many with me? All, if possible, and more and more of that all."
So when I say I'm happy to see so many of you, I would also like to see more and more of you in the future, because that is what the human heart is for. In Christianity it is said God said, "Go forth and multiply." I don't think He meant multiplication in the physical sense - have more children. Multiply your Self, the Self that is within. Make more and more of this Self, this divine Self. And if you say, "But Lord, already they are there. You are in every one of them," God would answer, "Yes, of course. But they know not." That is one of the reasons for this thing you call compassion, for mercy (that having it, they know not that they have it), and the ultimate compassion of Jesus the Christ when he was crucified who could pray that, "Father, have mercy for they know not what they do." That is this human ignorance of which Babuji speaks so much: that we don't know what we are doing. That is what the yoga psychology speaks of. It says we are like automatons, like puppets, pre-programmed by our samskaras, and we do what we have to do, what we cannot help doing, without really knowing the consequences, really knowing whether we want to do it. And therefore most of what we do is followed by regret, and often, especially in the Western world, by what the French so nicely call culpabilité, you see - mea culpa - I'm culpable. And then follows all this beating the breast, and wailing before the Lord, and seeking forgiveness.
Babuji Maharaj said something that was enormously relevant - that it is wise goes beyond the need to express. He said, "It is not your action that condemns you, but it is your judgement of what you think and what you do that condemns you." And there comes another quotation from Christianity, "Judge not that ye be not judged." Don't even judge yourself. Who are you to judge when somebody is there to judge? Why do you think you are a sinner or you are a saint? You are neither. Sometimes your actions are those of a sinner, which doesn't make you a sinner. Sometimes they are those which can be called saintly, which of course doesn't make you a saint either. We are what we are.
We are a divine embodiment of a divine inner Self which, because it has no form, no name, no attributes, is therefore unconditioned by space and time, is what we call eternal, which we call omnipresent. Because that which has no name, no form, no attributes, you cannot say of it, it is here or it is not here. We do not have the eyes to see. Babuji's favourite and very famous sloka from the Vedas, "One cannot say of it that, yes, it is or it is not" - Naasadiya Sukta. This is what we are trying to establish here. We are not trying to contact it. We are not trying to make it grow. We are not trying to do anything with it. We are trying to establish the verity of this existence within ourselves when we sit and meditate, either alone or in a group or as a whole universe all together at one stroke - when I really believe that which we call God, will suddenly manifest and say, "This I am." The Veda says, "That thou art" (tat tvam asi) - that which is all of us put together, all of our qualities, all of our attributes.
Therefore, some religions say God says, "Do you think I am beyond sin?" Why do you think God is always merciful? Why cannot He be unmerciful? That is the wisdom of Sahaj Marg where my Masters Babuji Maharaj and Lalaji Maharaj have said, "If God was merciful, He could be unmerciful. If He was great, He could be un-great. If He was large, He could be small." So this rather difficult concept is again embodied in the Vedas, where it says, "He is larger than the largest, smaller than the smallest, simultaneously." Not sometimes larger than the largest, sometimes smaller than the smallest. He is at the same time anoraniyaan [smaller than the smallest], mahatomahiyaan [bigger than the biggest]. Anything can be bigger than the biggest, even a balloon. And anything can be smaller than the smallest, but that the same thing at one and the same time should be both is an impossibility. It can only be possible to Him.
So this is the sort of thing that we have as that which moves us, which animates us, and which our body, our five senses, misinterprets as life. If something is animating me, it is my inner Self that is animating me. Because when I die, as surely I must, and when this Self leaves this temporary habitation - it is nothing but a conglomeration of the pancha bhootas as we call it, the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, whatever it is - and that dissolves and goes back into its source.
So let us not make the mistake of thinking that we are alive. That within me which is eternally present - it cannot be said if it is alive or dead because it knows not what is life; it was never born. It cannot know what is death because it will never die. Eternal means unborn, anaadi, anantam [without beginning or end]. So blessed are we with such a Self within us. And to call Sahaj Marg an instrument or a practice or a system or a method by which we evolve is an ignorant statement, because there is nothing to evolve with. Something is of the nature of the Self, it doesn't evolve.
Therefore, I say today that what we do here is to establish this Self in our own individual consciousness. Yes, This is there. If This is there, what else do I need from this universe? I have within me that which is eternal, that which is immortal, that which is timeless, that which is un-bound by space and time, that which has no master, that which is slave to nobody. It is, we are, and so let it be always.