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We Work for Ourselves
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
Our brother here waxed poetic in his welcome speech. Babuji Maharaj was a very simple person. His life was poetry, but his words were never poetic. His life was poetic in the sense that one could see in his life how, from the beginning he came into this world, that his thought was, let my beginning be like this, and my ending like His. That was his single thought - how to begin as Ram Chandraji of Shahjahanpur and how to end life as Ram Chandraji of Fategarh. In between was the process of becoming what he became.
If poetry is hard work, then Sahaj Marg is poetry. If poetry is dedication, love for the Master, discipline, obedience, then Sahaj Marg, I repeat, is poetic. But, Sahaj Marg has nothing to do merely with poetry; it is designed to make our lives flower, from what we are, to what we have to become.
This morning I spoke to the abhyasis of Pune and reminded them that anything that we may do - we may think that it is for the Master, it is for the Mission, it is for my father, it is for my country, but eventually it is for ourselves that we work. There is no such thing as desha bhakti [patriotism], pitru bhakti [devotion to father] or matru bhakti [devotion to mother]; eventually it is all here. Whatever I do must reflect on me. This is the law of work. Unfortunately, in the culture of materialism that is prevailing, we say, "For my work I get my salary. Here I don't get a salary; so what should I get?" There is no such thing as a salary in Sahaj Marg. There is only the effect of work that you do. You know, you go to school and pay to get education; you go to college and pay to get education. In India it is not uncommon to bribe somebody to get a job. Nowadays it is more difficult, but it was quite prevalent thirty years back. It was not called a bribe, it was called inducement - a poetic term to hide a dirty lie.
Until we realize that everything we do, we are doing really for ourselves and all the rest is a sham "Why are you painting this house?" "I am painting because my father says, paint it." But it is your house also. And if the house is safe, structurally sound, pleasing to look at, you also benefit. In fact, you benefit more than your father because your father does not care. So we have to get used to this idea that I am in Sahaj Marg for myself. Not in a selfish way - of getting a promotion, or getting your son married, or your daughter married. Not like that. Not even to go to, say, heaven. If you are always thinking of getting something, it is always a cheap way of approaching work. Mujhe kya milna hai? [What will I get?] That is our normal Hindi or in whatever language you speak. "Maaru shun?" [What is in it for me?] says the Gujarati, you see. So, this does not make sense because what you get, you can lose, it can be destroyed and eventually, when you die, you have to leave it behind. But what you become is always there.
So, Sahaj Marg is not a way of getting something; it is a way of becoming something. How to become from what Babuji calls the animal human being, progressively to become a human, human being, which means that I am now really a human being - brotherhood is natural, I am compassionate, I love, not as an act, not as something I have to will myself to do, but because it is natural to me at my level of a human being that it should be like this. And from that step we graduate to become what Babuji says is a perfect human being, which is the culmination of our yogic sadhana and approach. So, please understand very clearly that you do nothing for anybody else, and if you are doing something only for somebody else and you are not benefiting, that is wrong.
I told a small story in Pune today, which would also bear repetition here. A very rich man became very rich because he built and sold houses, and they were excellent. They were excellent because he had a master builder who built his houses. Over 30 years he had been building for him. He wanted to be relieved and to retire because he was getting old and he wanted to spend time with his family, all these sort of reasons. But the builder was interested in moneymaking and he said "No, no, what is the hurry? One more year." Then "One more year." And like that it went on. Finally, he said, "No, boss, I have to go." He said, "Alright, one favour you do for me. Make one last house, and then you retire." Now the builder had, all his life, worked with pride in his heart, pride in the things that he was building, but in this last house, he was a bit disappointed that his boss was squeezing him like a lemon, so his heart was not in it. So the house was like any other builder's who builds nowadays - mixing sand with cement, cheapening the concrete mixture, using cheap wood instead of good wood, iron screws instead of brass screws, you know all these stories. So somehow he built a house; in about eleven months he completed it. He went to his boss, gave him all the accounts, gave him the keys to the new house. Next day the boss had a party for his retirement, and after praising him, garlanding him, everybody spoke about his excellence, the boss (the business man) gave the keys to the builder and said, "This house I built for you." It's not a laughing matter.
This happens in bars - if you are sufficiently drunk, they give you soda instead of whisky. If you do not know what you are buying, you always get rubbish. And the bar is one of the easiest places to be cheated, because you are a little tipsy, and your tipsy-ness makes you less conscious of what you are doing. Somebody is making money and you are getting drunker and drunker - first on alcohol, then on foolishness, and finally on drunkenness itself.
So you see, we have to realize that anything and everything that we do, we do for ourselves. When we tell a lie, we are lying to ourselves. If you commit a murder, God forbid, you are murdering part of yourself. If you cheat someone, you are cheating yourself.
I remember when we were younger, 40 years ago, I have seen cinemas about a business man adulterating food grains, medicines, and one seth became very rich and build a huge mansion on spurious medicine. One day his son fell sick, and when they went to the pharmacy, he got his own medicine and the son died. The moral of the story was that if you try to cheat others, you will cheat yourself. But we do not realize these things. Therefore, we go merrily making money, cheating left, cheating right, cheating centre, destroying confidence, destroying truth, destroying society, finally destroying ourselves. Destruction starts from day one. Sahaj Marg is for you, through you, by you. Master is only there to help you. He does not need us. My Master does not need me. Your Master does not need you to do His work. His work is done because His Master is doing it. My Master's work is done because His Master is doing it.
It is like parentage, you see. I am here because my father produced me. He was there because his father produced him, and it goes back. What have we done? Many parents say, "For heaven's sake, why did I have this child?" Because we did not have a child, we indulged in passion; the result was a child. I think that in a hundred million children, maybe one child is consciously, lovingly begot. The rest are accidental births, of moments of passion, moments of indulgence, not realizing that we are sowing the seeds of our future destiny - whether it be good or bad, Inshallah [as God wills].
All this rigmarole I am reciting is only to tell you that, don't think that you are working for your Master. If I build a house, I become a perfect builder. If I become a perfect builder, it is my reputation that sells the boss's house. If that builder had realized that even with the last house, he should be patient, he should put in all his dedication, he would have had the best house that was ever built. But he thought he was building for his boss. If a preceptor gives sittings and says, "Why am I in this damn job? Again one sitting today, again one sitting in the evening." He does not work. If he does not work, he gets no reward. The abhyasi will survive somehow because the Master's grace goes direct. Where we cannot work, the Master works direct. You can see the proof of it everywhere. This country is alive because of God's grace.
You know that famous story - when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, she invited top experts from all the countries of the world, communist, capitalist, socialist, everything, 25 of them, made a committee and said, "Go around India for three months, and come and give me proposals which can make India like a modern European state." They were accompanied by some parliamentarians etc. And after three months, she called a committee meeting and said, "Gentlemen, please lay before me your proposals." The chairman of the committee stood up and said, "Madam, I congratulate you on presiding over the only country where God really rules". She said, "How did you come to that conclusion?" He said, "You go to the railway station, there is no train; the ten o'clock train comes at two o'clock, two o'clock train comes the next morning and yet, people are moving and going around all over the world. Your planes are never on time. Your post offices are closed when you want to buy a stamp. You go to Government offices; they open at nine-thirty, but at eleven o'clock, nobody is there. Now madam, you tell me, if your country still survives, how can it be except with the grace of God?" You see, so the grace of God is ours and God sees to it that if you don't water the tree, it rains. Of course, this does not mean that all Indians should relax and stop watering trees. "God karega. [God will do it.]"
What I mean to say is, God's influence, God's grace, works direct. If it works through someone, it is for his benefit, not because God needs us. So, our preceptors should remember that they are here to benefit from this work, not to think my Master is benefiting. "Hum nahin hote to kya hota? [What would happen if I were not here?]" Hum nahin hote to kucch nahin hota. [Nothing would happen if we were not here.] Ishwar to hain, Ishwar satya hain, Ishwar prem hain, sub kucch kehte hain hum, [We all say that there is a God, God is truth, God is love,] but we believe that, without me God is useless. He cannot do anything. You understand? So it is a privilege that has been granted to us to undertake His work - a privilege, and a sure way of growing because when we do say, for instance, when a man is apprenticed to a barber, he becomes a good barber. You are apprenticed to a carpenter, you learn carpentry; and you become an excellent carpenter.
I remember when I was with Babuji Maharaj abroad in 1972, we came back after three months, a little more than three months, and he jokingly told me on the flight, "Parthasarathi, you know how many things I have taught you? Now you can even lose your job without danger of being unemployed." I said, "What have you taught me?" He said, "You have been cooking for me; now you can open a restaurant. You have been washing my clothes; you can have a laundry. You have done my hair-trim and beard-trim three times. You are a good barber". And then he added with a mischievous smile, "I hope, as a good Brahmin, you are not objecting to all this." I said "No, no, everything I can learn which makes me better, I will do, better and better." He said, "That is the spirit." When I learned to cut his hair, I mean, I had never used scissors or knives or whatever, and with him, I had to do it most delicately, most carefully. Somebody else I would have cut, it doesn't matter, you see. I would have said sorry, and applied a little Dettol, but I cannot afford to do that with my Master. I was very careful.
So now what do you think of work? Who are you working for? Who are you meditating for? Who are you doing cleaning for? Even cooking - suppose a girl hates her husband and puts a lot of chillies and salt and says, "Damn that bugger," she will have to eat it herself, too. Isn't it? So remember, everything you do begins here, ends here. If you do not remember this, if you do not understand this and if you don't make this wisdom a part of yourself, we will only be play-acting, like actors on the stage - who are now Macbeth, who are now Desdemona, who are now Panditji - nothing lasting.
I pray that all of you will have this wisdom to know that you are working for yourself and that with your work, you will benefit. All that the old man, the Master, gets is joy that you are flourishing. Like mothers and fathers know, that when their children are successful, and they succeed in their examinations, when they get good jobs, they are happy.