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Change of Satsangh Timings
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am going to share with you my observation about what happens before satsangh, during satsangh and after satsangh, over the past several years, and I must, as a sort of a preamble, tell you what used to happen when I joined the Mission some forty five years back and had my first Basant in Shahjahanpur. There were only forty or forty two people including Babuji Maharaj in his house. And the tent was about four hundred square feet, or less. But what I want to convey to you was the enormous longing that built up in the heart, even when we left our homes, wherever we were. For instance, I left Madras a week or ten days earlier. We traveled by train all the way to Delhi and then changed here and went to Shahjahanpur. All along the way, abhyasis joined at different stations.
And even ten years after I joined the Mission - 1974 - the number was not very big. The first Basant in Shahjahanpur ashram - I think there were two thousand four hundred or two thousand five hundred people and the hall could hold only eight hundred, tight fit! So the numbers grew from forty to two thousand eight hundred over a period of eleven or twelve years. But what I'm trying to tell you is, the longing that was in the heart even as we stepped into whatever we were going by, at our particular place of origin. People from south, people from north, people from east, west, and the whole group that traveled, it was as if there was a continuous constant remembrance of what we were going for and what we were heading for, the purpose of the travel. Nobody thought of discomfort, nobody thought of food, drink. And when we entered Shahjahanpur, or we alighted from the train that we traveled by, our hearts were ready to burst!
I'm sorry to say that I don't see this nowadays. And perhaps it is my fault that I have permitted timings to be changed, routines to be changed, requirements to be weakened. Being led to believe that if our requirements are stringent, people will not come. We have made the mistake of not obeying Babuji's principles where he said, "I want quality, not quantity." I believe that somewhere along the way in the past forty five years, this mistake was made by me first, that we started thinking of numbers and not quality so that today we have a great deal of numbers and not much quality. This is not a comment about any individual. It is a comment. And as we say in English, "Let him wear the cap whom it fits." It is sad, because now when we converted the time to Nine AM for satsangh on Sundays, people take it very easy, you know. It's as if they're going to work or some obligation - not to themselves, but to the Mission, to their prefect, whatever. That it is something that has to be tolerated, something that has to be done, something that has to be undergone.
So we wake up relaxed, we have our nastha [breakfast] or whatever, we come with full stomachs. We serve breakfast, which is a big mistake. And so when we sit for meditation, most of us are full in the stomach, empty in the heart, worries in the brain, snoring - most of us. It is sad. Because we are like steam locomotives where there is no steam! The locomotive itself cannot move out, how will it pull a train?
Therefore I am bringing some changes as of today, officially. Sunday satsangh will be at 7:30 am wherever we may be, whether we are in the Himalayas, or in America, or in the deserts. 7:30 am without fail. There will be no breakfast, no tea, nothing served before satsangh. At 9 am, we will have what's called brunch, which is something like - you know - breakfast and lunch, in between! It will be adequate. There will be limited service of food, in quantity. There will be no second service, no second helping. Because the purpose during your ashram existence should be to keep body and soul together, so that the soul may evolve, whatever may happen to the body. We're not here to feed you. We're here to stimulate the presence in your heart through your own effort by following the ten maxims.
So there will be brunch at nine o' clock. If you are here for the whole day there will be what we call high tea at three o' clock - again adequate. Not filling, but in a spiritual sense, fulfilling. There will be dinner if it's a continuous program for two to three days, which will be at seven thirty. This is Sunday - morning seven thirty meditation, evening five thirty or six as convenient. Not later. And this must be strictly followed. It doesn't matter whether there is one person or one million.
Babuji Maharaj told me that Lalaji Sahib - our grand master or Adi Guru - if he said Six Thirty satsangh, he was there at Six Thirty. He commenced satsangh without thinking of how many people there were. It did not matter. Because his transmission, his tavajju, was not only for people who were present, it was for everybody in the universe. He transmitted. And when he finished satsangh, he had one or two disciples - close, intimate, developed people, with whom he took a walk. Because during a sitting, there is oxygen shortage within the system and that has to be replenished. Therefore there was a walk.
Babuji has described all his life with Lalaji Sahib, how Lalaji Maharaj was not well endowed in physical terms. He was not a rich man. He had a big family. Babuji has very vividly said how even in the coldest winter of Fatehgarh, he used to sleep with his whole family under one torn blanket.
We must come to understand, whether we are white or black, men or women, that a certain modicum of discomfort is essential for spiritual evolution. I remember way back, I proposed to Babuji Maharaj that we have a bus to convey people from Shahjahanpur station to the ashram. He said, "I like your idea, but I do not want too much comfort. It is against spirituality."
Illat, Killat, Zillat. Illat - what is Illat? What is Killat? What is Zillat? Roughly, you must have less than what you need, you must have less health than what is perfect health, and there must always be criticism about you. If you have fifteen annas when you need sixteen - one rupee - you are wise in expenditure. You spend only on essentials. Essentials. And perhaps you can even save some money. I remember when my father was in the railways and he had an income of eighty rupees a month in Jabalpur in 1935, 36 - seventy five years ago, almost. On that, he managed to save five rupees. But nowadays, we have people with thirty thousand rupees a month, fifty thousand rupees a month. They are perpetually in debt, perpetually worried about the future in which they have no faith, they have no faith in themselves. They are worried about their jobs; they are worried about their families. Because we have become intemperate in our habits. Sleep late - eleven o' clock, twelve o' clock, one o' clock. Rise late, five minutes before you have to go to work. What about meditation? Tomorrow.
I want to put that fire back in your hearts! And it will not come with easy living or with policies in the Mission destined to please you. If your manager or your boss pleases you, there's something wrong with him. I learned this when I was in service myself. A popular manager is no manager. It means he's easy going, he lets you do what you want to do, what you think you should do, not what has to be done. In Sahaj Marg, this will no longer work. I'm saying this only for your benefit - if you want to evolve to the highest possible limits within this human life. This is the only life of which you are certain. We do not know whether there is a next life. It does not matter. Babuji said, in Sahaj Marg we have no concern with past lives and future lives. We are concerned only with this life because this we have, and this we can utilize for our benefit. And this wisdom must come to you every day, in every day living.
Your maxim says, Arise before dawn. You have a book written by Babuji Maharaj - Reality at Dawn. How will you know what is Reality at Dawn unless you are ready before dawn to face that reality? There are people who go on sightseeing tours, travels, to Darjeeling to see the sunrise, at Everest, to the Grand Canyon in America to see sunrise and sunset. And they are there hours before. To see merely a sunset or a sunrise? What about the reality at dawn inside your heart? It is not dawn at reality, or dawn of reality. It has been mistranslated in many languages. Reality at Dawn is the original title, it means, what is it that will manifest itself as reality at dawn?
So please get into the habit of getting up before dawn, let us say at four thirty in the morning. And paying attention to bodily and mental purity, sit in meditation. Keep one hour as a standard. Set your alarm. Until it rings, don't get up. Empty stomach. Please remember the ten maxims, originally called the Ten Commandments, is for our benefit. Those ten rules or maxims give you everything that you need for the daily conduct of your life. How you should eat, what you should eat. I've seen people when we were sitting with Babuji Maharaj - twenty people eating - and he would whisper in my ear, "Look at that man, he is eating like a pig." His attention totally centered on food, no thought of remembrance, no thought of Him, the God who's making him eat, giving him something to eat, enabling him to eat. Eating is not a simple thing, you know.
First of all, you require something to eat. Secondly, you must have the time to eat. You must have the ability to eat. You must have the ability to digest what you eat. You must have the ability to excrete what is left over after the body has absorbed what it needs. It's not a simple thing where you take a big parantha with some aloo in it and shovel it into your mouth. Eating has its own rules - how we should eat, when we should eat, what we should eat. Nobody pays attention - today we eat for pleasure, not for survival.
I wish to bring back to all of you the consciousness that everything that we do in life - breathing, eating and drinking, working, leisure, sleep - everything must conform to this rule that this is for survival, and survival is only for one purpose, so that I evolve myself out of this human level into what is called the divine. It is essential, my dear sisters and brothers, that we absorb this, that we develop the wisdom to accept that simple living, plain living is essential for spiritual life; that luxury is against all this.
You can be rich without having to live a luxurious life. I saw in the Ramayana an episode, you know, after Ram Chandraji of Ayodhya asks Lakshman to take his wife away into the jungle. He sleeps on the floor. And Lakshman says, Bhratashree [elder brother], "What is this you're doing?" He says, "Yes, I'm now leading the life of a Bhramachari." On the floor. So you see, simple living and plain living is not only for beggars and poor people. It is much more essential for the rich, who are every moment in danger of losing their way because of luxurious living, because of silly thinking, because of wrong eating and drinking, because of sleeping at unnecessary hours, waking up not at all, and losing their opportunity day after day after day for their spiritual evolution.
Therefore, make this your personal rule for your personal life, that every day you read the ten maxims once, understand it, and follow it. And to help you to do this, the Mission is regulating its own daily schedule. 7:30 AM for Sunday Satsangh, 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening. Brunch at 9:00, before that nothing. High tea at 3:00, between meals, nothing. Of course there will be a canteen open, but the kitchen and canteen will both be closed till they open at nine o' clock.
Seeing so many of you here this morning, I am encouraged to think that perhaps I need not have given this small talk also, because if I set the example, you are willing to follow. I'm very grateful to you all for being here, and giving me this encouragement, which makes me speak - not with trepidation or fear in my heart, what they will do - but with this guarantee which is coming into myself from my own heart that these are my people and they will obey for their benefit, what we are saying.
Thank you very much.