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Sahaj Sandesh No: 2006.12 - Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Dear Sister / Brother:
ON TOUR WITH REV. MASTER
Tuesday 31 January, 2006
Satkhol: An afternoon chat with Master
Reported by Prashanth Vasu, Delhi Center, India
Master came out of his cottage after lunch to spend time with the abhyasis. Dressed in his trademark traditional attire, he took a seat just outside the cottage beneath the sunshade. All present quickly gathered to find a seat and settled down as He took he sat with his abhyasis. It began as usual with people offering gifts to Master and warming both themselves up as well as him up for the show. The first bait was offered when a preceptor introduced a new abhyasi who had gone all the way to see Master in Chennai but had to return disappointed as he was unable to meet Master. Master invited the abhyasi to share centre stage with him – right in front of him – saying in Hindi “Ask him to come and sit in front else they may be a complaint that they came all the way and were unable to meet me”.
- “I am also a new abhyasi for its been ages since I did my own sadhana”: He enquired whether this person was an abhyasi to which the abhyasi responded saying, “yes, new abhyasi, one month old”. Master invited quite some laughter with his quick wit making the abhyasi feel totally at home as he came and settled down”.
- “The real way for Charan Sparsh is when you touch the Guru’s feet, get up with the body but leave the soul at the Guru’s feet” : The abhyasi conveyed the greetings of another preceptor (at the preceptor’s behest) and also conveyed the preceptor’s proxy charan sparsh (cleaning of the Holy feet in obeisance) through the abhyasi to which Master responded :
– You see it can’t happen that way. He has to come in person and do it himself
– There is a story of Narad Muni who said that the real way to do charan sparsh of Narayana was to meditate on his image, have that in front of you and then do the charan sparsh.
– And Babuji has said another thing about charan sparsh – above statement. And in this case, one needs to do the charan sparsh only once. But people keep on touching the feet, its no use and is phoney.
The abhyasi mentioned that he had been practicing Yoga (Master quickly clarified that it was asana or posture) for over 10 years and Master enquired further on what asanas. The abhyasi mentioned that it was for the back and neck confessing ignorance of the names/nomenclature when Master reeled of a few relevant names of asanas.
- But he did not prescribe a practice, he only wrote books and spoke : The abhyasi mentioned that he had previously been into another system for several years now and when Master probed for a ‘method’ beyond the books and speeches that his Guide had given (with the above comment), the abhyasi acknowledged Master’s comment (a slight nudge into the realms of reality). The abhyasi went onto say that he had a few questions/clarifications written down to optimize Master’s time and sort permission to raise them. Master was ready, “yes, please!” (urging him on, eyes fixed on him).
- The first big theme was around “Oneness with Nature” that was motivated by three questions from the abhyasi:
Q1: If we look at nature, it is so natural but the human being is so complicated, Why is that?
A1 (naturally and immediately reaching into the reservoir of wisdom that Babuji conferred about him) “What did Babuji say: ‘Be simple and in tune with Nature’. But what do we do? We create the complication, for example our overseas abhyasis want three layers of mattresses and so soft that when they sit on top of the mattress, their buttocks should touch the floor.” (laughter); two stories followed :
- “I shall tell you a story of a well-to-do friend of mine, quite fastidious about cleanliness etc. who accompanied me on a trip from Delhi to Bareilly. We stayed overnight at the Ashoka hotel and the next day I took him to a famous dhaba or roadside restaurant, not fancy and even sometimes dirty. (This was familiar ground for the abhyasi as he was aware of that dhaba, creating a further bonding for him with Master! It was an interesting dynamic to watch them both talk about the dhaba and the chief chef who apparently had a long moustache or some such thing). The friend was ill-at-ease seeing the unhygienic setting with dirty table cloths, stray dogs walking in and out. I persuaded him to eat and ordered the delicacies of the dhabha – aloo paratha, dhahee (curd) and kheer, the nice and thick one! After a few minutes, I saw this friend call out to the waiter and ask for some more Aaloo (potato) – laughter. Now tell me, where did all that cleanliness and fuss go?”
- There is another story around my father. A couple once came to see him soon after their honeymoon but they appeared rather disturbed and displeased. My father asked them “Kya bhooth-vooth dhek kar aaye ho kya?” (have you returned from a visit to the ghost?) They then talked about the lavish honeymoon they had in Mysore palace spending enormous amounts of money but were unable to enjoy their holiday as they spent half their time searching in the enormous palace that had 100 rooms and the bed was so big that the husband could not even find the wife on their honeymoon night. So much for a lavish honeymoon. In contrast, my father told me that I was conceived in a 1 bedroom flat in Matunga (a congested part of Mumbai known to be a South Indian hub) near the railway station, which is where my parents had their honeymoon.
- So, you see, this is all our creation
Q1a (as an interjection by the abhyasi): But why this circus of creation?
A1a: (instant response) But it can all be thrown off in a second. Where is the creation? (suggesting in expression that this is really a non-issue to be pondering over)
Q1b: But why the creation?
A1b: “Well there is no ‘why’ you see. And every ‘why’ need not have a ‘because’.” And after a slightly reflective pause, Master resumed as if disclosing a higher secret: “You see, behind every real creation, there is love!” We human beings try to create big things and there is no love, just display. But God always creates the small things like the cells, the genes, etc, through love only. There is this famous writer called Nevil Shute you might have heard off and he has written several books but the one most relevant to you in this context would be “Trustees in the Tool room” (you may want to write it down). In this story, this engineer constructs an engine with a tiny motor and just a drop of petrol that he charges with a flick of a nail!” So, those are God’s creations. And Babuji used to comment in connection to this major intellectual debate in the west as to whether the tree came first or the seed: “God is not a fool to go around carrying big trees when a small seed could do the job by growing into a tree.”
Q2 : This circus of livelihood – compassion for youth, managing family etc. How does one balance this livelihood with spirituality?
A2 : “We are all doing it here! You know we all have funny minds where we put everything on the family. Babuji used to say of those coming to him expressing worries of their family members ‘You first worry about yourself’. I mean, do the farmers out in the fields not have families? Do they not manage them? Do they have all the comforts that we have? Are they still not happy? But we want a huge house with a two-lakh kitchen that is revamped if a small tap is out of order; this is desire born out of seeing the neighbor.”
- There is a very interesting story of Babuji’s times when a wealthy abhyasi came to see Babuji and had tears in his eyes. Babuji sent me to enquire the reason for his crying but the abhyasi insisted on talking to Babuji directly. So, I took him to Babuji and he explained that he had lost Rs. 5 crore (Rs. 50 mn) in business that year! Babuji responded saying that he must be a very brave man to endure such a loss for he would have been unable to endure even a Rs. 5 loss, the most he had in his purse! After the man was consoled and sent, Babuji asked me to go and find out the real reason. So, I took this guy to a shop in Shahjahanpur and enquired further over a plate of samosas (known to be very tasty there) and he said that his profit this year was Rs. 5 crore lower than that of last year. So, it was not an absolute loss; the Rs. 12 crores profit had become Rs. 7 crores!
- There is another story by Rudyard Kipling in this connection. A king who had amassed adequate wealth became disgusted, bored and disillusioned with wealth, politics and all his pomp. He tendered his resignation then and there, renounced the world and found a small hut on the top of a hill where he sat and meditated, removed from habitation. He was given food by the villagers who passed by. Further, when he was lost in deep meditation several years later, an earthquake hit the place but he was rescued to a place of safety by deer (Hiran). So, one-ness with nature. The giver gives what is needed.
Q3: Master, to do all this one has to burn-the-bridges and get rid of the past.
A3: Well, burning bridges is not the appropriate word. If you have crossed 4 bridges and want to get rid of the past, you would only have to burn the last bridge isn’t it? (laughter). I wonder what Master really meant here?
Q3a: But these desires Master, getting over them and as one grows up one also makes the mistake of desiring a family etc. (laughter)
A3a : But Babuji used to say that it is only in the family setting that one learns love and sacrifice (prem and nyochavar). Both of these are very important for a spiritual pursuit.
– “In Sahaj Marg we do not recommend pranayama” : While discussing pranayama, Master talked about his own adverse personal experience of having practiced the classical 1-4-8 pranayama with Gayathri mantra on a daily basis for 30 minutes, years before he commenced Sahaj Marg sadhana and how that resulted in his seeing apparitions in the mirror while shaving early one morning. Babuji had later told Master that Lalaji had fortunately saved Master from landing up in a mental asylum. They discussed that the energy of pranayama was quite opposed to the energy one feels during transmission.
– Bhakti is Shakti but nothing happens in prayer as prayer is only asking : The topic moved on to Magar, the place where Kabir expired and the abhyasi mentioned that he had been there and found a total absence of energy. He said that the place would do well with an ashram to charge it up. Master went onto outline the historical significance of Magar and how Kabir consciously took his Samadhi there with the conviction that his Lord Rama would extricate him out of a downtrodden place that had the ill-reputation of being a gateway to hell. He chose to go here for his Samadhi rather than go to Varnasi and have his ashes placed in the Ganges which was anyway the route to heaven – but this would demand no special mercy from Rama anyway. In this context, Master said “this is real Bhakti. I was watching a serial of Dhruva yesterday when Narad [a great sage] said, “Bhakti is Shakti.”
– Master then went onto the topic of excessive wealth and said: And the wealthy man has all his people behind his wealth. He treats a friend well for several years allowing him to share the table with him and if he requests him to wait outside for a day, the friend starts abusing the wealthy man. (Sadly, symbolic of the usual quality of abhyasis’ love towards Master).
– There is a famous story of an Aiyaaz who was the pet servant of a very wealthy man and enjoyed his special favors, attention for twenty years. One day, his Master got a basket of special fruits and offered him one to taste. The Aiyaaz tasted the fruit and when asked how it tasted said “Anything given by you is good”. When the Master tasted the fruit, he found that it was bitter and questioned the Aiyaaz to which the Aiyaaz answered : “I only said that anything from you is good. For twenty years, I have been the recipient of your special favors and one small bitter fruit and you expect me to complain?” (This obviously parallels the abhyasi’s relationship with the Master and God.)
– So, everything has its limits: Master continued saying that there should therefore be a limit to everything rather than our hankering for more and more. Master spoke about the oddity of the word “border begins” that one sees in geographical boundaries (how can a border begin?); another analogy was that whether a saree without borders can be considered as a saree with all of it as the border! He then said : “You need space to define the end of a word and full stop to define the end of a sentence. For example, if a wife writes a letter to her husband with no space between the words (Iloveyou…), the husband is unlikely to understand.” An abhyasi sister then talked about a popular mail floating in the spam system wherein by preserving the first and last alphabets in a word and jumbling the intermediate alphabets (eg : “palce”), one could still decipher each word (eg : “place”) and the broader sentence. Master quickly responded: “That is true if the reader knows the English language, what if he does not? For example, there is ‘Rokho, Math Jane Do’ (Stop, don’t let them go) Vs. ‘Rokho Math, Jane do’ (don’t stop, let them go)! Just change the position of the comma and the meaning gets altered.
– There is so much hypocrisy even in spirituality: An abhyasi brother carefully commented that ‘Rokho Math, Jane Do’ should probably be the poster outside Master’s cottage that evoked tremendous laughter all round the group including from Master. Of course, the Master was ready to take that and trigger off a different line of thought. He said: “You know, these people come for 5 days and want to sit right next to my bed in the room. One wonders where they were for the remaining 360 days and whether they remembered Chari while having a tasty laddu in the remaining days. And then they say that they have left everything to come and be here. What have they really left? So, there is so much hypocrisy even in spirituality” The Westerners for all that we talk about their corruption are simple at heart for they say what they feel within on the face while the Indian keeps beating around the bush.
– So, for anything we need knowledge, instrument and method. Questions arise from an absence of the method and what you need is a “method.” This last piece unfolded very beautifully. After making his previous comment in Hindi, Master turned around and asked an overseas abhyasi sister whether she understood. And she said that when he speaks in English yes, but not otherwise. To which Master said “You see, you need to use that language/mode that would have the most effect. There is a famous Indian instrument called the Jal Tarang where a set of cups are all arranged in a particular fashion around the artist and he needs to know the exact position of the cups and know the art of playing it in order to generate melodious music. So, you need knowledge-instrument-method to succeed. Knowledge you get from books, the body is the instrument but what is lacking is a method. That is the source of all questions. So, what you really need is a method”
With this final comment, Master saw his watch and realized that it was time for his afternoon siesta and got up from his chair. It was amazing to see how the last topic of ‘method’ tied up so well with the first topic of ‘method’ that Master started with.
1st INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR IN HELSINKI, FINLAND
February 10 – 12, 2006
Report by sisters Tytti Savolainen and Petra Kronberger
The first International Seminar in the Sahaj Marg history of Finland took place in a world heritage area called Suomenlinna, a small island in Helsinki. The spiritual gathering found his place in a youth hostel in between of a former military area with ancient thick walls, old weapons and buildings, surrounded by beautiful nature and the icecovered sea. The group of 26 abhyasis represented 11 different nations: Finland, Belarus, Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, India, Germany and Austria.
The seminar started with dinner and Satsangh on Friday evening. Barbara Sonvilla-Weiss who has been living now with her family for 2 1/2 years in Helsinki and being the first residing preceptor in Finland and organizer of the seminar started with a short welcome. Opening address was given by Poul Juul from Denmark, center-in-charge of the Scandinavian countries. He continued with an introduction of Sahaj Marg. The evening ended with some questions and answers in a personal atmosphere. On Saturday the focus lied on a short presentation of the “role of the Master in Sahaj Marg” by brother Martin Mikkelsen, on meditation and the practice of Sahaj Marg. There were three Satsanghs during the day and the abhyasis were requested to “digest” what they got. The Danish and Swedish group gave the opportunity for question and answers in the morning. During the afternoon the house was open for people who are interested in Sahaj Marg. There was also the opportunity to eat and to read, to walk and to talk. Tytti Savolainen of Finland, a very new abhyasi, expresses some of her thoughts on this seminar: “I was very happy when I heard that a seminar will take place in Finland. I didn't know what will happen. I didn't have any questions before and during the seminar, because I believe, that everything will come what I need.
The seminar gives the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and different languages. But actually the background is not important, its only “you” what is important. And I feel that people accept me. I can be what I am. And I think after the seminar it is easier to do the practice every day. We are a small group and sometimes we have the feeling that our country is situated very far from the “middle of the world”, but with the seminar we get a feeling that we are a little like the centre of the world. I have always prayed that I will find a right way for my life and to bring more light to people. I have the feeling Sahaj Marg makes it possible and Sahaj Marg is my path.”
After dinner and Satsangh we were sitting together in the dining room around candlelight and again there was the opportunity to ask everything about Sahaj Marg. The seminar closed with breakfast and Satsangh on Sunday morning. Sister Barbara expresses the wish that we all would go on spinning the web of “united hearts”, so strongly felt at this seminar. Everything has an end in order to start something new. For a few days the “Nordic light” was shining especially bright blessed through the Divine Presence of Revered Master. Although Master couldn't be here physically, our hearts were filled with His Love and Grace.