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Contents of this Newsletter:
Transcript of Master's message for 2009
- Report on Master's visit to Kolkata
1. Transcript of Master's message for 2009
Recorded on 31st December, 2008 at Manapakkam, India
also available at: http://www.srcm.org/literature/recent.speeches/081131_Chennai.jsp
Dear Brothers and Sisters, my co-travellers, those who have joined me on this immense, eternal journey to the goal of Sahaj Marg, who are travelling with me in what we can call a virtual train which is being, shall we say, driven by my divine Master Babuji Maharaj, at whose feet I am sitting now, to give you what I consider to be my New Year Message, since in a few hours, at least here in India, the year 2009 will gently march into our lives.
As abhyasis of Sahaj Marg, we have to be conscious of the fact that there should be only one goal in our human lives, and that is the goal of, first, liberation, second, realisation, and third and final, complete merger with the Divine. It is possible. The lower stage has evaded millions and millions and millions of human beings throughout the history of the world. In fact, history does not record more than a few who are supposed to have achieved liberation. In India, the pantheon of those who have achieved this is considerably larger and well recorded in the history of ancient India in what are called the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas. It was the privilege of the rishis [seers] and the munis [saints], those who went away to the forest renouncing family, friend and the worldly life, who achieved this—many recorded; there again a large majority went unrecorded whose names are lost forever.
In today's world Sahaj Marg, as stated by Babuji Maharaj, is the easiest and the quickest way to the goal of liberation. But he has also emphasised that the subsequent goals of realisation and merger are not difficult, provided we set our minds firmly on this single achievement in this life, which is also the goal of human evolution and the goal of human life.
All that is necessary for us, dear brothers and sisters, is to put our heart into the whole thing, meditate with the heart, meditate on the heart, meditate on the presence within the heart—the Divine Light—eschewing all other ambitions, material or otherwise, in the sure knowledge that Babuji Maharaj has given us, that our worldly life will be at the mercy of our samskaras that we have brought into this world. Nothing in it can be changed. The physical cannot be changed: we cannot change in height, we cannot change in our colour, we cannot change in our other situations such as education, wealth, et cetera. It must be accepted that the mental changes are more easy, while the spiritual change—that is from animal man to human man to divine man—is the easiest of all with His help. This is my Master's assurance.
On this auspicious occasion of a New Year, which is a gift by our Master to us, because it is in fact a gift of time to us in which to fulfil our journey. We do not realise the value of time, although we are always talking of "I have time," or "I have no time." He who has no time, said my Master, for meditation, will never have time for anything else. And he who has time for meditation, which, after all, is just a few hours in a day, will surely, by His grace, achieve the goal.
On this occasion let us all realise that whether we are working on the committees of the Mission, or in its leadership positions, or as preceptors and as abhyasis, we are all one solid unit which must be welded together as a brotherhood as he desired it to be. There is no higher, there is no lower among us. There is no senior, there is no junior among us. There is no good, there is no bad. There is no sinner, there is no virtuous person. We are all marching together, impeded by our samskaras, pulled in the right direction by our beloved Master, and therefore we should, among ourselves, have nothing against each other or for each other, but just remember we are brothers and sisters willing to forget and forgive whatever we may see or note in others. Let us remember the old saying that when you point a finger at somebody, three fingers are pointed against yourself. Let us not point fingers at others. Let us learn to forget and to forgive.
I know many abhyasis who have left the Mission because they could not tolerate somebody else. I know others have left the Mission because they could not tolerate something in the leadership. And I know many are leaving because they cannot tolerate having various colours together in our assemblies, in our satsanghs. We must forget and remove from our minds all differences that are created by us, by religion, by culture, by education, by society. And remember that which unifies all of us in this what we call human life, is the soul that is inside us, which eternally is the same as anybody else's soul. The body makes mistakes because of samskaras. The mind makes mistakes because of preconceived notions and prejudices. The soul never makes mistakes.
Let us therefore, brothers and sisters, learn to look only at the souls of each other, admire what we see there, venerate them because they are part of the divine existence and essence, and help each other in achieving the goal: making a resolution now and forever that we shall not blame others, we shall forgive others as we forgive ourselves. And he who cannot forgive himself can forgive nobody else—the beginning of guilt is the inability to forgive yourself.
I therefore beseech you all to make a resolution: O Master, help me to forgive myself, and therefore through myself, forgive all others for whatever I think or imagine they have done to me and to others, either for or against, knowing that ultimately it is the Divine Master who is guiding this divine play that we call human existence on earth.
And I pray to you, beloved Master, to grant us this privilege of rejoining you in the brighter world as soon as possible.
The audio recording of Master's message can be found on the SRCM website at:
2. Master's visit to Kolkata (25th to 30th December, 2008)
Report submitted by Br.Rishabh Kothari, Kolkata
Rev. Master arrived in Kolkata on 25th December 2008 evening at around 8:15 pm by a delayed Indian Airlines flight from Chennai. Around 35+ abhyasis accompanied Him on the flight.
On the 26th afternoon, Master moved out to sit in the lawn outside his cottage and as he Master emerged to sit in the lawn, eager abhyasis gathered around Him. The initial few minutes was the customary flurry of activities with abhyasis coming close to Master, greeting Him, offering gifts, seeking blessings, seeking relief from their difficult circumstances in life and so on. Master addressed each person with His care and appeared very happy to be in this ashram. Gradually, the crowd settled and Master was seated majestically in the lawn, quietly looking around the ashram, into the distant skies, with a gentle and lively smile. The air was filled with anticipation as to what Master was going to say and it was a vintage session from Master that followed rendered in his effortless yet conviction packed style:
- Talking of and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere in the Kolkata ashram: "Each of our ashrams is an oasis of peace". It has been exactly 5 years since this ashram was inaugurated on The Christmas Day in December 2003 and Master suggested that we are perhaps back here to celebrate the anniversary of this ashram. He lamented at the need in today's world to have to create such a special pocket where humanity is exposed to the divine atmosphere when it should have been the type of atmosphere we should have created on earth as a race.
- Responding to a question as to why we are unable to create such a world outside, Master said,"It is the greed for money that has robbed us of the happiness, contentment, good health that we once enjoyed". He ridiculed how in today's world, we are willing to do anything for money, including sell our daughters as in the dowry system present even in parts/pockets of modern India. Master went on to say that it is better to be married of your choice, even if it means a lot of struggle in one's life than to sell your happiness to someone else!
- Educating us on what it would take to understand and pursue the real purpose of life, Master said, that even the current crisis may not do the trick as people might not take it to heart and that only a simply led life, potentially in 'poverty', could lead one away from the distractions of this illusory world to the brighter world. In this context, quoting Babuji, master said, "That is why Babuji said, 'Be simple and in tune with nature.' You can be rich, and yet lead a simple life." He urged us to actually practice such a life rather than merely talk about it.
- Cautioning that such a life would confer a silent, concealed happiness and contentment not visible to the outside world as the successes and 'spurious happiness' that people display would and said, "Here, it is each one for himself, by himself"
- Talking about developing conviction on the main pursuit of life and the role that effective cleaning plays in removing samskaras to show the way, Master said, "That is why in our cleaning process, it is equally important to suggest that the vacuum being created by the removal of grossness is being filled up with the Divine essence". He indicated that this often neglected aspect renders the cleaning ineffective as the vacuum created gets filled with anything it is exposed to subsequently, including grossness once again.
- Responding to how one pursues the basic practise - that has been outlined so clearly - assiduously, Master drew reference to Babuji and said, "That is why Babuji said, 'Make it Yours and then you will look after it.' Anything that is done wrongly can also be done correctly – the will has to be applied in the appropriate way".
- Master went on to say, how we are able to pay attention to perishable aspects of life including our bodies and should rather prioritize the essentials of life. Quoting Babuji, he said, "That is why Babuji said, 'Live as if you are going to die the next moment', that sense of urgency is not there". He clarified by asking, "If you had only one more moment to live, what would you do? You would only do the most essential things, isn't it? You will not be counting your coins or exercising in the tread-mill!" He recalled the famous story of Yudhishtra in the Mahabharata, where in response to a question as to what he found most surprising in this world, he said, "People see each other dying but never realise that such a moment would come to them as well!"
- Emphasizing how one has to take spirituality in its entirety, and a partial approach would not suffice, He said, "No, you cannot get like that in spirituality. It is all or nothing."
- "Obedience is the first law in spirituality. From obedience comes sadhana. The guru says meditate and you meditate, he says clean and you clean, he says stay quiet and you stay quiet. But you see, people complicate matters." People touched his feet and drawing reference to this as a needless act that He has discouraged, He recalled how Babuji used to say that one who did not obey did not get anything and that one does not get rewarded for disobedience.
- Talking about the happiness that does not have a 'because' behind it, he said, "That is the real happiness, when you are happy without reason".
- Responding to questions about His health and the fact that He was sitting there in front of all, He said, "The only thing that is real is what is there here and now"
- Emphasizing the need to act and responding to a request by an abhyasi to bless her with remembrance, Master said, "Blessings don't get you remembrance, by practising remembrance you get blessings!"
- He closed the session dismissing a suggestion by an abhyasis as to whether laziness itself was a grossness by saying that this is something we are responsible for and "Laziness is the biggest problem."
There were many little pleasant diversions filled with messages as abhyasis sought blessings:
- A family came by with a new-born girl and requested Master to bless her with a name. Master looked for a while at the child, full of attention, and came up with the name "Kshama" (forgiveness). It was beautiful and absolutely touching. The father came running from a distance, greeting Master and when he heard the name, he told Master (in Hindi): "All you need to give, in this one word, you have packed Master".
- Look, there is a difference between 'Jo Kuch' (whatever) and 'Sab Kuch' (everything): to a brother who offered a sweet to Master that he himself did not know the details about that prompted Master to ask him "Oh whatever it is, you want to offer to me" and then said the above with a very deliberate countenance and subsequently felt rather satisfied that timely comments seem to descend to Him from somewhere, He knows not!
- "How are you able to remember a movie 50 days after the event" to an abhyasi who asked Him why it was hard to retain His remembrance after the times when one is physically with Him in the ashram.
- "Mukti is not available in temples and scriptures but rests in the hands of a capable spiritual guide": A superb assertion that Master made when an abhyasi stepped forward and sought His blessings saying that he had a special request that he wanted his liberation only through Master and not anywhere else. Master responded acknowledging this and at the same time wondering where else Mukti was anyway available other than through a spiritual guide!
- "Which Krishna?!": A brilliant witty response to a little boy who said, "I want to see Krishna with you" to which Master responded as above. The little boy meant, a movie titled 'Krishna'.
On the 29th morning, Master woke up early in the morning preparing Himself for the auspicious day ahead when He was going to lay the foundation stone for CREST at Kharagpur, the second campus after Bangalore in India. Master proceeded at around 7am or so and was followed by a convoy of around 35-40 cars or so; in addition, 6 buses had already left early in the morning from Kolkata for the Kharagpur site.
Master reached the site around 9:30 am or so and soon took a tour around the 5 acre facility. While the facility is in early stages of development, the lovely little lawn and greenery already suggest that another Master-piece is in the making! As Master walked around the campus, inspecting it, he used humour and direct instruction to steer the crowds away from following Him in masses by saying, "Follow me spiritually, not otherwise" and a little while later, "You see, there are 25 people following me just to tell others to stay away" (laughter).
The original plan was to lay the foundation stone and then proceed for satsang but Master is never short of surprises as He moved to the meditation hall. Master conducted a 40 min satsang after which He gave a superb talk, full of His contagious enthusiasm, fire, conviction and of course His divine blessings. Some highlights include:
- Appreciating that many people had actually made the time to attend the auspicious occasion and indicating that a lack of time for a particular activity is nothing but a lack of inclination and will directed to a particular activity, Master said: "Time does not get us time". It was a rare occasion when all the five trustees (Br. Ajay Bhatter, Br. Sanjay Lalbhai, Br. P. R. Krishna, Br. R. P. Uma Shankar and Master Himself) were present for an event and Master was quite pleased with this, explicitly mentioning this in His talk and subsequently, even taking a photo with the trustees outside His resting area.
- Continuing on the same note and awakening us to the right interpretation of duty/responsibility, Master said, "Our responsibility to our 'self' (the heart) is far greater than any other responsibility on this earth." To clarify and re-emphasize this, He talked about how even our responsibility to our respective families has its limits and is subservient to this higher responsibility; naturally, our material welfare He said, is only a means to help us on our spiritual journey and should be limited to that role. He said that our getting married and having children is to propagate the human race and give another soul an opportunity to spiritually evolve and reach its destination through this life; hence the first child is called 'Dharmaja' (born out of duty to society) while subsequent progeny are called 'Kamaja' (born out of desire).
- Talking about the Purusharthas (the goals of human life as enjoined in sanatana dharma – dharma, artha, kama and moksha) and clarifying the limited role of religion in this, Master in no uncertain terms asserted, "Hindusim or Religion is not our dharma, they are meant to only help us along the way"; continuing on the futility of worshipping Gods, observing rituals etc when a higher spiritual approach was available, He clarified, "That is why Babuji called the Gods, mere functionaries of nature; they are MERE functionaries". To provide the final stamp of authority on the limited role of religion, Master said, "That is why Babuji said, God has no religion and religion has no God" and with a stroke of his hand (from left-to-right, sweeping his right hand, forefinger out), re-asserted, "No religion!" For this statement to serve as a permanent reminder, he even suggested that people stick this up on top of their mirror so that they may see this everyday while adorning themselves!
- He therefore, emphasised the need to place our loyalties carefully, and said, "In spirituality, loyalty and faith are two very important aspects", to be placed thoughtfully, in the right things. He talked about our typical misplaced loyalties in everything unreliable - politics, corrupt political leaders, bosses in our official life, our caste/religion.
- Confirming the all embracing role that spirituality plays in ennobling one's life, He said and transmitted His conviction, "Spirituality is the one thing that integrates all of life by clarifying and purifying our conscience". He said that how such a person with a political conscience awakened by spirituality acts without prejudice but with the best of all in mind.
- Master then compared and contrasted the role of this CREST facility with that of Bangalore. He said that like in the Bangalore facility, this too will have lectures and discussions on comparative religion, with the idea of creating a shared understanding of the foundational role that religion plays; he added, "Religion has a foundational role to play but like all good foundations, it should not be seen and should be submerged. Religion has no business to be visible in our lives!" He went on to say that this CREST will place a special emphasis on 'Ethics and Morality' and clarified that morality is a much broader term than the limited way in which we typically understand it, especially in India, to mean non-adultery alone!
- Continuing on this topic and educating us that 'fear of punishment' should hardly be the driving force in human life, Master said, "We do not want God fearing people, but want God loving people." Master amplified by saying that no father would like to see his children grovelling before him but would instead want them to come to him with their head held up high in the understanding that they are children of such a father, "We should be proud to be children of such a father, not because 'I am something', for the 'I' has no place in spirituality".
- Explaining therefore that when the pride is over such a Father who unites us all, the question of good or bad in individuals becomes irrelevant and the need for variety is on the other hand critical, Master said, "The spectrum is required to have white light and in the same way, the external variety is unified through spirituality where the essence is common to all." Re-emphasising the need for love to appreciate this, he said, "So we should look upon people not with mercy or compassion - let us leave that to religions – but with Love." He recalled the famous saying of Vivekananda and delivered it with perhaps the same fervour of this patron saint of Sahaj Marg by saying, "Do not scorn at these fallen sisters of ours for if they were not there, you, you and you would be there (finger pointing with each you!)" Through these inspiring statements Master equalised all of existence.
- Master then outlined how Sahaj Marg has grown organically, brick-by-brick, person-by-person and mentioned that it hardly mattered if there was only one person in a place as long as the person had the fire in the heart. Like a patient father, He explained, suddenly lowering his voice to a very gentle tone, as if whispering in the ear of a child falling asleep, "When it very dark…, one candle is enough to dispel the darkness." He explained Babuji's beautiful, wisdom-packed response to questions that were asked of him as to why in the early days of the Mission, there were barely 3-4 abhyasis even in Shahjahanpur despite Babuji's own physical presence there, "Below the lamp, there is darkness" (a hindi quote) and then with all his energy, conviction, and infectious fervour, he dismissed the old English saying about one swallow not making a summer and instead roared, "One swallow DOES make a summer", waving his hand and filling our hearts with His own courage and faith.
As always, with all His care and sincerity, He invoked Babuji's blessings, distributing it to all unconditionally and encouraged worry about the past but use the present to build the future!
It was a truly breath-taking, stunning talk apt for the occasion, delivered effortlessly, delivered with enthusiasm, delivered with the courage of a person willing to walk the journey 'alone' if required and delivered in His brilliant charming, style that makes Him the Master that He is!
After lunch Rev. Master proceeded back for Kolkata and took a flight for Chennai the next afternoon accompanied by almost 40-50 abhyasis.
Some photographs taken during this period can be seen at: