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Sahaj Sandesh No:2009.6 – Sunday, February 8, 2009  

Master's visit to Satkhol(February, 2009)

Report submitted by Sr.Uma Prabhu,Mumbai

January 29th (New Delhi),

The excitement is palpable, as a convoy of 20 cars gets ready to leave with Master for the Satkhol ashram in Uttaranchal, at the foothills of the Himalayas. We are on our way to participate in the much-awaited celebrations of Revered Lalaji Maharaj's birthday coinciding with Basant Panchami by the Hindu calendar. As Master walks past the crowd, towards a waiting vehicle, abhyasis trip over each other's toes for a glimpse of their beloved. The 'beloved' seems to be in great spirits. "Satkhol is truly divine," he says, tapping an abhyasi's shoulder gently with his walking stick. A serene smile plays at the corner of his lips as he drives past the dusty tracks. Clearly, it is the beginning of a uniquely spiritual journey.

The first halt en route to Satkhol is at Moradabad. Several hundred abhyasis line up on either side of the road to greet Master. Soon it is time for a satsangh, a deeply absorbing session. He is back on the road post lunch but not without leaving indelible imprints in the hearts of his followers. "Master," gushes a young woman in chaste Hindi, "We are grateful to you for touching our lives." The night halt is at Rudrapur, at the farmhouse of an abhyasi brother, where Master holds an evening satsangh.

January 30th & 31st (Satkhol)

We leave for Satkhol on the 30th morning after breakfast. Enshrouded in a veil of dense fog, Satkhol is mystically beautiful. About seven hours drive from New Delhi, this pristine village, located at a height of 5,700 feet, nestles among the snow-capped Himalayan ranges. The narrow, winding route is dotted with lush green pine and silver oak forests; the monotony at times is broken by spectacular rock formations and meadows strewn with golden-yellow patches of flowers of some wild variety. Here is a place where the sky lovingly meets the earth.

Abhyasis swarm the ashram in anticipation of meeting their beloved. There is jubilation in the air as Master settles comfortably in a cane chair, basking in the golden warmth of the afternoon sun. Some women welcome him with a song. Despite the arduous journey, Master spends considerable time with people making interesting conversation and polite inquiries. The chatting session continues post lunch. Now it is time for some serious business. Revered Master exhorts people to conserve water and protect trees. "While in the hills, "he says plaintively, "you should respect two things: water and the green cover."

In the evening, the Satsang takes place at 5 pm.

January 31 is a day of great significance. It is Revered Lalaji Maharaj's birthday by the Hindu calendar. "It's the holiest of the holy Basant," remarks Revered Master. The morning is breezy as the satsangh begins. The meditation hall is bursting at the seams with abhyasis. The satsangh is mesmerizing. A picnic lunch follows with goodies cooked in the ashram kitchen with abhyasis. The auspicious day has its lighter moments too, as he regales the gathering with witty one-liners. A Himalayan abhyasi presents Revered Master with some headgear, typical of the place. He wears the topi with much excitement, occasionally adjusting it for a proper fit.

February 1st & 2nd(Almoda)

On February 1, we proceed to Almoda, about an hour's drive from Satkhol. A beautiful town, Almoda is famous for its Vivekananda memorial, among other things. As we pass by the memorial, Revered Master turns dreamy. Then, pointing towards the memorial, he remarks, "I have meditated here in 1958. This was six years before I got into Sahaj Marg. I am sure it is the same place where Swami Vivekananda had set his foot." Meanwhile, Satkhol bustles with activity. Despite Rev Master's absence, the meditation hall is full. The show has to go on.

We have lunch at an abhyasi brother's house. There are people waiting for Revered Master. A student wants to know what is more important: study or meditation. "A student," says Master unflinchingly, "should focus on studies." A sister wishes to know how she could make her husband meditate. "Don't force him," he says, "Get transformed into a perfect person through your practice so that your husband would want to emulate you." In an answer to another question he says, "Spirituality is like a pearl in an oyster. You have to dive deep to acquire it."

The return journey is eventful. Draped with wild cherries, chestnuts and white magnolia, the mountain slopes adorn a hypnotic look. At some distance, the majestic Himalayan glaciers stand tall, glistening in the fading light of the setting sun. We stop at an abhyasi brother's house for tea. Revered Master seems deeply attuned to his Master, Babuji Maharaj. It is as if he is there with you and yet he is not there. A Himalayan mainah sings in the backdrop, her sonorous notes add on to the serenity of the mood. Then, in a magical moment, like a fountain of spring water wanting to burst out of Mother Earth's womb, wisdom flows from Revered Master, unhindered, forcefully, transforming each one of us in the process. It is the defining moment!

We sit transfixed as he talks: "Babuji never changed. He was always the same throughout. We change. The Master is like a mirror, which shows us our own reflection. Master's response towards us is a reflection of our own condition.

He continues: "People try to describe God in infinite ways. Yet, they do not seem to know anything about Him. Do you remember the famous story, "The Elephant and five blind men? The five blind men feel the elephant and describe him in different ways. They only perceive a part of the animal that they feel with their sense of touch. But the elephant is all that and much more. Similarly God too is much more. Hindu scriptures have described God as bigger than the biggest and (pointing towards the heart) smaller than the smallest. God has no religion and religion has no God. Only the person, who has experienced truth, knows this reality. Such a person seldom speaks. Like Babuji has said, "he who knows cannot speak and he who speaks does not know. Babuji used to say describing God is pointless. What can God be but God? God is love.

Elaborating on the theme of love he says: "True love cannot be partial. It does not discriminate. A mother suffers for all her children equally. Her love is the highest. That is why her love is described as mamta. A Mango is sweet and whoever eats it feels the taste. Similarly, Master, who is perfect, is love too. He does not love more or less or, for that matter, any particular individual. Whoever goes before him feels his love. Like you stand in the rain and you get wet. You sit close to the fire and you feel its warmth. We stood before Babuji and we knew we stood before love that he had become.

"Master blesses all without any discrimination. He is not judgmental. There are no punishments in his scheme of things. I remember, when people would ask Babuji Maharaj why didn't he punish people for their wrong deeds, he would just smile and say, "How can I punish them more than what they are already doing unto themselves." So when we go before Master we should always pray that he should prevent us from inflicting punishment on ourselves. You may personify love but remember love is not a person. The essence of Master is love. Please understand the truth in him instead of getting attached to the person that he is."
"Love, compassion and mercy are not three different things. They all are same. If you have love in you, compassion and mercy follow. Love is forgiving. That is why it is called merciful. We should forgive and forget. Forgiving is easy. Forgetting is difficult because forgetting has to come from the heart. Today love has become lust, compassion mockery and mercy has turned into vengeance. Do not be revengeful but become love. Master can give you spirituality. He can help in this by cleaning but you have to work upon yourself to change your heart."
"Sahaj Marg is a simple process. You are not required to leave your family and go into the jungle to meditate. You do not need to sacrifice anything. No major modifications in your lifestyle are necessary. It is the simplest and the easiest method. All you have to do is to do morning meditation, cleaning and the nightly prayer."
"Sahaj Marg is indeed a journey from being to becoming. Be what you are and become what you have to become. That is – become love. It is like the transition of a raw mango into a ripe one. Here no one judges you. A ripe mango does not laugh at a raw mango for its immaturity. There are neither punishments nor rewards. It is an adventure, where you are the experiment; experimenter and you only are the result. The result is instantaneous provided your heart is open. Like Babuji used to say repeatedly that this journey into the infinite might take a few seconds or an eternity. It all depends on you. For instance, a piece of steel immersed in boiling water. It will take a lifetime to dissolve right? "

The mesmerizing spell ends. We come back to our senses. It is the ear that hears and heart that melts. We return home moist-eyed. Master's words have touched a deep emotional chord. Where have we come from and where are we going? Where exactly is this larger-than-life personality taking us? The mind seeks to know what the heart already knows.

February 2 is Lalaji Maharaj's birthday by the western calendar. Master is in the meditation hall quite early. The meditation that follows is a mind-blowing experience! Later, spotting an abhyasi getting into some activity immediately after meditation, he says, "We have to brood over condition. Do not start activities immediately after satsangh." He releases a DVD on the life of Lalaji Maharaj and enjoys a skit based on the hierarchy of Sahaj Marg.

In his scintillating speech that follows, Master talks about "Whispers From The Brighter World". It is amazing, he says, that the more you read these messages the more you realize that they have a much deeper meaning than meets the eyes. "It has been my own experience that merely reading of these whispers itself open up spiritual conditions in us. So I would recommend that you read volume one continuously." He announced that the volume two would be released on April 30, the birth anniversary of Babuji Maharaj. He implores abhyasis to read these messages repeatedly, with an open heart, so that the meaning is absorbed completely.

As Babuji said, "There is no death in spiritual life." In fact, if you look at it spiritually, from the point of view of the soul, we are in a dead condition here on earth as human beings; we are mortal, alive in the flesh. Had we the wisdom to look at ourselves from the spiritual point of view, we would be weeping eternally." Start young. Get into spirituality when you have the energy. Like Babuji said, "Don't put off till tomorrow, what can be done today," because if you have no strength, no will power, no ability to enjoy anything in life, and you want to enjoy spirituality, that too will not be possible for you."

February 3rd(Naukuchiatal)

On February 3, we leave for the picturesque Naukuchiatal. Revered Master's cottage, where he conducts satsangh, is located on the edge of a beautiful lake, its water shimmering like molten gold. In an informal chat that follows, Master asks us to "avoid people who have a frown on their face. Saints should always have joy on their face." Loyalty to the right person, honesty at the right time and integrity, go a long way in breeding spirituality, he says. The day ends with a bonfire.

Some photographs taken during this period can be seen at: