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Balance Speech and Action

Speech given by Rev. Master on 10th November 2008 at CREST, Bangalore, India

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, sisters and brothers, Director Saheb, facilitators, prefects, Mr. and Mrs. Sehra, and all of you who are here.

There is an old saying that anything that is worth doing is worth doing well, whether it is speaking or building a house or even cooking. My Master used to emphasize that there is no distinction between different aspects of work. To think that cooking is less important than mounting a car on its chassis or being part of an aeroplane establishment is a false idea, to think that this work is more important than that, because all work is work, and work well done is what matters. A science education is no more important than an art education. Legal aspects of studies are no more important than humanities. Life, if it is to be a well-rounded life, must be complete in all aspects because one of the first lessons I learnt in Sahaj Marg under the feet of my revered Master is that specialization is, looked at spiritually, a curse because it interferes with the inherent balance of human nature.

We find more and more examples that very highly specialized people, scientists, they are in some ways perverted, even sick. You have the example of that famous man, the mathematician who got a Nobel Prize for the theory of numbers, or some such thing, which came out in that movie, A Beautiful Mind. He was mentally sick from beginning to end. He imagined things, he saw things in newspapers which didn't exist, put together sentences from random bits of paper and wrote to the CIA and that sort of thing, you know, and eventually got a Nobel Prize. I don't know how he got it. And when he comes out from the presentation ceremony he looks at his wife and looks on the other side, sees half a dozen black-suited gentlemen, and he tells his wife, "They are still following me, but I know now they are really not there."

We find examples in Europe of philosophers committing suicide, of philosophers being homosexuals, bigamists. Now that is not something that India, in its old, shall I say spiritual Vedic tradition, would permit. That is a sort of specialization which the West admires, adores, promotes. “What does it matter if he is a homosexual or a man abusing children in church, so long as he is good in his job?” Not in India. In India a human being must be a human being, a well-rounded human being, a balanced human being with capacities which are inherent in that round ball, you know, which is a sphere, which can be put out when necessary in any direction. In India, spiritual ability, the ultimate ability, is the ability to manifest power in any direction that you want, or which the situation necessitates, and withdraw it when the work is over. That is why the tortoise is used as a symbol in yoga kacchua. Out and in. When it has its limbs inside and its head in, it is impregnable.

So to develop power in one particular direction - you say this man is good with a knife, that man with a gun, this man with his fist. I don't know whether it was a joke or not, but Don Sabourin told me that in Canada, in Vancouver, there was a spinal specialist specializing in the fifth cervical vertebra. And people went to him. Nowadays, if you say he is a specialist in blood, haematologist, even for blood test they will go and pay five thousand rupees. And if he tells you, I'm only a specialist in O-plus blood. Twenty thousand rupees. He knows more and more of less and less.

Babuji used to say they are fools. In spirituality, you must know less and less of more and more, meaning that our worldly knowledge has no use in our spiritual life. Our geography doesn't help us to find our way in the ethereal worlds beyond our conception. It will not help us to go into the netherworlds if we are sent there to work. Our history has no meaning. Mathematics plays no part in a beggar's life. And so on and so forth, you know. I am not trying to debunk the value of education or the value of science or the wonderful things that technology has achieved, but come to look at it squarely in the face.

There are people here who have been the U.S., earned millions, enjoyed all the luxuries that life could afford. And what do they have? Better air conditioning, carpets, mattresses seven inches or eight inches thick, clean tables, fine cutlery, crockery, machines to wash them, satin napkins (if you can afford them) or silk. But the food that you eat: the same soup out of a beautiful cup; the same paratha [unleavened bread] if you are a Punjabi, on a golden plate; the same spaghetti, if you are an Italian, on a beautiful porcelain bowl costing two hundred and fifty dollars. Are you eating the porcelain or the spaghetti?

All rich people, prosperous people, educated people should examine the value of what they really get in life. Is it any different from what brother Bajpai gets or I get living here in India? Am I earning all this extra money only to pay for my plates and my dishwashers and my clothes washers? Am I not happier in a simpler way? Did not Babuji say, Be simple and in tune with nature?

So, an education which takes us away from simplicity into complexity is taking us away from nature, away from our Self in a sense, because in today's world, the human beings are depleting themselves of their own energies and capacities and investing them in machines, starting with the basic pocket calculator. I wonder how many NASA scientists can multiply sixteen into thirteen. Students in kindergarten, in my father's days, could recite it by rote. When I was in college people used the slide rule, sixteen into thirteen. And you know the slide rule only gave approximations. It's like calculus, only approximations, always tending to. And the basic hypothesis of science is that science only gives hypotheses, never proofs. That by which millions of people swear, This is not science! they say about spirituality. But what is science? Where is science? It's all hypothesis. Everything they say is hypothetical. If, under certain circumstance, this, that, the other. Circumstances change, values change, results change.

It is no surprise that Nobel prizes have been given to two different scientists for saying exactly the opposite thing in a span of fifty years, because it is research, it is a finding, and the Nobel Committee decides in its wisdom that this was wonderful. So he got the Nobel Prize for saying, “Yes, it exists.” Thirty-five years later another man got for saying, No, it doesn't exist. There is no inherent contradiction. Science, after all, deals with changing phenomena. And if they are intelligent they will take refuge under things like the principle of indeterminacy, and so on.

Why I am saying all this is to tell you people: facilitators, speakers, students who come here to learn, don't put your faith in knowledge. It's like the joke I used to hear in my Tamilnadu village about statistics. A statistician, well-dressed from Bombay, wanted to go across a river and he asked somebody, “What is the average depth of this river? He said, It's about three and a half feet. He said, Well, I am five, you know, and he went twenty steps in the river and drowned. The average was three and a half. So what is the average intelligence of India? Does it have any meaning? What is the average wealth of an Indian? Can you take this and that and multiply and divide by population? The average Indian citizen has thirty-three thousand rupees in the bank. But there is no average Indian who has thirty-three thousand rupees in the bank!

So knowledge is to be dealt with, with great suspicion. Unfortunately, knowledgeable people will say, But it is what removes suspicion. When you know something, it removes your suspicion of what is there in it. And they will give you examples like,“If I tell you to go right and then turn left and then turn right again, is it not precise? But we are not talking about finding a way from this place to that place. Is knowledge useful? I expect some future speaker here to come with a tirade against me and say, “Well, aren’t you dealing with the unknown? Yes! I don't know what God is, whether God is at all, or who God is if He is. And yet I am going there, successfully. Are you not doing the same thing in your wonderful particle accelerators and things like that? You don't know what you are doing, spending millions of dollars, enveloping two countries-CERN. We don't know what is happening. Nobody knows. There are traces on photographic plates and very erudite people say, This is this, this is that,and when it points to a possible journey in time which is not the usual arrow of time, what do they conclude? That we can go into the past. [laughs]

I once gave a talk in Madras, I think it was in 1966, one year after I joined the Mission, two years. I said science, spiritual science, Sahaj Marg is travelling backwards in time. Babuji looked at me like this with interest, you know. I said, when Master goes into me and removes my samskaras, does he not create in me a new person who was as he was thirty years ago, minus these samskaras, today? He brings me from the past, in my pristine or semi-pristine or near pristine condition, into the present in my adult form from where I can evolve. Is that not time travel? Science will say, But no, you must have something to do, you must have at least what Jules Verne created, you know, A chair like this with sparkling lights, buzzing bulbs. Yes, but this is not, you know, a spirituality where I am going to heaven in a chair. We don't deal in magic chairs. That knowledge which without my knowing what I am, who I am, why I am, where I am, which makes me surrender to a guru who perhaps knows even less of what he is, where he is, why he is, and can make him take me to there which nobody knows about, with assurance, and can give me experience through my Self without instrumentation, without touch. And I can tell my guru, this and this and this I experienced. And he says, There you are, that is the proof.

So again, you see, in Sahaj Marg I am the object of the experiment, I am the experimenter, and I will be the result of my own experiment on myself. This is, I should say, a science which will surpass any science in the future, any science. I am prepared to put this claim on paper, five hundred years and put it under a time vault, seal it, let the scientists of the future open it and say, Here was some crazy Indian who wrote something which, unfortunately, is true. This is the only science where the experiment, the experimenter, and the object of the experiment and result is all the same. And the only facilitator is a guru who says, If you are willing to sit comfortably, close your eyes, imagine there is Divine Light in the heart, and meditate without allowing the mind to go hither and thither.

You will be surprised to hear that I experienced samadhi [absorption] in the third month after I joined Babuji Maharaj! I don't need anybody's certification for it because I am my certificate. I know what I underwent. And when I told Babuji, he said, Look here. Yoga Shastra says it is the end dhaarana [concentration], dhyaana [meditation], samadhi. And here you have it in three months, what rishis have battled for twenty thousand years, thirty thousand years. This is Sahaj Marg: we begin with samadhi. No needles, no austerities, no celibacy. In fact this is a grihastha marga [path of the householder]. We frown upon unmarried couples because Babuji says without marriage you cannot learn the two virtues that are absolutely essential for a spiritual life: love and sacrifice. Sacrifice does not exist without love. Oh, look at what that nurse did. She did it for a salary. She had a patient, she loved her or pretended to love her. You know, the Western culture has made it possible for simulated emotions, no feelings. I have seen too much of this. Somebody having a headache, twenty women crowding around her, Oh, what is wrong with you, my dear? But somebody is dead, they don't have any emotion on their face. That sort of thing is not allowed here. Here it is feeling, no emotion. I have said time and again that the feeling is fire, emotion is smoke, and we want smokeless fuel.

So in Sahaj Marg don't look for emotion. Don't look for a preceptor who will take you on his shoulder and weep and say, Oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. Sir, my wife died yesterday. I will pray for her that's about it. It is not a polite response, it is not a fitting response; it is a real response to a situation where a soul which has left the body needs prayer to guide it onwards. And if that husband was faithful to his wife and loved her, that is what he would want for her now. Not, you know, empty sympathies and flowers and cards.

You know, it is sickening, this external hypocritical manifestation, in every aspect of life. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy, from birth till the time a gentleman is shaved, pomaded, powdered and put in a coffin and buried. And America is the epitome of this hypocrisy. You choose your casket, depending on how much you can afford. You choose your position where you will be buried. And often when you enter a city the most prominent signs are of these people who deal with the dead. Insure Your Future, it says. [laughs] Insure! Or it says, Give Your Loved One a Loving Farewell in an Open Casket. And they are very prosperous.

In India, in Hinduism, in Sahaj Marg we deal honestly in a situation. Somebody is sick, if you can heal, heal. Otherwise, you sit and pray. There is no third possibility. If there is a third possibility you see there, it is corrupt, it is hypocritical, it is, what should I say, spurious.

Our facilitators should learn all these things and not deal with merely this polite nonsense of society. I have said often and I will say it once more, that a man who is serious and is doing his work has no time for empty politenesses, like opening the door for a female. That is for effete gentlemen in Armani suits who pretend to be courteous to women, and then rape them later. We don't look for politeness. If you are really serious, you will attend to the customer. “You are here? You want a sitting? Sit. Babuji said, Give a person the sitting first. Very often I find people talking to the abhyasi for three hours, then suddenly the abhyasi says, Sir, I am sorry, I have to go. Well, come back tomorrow morning. Nothing achieved. A prefect's duty is to say, First sit, then we will talk. In sales, it is first talk as much as you can, and then sell. So you see, our role is not that of a salesman. Our role is that of a supreme service organization where service comes first and talk, if necessary, comes later. And there is no bill. You understand?

This is also part of what I am now calling character formation, that our preceptors know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how it should be done. This how it should be done is very important. Let us not go on talking about cleaning and transmission, ad nauseam. I've heard it for forty years. It is like every time you go on the street you have to look at the manual: keep to the left side of the road. We know it! Every abhyasi knows what is cleaning. And when they want to cover up their defects, their deficiencies, they are not meditating, they are not doing the cleaning, they come with a solemn look in their face, Sir, how to do cleaning? And the preceptor is happy. Sit down, I'll tell you. You'll tell what? How it should be done is said in three words. Are you doing it yourself? So make sure that what you are trying to tell or teach, you are doing it yourself. India is the land which is totally disobedient to this famous saying that the maker of the law must be its first servant. Here, the makers of the law are not servants at all, they are masters. They can cross red lights with impunity. They can go on the right side, bang into a car, get a police officer to write a wrong report. A judge! There is no integrity.

When speech and action are not balanced, and two horses carrying the same carriage, there is divergence; the chariot is broken, perhaps the man is killed. What Babuji said the inner and the outer must be the same. Say what you mean, mean what you say. I know when Babuji was asked by an abhyasi, American boy, he said, Master, can I smoke? He said, No, it's a bad habit. He said, But you smoke. He said, I am telling you, it's a bad habit. Just because I do it it's not a good habit. I am sorry I am doing it. But I will give it up if I can. That was an honest answer. I don't think there is a second guru who would have said, Well, don't you see I am smoking? Go ahead.

I was once sitting in a train in what is that BBC headquarters?—going to Valsad, and there was somebody standing there in a sannyasi robe surrounded by hundreds of people. This was forty, fifty years ago. And I was sitting in a first class compartment smoking, hoping that he wouldn’t enter my compartment. But when the whistle blew and he came in, he came into my compartment. So I threw the cigarette down and stamped. He said, “No, no, beta, peelo—go ahead, smoke. God has created tobacco. He is not a fool to create tobacco.” I thought to myself, it’s a wonderful philosophy, you see. It can be used under any situation. Isn’t it? And he was a sannyasi with a robe and I learnt that all the hundreds of people who were there were cinema producers, directors, actors, cameramen, and he was blessing them with success, and of course he was reaping the profit of all those blessings.

That is hypocrisy to the core. He should have told them, “Make proper films.” Fifty years ago, if he had said it, “Don’t show nude scenes on the movie,” he would have lost his following. But he wanted his following, you know. Devil take the rest. “What do I care how Indian humanity goes? I am here as a servant of God. They come to me for blessing, I bless them.” “Yes, but what about all these things they are doing?” “Beta, ishwar ka kaam hum to nahin kar sakte hain, [Son, I cannot do God’s work,]” he told me. I said, “Ishwar ka kaam aap nahin kar sakte, lekin Ishwar ko sahaayata to de sakte hain. [You cannot do God’s work, but you can assist Him.]” In Hindi, you know. And by the time I got out in Valsad, I think I had made an enemy of him.

So you see, what ordinary simple human beings are expected to be, the high placed ones in our society are not, the rich are not, the educated are not, the powerful are not. But we should not use that as an excuse for not being, because to be good is the simplest. Throw off everything. To make a house safe, don’t keep anything that is valuable. No thief will come. Isn’t it? The more you divest yourself of all you value personally, the less you are susceptible to attack by anything, anybody, at any time. But we want more adornments, more and more make-ups, and this and that. Modern life is very risky because people behave like that. When you create a situation where you are able to provoke desire, say kama, after all, there is a reaction. So we have to teach simplicity to our abhyasis.

Prefect’s work is not only to talk of sitting and transmission and cleaning, you know. It is to tell them punctuality is a virtue, obedience of the rules of the road is a virtue. It is also character. And to do it when there is nobody looking, when there is no car, where there are no street lights, no policemen, is a high virtue. No rule says, “Obey this rule only if there is a law-keeper there”—this is India. But we are not talking of Indian, we are talking of human values. Indians happen to be humans, but are they human in the way that Babuji wants us to be? From animal human being to human being. Is that first step being taken? Sadly, Babuji said, “I don’t see many examples.” We see people coming, hundreds may come, out of which maybe one or two are sincerely seeking to become human; the rest are there for whatever reason they are there. You know, in the Gita in the phalashruti [benefit of listening/reading] it says, if a hundred thousand people read the Gita, one will understand. If a hundred thousand people understand, one will follow. If a hundred thousand people follow, one will achieve. One by hundred thousand of one by hundred thousand of one by hundred thousand of one by hundred thousand is probably ten to the power of minus sixty-four. That is what Krishna says of achievers.

What about yoga, which is much easier? No karma, jnana, bhakti [yoga of action, knowledge, devotion] business. Babuji said it is the simplest. Like that you can be there. But people don’t want. So the trouble is here, you know, like most lazy shoppers who go shopping not to buy but just to wander around and waste their time, people come not wanting to achieve spiritual life but in some way to satisfy themselves that they are in it. This you have got to find out, penetrate and change. If you ask directly, “Are you a sincere abhyasi? Are you serious?” they will become indignant. “What the hell do you think I am here for?” You understand? You have to find out. Prefects must develop the ability, it may be purely psychological, to size up a person in front. What is he or she here for? Are they miserable and they want some solace? Because you will find most abhyasis, new abhyasis, when something happens to them which they had expected, they leave. A sick wife is okay. “Sir, it is wonderful, sir, what Sahaj Marg can do for me.” And you never see him again. A job applicant, sixteen jobs they can say, what they say in India, “Apply, apply, no reply,” suddenly gets a job. He’ll come, profusely thank you, and disappear.

Babuji said if you can retain four out of a hundred it is a high rate of success. I know prefects are, you know—they lose heart. “Sir, people come and don’t come back again after a few sittings.” Remember this: four out of a hundred he said is good success. Can we improve it? Of course we can improve it. “No, no, sir, but Babuji himself said…” Stop. This is like saying India has never won any wars. “We are a great country, sir. Genghis Khan invaded us, the Moguls invaded us, the British came in, and we passively accepted. And today, you see, we are a great nation.” Babuji says, you come back with the shield or on the shield. The Gita says the same thing; Krishna says the same thing. You are a kshatriya [warrior]. If you die on the battlefield you get that heaven which is the hero’s heaven, you see. If you are victorious, you get the praise and the adulation of the world, and your throne. Fight. Unfortunately, I have read some Western books which call India a war-mongering nation and quote Lord Krishna as the prime war-monger of all time. They call him a hypocrite who pretended to be God and egged on society to warfare. They don’t understand the implication of dharma, you see.

So we are all here to fulfil our dharma, in other terms, our karma—specifically in Sahaj Marg terms, our samskara. This life as a human being is the highest life that we can achieve, and by God’s grace we are here as human beings. How to evolve out of this into the ultimate condition of no more birth in any condition? That is what this life is for. We have come for a purpose, we have chosen our environment, we have chosen our parents, the language, where we will be born, history, geography, society, everything is predetermined by the soul before I was in this world. Why am I not successful? Because once I’m here, I forget my purpose. You know, the greatest truth and sadness of human beings, of human birth, is that once we are born we forget all these things and we have to be re-initiated. Even Jesus had to be baptized. Even Krishna had a guru. Because that guru must open my eyes to my past from which I have to evolve into the future through the present. Whatever else the guru may be, you know, this is his primary and only function—to remind me, “My dear boy, you have come to this earth, to this human birth, for this purpose. Don’t forget it. Don’t swerve from the path. Otherwise, it will be like a house badly constructed. You will have to demolish and rebuild.” That is death and rebirth.

So I think, since I am tired, I have said enough. Facilitators, please listen. You have listened, I hope. You know, Christ said, “You have ears, but you hear not.” Few of us really hear what is being said. We go out of upanyaasams, kathakaalakshepams [scriptural discourses], most of us in a semi-doze, many of us having dozed, and outside a friend says, “What did he really say? Swamiji?” And you say, “Well, it was wonderful, you know.” Of course it was wonderful. He put you to sleep! You see? In Hindi they say, kaan khol ke suno (we don’t have that expression in Tamil or Kannada and all that)—open your ears and listen.

In Vedic Shastra there are three steps to evolution. Shravana, listening, hearing, you know. Manana, using the mind to meditate upon what I have heard. And nididhyaasana, making it part of my existence. I must listen carefully, meditate on what I have heard, and make that knowledge mine. Like food, you know: I get it, I eat it and part of it becomes me. It is no more food in me. It has been absorbed into me, it is part of me. Shravana, most people cannot. Where is the question of nididhyaasana and manana, and all that?

So you must make your abhyasis listen, you see. Poor things, they come expecting something from us. And if you are going to repeat ad nauseam this cleaning and this and that, you know, they get bored. Of course, CREST is a beautiful place, the ambience is lovely, the food is good. But that is not what they come for. They come to see something, feel something, and if they don’t go back with that modicum of feeling which says, “I am a new person,” it is not the failure of CREST or of its director or of the system, it is your personal failure. Remember, it is not a statement of humility but all great saints have said, “All that I am and that I have done [that] can be considered good, is because of my guru. All failure is mine.”

Thank you.