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Change Your World by Changing Yourself

Address to the participants of the SMSF Scholarship Training Programme 2008–2009 on 20th December 2008, at Malampuzha, India

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For me it is always a privilege to meet so many people from different parts of the world who are interested in spirituality. I have been meeting people from all over the world for, I don't know, the last sixty years, both in my travels and in my work. But that was a different world: the world of commerce, the world of business, the world of money. And in the last thirty years, or forty years almost now, my Master has made it possible for me to move in a different world. Geographically, it is the same world: the same problems, the same borders, the same customs, immigration, you know - very unsavoury, very divisive and very separatist, making humans who are already aware of their separateness from other human beings even more conscious. We have our passports - "I am Japanese," "I am from Uruguay," "I am from Tashkent," "I am from Australia," you know. We forget we are human beings from different parts of the world and we are not really separate.

Suppose you are in one house which has two hundred rooms. Big family like it was twenty years ago, fifty years ago: grandfather, ten sons, eleven daughters, with their children, their husbands and wives. They didn't feel separate. They did not say, "You are in the east room, I am in the west room," "You are below, I am above."

So in today's world, you see, our political, economical, social world has cut us into pieces. The human being has become fragmented and therefore we are struggling in our lives to find a harmony which is ours. It is not that there is no harmony, but we have forgotten the harmony. When we forget that we are human beings, we have ourselves disfigured our inner self, cut it into pieces, mutilated it and sacrificed it at the so-called altar of economic prosperity, political freedom, superiority of one nation over the other, of one race over the other, one colour over the other; and we have lost our humanness completely.

I do not know how many real human beings today you can find. They are born as humans as my Master said, Babuji Maharaj said. He said, "We are born as humans and we die as animals," because our education, which is geared to ambition, towards success at the cost of everybody else, everything else, makes us rapacious, greedy, promotes the killer-instinct. "Kill the opposition!" Whether it is tennis or business or whales in Japan - kill! So you see, we kill to profit, to benefit by somebody else's death. And it is not a joke, it is not funny, because all life has its inherent right to live, to live happily, to live with contentment and in balance with the rest of creation. We are not seeking balance; we are trying to dominate everything in this world. First, we want that humans are more superior than all other forms of life. And second, some humans are more superior than others. And thirdly, some are the top.

So you see what the world has come to? We destroy forms of life, we destroy our friends, we destroy those whom we love. Every love affair nowadays, it begins with the potential of breaking up. They don't go into it with confidence. They go into it with fear, with trepidation: How long will it last? Will it last at all? I say this on the authority of personal experience because I have seen so many couples who have lived together for fifteen years, forty years, fifty years, and where they say, "My suitcase is packed, because I don't know when I will have to leave." The men go to work saying, "I don't know if I'll find my wife at home when I come back." And the women say, "I don't know, he may go to a restaurant to have a cup of coffee, see somebody and not come back." This is a very, very sorry, sad and despicable state of affairs, if we think we are human.

If you make the mistake of thinking you have come from a prosperous race, from a more civilized race, from a more advanced race, yours will be the biggest error in human history. In God's kingdom there is no superior race, there is no superior colour, there is no superior civilization. If you study the history of the primitive races of this world, so called primitive, they are better cultured, they live together harmoniously, the whole tribe looks after the children, and they grow up in love. Today's children in the advanced nations of this world are unwanted, despised, don't know where they belong, and grow up in a total atmosphere of uncertainty. And therefore there is more crime, more violence, more rape, more murder. It is all because we have become what we are today.

If people are coming to the spiritual life only to change the world (please listen to this carefully), if people come to spiritual life only to change the world, they will not achieve anything. I assure you. If you come to change yourself, there is guarantee of success provided you apply yourself to changing yourself. This world is full of people who want to change the world. Every rapacious conqueror through the history of this world wanted to change the world. Every philosopher and wise man wanted to change himself. When you change yourself, the law says, your world changes for you. You don't change the world, but you change your world. You learn to live harmoniously, you learn to have compassion, you are able to really love people, you are able to mix without class consciousness, colour consciousness, rich-poor, and therefore you are the centre of harmony, not at the periphery of harmony. Unless you are at the centre of harmony, at the centre of peace, at the centre of love, you get nothing. If you want the world to change, you can wait forever.

We know through history of civilizations of the past who achieved greatness beyond all human possibilities and who destroyed - and they don't exist any more, whether it is the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Romans, the Greeks. You go to today's Greece, it is another sorry part of Europe - drinking, gambling, love making. And all their great poetry, their great heroics are lost in a lost world in which they are themselves lost. And if you talk of the greatness of the Greeks, of, I don't know, Herodotus and Plato and all these things, they say, "But they are not relevant any more." It is like saying, the foundation on which this house is built has no relevance. How can a house exist without a foundation? So, you see, we have destroyed the foundation, and now when you build on top, it is like what is said in the Bible: you have built your house on a foundation of sand. A little wind and it is blown away. You see?

So we have to re-create a situation, an understanding of life, a possibility of progress, and give you a practice which will make each one of you a centre of the world for yourself, so that everything goes around you, but you don't go around and become giddy and fall down with nausea. Are you willing to be like that? People complain to me, you know - "We were there for three weeks, we were happy, we were adjusted, we were all one. Now we are back in the world, and we are again Germans and French and English with our historical hatred, our historical suspicion, our historical animosity, and we are all afraid that though we are in one Europe, when will we be attacked by another part of Europe?" It is like my own hand slapping my face. And my face is afraid that my hand will hit me. And my legs are afraid that I will cut it off myself.

Even though the world is making tentative efforts to become one, our memories are helping against this process. Because our memory says, be careful, there was a World War I. There was a second world war. There is always the possibility of a third world war. And historically such and such a country started it. "Don't trust Russians. Don't trust the Greeks - Alexander. Don't trust the Romans." Who will you trust? Who will you trust? Spirituality says, trust yourself to change yourself. And if each one of you do it, the world will change like that [snaps his fingers]. But if you just sit down, and lecture, and write articles to the newspaper, and talk wisely of how the world must change, how the atmosphere must change, how politics must change, nothing will change.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, here in this Mission, in our practice of spiritual life, the total responsibility for your welfare, for your happiness, for your growth is, bluntly, entirely on you - on nothing else, nobody else. It is not with the Mission, it is not with the preceptors, it is not with what we teach; it is with each one of you, for yourself. You live by yourself; you work on yourself; you grow. You are the experiment; you are the object of the experiment; you are the experimenter. And when this combination is successful, you will be the result of that experiment.

So you begin with yourself and end with yourself, which is so different from what you were yesterday, five years back, whatever. Then you will be able to say, "The only thing that God gave me permission to change is myself. I have done it. Therefore, I have lived by the law of God." Become what you have to become is His law. Don't depend on politics, on money, on religion, on society. Depend on yourself, pray to Him for help and you become what you have to become. If you don't do this - you go to your church or your temple or whatever - you remain what you are and you will remain what you are for the rest of your life, and you have to begin all over again.

So this is the message of the spiritual life. This is the opportunity that spiritual life gives you, and it is also the promise that spiritual life, spirituality makes to you, that, do what you have to - first, we realize that there are human beings with animal tendencies, lack of compassion, hatred, acquisitiveness, force, arrogance, pride, everything. You know, we say, he is barking like a dog. Dogs don't bark. We say they bark. And we say he is as acquisitive, or as powerful, as destructive as a bear. Bears don't destroy. They live and their life is like that, that they have to kill and eat. It is we who destroy. We destroy forests, we destroy wildlife, we destroy marine life for cosmetics, for what, I don't know. So until we stop destroying what is outside, we will never stop destroying what is inside myself. And if you go to the spiritual life, and you begin with your inner self, and remove all the destruction, and hatred and lack of love inside, you will find the world is changing.

Everything begins here [pointing to the heart]. If you don't work here [pointing to the heart], you do nothing. You may destroy all the lions in creation, all the dinosaurs in creation, all those you hate. For every man you destroy whom you hate, a hundred more will come up. When will you stop? How will you stop? Because, that is rising all the time. So whichever way you look at it, whether you look at it the Western way, or the Eastern way or the Far Eastern way, or in your religion, self-conquest is the only conquest, and self-conquest leads to the conquest of this world and this universe. This is what is spirituality's offer. It is what spirituality gives freely to everyone who wants it, with this promise that, do and achieve.

I hope you will all realize the seriousness of this message, realize and understand the seriousness of this practice. It is not just a free holiday to India that you will get. It is your purpose, it is your chance, it is an opportunity in life to change yourself. And by changing yourself, you change the world.

Thank you.