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Change the Future for Humanity

Opening Address at the European Seminar, 18 December 2010, Chennai, India

Dear sisters and brothers,

During this sitting I was having some thoughts about Babuji Maharaj's first visit to Europe in 1972, when I had the privilege of accompanying him there. And we must remember with thanks, and with a lot of love, all those who were there to help Babuji Maharaj in sowing the seeds of spirituality in Europe. Many of them are no more, like Mr. Saravanamuthu in Italy, the first place which Babuji visited; brother André Poray in France, sister Vera Davies in England, the very little known, perhaps unknown, Mr. Robert Koch in Germany, and that very dynamic lady Birthe Haugaard in Denmark, and another dynamic lady in Switzerland, Stella Jaquerod. Like all foundations they have disappeared, but we must always remember that where there is a superstructure, there is a foundation. So the foundation keeps sinking and the superstructure keeps growing, very much like some of these big trees, enormous trees which grow twenty metres, thirty metres. They have taproots equally probing into the depths of the earth.

So I render my thanks to them though they are not here, because that is where Sahaj Marg began in Europe. It was a good beginning, and that so many of you are here shows that the work was well begun, and I have hope that the old proverb will again prove true: that well begun is half done. But it is like all of us; I am waiting for the other half now, you see!

Today I also miss some of our very good, very productive, very serious brothers. Fausto Russo is not here because his wife had a fracture, she slipped on the ice. I don't think Patrick Fleury is here, and so on, you see — stalwarts of the Mission. Nevertheless, having said all that, I am very happy. I am indeed overjoyed to see all of you here for the first time in Manapakkam as a solid group. Since the days of 1972 and Babuji's first visit to Europe, so many new countries have come onto the Sahaj Marg map, and so much work has been done. And, like all work, some of it is visible (I mean the results), much of it is years to come. So for what has happened, we are grateful; for what is to come, we have hope. But whether this hope will really fructify depends on every one of you here.

I am often concerned that we do not realise that Sahaj Marg is not something only for our individual benefit. Initially, when we become abhyasis and when we grow, we are something like people of the coastguard or mountain people who save lives, who must be trained first before they can help others. Our period of abhyas, the life that we lead as abhyasis is, in a very real sense, a training for us to help others, to help the work of spirituality grow. It is not enough that each one of us develop spiritually by himself, for himself, with the Master's help, but we have a responsibility to humanity. I won't call it a social responsibility or a responsibility to your people, whoever they may be. It is a responsibility to life itself, that as we go on we spread cleanliness, we spread happiness, and we spread spirituality.

This does not need any special feeling of generosity or of giving. We are not like all those big players of money who give millions in donation. My Master never thought much of donations, because he said unless you give yourself you are giving nothing. Any fool can give money if he has the money. Are you willing to give yourself, whether it is in marriage, or whether it is in parenthood, or whether it is — much more important — in the spiritual life? Are you willing to give yourself? Do you have the heart for it? I know most of you want, or have said that you want to become like the Master. Is it a genuine feeling from your heart? Do you know what it implies to be like him, to become like him? You know Babuji Maharaj said, talking of himself, that he wanted the beginning of his life to be like his and the end to be like his Master’s.

I have often thought, with all respect to my Master, that the foundation of a life — I mean utter spiritual life, dedicated spiritual life, growing spiritual life, culminating in the result that he achieved in becoming like his Master — was a life full of sacrifice. Sacrifice means not that you gave money to the church, or did some poor feeding or helped some student through class in his education. That is not sacrifice. Sacrifice, in my understanding, means never thinking of yourself. Unless you can stop thinking of yourself in any situation, at any time, anywhere, there is no sacrifice. Oh, I don't want to lose my sleep — no sacrifice. I don't want to be unhappy — total selfishness, no sacrifice. I am willing to give money, but not to participate in other ways of helping people — not a sacrifice. And what we require for this is a big heart, the heart of a lion. That is why Babuji Maharaj said, "I don't want sheep. I want lions."

How many of us are willing? And by that term you imply that you have to roam the jungles — and we are in a jungle of humanity as it is today. Human beings have become predators: acquisitive, selfish, killers — kill the opposition, kill the competition, kill the other guy at the end of the tennis court on the other side. These are words which are used — "kill". So we are predators, human predators, and worse than anything else ever created on earth. A tiger may kill only to eat. But what have we human beings become?

So you have to examine yourself critically. It is not enough to say that I am highly educated; I come from a country which is highly technically advanced; we have the best armaments in the world; we are a powerful nation. All that cuts no ice.

In fact, those of you who have been reading the Whispers [from the Brighter World] — I believe it appears every day on the computer — why has Babuji Maharaj to speak of a new world which can come into being only after massive, shall we say, unhappiness, misery, destruction? Destruction is only when total reconstruction is necessary. Something has to be eradicated, erased, taken out from the roots, and something new brought there. Are we conscious of what we are reading, what it means, and how much of the responsibility for that shall each one of us share? Are we conscious? Or is it just like another movie that you watch on the screen and say, okay. I don't think we have become part of it, because when you can shrug off something, you are not really part of it. You are like an observer watching something. Of course, the ideal spiritual state says you must become the observer who is watching the world go by. But that is a stage, that is a position reserved for those who have achieved it through hard spiritual practice, sacrifice, love. At our stage in life, we are no more observers than a cow or a dog is.

So what do we read when we read these Whispers? Does it have anything to do with your heart? Does it impinge here? Do we feel a twinge of conscience? In what way am I responsible for this calamity that is facing humanity? Can I remain untouched by it? Can I run off to some Swiss mountaintop and say destruction will not come here, the tsunami cannot come here, I am not in the earthquake belt? Can we claim that we are going to be immune from all this? What are these messages meant for, if not to give us some idea that, here I am — what can I do to mitigate, if not prevent, these things happening in the future in which, though I may not be there, future generations of humanity are going to be there? And more, how can I bring about that human existence of the future about which Babuji Maharaj speaks, that a new humanity is to come which would be all heart, not divided by language, not divided by custom, not divided by this much exalted thing which we call culture; not divided, most importantly, by religion, ambitions, avarice?

One side is to think of how to prevent what is going to happen; the next step must be to think of how we can contribute to that future which is to come. Or are we only thinking of our own jobs, our own couples, as you say in Europe? So you see, spirituality is a very serious business; not just a holiday, not just an occupation of an hour or two, once a week.

Even what I thought of in the original thirty years of Sahaj Marg, that people enjoy being together, sometimes I begin to doubt. Are people really happy when they meet for satsangh? Or is it just another thing to be done, a superficially polite smile, a superficial welcome? The smile is false, artificial; the welcome does not exist because in the heart there is no welcome. It is a convention, a social etiquette to show that you are well-behaved, and a product of a culture which is supposed to be great. That is what we see, you know.

So when are we going to become natural human beings: living out of the heart, speaking from the heart, giving from the heart, remembering only that we are all human beings wherever we may have come from? My origins are not important. When you travel by air and it has passed through several places, you don't say, "Where have you come from?" We only ask, "Where are you going?" It is our destination that is what is important, not our origin. I may be from Lapland, Timbuktu or Sydney, it does not matter. I may be black, white, yellow, it does not matter. I may be educated or not — does not matter. So, when are we going to learn to open our hearts, embrace all — embracing not just by this way using your arms, but using your heart.

Do we ever really use our hearts even in our own lives in our families? I have asked many people, many times in Europe, about their . . . why there are couples. Couple — very revealing! I don't want to reveal what I heard so many times, so many places. People are not scared of sex, of SIDA (AIDS); they are scared of marriage. Why are you scared of marriage? A shrug is the answer. And there are so many couples where I have met the husband and the wife, and they say, "My suitcase is packed." "But," I say, "you have been married eighteen years, twenty years, fifteen years." "Yes, but you know how it is, Chari." That is the answer. Does this point to a happy, adjusted, real life, or does it point to some sort of artificial life when we all think we are happy, when we all think we are modern, living in a family as a group? And, like the world, we are expecting separation and unhappiness all the time.

In the world, we are afraid that it is going to disintegrate. When it is going to happen, whether through war or pestilence or cosmic phenomena, we don't know. But this fear is there. It is there, sort of, as the base of our human existence today. We don't wonder whether it will happen; we are only wondering where it will begin. And that is the cosmic or macro; and at the micro level it is with the family when a man says, "I don't know if my wife will be there when I come back in the evening," and the wife says, "I don't know if he will come back at all or be off with somebody else." Is that a family? Is there happiness in it? So you see, all this makes up what it is that we call a spiritual life. Unless the roots of a tree are firm, the merest breeze will knock it down. And that is what is happening — the merest breeze.

So you must use your week here, or whatever it is, not only to hear lectures and meditate, but to ruminate, to brood over these questions, and to first answer to yourself one question: Am I happy? Am I educated? Am I cultured? Forget the degrees, forget your society and what it says, forget the people who are supposed to confer on you a wonderful culture. You must ask yourself — Am I . . . ? Not, Are we . . . ?

In spirituality it is very strictly and very profoundly each one for himself or herself. I cannot be educated just because I am in a society where most people are educated. I am not happy just because I am in a situation where most of my compatriots are happy. I may be miserable. I may be living in a society of holy men, but I am not holy. You have to answer this question many times. Am I . . . ? Am I . . . ? Am I . . . ? What? — you put there: happy, healthy, wise, spiritual, dedicated, loving. Do I have a heart? You will be amazed at what you will do, and what you will hear, from yourself, from your inside, as answers to these questions. Ask them with courage, ask them expecting to hear the truth. Don't let your ego satisfy you and say, "I am a European, for heaven's sake. I am happy. I am wise. I am healthy. I amam educated." You are none of these things. You must have the courage to ask these questions, accept the answer from your heart, and then take steps to correct it, when spiritual practice will help you. Now, meditation is merely another activity, like playing ping-pong or . . . You understand?

So this seminar must give you a real serious time, not to be frittered away in useless talk with others. You use it to sit by yourself, to introspect, really sincerely, really deeply, ready, willing to accept the answer that your heart gives. Unless you do that, you will not change. No spirituality, no Babuji, nothing can change you. Because when you say, "I am happy, I am healthy, I am wise. I have a heart, of course! For heaven's sake, I have had three wives and twenty-seven girlfriends. How can I not have a heart?" — that is a very bad and wrong answer. So what you need is courage. I know how Europeans have a great deal of courage. They go to mountains alone, they do all sorts of things in a river in the rapids; they can swim in the ocean — but they cannot confront themselves. That is why stories like ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall' come from those cultures — the inability to face the truth from yourself.

I don't want to say much more, because today I am not talking about Sahaj Marg. I am talking about humanity, human life, the values it should cherish: friendship, love, generosity, oneness, togetherness. Before we establish this, there is no real hope of any spiritual progress. Of course, we may feel superficially happy, we have some friends whom we can trust, but that is not what we are looking for.

So you will permit me that I request you to — I mean you have heard it — do what is necessary, think over these questions and find out the reasons why we are like this, what we can do collectively, and what I can do individually, by myself, to change — not myself — but the future for humanity. I pray for all of you.

Thank you.