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The Experience of Sahaj Marg

Talk given by Shri P. Rajagopalachari
at a seminar for Zonal and Center Administrators
on Jan 12, 2003, at Babuji Memorial Ashram, Manapakkam, India

I don't want to decry the role of knowledge. I think most of these meetings are aimed at improving your level of knowledge of the system, of how it works. I believe more in enthusiasm. I don't know if these meetings serve to put more enthusiasm into you; whether you come in as bleating sheep and go out as roaring lions. If you come in as bleating sheep and go out with even the bleat taken out of you (chuckles), it doesn't fulfill any purpose. You must go, you know, as they say in America, 'raring to go' - get on with the job, do the work. Because coming here and writing notes, you know, it smacks too much of a classroom.

As I said, I'm not trying to decry these sessions but, like all old men, I also have the privilege of saying that I did not have all of these privileges and facilities when I grew up with my Guruji, Babuji Maharaj. We had no classes, we had no sessions. We had no teaching at all. Somehow the work got done, you see, because Babuji was able to put enthusiasm into us, the way He worked. So perhaps I'm not a very good role model for you all - that is why the work is suffering, or at least the work is not growing. Of course, statistically we can always prove anything, you know. They say statistics can be used to prove anything you want to prove. Statistics has this stigma attached to it that it is easily manipulated.

So what I would like, is to see some enthusiasm. You know, enthusiasm, as I have said before, comes from putting God into your heart. And that is an art which we should practice, to enthuse the abhyasis, to enthuse the prefects, preceptors, because otherwise you know, we are just listening, taking notes and…

I had the opportunity to attend some meetings in the United Nations, and then in the ISO, the International Standards Organisation, in the old days before computers, and yet you know, at the end of one week, in a place somewhere in Switzerland, each of us had about 2 kilograms worth of paper to carry, and most of it went into the waste paper basket. And for every delegate present there, there must have been at least 20 secretaries typing away furiously day and night to prepare this paper work. I mean, you take only to throw away and walk out free, and life goes on as always. "Men may come and men may go", that sort of philosophical attitude, you see, "We go on forever."

That is not what Babuji Maharaj wanted. He said he wanted not sheep but lions. And as He rightly said, one lion is worth 500 sheep. So if we can find a dozen workers, as Babuji said towards the end of his life…He said, "If I have 12 people of dedication, devotion, exuberance of spirit, the Mission would be transformed into something we cannot even imagine today." You know, you all know what He told Lalaji Maharaj, you see, when Lalaji told Him, something about this one dozen, and He said, "I will do it", and Lalaji smiled. It is not so easy to find dedicated people, devoted people.

We are all mistaken when we pick up corporate examples you know, of fiery executives, chief executives, vice-presidents. They are fiery because they are selfish. They are paid immense sums of money. Young fellows picked off from colleges, are paid 6 lakhs, 8 lakhs a year. It is not enthusiasm which works, it is lalach, greed. I mean any honest entrepreneur or executive here will say 'yes' to this. They are working for nobody but themselves, and the more you give them, the more they want. And in the modern corporate culture, "if you don't get it, you lose it"; that means that if you don't make the grade, you go home. But here, we neither give the incentive for lalach nor do we send them home. Both the carrot and the stick are missing here. In corporate culture, the carrot and the stick are both present - bigger and bigger carrots, more and more dangerous sticks.

So human nature in the corporate culture is somewhat, you know… is a bit of a smelly culture, for me. It makes men and executives and corporate bosses more and more self-centred, more and more selfish, more and more self-growth oriented with the little 's' - when will I make 20 lakhs, when will I make 50 lakhs, Maruti 800 changed to Ikon, Ikon changed to Sonata, Sonata changed possibly to a Mercedes. Here we have no inducements, you see. Or at least we think so, but the only inducement is your own self-development to the highest spiritual level, which is an intangible, unknown, unperceivable, but yet, experience-able reality. But we don't sit down and try to experience what we get.

Babuji Maharaj told me, "In one sitting if you are able to be sensitive enough to see what you get, you will not be willing to get up from that place." I mean, some people came and told me about this morning's sitting, you see. How many of you really felt anything? Because you were probably thinking of this session - what question you will ask, Rajagopalan must have been thinking of what answers to give to projected questions, somebody statistically minded counting the number of sheep that will walk into this hall, brothers with projects like Jabalpur and Panvel thinking of when they will sell their plots, enough to make the money that has to come back into the Society, isn't it? I mean this is not some saintly prediction or vision. It is experience of life. This is what is going on.

So when we sit for meditation, we are not meditating. We are thinking of so many other things. Therefore the only proof of our existence in Sahaj Marg, the reality of the promise of Sahaj Marg, is not available to us because we don't experience it. Nobody can take it out and show it to you. "This is brighter world", can anybody show? Or "This is samadhi", can anybody show? And as I said somewhere, all the testimony of samadhi that we see in the statues and whatnot, they are lies. A saint sitting like this (upright) in samadhi is ridiculous. Nobody can sit like that. If you are in samadhi, you are lost. Your body cannot remain upright.

So you see, the visible evidence is all spurious, false, lies. The real evidence of experience we are unwilling to participate in because we are flooded with too many questions, even during that short period of meditation. So, we go out of the meditation hall as ignorant of spirituality as we came in; knowledge - yes; experience - no. And without that experience, spirituality has no meaning.

Are you trying, in your sittings with abhyasis, to give that experience? Or are you too thinking, you know, "How long will I have to give this fellow a sitting? When will I be free?"

You see, spiritual work demands a great deal of selflessness. I won't call it sacrifice, because not going to a cinema is not a big sacrifice. "No, no, Sir, but my wife says, "Once in a year even you don't take me to pictures." Of course wives are important in our lives, "And Brutus was an honourable man" (chuckles), in that spirit. But is it correct, is it useful, to sacrifice spirituality for a wife? I think that is why in all the praachina paddhathis, they insisted on celibacy, sannyasa. I think 90% of problems, both for the women and the men, let me assure you, at one stroke, they removed. But my Master says, living a natural life, not running away from women, women not running away from men, having children but treating them as a trust, loving them but not being attached to them, yet meditating solemnly, regularly, deeply, savouring that experience day after day, you grow into that divinity which is always there, you see. It is like a man who is very timid to enter a pond because he thinks the water is too cold, so he puts his toes in first. And very often he walks back - that is enough of a bath. "Snaanam samarpayaami, snaananantharam aachamaniyam samarpayami, aasanam samarpayami…", put in your big toe (chuckles).

I remember my uncle, who was a forest man, had a Nepali driver, Rampong. We were all going together to Dhubri or somewhere, and we came to the Brahmaputra, you see. The driver stopped the car. So my uncle asked him in Assamese, "Where are you going?" He said, "Ami snan korbo" (I have to have a bath). So my uncle said, "Damn this fellow. Now we'll be stuck here for half an hour." But even before he said this, the fellow was back. He said, "Didn't you have your bath?" The driver said, "Hoey gacche (over)." He said, "How did you bathe in 15 seconds?" He took off his topee and said, "I took a few drops of ganga jol and (chuckles) sprinkled it on my head", you see. (laughter)

Don't laugh, because our meditation is like that. I'm not trying to…he was ignorant, that driver. He had faith. So he did 'sprinkle, sprinkle', you know. We also do it. We say "Oh, Master, Thou art the real goal of human life, we are yet but slaves of wishes putting bar to our advancement" (says this with lots of gestures, scratching the head etc). I have seen it so many times. There are human individuals who take 20 minutes to settle themselves, physically. I have watched. They squirm and you know, I sometimes think a few of them must be having piles, because they are not able to sit properly. So, if this is the state of advanced abhyasis who have been in the Mission for 15 years, 10 years, 12 years, 20 years, what are we talking of about the deeper states of consciousness, divinity?

So before we entered Sahaj Marg, we knew nothing about it. Now after 20 years, we know something about it - that we possess knowledge of what it is. Do we have the experience of what it is? "It is all Master's Grace, Sir." When He gives, we will have.

So you see, there is too much of this, sort of, justificatory talk in Sahaj Marg, among preceptors, abhyasis, everybody. When we can't do it, we say it is His fault. After all Babuji said, "Only he whom He wants He will give." So, does He not want all of you? What is the fun in keeping you here if He is not going to give you anything? So there is some problem somewhere, and that problem is, we don't want the experience of Sahaj Marg. Many people are afraid. They are afraid of being divinised.

You know, without sounding vulgar, family planning in India is a disgraceful failure because people don't want to lose the pleasure of life. Vasectomy was a big failure, you see. Those experiences we cherish - simple, frictional, erotic pleasures. But here, the simplest, divine experience, we don't want to experience because, if this experience comes, all those pleasures maybe no more a pleasure to us. We are afraid that those things in which we find pleasure, we may lose the taste for it. And then we say, "But what is the use of living then Sir? What is life worth?"

So you see, at the bottom of everything is a reluctance to part with merely human pleasures, in exchange for divine life. How our training people, our people in charge of our training programs, SMRTI, how these are going to be able to combat this basic fear of losing the human life when we become divine or divinised, is something you have all to think about, because that is the core problem, to my mind. "I may lose my taste for food." What they really mean is something else; they are not able to vocalise it. Paanwala, paan-eater must give up paan, drinker must give up drinking. "After all Sir, what is there in life? Small pleasures. Even if that goes, why should we live?" Don't think that I'm exaggerating. This is the truth. This is what impedes our progress. This is what impedes our working with our full heart. Because we are afraid of losing our heart to the Master and his work, for fear of not having a heart left to give to our wife, children etc. Believe me, only the heart can be given everywhere. Nothing else can be given everywhere. You can eat one dosa, two dosas, no third dosa, isn't it? You can have one jalebi, two jalebis, no more. Then it becomes something abominable. If you eat a third one, you are prepared to vomit. Human pleasures are very limited. Divine bliss is endless, anant, but you have to test it, or as the Gujarathi would say, "You have to taste it" - in a real sense, taste it, before you will understand what it means. It is not that you have to give up something, but that you accept something infinitely more blissful. But I say again, you see, that unless you try it, what is the use? If fear keeps you away from the cold water in the pond, how are you going to enjoy the swim?

So you see, this is the main problem for spiritual people, abhyasis or not, drunkards or not, anything, it doesn't matter. After all, a drunkard is only trying to find the same pleasure in the same thing by going more and more into it, and finding less and less of it. You know in Economics, there is a law of diminishing returns. It is very true of all mundane human pleasures. First cigarette in the morning is good. I know, because I used to smoke. Subsequently, you get a headache. First jalebi wonderful, second, not so, third, vomit. You can think of any other pleasure you want, and you'll find it is true. But spiritual bliss - when you go deep into a sitting, and you are in samadhi and you don't want to come out of it, what is it that you don't want to come out of?

So, I would only say and urge you all to go deeper and deeper into meditation. I've seen abhyasis who have become full preceptors, who sit before me and before I say 'that's all', their eyes are open and they are out, as if they have been waiting, like school children, waiting for the bell to run out of class, people who have been in the Mission for 30 years. What are they full preceptors for? What do they communicate to their abhyasis? They have never experienced, so they don't know what to offer.

So the biggest training on which SMRTI and all these things must lay stress on is your personal meditation, your personal experience of spiritual life. How soon and how deep can you dive into the spiritual wealth that is at your disposal, for the asking. There is no denial, there are no fees. It is there at any moment you choose to dive into it, it is available; like a pond you get into it, you are inside, you don't have to fill questionnaires, show your identity card.

So I hope our management teams will remember these things, and emphasize the real aspects of Sahaj Marg, that unless you are a true abhyasi who has tasted Sahaj Marg in its fullness, in its divinity, you cannot convey it to somebody else, because here conveyance means, like in the legal language - conveying a property, it means transferring the same experience to somebody else. If you cannot do that, your work as a preceptor is useless, the abhyasi goes home disappointed, probably disillusioned, you are frustrated, your organisation is frustrated, everybody is frustrated.

So that is all I have to say. I hope you will take it to heart in the sense that in your heart, you carry enthusiasm with you, God with you, divinity with you, savour it, dive deeper and deeper so that the deeper you go, the less fear you will have, and when you come back next time, you will be able to show the benefit of meditation on your face because, you know, the face and the eyes are very real revealers of the inner state of the human being. The eyes are the windows of the soul, they say. And if you want to know the inner condition, look at the eyes. So that is the sort of development that we look for, in you and in those whom you serve. Thank you.