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Meditation/Prayer at 9pm

"One thing which I would like to introduce in our satsangh is that at 9:00 p.m. sharp every abhyasi wherever he might happen to be at the time, should stop his work and meditate for fifteen minutes, thinking that all brothers and sisters are being filled up with love and devotion and that real faith is growing stronger in them. It shall be of immense value to them, which their practical experience only shall reveal."
(Shri Ram Chandra, Voice Real, Combined Edition, p. 283)

This is an old practice, this nine o'clock meditation at night. To tell you honestly I never heard about it till I printed Voice Real, in which it appears. That was some, I don't know, almost ten years after joining the Mission. And then I asked Babuji why he had not spoken about it to me or to others. He gave indirect answer. The answer was that, "People don't do what I tell them to do for themselves. How are they going to do something for someone else?" Because as you will all appreciate, our sadhana which has these three or four angas (parts) we say - morning meditation, evening cleaning, night bedtime prayer, constant remembrance - these are strictly for ourselves, each one for himself. They are meant for personal spiritual growth and development and for the achievement of a very definitely personal and a very definite goal. It doesn't have anything to do with anybody else.

The nine o'clock prayer - meditation, whatever you call it - is a general one for welfare of others than ourselves. I think it introduces at a certain stage of our evolution, a concern for general well-being. Sometimes you have seen that if you are living in a good neighbourhood, and suddenly people start moving out and then a different sort of people start coming in, you feel the pressure of a different environment - maybe better, maybe less - we don't qualify it in the sense of attributing a quality to it. Similarly, a rich man, you know, living in a slum is always the target of attack. Therefore people like to sort of get together - the herd instinct.
It is no less in spirituality. Though you must always remember that a light shines brightest when it is darkest. In spirituality we don't accept this nonsense of being together with your own sort of people so that you can have the company that you desire which will promote your welfare, which will promote your growth. That is strictly an Occidental way of thinking. Nevertheless, it is still a fact that unless everybody grows, you don't grow, you see, too much, in any case. It is not that you cannot grow because they don't grow; it is perhaps a limitation on your own growth that you don't think of others.

Even spirituality, even spiritual growth, even spiritual evolution could perhaps have this tinge of self-centredness if you don't think of others. So I think it is in that context that we have to broaden our outlook and embrace all the abhyasis, brothers and sisters, eventually all the human beings, in one vast embrace of love: that it is not enough if I grow, you must grow, too. I draw your attention to Buddha's famous statement, you see, after he attained mahaparinirvana, as they call it, the highest level open to the Buddhists. He said , "I shall not leave this world till the last human being has been liberated." So, presumably, he is somewhere around. So that is the sort of concern that we as human beings, evolved human beings - because we have, I hope - hopefully - we have reached a stage where we should have concern for others.

Perhaps at one stage Babuji thought it necessary not to talk about it. He did not stop it, there were people still doing it, but he stopped talking about it. I have never seen it in print except in Voice Real. Nor, I am sad to say, did I start doing it after I read it in Voice Real, because Babuji did not give me any specific instruction when I asked him, "Should I do it?" But I think we have now achieved a certain spiritual maturity when we should think of others apart from ourselves and include a prayer for general well-being of all. Therefore I have thought it necessary to reintroduce it.
Please do it at 9:00 p.m. local time, we don't have to calculate back and forth, what time is it in India now - it is local time. It doesn't matter because it's a continuous beam of transmission of human love, human concern for others, human concern for the well-being of the others. So it is just to focus. If all the people in your country do it at one time, there is a certain cumulative effect which far exceeds the sum of the individual effects. So I request that you undertake this small concern for general well-being, understanding very well that it will surely contribute to your added well-being. I think that is sufficient explanation for this.

Q: (inaudible)

PR: Ten, fifteen minutes, no more.

Q: (inaudible)

PR: Yes, you see, my people, and all people. There are always three stages. That is the problem of religions - except, I should say, Sanatanadharma - cover only their own following. At least that is what it would appear to a person like me. That unless you are a Christian you cannot be emancipated through Christianity; unless you are a Buddhist you cannot get through Buddhism. But in Hinduism there is no such limitation. Anybody can pray. Anybody can achieve. It is in doing something - the practice, you see- that is why it is called tapasya. Tapas Brahmavi Jignasahswah says the old Upanishad. "Through tapas, one can get the experience of the ultimate." So that is open to all.

Prayer can be in different languages, but what is said through the different languages is always the same. When you say, "I am hungry," in English, or "J'ai faim," in French, the meaning is the same. But how can prayer not be understood by the Almighty Lord who has no language, you see, whose speech is silence. So, I don't accept this exclusive nature of religions - you see, it's almost like a club for the rich. The seven top nations of the world meeting in Paris. [He chuckles] Today's top is tomorrow's bottom. We don't subscribe to that sort of politicization of spiritual endeavours and motives and goals. Here we strive to broaden the base of spiritual existence further and further.

I remember Babuji wrote to Dr. Varadachari that he had reached such a high condition that even the insects in his house would qualify for liberation. Yes, I mean, if you live somewhere - I mean, if you light a candle, doesn't it illuminate the whole room? Weakly or strongly is not the question. You cannot say, "This candle shall burn only for me." The sun shines - I presume it is throughout the solar system that it is casting its light, throughout the universe; but elsewhere it's not so strong.

So when a spiritual man exists - Babuji has said, you see, that a saint is for the whole world, for the whole universe, if you are willing to accept. And one such saint is enough. He did not say for Hinduism or for Sahaj Marg - for the whole world. So presumably it is his job to look to the needs of all the human beings in that world of his, or that universe of his. And why only human beings, why not plant life, mineral life, animal life?

So that is his job. But when he tells us to do a certain thing and say, "At least look after the human beings," I think it is a duty to ourselves, that when we promote general welfare... It's like when the tide rises the boat rises with it. Imagine a boat which would remain at a particular level and the tide is rising and the boat gets swamped - doesn't exist. [He chuckles] So we always float when everybody floats with us. When the general tide of spirituality rises, we must surely rise with it.

So in this spirit, you know, the doing to yourself by doing for others, it is a very good exercise in a certain generosity, a certain breadth of vision, a certain urge to develop an embracing quality for your love. It's not enough to embrace one human being. So please try it, I am sure there will be a definite change in the possibilities of growth for all, and you will perceive it. It's not as if we don't see the spiritual growth. We all feel it, we see it in others, and why should we not see it in yet more people when we do this for them, and through them, for ourselves.

So that's all I have to say about this nine o'clock endeavour. A day may come when we'll be asked to pray in a very abstract way for all, you see. "May all life in this universe benefit by his presence." We should be ready for that, too. Thank you.

(Talk at Birch Bay, WA, USA, July 25, 1989. This article was first printed in the October 1989 issue of Constant Remembrance.)