Awake, Arise, Spread the Message
by Chariji, February 16, 2004, Mysore, India.
The Inauguration of the Mysore ashram, Karnataka
Dear brothers and sisters,
I congratulate all of you on this small meditation hall for Mysore. In the Mission, we have to cut our coat according to the cloth, which means that because of financial stringency, we have to do with what we have, and not have grandiose expansion plans. Yesterday, our brother was mentioning that we are going to have a meditation hall which can seat twelve thousand people [applause]. Don't clap, because that is not going to happen in the next decade. We have hardly 100 abhyasis here? [An abhyasi says, "No, about 180."] 180. So, until it becomes 700 or 800 abhyasis, we are not going to build a different meditation hall at all. So our preceptors better get on with the job of building the garden of abhyasis rather than building ashrams.
Karnataka has been very slow in developing in Sahaj Marg. I have been associated with Karnataka since 1964, when I joined the Mission. It is very difficult, especially in Northern Karnataka - there is virtually no growth. I have been seeing the same faces for 25 years. Of course I am happy that I see them, but I would wish to see new faces. Without a youthful segment in the Mission, there will be no growth. You know, even large populations in the world are worried, countries are worried, when demographic surveys indicate that there are more and more aged people in the population than young people. It is a matter for concern. In America, they promote sales, they develop products, especially for the youthful section, because that is where the future lies.
We want old people for their wisdom, for their experience, but we want young people for their energy, for their idealism, and for their ability to do what they want. Old people think and talk; young people must work. I am sorry to say that in Karnataka this is lacking, and our preceptors have to do something about this. Because in Karnataka, there is too much tendency to stay at home and wait for everything to come to our house. Grace - in the house! Well, may be! New abhyasis to come by themselves - it doesn't happen, you see. We have to have more Open Houses, become more energetic in inviting people to start Sahaj Marg, talk about it to friends, to relatives, because I know many houses where the father is the abhyasi, not the wife, not children, and for twenty years they don't change. If a man cannot influence his own wife to start Sahaj Marg, who else is he going to influence? I know wives are very difficult to manage, but that is female nature, you see, and we are here to change nature by starting with our own family first.
If you drop a stone in a pond and the ripple stops there, what will you think? There is something wrong, no? You know what I mean by ripples? Where the stone falls, there the ripple must start. Our people, whether they are men or women, in grihasthashrama [family life], they don't take their job seriously. "No, no, Sir, my wife is not interested." Or, if the wife is an abhyasi, she says, "My husband will not come." So you see, you must take your responsibility as abhyasis, first for your own development, next for the development of your family, and it must spread like that through the world. Ashrams are only physical structures for helping you to do all this. If that aim is not achieved, this ashram is useless. It will become like so many things on the roadside - useless mathas [monasteries], useless temples, where only bats and owls live.
So people of Karnataka must awake - uttishtatha, jaagratha [arise]. I don't mean to decry, but this state is far too idle, lazy, content with what they have, especially Mysore. From my childhood I have been hearing that Mysore is only for retired people. I'm not joking. "Retired people go and settle there." So, on the streets you find 65-year-old man with 62-year-old wife walking with a walking stick. "Yeda itthu." "Yeda illa. Yeda agodilla." ["It is to the left." "It is not left. It cannot be to the left."] Thanks to information technology, now it is finally beginning to wake up. Bangalore is beginning to wake up; some development is there. That is purely circumstance, not because Kannadigas worked for it. It just happened. That is grace. Now we have to use it. So, people of Karnataka, please awake.
I have been the Secretary since 1967, and now I'm in 2004 - 37 years. I'm actively in the management of the Mission, not just sitting in the periphery. And the database as far as Karnataka is concerned You know, when I joined the Mission, Tamilnadu had probably few hundred abhyasis. When I joined the Mission, I was the fifth abhyasi in Madras. Today in Madras city we have about 6,000 abhyasis. In the whole of Karnataka, I don't think you have 6,000 abhyasis - one state! Tamilnadu was one of the last centres. Kerala had no abhyasis when I started, maybe one abhyasi who was in Madagascar, and who came and settled in Kerala. Today Kerala has 35 to 40 centres, 40 to 50 preceptors, and, I don't know, 3000 to 4000 abhyasis. We have an ashram in Palakkad, we have an ashram in Alwaye. So when are we going to wake up and do something for the people of Karnataka? I am interested - that is not enough. You should be interested. Your people must be interested.
Give up all these problems of religion and sectarianism and language. Everything that you make special for yourself divides you from other people - remember this. Kannada bhaasha - OK. Wonderful! We must have so many bhaashas [languages]. But Kannada bhaasha only? Means what? You will be left behind in the world. I was happy to see yesterday in the newspaper, for the first time, some sense in your politicians. First sign of sense - that since English is the world language, Kannada will of course continue from primary school, but English would also be included to be taught. Clap! Now you should clap. [Applause] See, you don't know what to clap for. [Laughter] So you see all these road signs in Kannada. If I come and I want to locate you, where will I go? You must all write to your corporation, your government, and say, "What is this? Is this only for us, and we are going to be like a frog in the well?" You must be inviting in your attitude by making Kannada acceptable, by making road signs in other languages - English first. I don't want your road signs in Tamil. English! And since your government has accepted that English is now a world language, this should happen. You people are all vocal, you know, when refusing Cauvery water for Tamilnadu. Use that power to bring good into your state. I'm sure you all have relatives in Tamilnadu, people in Tamilnadu.
So, please wake up. Remember you are world citizens; because you are world citizens, you are citizens of India, because you are citizens of India, you are citizens of Karnataka; because you are citizens of Karnataka, you are citizens of Mysore. If Mysore is cut out and all the rest of the world is gone, there will be no Mysore. You exist because of your neighbours. It is well known that if you live in a palace and you are surrounded by poor people all around, you will be robbed everyday, you will be bugged when you leave your palace gates - there is no security. Security, prosperity must be shared. As you spread health, the whole society becomes healthy. If there is plague in Mysore and only your house is healthy, soon you will also die. Therefore, today, more and more, we realise that general health is necessary before I can be healthy. General prosperity is necessary before my prosperity will be protected, cherished, nourished. We have to spread so that we can also be part of it. You don't have a carpet that is one square centimetre. Can you have? What is a carpet that is one square centimetre? "I brought it from Persia, Sir - $2000." Carpet? Looks like a postage stamp.
So please wake up to realities of life. Remember that unless everybody is healthy, I cannot be healthy. Unless everybody is happy, I cannot be happy, and unless everybody is a Sahaj Margi, it is difficult for me to continue. So, with these words I hope my brothers and sisters of Karnataka will carry the message of my Masters to the people of this country, to the state, to the city, and let me see more abhyasis every time I come here. Then we will talk of building bigger ashrams.