Impromptu Talk to Benelux Abhyasis
by Chariji, October 27, 2005, Vrads Sande, Denmark.
Master on joy, happiness and spreading Sahaj Marg in Europe:
Master: Of course for me a point of permanent interest is the service the Mission can give to the people of your countries and that is reflected in the number of abhyasis … it is not as strong as I’d like it to be.
In these European countries there is always a sense of satisfaction with material success, material accomplishments, material growth - but they don’t seem to transfer this feeling for growth into the spiritual life – what shall we do about that?
So why, when some have been [in the Mission] for thirty years, others are not coming? I think there is something which is lacking in our approach… some way of, you know, creating enthusiasm in others to come in…do it properly, we are somehow not able to focus on the need for a spiritual life to go in parallel with our material life – that is what Sahaj Marg is about you know. So preceptors need to find out what is necessary to be done and do it, because a service organisation is like a free kitchen offering free food and if no one is coming then what is the organisation doing? Of course we can always say there are no more poor people in the country, but I don’t accept that…there are always poor people like there are always sick people, there are always uneducated people because life is a layer and whereas some things attack certain layers like a free kitchen for those that have no food, free houses for those who don’t have houses, free education for those that can’t afford education, we are there to attack at all levels - the rich, the poor, the hungry, the well-fed, because this is spiritual life which is lacking in all centres of society. The rich man needs it as much as the poor man, the educated need it as much as the uneducated, the healthy need it as much as the sick, so somehow we have to restructure our thinking, our approach…and I would like you all to think about it and do something…
Abhyasi: “Master, often I have the impression when I speak about it, people feel attracted to [Sahaj Marg] but on the other hand they think it is too serious for them and I have the impression in Belgium around me that this is something that restrains them from coming…
Master: “you see it is a co-incidence that this morning we were discussing how a spiritual guide must always be cheerful, with a sense of humour. Babuji Maharaj told me long ago when I joined the Mission and asked him, “How can you tell so many jokes being a spiritual person?” He said a spiritual person is always happy…and his happiness must show. Whereas the traditional gurus don’t laugh, don’t make jokes, they’re very serious, all sorts of funny things - even in India we have this funny idea. But Babuji said, “If you see a guru that is always frowning, run away from him because he is not real”. So maybe our preceptors are too solemn, trying to be too holy instead of being human. You see, our system says we have to remove the animal nature in man and make him a human being and then a perfect human being - so he must reflect happiness, joy, contentment – and preceptors are artificially putting on a different personality when they talk to abhyasis or prospective abhyasis – they are doing a disservice to the Mission and to those who could be abhyasis. So we have to learn to laugh, to joke about spirituality you know, and make it acceptable – because it is something that will give a great deal of joy to people who are practicing spirituality – because it is a liberating force and when you are liberated - even momentarily - from hunger, from pain, from sickness, the happiness comes out, because happiness is the real state of human beings – sorrow comes and goes you see, hunger comes and goes, contentment is a real state of human beings…happiness, contentment, joy these are the natural states like a rose full of petals is its natural state, sometimes the wind comes and blows away the petals, but that is an accident, isn’t it . So, we have to emphasise that these are real, that this is the natural state of the human being – that you don’t have to work at being happy because you are naturally happy – that is how God created us – and if you manage to be like that I’m sure we would have more abhyasis than we have now. And preceptors do tend to be a little hypocritical you know, and make it serious – that is not the right way! I think that is a good hint for our preceptors to follow you know
Master: Any other questions?
Abhyasi: I think this thing you are saying is important, because I have lots of friends who know I am meditating for a long time and now they are coming and I sent them to some preceptors and after some weeks and months they don’t come and they say “it was too serious” and it is exactly this thing that is…[Master completes her sentence] “that is lacking”
Master: We must tell them that everything in life is serious – work is serious because if you don’t do your job properly then you will lose your job, education is serious if you are not serious at school you fail your exams. Marriage is serious, it is full of joy but it is serious so serious does not mean that there is no joy or pleasure – it only means that the attitude has to be one of seriousness – if you don’t want papers to fly away then you put something on it – a paperweight, its simple…the idea that seriousness means no fun, no joy, no pleasure is the mistake. I can be perfectly serious and be joking you know…
Abhyasi: “Master, Robert Frost said ‘true humour has inner seriousness [Master responds “yes”] and true seriousness has inner humour’
Master: [referring to Europeans] “when they work seriously they don’t think it is serious because they say ‘Well, I have to earn money to look after my family’ – that is serious! You see it is a matter of expectation – they expect work to be a serious thing – they don’t expect spirituality to be a serious thing…or so serious that it takes away the fun of living…in one of Babuji’s messages in Whispers he says “life must be enjoyed, there must be happiness – these are not wrong.” Provided we do not throw away spirituality. It’s like a man that gives up work and says “Oh it is too serious” and then he suffers because he has no money, he can’t feed his family. For me seriousness is one into which you put your heart.”
Abhyasi: “Master, what is wrong when one says it’s good to work hard and it’s also good to play hard?” Is there something wrong with that statement?”
Master: “You know, Babuji said, work as if you are playing and play as if you are working – it means that playing is also a serious business – you know when you throw a ball it must go to its destination…and when you take work as play you don’t get heart attacks and acidity and ulcers – its in the book Siddhartha, you know, where the capitalist cannot make money but where he (Siddhartha) can make money because for him it is a play and a joy you see. When you take gambling too seriously you lose money, but when you know gambling is both loss and gain and you take it like James Bond you are always winning. That is the secret of life and Babuji has said that the word meditate comes from the word ‘mudita’ which means joy. So in meditation, one who meditates must have joy in life you know, ‘joie de vivre’ they say in French, it must be there – he cannot be groaning there and saying “What is this life” you know…that’s why I’m here. Otherwise, for my age and my state of health I could be lying at home and being miserable. I would think I am happy, but I would be miserable – and then people get to thinking that misery is happiness you see – that is what you call in psychology masochism. And without misery they are not alive.
In Sanskrit, Yoga is called, ‘Krishi’ – agriculture - of the mind. You plough, you sow, it grows, then you reap – it is a purposeful activity - not serious. So everything is purposeful in life you know, eating is purposeful – I eat for a purpose and if I lose the purpose I spoil my health by eating wrong things, drinking wrong things…and this sense of purpose has to come from the heart then the taste doesn’t matter – self control comes from a purposeful life otherwise you are like a directionless ship that has lost its rudder and it doesn’t know where it is going. You have to take a little time and explain to people, it’s not difficult – the secret is you have to love the job you are doing.
Abhyasi: It comes from inside not outside.