Character is Pure Love
by Chariji, January 1, 2009, Chennai, India.
Everybody says, "Happy New Year." But for me, in a spiritual context it can be happy only if you have achieved something in the past year. If you have not achieved anything in the past year, it is another year wasted. And the new year today only reminds us that, alas, one more year has gone. What have I done? What have I achieved? And it must remind us very poignantly that I have less time in front of me and much behind me; much that I've wasted, and the few that are remaining, will I continue to waste or will I begin to use in a way that my future is assured?
We all save money in banks. We save data in computers. We spend a lot of money looking after this body, you know: exercise, good food, health supplements, medication against illness. My Master used to say if you would spend one part in one thousand, of the time and effort that you lavish on this body, your future in the other world - the brighter world - is assured.
After all, think of it: how long are you expected to do your spiritual practice? Ideally, one hour in the morning, fifteen minutes in the evening and at bedtime probably three minutes. One hour, eighteen minutes out of twenty-four. But for most of us, or for those who do not want to meditate at all, it is too much. The Tamilian says, "Aiyo! One hour eighteen minutes - I have no time." The Hindi fellow says, "Baap re baap. Ek ganta aur athara mineet." The Italian says, "Mama Mia!" et cetera, et cetera. And yesterday I have said already what Babuji Maharaj said: that if you have no time and you keep repeating it saying, "I have no time. I have no time. I have no time," you are conditioning yourself into a situation or a state of mind that there is no time for you.
What happens when I have no time for myself? The body is like a toy, which has been pre-programmed, wound up. As long as that spring lasts or the battery is alive, it does what it is programmed to do; and when power fails, it falls. This is the unfortunate life that millions of us lead. And in the process we think we are happy, we think we are healthy, and most foolishly, we think we are wise. It is foolish to think you are wise when you are foolish, when you are stupid, when you do not have your own self-interest in mind; and instead of building, you are destroying what I am speaking about - instead of building, you are destroying health. You go to the gym, spending enormous amounts of money, and you eat rubbish, fast foods. Isn't it?
You drink pure water, and then get drunk, for pleasure. Pleasure is the most damaging thing in human life. And those who pursue pleasure are destroying themselves faster and faster. Now this is not spiritual wisdom, this should be ordinary human wisdom. And the more we get educated, the more we should be aware of these things. The more we should be aware of these things, the more we should act on ourselves, by ourselves, for ourselves. But it seems that education, wealth, health, they only help us to erode ourselves faster and faster; waste faster and faster, destroy faster and faster.
Therefore, my Master said in his divine wisdom, "The principal of Illat, Killat and Zillat (in Urdu): you should have a little less money than you need; you should be a little less healthy than ideally; and you should always have critics, people who criticise you." A little less money than you need means you spend money wisely. You do not drink it away. You do not drug it away. You do not gamble. You are careful. If you have one rupee more, you think you have a lot of money. You should have one rupee less. Exuberant health? You destroyed it. You destroy that health very fast. I don't have to tell you how you do it. You are all aware. Most of you have done it, and are reaping the consequences in terms of worries about the future life (I mean, in this life) medical bills, detoxification, et cetera, et cetera. And if you don't have people to criticize you, you think, "I am great."
So, illat, killat, zillat, three things we don't want, are, spiritually speaking, the things we must have. Even my young friend, the musician, will tell you, that the more praise they have (at least in Carnatic music I have seen), the more they become sure of their own music. But if you are conscious and if your ear is listening to your own music... Don't listen to others. If you are a musician, listen to your own music and then every little imperfection - you will be appalled by what you hear. Because, more and more today, the outside world is only there to flatter you, to praise you, to offer adulation. "Oh, you are great." "How do I look?" "Oh, wonderful!" Today's outside world is like a mirror, which is always telling you lies.
You know the story of Snow White and the Queen's mirror. The Queen was very pretty, most beautiful, she looked at herself in the mirror every morning. "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" And the mirror said, "Thou art the fairest." But, one day it said "Snow White." And that was the day the queen's peace of mind was destroyed. And instead of loving, she began hating. You know the story, it is a school story, a children's story.
But today's mirror says, "Nothing better than you, nobody better than you." So we are fooled you see into a state of, shall we say, fanciful self-adulation, self-praise, what the psychologists call, if I'm right, narcissistic complex - looking at yourself and admiring yourself: "I am beautiful. I am great."
To know the truth you must look at your heart, look into yourself, observe yourself. Forget the world, because they only tell you lies. Why do they tell you lies? Because they want you to help them, to give to them, to praise them. You know it. The moment you are praised, you know there is something, there is a soft touch as they say. So stop looking at the outside world.
That is why in meditation we close our eyes - remove the world from ourselves - I am not part of this world. I am like a man in a train, going from here to eternity. Where the train stops, I should not think that is my destination. And if I am able to do this successfully - look into myself, know myself a little better and better - I begin to see what is really inside myself. That it is not just a heart, that it is the abode of the Divine. That is where divinity resides in the human being. In fact, in the heart of everything there is divinity. That is what the Gita says: I am at the heart of all creative things. He is the true person and because the heart is there and the body is there, I think I am the person. Therefore, we have egos, bloated egos. We think of nothing but this body. It is like, you know, a man who paints his house but drinks himself to death. And then somebody says, "Why are you destroying yourself?" He says, "Nonsense, look at my house! Beautiful house! Six bedrooms, seven million dollars, two-car garage! How can I be unhappy?"
This is the greatest evil of modern times that I put my happiness in things outside myself. You ask anybody today what they want, when will you be happy? "Oh, I will be happy if I have a beautiful wife." Another says, "I will be happy if I have two more bedrooms." Third says, "I want a bigger car, you know, Mercedes-Benz." The moment you transfer your happiness out of yourself into something outside, you are dooming yourself to disappointment, and possibly destruction. My wealth must be here [points to the heart] - not even here [points to the head] - here in the heart, because this goes with me through life after life through all eternity. Everything else outside - pretty or ugly, good or bad, useful or useless, worth keeping or worth throwing away - everything goes.
You know that famous question which the Yaksha asks in the Mahabharata, "Raghuputra, what is the most wonderful thing (or something like that you see) in your experience?" And Yudhisthira answers, "We see everybody dying around us but we never think we are going to die." "No! No! I'm not going to die. I'm fine. I'm only twenty-one," Or, "I'm only eighty-two." One old gentleman, our abhyasi, used to call me every birthday, his birthday. He started calling me on his seventy-ninth birthday and said, "Guruji, please bless me." I said, "Happy returns." He said, "No! No! I want a good blessing from you. Please bless me with long life." He was seventy-nine. His wife had died many years earlier. He was living alone on the seventh floor of some building, in a massive city, where a maid used to come and cook for him in the morning, leave food on the table and leave something for the night. And he wanted to live very long. Eightieth birthday, he called me again. "No, I cannot you know. Because such a blessing would be a curse that may you have a long life," I said, "May it be as my Master wishes." He said, "Thank you, Guruji."
Because this is another aspect of life: that we ask for something and when somebody says something, we think he is agreeing or giving us what we want. "Sir, I want a job." "See me tomorrow." So I think I have got the job. I run to my father, to my mother, to everybody, you know, "I have a job! I am getting it tomorrow." Tomorrow never comes. Tomorrow never comes for the job seeker. Tomorrow never comes for the man who wants wealth. Because what is tomorrow if it has no content in it? Are we putting our needs - are we filling them with content which will matter to me in the future? We put our money in banks and say, "Oh, wonderful!" But today you know what happens? You don't know where it is. If I fill this with water, there is some hope; if I fill it with poison, what for? So tomorrow matters only to him, even the next moment matters only to him who has used this moment correctly.
You know there are people in India, certain social classes, very rich people - for a marriage, they give one hundred and eight of everything. One hundred and eight carpets, one hundred and eight rice boilers, one hundred and eight buckets and they lock up several rooms in huge bungalows and show it to everybody: hundred and eight, hundred and eight, hundred and eight things for grinding your masala. I was astonished, I said, "What is this for?" They said, "It is our custom." Sheer ego. Hundred and eight saris, blouses, petticoats, necklaces. See, at least they give. Most of us, we accumulate. And one day, you know, you are not able to breathe, you have a little trouble, and next morning if you are very rich you will get a full-page advertisement in the newspaper. And people who never loved you, who never respected you, who hated you, who envied you, who lusted after what you had, they write there: Gone but not forgotten. Now, you are not going to see that and be happy, isn't it?
So why do we waste time on friendship. Babuji said friendship is the most destructive thing. Have one friend - your spiritual guru or your guide - because he is the only one who will give his life for you. The others will not give life. They are friends when you are happy, when they can take something from you. That is why in English it is said: A friend in need is a friend indeed. That means, when you are in need, if he is still your friend, he is a true friend. But we have only friends who are in need themselves and come to you. That is not the meaning of a friend in need. "No, no, sir. He is a friend in need." Proper understanding will make you generous. Now if somebody comes who is in need, your heart will respond with sympathy, with love, and say, "Take." Take what? "Take what you want. Open the bhandaar," as we say - open the granaries. But if we say, "No, no, no, you take ten rupees," that is not giving.
We must know how to develop this heart into what Babuji, my Master, would say, a really human heart. It becomes a human heart only when the divine presence is there. It is recognized by us, and we hand over control of our lives to it. Then people will begin to say, he lives with his heart. We don't need the head. The head is only something, you know, like instruments to guide: a driving wheel, brakes, accelerators, rear view mirrors. It's like a car. You can say a car has senses. The engine is life, this gives guidance. Forward, backward - gear. That is what our senses are for: to see, to hear, to take my road, properly accessed, properly negotiated, so that I can reach the destination.
As long as we are in the body we require the senses. You know an unconscious man can do nothing. But this [the heart] keeps beating. His senses may be dormant but the heart is beating. The source of my life is alive, and there is inner guidance which keeps my systems active, which keeps my circulation going, my breathing going. I don't breathe consciously. If I have to breathe consciously, it means that my lungs have lost their power. If I have to consciously push blood through my veins and arteries, I am in serious trouble. Isn't it? When the life process has to be governed consciously by me, I am in serious trouble. Then the doctor says, "No, no. Use your will power." But I have no will power. I have never used it. In seeking pleasure we destroy our will power. In overcoming pain, in overcoming problems, in surmounting difficulties we use the will power. And that is the power which is going to take you There, not this power - the power of your head. Not your intellect, but your heart.
People who come to the spiritual life must understand that here the brain has no function at all. My Master said, "Cut off your head and throw it away." That is all the use it has. This [points to the heart] is where everything is, this is where the divine presence is, this is where you have the whole universe inside you; here [points to the body] the whole universe is outside you. Whether you are an artist or a scientist or a piano player, if you don't do it with your heart... People know when you do something with the heart and when you don't. Modern politeness, the needs of courtesy, good manners have made us coat everything with a golden sheen, and people think it is from the heart. When you have to give and be praised for giving, there is no heart, it is the head. When you have to give to please, whether it is an ice cream or a bribe, it is all the same. If you do it among yourselves, it is bad. But you are doing it even with your so-called God - bribing. Even a prayer: Lord, if I get well, I will offer a candle at the church, or I will offer prasad in the temple.
We have a famous temple in Mylapore - a Hanuman temple. They garland him with vadai, you know, what you eat here for breakfast, vadai, the brown thing, fried, very tasty. But they make it hard like stone, and hundred and eight of them they put on poor Hanuman's neck. Vada maalai, they call it, and it is an offering to God. I don't know what Hanuman thinks of it, but I know what I would think if I were Hanuman! I would throw it back right at you.
So you see, we are up to anything nowadays, for our selfish desires, for promotion of our own desires, for achievement of our own desires - not goals - desires. I want' is a desire. I need' is something that nature imposes on me. And as Babuji Maharaj said, "You have a right to ask for your needs to be fulfilled, not for your wants."
Now unless you recognize that spiritual life is the life, it is the only life because it is the life that is eternal, you are only playing games when you come for satsangh, take sittings, give sittings, because your heart is not in it. It's like a job. If your heart is in it, you will enter a state where you are all the time in meditation. You may be doing what you have to do but this [points to the heart] is always in a state in which there is the contact established with you and your Maker. It is like electricity, you know, it has to be connected all the time. If the electricity is going and coming, going and coming like it often does in India, what is the use? "No, no, sir. I am in off and on contact." Doesn't work. Once this contact is established, it cannot be broken; it must not be broken, except at the cost of self-destruction.
It is better to remain a mere human being, because once you get into spirituality, its demands are tremendous. And don't say, its demands - it is my demands for myself are so excessive that people are afraid of getting into it. They say, "Sir, can I live as I choose?" Of course, but in the right way. "Can I eat and drink what I want?" Of course, but only things which are good for you. "But what is this of course, of course, 'of course'?" God says, "I don't say it. You say it to yourself."
"I am diabetic and I want sweets. Can I eat it?" Of course, you can. Like my English teacher said, when a boy said, "Sir, can I go to the bathroom?" he said, "Yes, of course." He went to the door and the teacher called him back. He said, "Sam, sit down." He said, "Sir, you gave me permission." He said, "I didn't do anything like that. You asked me, Can I go to the bathroom?' I said, of course you can. You have two legs. You can go. But you may not." There is a difference between 'can I' and 'may I'. 'Can I' is a question about my ability to do it. 'May I' is a question about, am I permitted to do it. You see the big difference?
So ask yourself what may I do, not what can I do. I can do anything I want. Spirituality does not interfere with your individual freedom. Your freedom to do what you want, to go where you want, to live how you want is absolutely guaranteed by God. He says, "I have given you an intellect and I have given you a heart. This must show you what is good for you; this must show you how to be what is good for you, how to accept what is good for you. Having given you these two instruments, I am no longer in the picture, my children. Do as you like, but do it properly. Eat well, but eat what is good for you. Drink well, but drink what is good for you." "Yes but, God, you keep saying what is good, what is good. What is good?" And God says, "Your heart will tell you. Always when in doubt refer to the heart. If you refer here [pointing to the head] it is like a computer, it will not tell you the truth, it will only tell you what it is programmed to tell you. Your real friend is your heart in which I am," God says.
So Babuji says, "When in doubt refer to the heart." Do we do it? We forget it. Not only forget it, we ignore it, we disregard it. This is what we call the voice of the conscience, the still small voice of the conscience. That is how literature puts it. But we are not willing to refer to it, because I don't want that answer. I want the answers which will permit me to do what I want to do, not what I have to do. Again, you must notice the difference between what I want to do and what I have to do. I have to go to work, but my friends say, "Let us go to Mahabalipuram." So you tell your wife or your son, "If my boss calls, say I am not well today." We tell lies, we teach our children to tell lies. What I have to do, what I want to do: two very very different things.
Today quality consciousness is lost because the worker says, "I am paid, so I work for money." "Do good work." "My contract doesn't say do good work. It says, work for eight hours." "Are you working for eight hours?" "The clock says so. I am tired so I take a little rest. It is very common." You could have built a wall, let us say, in a day and you stretch it over eight days so that you get eight day's salary for one day's work. In every field it is done - skimpy products, useless products, dishonest, because you are working for yourself, not for others. "I make, I produce to become rich. I am not here to make other people rich and happy. I am here to make myself rich and happy."
I have worked in factories. I know how people work, how people lie, how people cheat. I used to be shocked; then I was appalled; now I am sad. Because they are only exhibiting their total lack of character, their selfishness - these are the things that motivate them in this life. Then you have to ask, "What spirituality? Where is spirituality? Will spirituality build me houses? Will spirituality give me pleasure? You are always talking of Do good, do good, do good'. But if I do good, I won't survive; the others will be happy but I won't be happy."
So you see, we have become a heartless race - the human being. You have no heart. Somebody is dying on the street, "Oh! That is his destiny, poor fellow. What can I do?" "Why don't you telephone the police?" "Oh, I will get involved." "Why don't you take him in a taxi and put him in the hospital?" "Oh, then I have to report the case; they will call me to court." You see? Heartless! And if the world is heartless, how do you expect anybody to have a heart for you? Don't blame others, because you are part of the human race which has given up its heart, lost its heart, thrown it away and is using only this [pointing to the head] - the brain.
Spirituality says, start with the heart, meditate on the heart, meditate with the heart, meditate on what is inside the heart. Slowly you will find other things relaxing their hold on you: your desires, your lusts, everything goes. And as you progress you will find that, knowingly or unknowingly, your heart has taken over. Now the thought of doing other things than what is good does not even enter. There is no question of renunciation; there is no question of giving up. Things drop off. And then you are free: in the first step of being free from all the pulls of the world, the pulls of desire, the pulls of selfishness. It takes years sometimes. How long will it take? It depends on how well you do your meditation, how serious you are about it. And the more and more it becomes the sole thing in your life... you know when the ship is sailing smoothly nobody thinks of the gyrocompass, only when you are in trouble.
So there is this famous statement by Kabir that everybody prays when they are having problems or ill health, or whatever, but if they would only pray when they are well, why should evil come to them? So when we are well, when we are healthy, when we are able to do it, that is the time to start meditation; not at the age of sixty. People say, "No, no, let me live my life and when I have retired I will come back to you." They do it as if they are obliging us. You don't go to God to oblige God, do you? Do you go to church or to the temple and say, "God, I have come to bless you. May you live forever. May your gaze be on all eternity"? Many people do that. They bless God. You go as a beggar and pretend you are a millionaire.
So the most important thing is to realize that today a new year is only showing that one more year has passed. Have I done anything with it? If not, what must I do to make this coming year a fruitful one, in the real sense, so that soon I don't not have to think of new years, but new lives.
Hold fast the spiritual values and spiritual life uncompromisingly, knowing that nothing is better than the spiritual life. You give it up at the peril of your own life. Having entered into the spiritual life, you cannot now any more separate it from your life and say, "My spiritual life." It is not my spiritual life. You can separate your wealth from yourself - my wealth, my health, you know, things like that - but you can't say my spirituality, because the soul is eternally divine. It is spiritual. I cannot corrupt my soul. I can only corrupt my heart and my body. The only recourse is to hold on to spirituality like a drowning man holds on to a straw. The straw looks very weak, nothing at all in fact, but faith makes you hold on and that becomes like a log.
I pray that all of you will take these things to heart, use your heart, meditate, and stay with it till you are There.