Awaken Our Consciousness
by Chariji, January 20, 2009, Tirupati, India.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Just as I arrived here, Dr. Kamalanathan, my elder brother, welcomed me by saying that I am coming here after nine years. According to the temporal calendar, yes, it is true - nine years have passed. But this centre is always so fresh in my heart and in my mind, because much of my, shall I say, childhood in Sahaj Marg is associated with this centre. Green memories, memories of profound discussions, talks, seminars in the presence of Babuji Maharaj in the old days, sister Kasturi, and of course, Dr. Varadachari.
So, I am always, in a sense, having Tirupati with me. How much Tirupati has of me, I don't know! This centre has grown of course, like most other centres. Yesterday I was in a small village, some eighteen kilometres from Chittoor, Ramapuram, where we have the smallest ashram in the Mission throughout the world. In 1991 when I went first and inaugurated that ashram, the hall was probably fourteen feet by ten feet, and we had eighteen abhyasis. Today after seventeen years there are seventy abhyasis. Looks big if you look at it from one side; looks small when you could see it from what it could have been.
So we have always to judge ourselves first, from what we are with what we could have been. Because we all know intuitively, in the secrecy of our hearts, what we could have been, had we utilized our time, had we utilized the grace that is pouring down upon us, had we done our sadhana properly, had we obeyed the maxims, the ten maxims, had we practiced really with our hearts, brotherhood as taught by Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Had we, had we, had we, had we, you know. Much water has flown under the bridge, lost to us. It is not a question of achievement. Sahaj Marg does not talk of achievement. Sahaj Marg talks of growth: inner growth, spiritual growth. Have we grown?
Most of us, especially the successful ones (I am talking of material success), will talk of how much they have grown, how much their properties have expanded, how much savings they have made, how their families have grown, children have grown, in their own spheres of education, of work. Those are assessable values of life. "Sir, when I joined Sahaj Marg I was a bachelor. Today I am happily married - twenty-two years. I have four children," et cetera, you know. "When I joined the Mission I had nothing. Today I have three houses. I have built houses for my children and I have agricultural properties." This is not the growth that Sahaj Marg speaks of, that Babuji Maharaj wanted us to grow into. The Sahaj Marg teaching says, the inner growth is what matters. And the inner growth is possible only through work, through effort, through dedication, and most of all, in my personal experience, obedience is the fundamental value necessary for spirituality.
I have been asked the question: Is obedience greater than faith? Is obedience more than shraddha [devotion], more than love? I have always been inclined to answer yes to all these questions. Because one who can examine himself or herself will find that through obedience, service has grown, love has grown and sadhana has grown. Babuji has emphasized so many times that meditation does not take us anywhere. I asked him, "Why do we do it? Why do you insist that we do it?" He said, "It is for obedience. Obedience to the Master is the fundamental criterion for spiritual growth." You know the three concepts: love for the Master, satsangh with the Master, obedience to the Master. There is no fourth value. With these, everything else grows: love grows, shraddha grows.
If I am going to sit in satsangh with my brothers and sisters as we have just done, and if I am true to myself, I am not lying to myself, I should be able to get out of this hall with the thought that I have grown, however little, by this satsangh. Growth is not measured in terms of inches or feet, or pounds or kilograms. Growth is measured by your growth in tolerance, your acceptance of all as equal, your acceptance that whatever may be, whoever you may be, you are my sisters and my brothers. Have we grown in that way? Or do we come in with our differences, with our loves and hates, temporal loves and hates, worldly loves and hates, and after an hour of meditation do we go back with all these old hatreds and loves, desires, differences? Are they still in my heart when I walk out of this hall? Forget your being true to your Master or true to Sahaj Marg. Are you true to your Self? We must only ask one question: Am I true to my Self? Am I in Sahaj Marg for what it offers or am I there for what I desire? Not what I want, not even what I need. "No, no sir, I came to Sahaj Marg thinking that my love for God will grow." Babuji said, "It is an institution - the Master, the spiritual guide, is an institution created by God Himself, who says to His chosen one: Go and teach them, and make them, and bring them to me."
So the common example is that of a shepherd who takes out his Master's sheep, grazes them and brings them back. Are we doing it? Are our prefects doing it? We are always talking of our work schedule, how many sittings we have given. But are we really working, or are we just giving sittings? I am often tempted to think that this word that we use, ‘sitting', is all that we do. We sit, and we get up again and we are what we were, without having taken a step towards what we have to become. If you have read Babuji's speeches in Denmark where there was an interview with the press, and Babuji was asked, "What have you got?" He says: I have become. I am what I ought to be. You are not yet what you ought to be. You may be what you want to be or what you desire to be, but you are not what you ought to be. That was the wisdom contained in that small phrase, ‘I am what I ought to be.'
What ought I to be? I ought to be a human being first. And a human being must be loving, compassionate, understanding, service-oriented, looking on all as one. Are we doing all these things? Are we fundamentally able to answer yes to the question: Are you a human being? Or are you merely a biped, an animal with two legs, walking around pretending to be educated, pretending to be rich, pretending to be religious. "No, no, sir, he is very religious." What does religious mean? Have we understood Babuji's repeated statement that God has no religion, religions have no God? Have we taken this to heart? Have we understood the fundamental truth when he says religion has no gods? What are we worshipping in religion? What do the temples and the other paraphernalia of worship contain? Mere idols of gold, of silver? You know the story of Moses when he went up to the Mount and came back with the tablet, with the Ten Commandments of Christianity. And he found that his tribe had made again idols of gold and silver and were worshipping. And he threw down the tablets in anger, and there the Ten Commandments were broken for the first time! That was in the time of Moses, maybe three, four thousand years ago.
What was the difference between the avatars according to Hinduism - Lord Rama and Lord Krishna? Babuji said, "Rama was an avatar, but not a full avatar. He was a partial avatar. He was not conscious of his divinity whereas Krishna was. From the time he was born he knew of his divinity; he manifested his divinity in everything that he did." What divinity are we manifesting after receiving so much transmission?
Transmission, Babuji Maharaj defined as the utilization of the divine power for the transformation of man. How many sittings have we not received? Babuji once told me that if a man should be able to meditate perfectly, even the worst sinner, if he sits, in one sitting he should arise as a saint. Sit down as a sinner, get up as a saint. I have often told my Western audiences that we do get up, without the ‘s' of the saint - ain't (is not). Is he a saint? He ain't.
So what is happening to us in all these sittings? Do we meditate? In one of the messages Babuji says, "Learn to meditate correctly, learn to meditate perfectly. Do meditation again and again because there lies the kernel that you seek. Through meditation alone it is possible to rise, to evolve. There is no other technique that can take us anywhere." Cleaning? Yes, of course, but that is only an adjunct. Because by His grace, He does most of the cleaning, and when we sit down to meditate, and you are able to feel that he is sitting in front of you and transmitting to you, and if that feeling is real from your heart, he is there in front. And when he is there in front, my meditation has to be what it ought to be: good, perfect, capable of elevating me to his level, like that [snaps his fingers]. So what are we doing still here? Twenty years, thirty years, forty years. "I am the oldest abhyasi, sir." I said, "Are you ninety?" "No, no, no. But I have been here thirty-two years!"
So you see, our efforts are futile, shall we say impotent, because what should be in it is not in it - my heart. I live without my heart; I have companionship, marriage, everything without using my heart. I am in satsangh without my heart... And, as Babuji once told some people from some other place, in Shahjahanpur: This man was supposed to be sitting in meditation. When he finished, Babuji said, "Look here, you are sitting in meditation here but your mind is at home. It is preferable that you are at home and your mind is here." That man did not understand. Babuji repeated and then he told the story, you know, of a man who was calculating his profit and loss in his mind. "How much I will get like this? What will I do if I lose my job?" You know, the modern problem, today's problem. And if you are meditating on losing your job and what will happen if you lose your job, believe me, you are going to lose your job, because the truth says: you become what you meditate upon.
Are we meditating upon what we have been asked to meditate? -Divine Light in the heart. Are we doing it? I don't think so. There should be some shining on the face, some change of expression, some joy, an absolute calmness which disregards differences but only sees the unity of all things, that there are only souls before me and all souls are the same. In fact they are but reflections of the one Ultimate Soul which alone is the soul; we are all like sparks from It. Do we have this? And then after twenty years, if you ask a question; "Sir, but I don't know what the Divine Light is." Haven't you read the books? "I have no time." Why not? "I am very busy." Why not?
Then I am tempted to repeat the story of a top government official who went to Babuji Maharaj. And Babuji Maharaj told him, "You have to meditate one hour, do cleaning, do the night prayer." He said, "I have no time." Babuji said, "All right, do forty minutes." He said, "No, no, no. I have no time." He said, "Twenty minutes." "Look here, I am telling you, I have no time." Babuji said, "Think of me and do it for five minutes." And that man got angry with Babuji. He said, "Are you making a mockery of me? I have told you, I have no time." And he walked away. Another man came, same story - no time. Babuji said, "All right, I accept you have no time, but are there not people who are busier than you?" He said, "Of course!" In his mind he thought, what a silly question from a great man! "Of course there are busier people." He said, "Who is the busiest?" This was in the time of Indira Gandhi. He said, "Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi." He said, "Why don't you give me the difference between your busy-ness and her busy-ness." He also thought Babuji was joking and walked away. Third man - same story - no time. "Five minutes?" "No time." "More busy people than you?" "Yes, of course." "How do they find their time?" No answer. Babuji said with much regret in his voice, "It is God's mistake that He did not give you a day of twenty-six hours instead of just twenty-four hours." So can you imagine Babuji's, not hurt, not disappointment, but sorrow, you see, that this is available and it is going to waste. What is happening, you see.
It is like in this story, you know, that a man has the wealth of the whole world hidden underground and he is dying a pauper on top of it. Had he but dug a foot, he would have found gold. He was too lazy. He was waiting for it to come. Our Puranas reek with nonsensical stories of God coming and giving you food in your house, you know, all kshetra maahaatmyam [greatness of pilgrimage centres], miracles. And what Babuji did was to demolish all miracles with one phrase. He said, "The greatest miracle is the transformation of man." And he added with much sorrow, "No God of any religion has been able to do this."
So what should we assume, you see? What about the miracles that are written about in the books, religious books of all the religions of this world? Have they any value? Have they any meaning? Turning water into wine, turning stone into gold. Yes, but what about making me something? Making the animal man into a human man, first of all? First step in Sahaj Marg. Has the animal in me been removed, that I come out a human being? And now am I going on towards the promised goal of divinization? "No, no, sir. After all we are evolved from the gorilla, the monkey - Darwin."
So you see, we have no intention, we have no desire, not at all, to be elevated in our consciousness, to be awakened in our consciousness, to be made into things which can love everything and everybody; because then we will lose as most people say, "What would be my impetus in this world? I will lose my impetus to make money. I will lose my competitiveness. I will lose the edge that I have over everybody else. How will I survive?" If you tell them do it and see, they say, "Easier said than done." Somebody asked, "But what about Babuji himself? Is he not surviving on a pension of thirty-two rupees a month?" "Yes sir, but he is a Master." So you see we are going round and round like a dog chasing its own tail. And that is all it gets. It only gets to chase its tail which it can never catch.
So you see, brothers and sisters, Sahaj Marg is very easy; Sahaj Marg is enormously difficult. Even in the beginning we don't work. You know, people are nowadays spending thousand rupees, five thousand rupees, ten thousand rupees to go to gyms, body building gyms, to lose weight. Guaranteed twenty-five kilos loss in six months, monthly course - twenty-five thousand rupees. Guaranteed three kilos in six months - fifteen hundred rupees a month. Like that, you know - and a special coach for those who pay very much.
Here we have the most special, unique coach in existence through all eternity, who demands no payment. Just that you sit comfortably, relax, calm your mind and do this - put your thought on the Divine Light in the heart and keep it there. It's too easy; we don't want to do it because it is not complicated. Asanas? Yes, we will pay five thousand rupees a month to learn asanas, to learn pranayama, which take you nowhere - absolutely nowhere. Because yogashastra does not say that through pranayama you will achieve the divinity, or through hatha yoga. It does not say. It is good for body fitness, and in certain cases for acquiring psychic powers. And as Babuji said, "Those powers are going to damn you finally. They will destroy you," because those powers cannot destroy anything else except you. It is like a man who has a gun, shoots himself; or he has a nice razor and cuts his own throat - suicide. All suicidal methods we have accepted as good because we see everybody doing it all over the world, and those who do it most are the most prosperous, forgetting that Jesus Christ said, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world but lose his own soul." Today the soul is virtually lost. But can it be lost? No. What is lost? My soul has lost me.
So you see, give up all this running around, chasing shadows, because as Babuji said, when the shadows are longest, the sun is setting. When we are richest, we are sorrowing most. Our illnesses are most. The poor people of this world have much in their favour. They eat things which nature provides, which are good for them - may not be tasty but good for them. The rich people create taste in rubbish. The poor people - rubbish taste and eat what is good.
So, sisters and brothers, this is hard work, as Babuji said. You have to work hard. And how hard? I was just telling one sister, "Suppose you are taking a road journey to the Himalayas from wherever you are. First few hundred miles you see nothing but beautiful plain road, four lane highways, dhabas [roadside restaurants], Pizza Huts, everything on the roadside, pubs, bars. And you are whizzing along merrily, you know, filling up petrol, going on, filling up petrol, both for the car and for yourself; and then there in the horizon you see a small layer of cloud. It looks like clouds, and you say, "Well, I hope it's not going to rain." It doesn't rain, the sun is still shining, and you say, "By God's grace there is no rain. Let us keep going." And you go fifty miles more, you see the cloud layer is thicker. Next morning you set out again, you find it so much. Now, you see that it is actually a range of hills, and you say, "Oh, I can climb that." Come nearer, it grows; the range of hills becomes bigger, bigger, and then suddenly you are confronted by the enormity of the mountain. And you say, "I have to do this?" And the answer comes, "Yes! No more with your car, but with your two ‘cars' [pointing to his legs] which God has given you."
It is a truth that Swami Vivekananda went up the Himalayas on foot and his path was right outside our Satkhol Ashram. That was his way to Almora, and he was so sick because he was severely asthmatic. In the last stages of his journey, for ten days he was carried. That is how he reached Almora and had that famous ashram there - Mayawati. Shankaracharya is supposed to have gone on foot right round India, as did Swami Vivekananda, too. And we want our luxury cars to take us up to the top, and in safety, you know, to preserve us. Suppose we have to come back, we have the car too. We have always this sneeking desire, that if I want to come back I should be able to come back.
I remember once we were talking of parivrajakas, you know - the people who went out with nothing in their hands, like Swami Vivekananda did, so many others did. I told Babuji, "I would like to go with five rupees in my pocket, Master, for a month and see how it feels." He said, "Parthasarathi, if you have faith, why five rupees?" Why five rupees? What will five rupees do? Between Shahjahanpur - Babuji's house and the station, I could be pick-pocketed. I could lose it, it could have been robbed. So it was as if he gave me a big slap on the face, you know - loving slap, an awakening slap. Five rupees, I am able to put my faith on, but not on my Master, and say, "Yes, I am going now." Do you see the point of this story?
So you know, the crux of the matter is, the journey gets more and more difficult as we go on, and the most difficult is at the end. It is like our game of snakes and ladders. Beginning, very nice; on the way you have snakes which bring you down ten steps or twenty steps and at ninety-nine if you get caught, you come down to six. It is a lovely game with a very high moral wisdom behind it. The farther you go, the more troublesome the road, the more dangerous the path.
And as Babuji Maharaj once told me - we were talking at midnight in his house, just the two of us, dead winter, very cold. I was on the floor shivering and he had a bit of sacking and a little pot of fire here, and he was talking about ghosts. I said, "Please, shall we discuss this some other time, because I am afraid of ghosts." He said, "Arre, you are not afraid of ghosts. Shall I show you a brahmarakshas?" He is the highest ghost, most difficult, most dangerous. I said, "No, no, please." He said, "If you see a brahmarakshas, just tell him, ‘I am Ram Chandra's disciple,' and see the tamasha." Tamasha means fun. I said, "Babuji, I don't want to see it, I don't want to say anything." He said, "I am telling you one thing, Parthasarathi. The brahmarakshas is nothing but a Brahmin fallen to the lowest level. Brahmins have great power, divine power, the power of tapasya [penance]. And when they fall they carry that power with them and use it for evil." So, you see? And Brahmins pride themselves. "I am a Brahmin!" If I were Babuji, I would say, "Beware of being a brahmarakshas. You are a Brahmin? You are in much greater danger than the mleccha [low caste], because the mleccha can only rise. You can fall."
So all that we are proud about: our possessions, our caste, our community, our language, they are all menaces to spiritual evolution. As long as you keep saying, "I am, I have, I am, I have," - no hope. If you are going to say, "I am going, I am moving, I am growing," then these weights must fall off one by one as we grow. I must not be even conscious of what I am. Who are you? "I don't know, my Master knows." What are you? "I don't know. He knows." Where are you going? "Towards Him."
So, dear brothers and sisters, that is all I have to say. I say it with much hope that it will fall on ears which are willing to hear, penetrate hearts which are willing to grow - and in a satsangh full of abhyasis who are here for that purpose. I do hope that hope will be realized.