Sahaj Marg - Towards Infinity
by Chariji, July 24, 2010, Lucknow, India.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When I walked into a small house, unpretentious house, in a very narrow gali [lane] one afternoon in 1964 in Shahjahanpur, and when I met the Great Personality living there half an hour later or so, I thought I had not only begun Sahaj Marg but ended Sahaj Marg, because I had journeyed all the way from Madras via Delhi, a long road journey in those days, to Shahjahanpur, and arrived. And I took it to literally mean that I had arrived, meaning, or deluding myself, that my journey was over, the spiritual journey was over. That was in ’64.
Forty-six years have passed since I had the first darshanof my Master, Babuji Maharaj, and every day I feel that we are still beginning Sahaj Marg, and that I am beginning Sahaj Marg. Because this is like a huge onion. You go on peeling it and it is endless — more and more appears and looks as if it will never end, because one lifetime, according to our ancient lore in India, can be enough for this spiritual journey but is rarely enough because we don’t utilise it properly. The first mistake we make, and which can be a tragic mistake, is to think that the day we join Sahaj Marg everything is over — guru’s grace is there, now he will do everything for us.
Babuji Maharaj often emphasized, very often, that his cooperation is hundred percent provided our cooperation in the sadhana, you know with the niyamas [observances], and the discipline, following the Ten Maxims, is hundred percent. His cooperation can be thousand percent, million percent, if ours is a hundred percent. As he put it so simply, “If you take one step towards God, He also takes one step towards you, but yours is twenty-five inches, His is one step from There to here, wherever There may be.”
Another metaphor you can say to define Sahaj Marg is an iceberg floating in an ocean. All school children know that what we see of the iceberg is hardly one-eighth of the whole thing. The rest is all below, in the sea. In Sahaj Marg it is not one-eighth; it’s I think one-millionth or one-billionth. The visible part of Sahaj Marg, the sadhana paddhati or the sadhana procedure, the meditation, the constant remembrance, the night prayer - the practice as we call it - is but a drop in the ocean of spirituality.
I may be permitted to say I was rather surprised when Babuji Maharaj said, “All this earns you nothing.” He said “nothing”! And when I said, “Babuji, nothing?” he said, “Yes, nothing, because this you are doing in obedience to the instructions of your Master. Everybody will do it. This is only the beginning.” So I said, “Then what is and where is the rest of it?” He said, “As you meditate, as you do your cleaning, as you pray, are you able to transfer your dependence from depending on yourself to depending on Him? Will you be able to transfer your love which is now narcissistic?” You know, I think, nargis, nargis apni benoori pe roti hai [the narcissus weeps over its sightlessness].
So we are also blind because in our love we think we love everything, but we love only ourselves in a narcissistic fashion. That is why so much looking at the mirror, so much self-adornment, self-satisfaction. So the second question was (Babuji’s), “Will you ever be able to transfer this self-love of yours to loving Him who must be the only thing that you shall love as a human being?” Babuji Maharaj said again and again, “Love (prem) is only for God. It is impossible between human beings.”
That was also a shock for me to hear that human beings cannot love each other. All this much flaunted love, you know, romance; it may be romance but there’s no love behind it. When I sought clarification from Babuji, “What is this that we are experiencing: filial love so-called between parents and children, brotherly and sisterly love, and the love between spouses? What is this?” He said, “This is only friendship and affection.”
So you see, these two things: Will you be able to transfer your dependence from on yourself to Him, totally, which is what surrender means? Will you be able, ever, to change this self-love of yours, narcissistic love, to the love of Him and Him alone? And then he smilingly pointed out, with some compassion, he said, “Don’t be afraid, it is possible. All those who have gone before us on the saintly ladders have done it. Otherwise they would not be there, they would not be remembered.”
“Whom do we remember in this world?” he asked us. History may teach you to remember Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Hitler. Geography may teach you to remember England, United States, Japan, latitudes and longitudes. History, geography — what else is there left? Mathematics may teach you to remember your multiplication tables and some equations. But what do you really remember, even without going to school, without education, without history, geography, mathematics are the great names which have passed through the history of this world: Lord Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed the Prophet, Jesus Christ. We remember them. We may not know we love them but we remember them as the great progenitors of humanity.
And Babuji said, “This is remembrance. And remembrance,” he said, “is one of the fundamental legs of the tripod of Sahaj Marg.” He said, “Normally what you think you love, you remember. You remember your child, you remember your wife, you remember your friends because you love them. With the guru, you have to create love through remembrance. There, love creates remembrance. In spirituality, remembrance will create love. Therefore, constant remembrance of the Great is the essential leg of the tripod of Sahaj Marg. Dhyana [meditation], constant remembrance, and obedience, hundred percent, unquestioning. Because as long as you question, it means you consider that in some way you know better than him. It is immaterial whether it is worldly knowledge or higher knowledge - vidya or paravidya - and avidya, of course, darkness. The moment you question the Master… You can inquire. As Babuji Maharaj said, doubt poisons the soul. Whereas inquiry, that is: Is this It? What is It? No doubt these are real questions with possible answers which, according to Sahaj Marg tradition and in fact generally spiritual tradition, the guru awakens within us in our heart by following the practice that he has prescribed for us. And the answers come from within. That is why when we went to see the Great Master at Shahjahanpur we forgot all our questions, because they were no more necessary. And when we got onto the train to go back, everybody suddenly remembered, “Ayyo, I had to ask this question. I forgot.” Babuji used to smile, and mischievously he used to say, “This is the way of my protecting myself. Otherwise I would be pestered with questions!” But that was a joking answer. The real answer was that he removed the ignorance about that which we wanted to ask.
An answer is not an answer as it is understood in the modern ways of education. An answer in spiritual life is the removal of ignorance about what we wanted to know. “I did not know what it was; now I know what it is.” An answer is not two plus two makes four. Of course, that’s a fact. Similarly, questions we asked of Babuji Maharaj, “Will this happen?” Babuji said, “To say yes and no has no meaning. It must happen. A solution must come.” So in Sahaj Marg, questions have no answers; questions must have solutions which need our prayer, which need our sadhana, and which need faith in the Master.
So you see, it is not a simple thing that you enter the guru’s home and you have your first sitting and you say, “My, my, you know, what a wonderful sitting,” and this is finished. In most sansthas, including some of the Vedic stories, Puranic stories, this is how they teach.
For instance, in one of the Upanishads a fellow goes to the guru and says, “What is brahmavidya [supreme knowledge] or Brahman [God]?” or whatever you see. And the guru says, “Know food to be Brahman — annam brahmeti vyajaanaat.” And he’s happy, he says, “Of course, everything eats, everybody eats, even fire consumes fuel — he has taught.” Then slowly he begins to meditate on this and says, “No, no, it cannot be. It may be part of the answer but it cannot be the full answer.” So he goes back to the guru, “Guruji, but…” He says, “Praanam brahmeti vyajaanaat — know the prana [life force].” He says, “Yes.” After some time of introspection, observation of the world, he finds dead people going, and as we say in Tamil, “Praanam gaya, praan nikal gaya. [His life has left him.]” He says, “Guruji, how can that be?” So the guru says, “Mano brahmeti vyajaanaat — know the mind to be Brahman.” He says, “Now at last I’ve got the truth.” But then he finds after some years his cousin is going mad, his wife is crazy. How can that be Brahman which can go crazy, which can have aberrations, which does not know the truth? He goes back to the guru. Like this, six times he goes. The final answer of the guru is, “Aanandam brahmeti vyajaanaat — know bliss to be Brahman,” you see, eternal bliss.
Babuji said, “Yes, of course, all these answers were correct at their respective times, given to the disciple according to the stage of the development that he has achieved. But the Vedas have stopped with aanandam. There is much beyond that.” Now that is the iceberg of Sahaj Marg, you see, much beyond that. Not just a little beyond that. Not a seventh answer and an eighth answer, but much. And when I asked Babuji, “How much?” he said, “Infinity.” That is why our path, Sahaj Marg, is known as ‘towards infinity.’ There is no end to it. But he said, “Don’t be afraid, because infinity doesn’t really mean anything to one who does not know what is infinity, who has not gone through infinity to the other end, and who has not mastered that infinity. When you have mastered infinity,” he says, “it is in your mutthi — it is in your fist.”
So, brothers and sisters, you see, let us not be either put into a state of happiness and contentment by what we have first in Sahaj Marg, or be balked by this truth that knowing Sahaj Marg is impossible because one cannot know infinity; one can experience infinity. One cannot know God, one can experience God. Therefore God and infinity are the same. And if you have the patience, the commitment to your own self-development, and the requisite faith in the guru, you will find that soon after you have met him you have a sitting in which there is no sense of time, there is no sense of space; and often when he says, “That’s all,” you don’t know where you are — the first real experience of no time, no where, eternally.
So you see, it requires practice, but the practice alone is not enough. It must be backed by faith, to accept what the guru says and do it. And then comes the final stage, it may be one day as Babuji said, “Just move your head from here to here, and it’s over,” or it may take, I don’t know, so many yugas and mahayugas [eons]. Everything depends on us, provided our cooperation is total, because then we have Him with us, and his cooperation and his assistance are unfailing, ever-present with us. I pray for his blessings on all of you today.