The Guru and Guidance
THE GURU AND GUIDANCE
Gururbrahma Gururvishnu Gururdevo Maheswarah
Guruh Sakshat Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah
Guru is Brahma, the creating force. Guru is Vishnu, the sustaining force — protector. Guru is Maheswarah, the force of destruction of all ignorance. Guru is verily the ultimate divinity; unto that Guru I bow down.
Book Number 6:
THE GURU AND GUIDANCE
by Karl Kempton
© Divine Life Circle 2003
This work is dedicated to Sathya Sai Baba and to all
the true Masters and Rishis past, present and future
some of whom are: Swami Sivananda Maharaj, Bhagawan
Shri Ramana Maharshi, Shri Anandamayi Ma, Shri
Ramakrishna and Shri Aurobindo
Dhyana Mulam Gurur Murtim
Puja mulam gurur padam
Mantra mulam gurur vakyam
Moksha mulam Gurur kripa
The Guru’s form is the prime object of meditation
His holy feet are the objects of our worship
The words of the master are the source of mantra
His grace alone is the way for our redemption
Swami Niranjananandaji was born in Bangalore, India, on September 28,1925, and raised in a pious Brahmin household in the company of holy men. He came under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna when he was about 14.
He also comes from a family steeped in the arts of dance, music and drama; his father was a great singer of devotional music. Swamiji studied under great masters of music and later studied Indian dance. He formed his own school of Fine Arts in 1946.
In 1952 he came into contact with Sri Sivananda who initiated him and guided his practice thereafter. In the 1957 he was introduced to the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram; she asked him to stay. He spent the year of 1959-1960 there. In 1962 he became a monk under the guidance of Sri Sivananda and later founded an ashram in the High Himalayas where he resided for 9 years. In 1973, he began a world tour taking him through parts of Africa, Europe and North America. He continues to teach according to his realization from his practices.
Swamiji moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Lompoc in the yearly eighties; he has a wife and two daughters. He has been active in his community, particularly with school related issues, issues dealing with the poor and the issue of pesticide drift.
“All religions are one as all of them talk of one God. All beings are equal and independent evolving in one’s own way — at one’s own pace. Love all. Realize the brother-hood of man. Have faith in God and confidence in yourself. Hear everyone, but follow the inner voice that has been trying to guide you throughout the life without mistaking it for the mental voice — You are bound to reach the highest realm of Truth by your efforts plus His Grace.”
Essentially, religion has two functions, social and individual. The social, in its truest form, instructs a group or a people or a nation in a moral code or dharma binding civil society together in harmony with broad mindedness, charity and loving. The function for the individual is guidance towards perfection, realization, union with the divine.
This second function is the spiritual core found in all religions. In some cultures the way or ways towards perfection, realization, union with the divine, is/are openly supported and encouraged, while in others it is either hidden, discouraged or ignored. This, transmission of the ways, means, techniques, science or yoga may seem to vary from culture to culture, religion to religion, but in the final sifting the results are essentially the same.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, Gurus are the socially and religiously recognized transmitters. In Christianity the first transmitters of the inner experience from Jesus were the Apostles. Later in the Greek Orthodox tradition, lasting many centuries and now with a new resurgence, the transmitters are known as Abbas (Fathers) and Ammas (Mothers). The transmission of the inner experience in the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions either was discontinuous and/or hidden which led to the virtual disappearance that such knowledge in the general open public mind was available through transmission. In Islam the main purveyors of transmission are Sufi masters whose public openness varies from country to country. There are many other traditions with their masters as well.
At this time for too many reasons and too long a history behind them to list and explain, the concept of “Guru” is misunderstood and surrounded by legitimate and illegitimate controversies. A general cause for confusion that can be mentioned here is that of misunderstandings caused by written or shared hearsay or overhearing a guru’s comments to another. Books, while presenting valuable and general insights, cannot answer a direct question with all the conscious and unconscious nuances forming and framing the question. Guidance is uniquely shaped for each individual by the guide; instruction for one does not fit all.
In Sanskrit “Guru” literally means “eater of darkness.” This particular darkness refers to ignorance, lack of experience concerning the Truth — who one actually is.
The letter “Gu” denotes darkness, the letter “Ru” denotes the remover
of darkness. Brahman who is capable of swallowing up all ignorance is
certainly the Guru.
45. “Gukara” means the disease of birth and death. “Rukara” means the destroyer of births and deaths. On account of the power of destroying the disease of birth and death, the Teacher is known by the significant name “
46. The letter “Gu” denotes that he is above the three gunas (innate qualities) and “Ru” denotes he is beyond forms. Because he is free from gunas and beyond forms he is called Guru.
47. The first syllable “Gu” creates or makes manifest Maya and the Gunas. “Ru” is Para Brahman and removes both Maya and delusion, viz., I am the body, I am the mind, etc.
Sri Swami Narayananda
from The Guru Gita
Divine Life Society, 3rd Edition, 1999
The guru’s guidance, in one manner of understanding, can be suggested as an illumination of light upon one’s path leading to
That, knowing one’s true self with direct experience. No one can follow the footprints of another, one path per individual. There is an abundance of stories of the coming together of master and student. Krishna’s guidance of Arjuna in the Mahabharata’s section known as The Bhagavad Gita, is the most profound illustration. Krishna waits for the exact psychological moment to instruct Arjuna. Arjuna, as we read, after understanding Krishna’s words, undergoes experiences and attains an inner transformation. his is an existential experience, ours is an intellectual experience gained through reading. There is the famous meeting of Shams of Tabriz and Rumi, who before that moment was a famous scholar; he soon became through the teaching of Shams an ecstatic poet united with the divine. The New Testament offers of the transformation of Paul through a visitation of Jesus. While these examples offer present a quick period of transformation, there is the long, slow, arduous path required of Milarepa by his Tibetan master, Marpa.
Another means of illustration would be the difference between two teaching chefs. One chef teaches his or her students how to make chocolate cake. The lessen ends upon the student’s cake matching the taste of the chef’s cake. Then, the student is free to improve on his or her chef’s processes and teachings. The other chef directs his or her student to read the available books about cake cooking and history and gives exams on the literature. The chef never moves the lessons into the kitchen. While the former successful and experienced student may be defeated in debates about the forms, recipe varieties and rituals found in cake literature, in the science of cake she or he knows the indescribable taste transferred through the instructor. The latter student, though a great in intellectual knowing, what he or she is talking about.
It is our hope that the following discourses by our beloved Swamiji may help resolve some misunderstandings. The discourses are collected into three groups. The first, which consists of Part One, is a selection from various discourses or parts of discourses on the topic of guru, student and guidance. Part Two consists of the second group, five Guru discourses given in consecutive sessions, and the third group is three discourse on Dattatreya, the first yogi.
Acknowledgments are in order for the work on this book by Ellen Weber and Joel Shindler. A special thanks for Ellen for her diligent transcription from the tapes. A further note about Ellen is that she is about to embark on a deeper journey, moving to India to be close to Sai Baba. We will truly miss her selfless and hard working service for our publication efforts and the joy and devotion she has brought to our small open circle. And, a special thanks to Joel who labored long and hard over the main editing tasks of this book. Without his love this venture would still be in the wish stage.
Though it is a fact that we need guidance on the path that we have chosen, there are many things which we have to meet with too; guidance comes. Often we miss, often we reject due to our own ignorance, our own ego, mostly our ego. So, that’s the reason why in spite of all our efforts we fail. We say guidance is necessary, although it’s our own efforts that will bring in the achievements. Simply, our efforts don’t do any good because efforts in what direction? Where? How? Why? All these things are necessary to be known, and should be known only to those who have traveled, suffered, achieved, and stand supreme. That’s when we call them masters, the teachers.
Often we think we should be independent, that’s true. We should be free; that’s true. We have to embark upon our own. All that is true. That is at a stage after having understood, known, having been instructed into and having been given that impetus. Then you know in what direction, how, when to do what. Then you are free. You should be free. You have to put in your own efforts. If you want to climb a coconut tree, somebody can help you up to their height, up to what their hands can reach. Beyond that, you have to climb on your own. If you loose, you will fall and break your neck. Your efforts are necessary. Before that, instructions are necessary. It is that; that is a crucial thing, the instructions. It is then that we are expected to train ourselves. It is then when we are supposed to prepare ourselves devoid of ego.
It is that ego, it is all those weaknesses that will come to the surface when you go to a teacher, when you go to a master. You think, “Oh, he looks like me”, or “She looks like me, how can he or she help me? I am very smart, I am intelligent, I am all this. So how can it help?” All these things will cloud you due to your own ego. Things seem like they are simple; you should know they are not that simple. They don’t hang a bow or a plaque and say, “I am a master, please come and I will instruct you.” That’s the reason why Krishna says to Arjuna, “Hey! Arjuna, if you want to know, if you want to learn My friend, you have to forget what you are. You think you are a great warrior, you think you are a very smart intelligent fellow, you are strong. All that is true. But, that is nothing before the knowledge you have to achieve.”
In order to do that, you must go to the teacher with all humility. You must remove that feeling that you are great, that you are all these things. Keep it safely in your closet. Go there as if you are nothing. Go with an empty heart, with empty mind. Go and fall at the feet of the master, surrender. Then sit down humbly at the feet of the master. Then once you feel comfortable, feel that you have devoided yourself of your ego, and feel that you are humble, then there’ll be an atmosphere, then there’ll be a clear way, a rapport established between the master and you. Unless you are humble, unless you are devoid of your ego, you cannot establish that rapport. Once you establish that rapport, then you make inquiries, then you ask questions. Asking questions is the right of a student, not simply to quench your inquisitive thirst, but it must come from the heart sincerely to know so that you would understand, and then you must serve.
Service is most important. It is the service that kills that ego in you, and as that ego diminishes, you become a part of the master. What he knows, you will start knowing by serving. By serving, you purify yourself, you prepare yourself — prepare your heart, prepare your mind, prepare your body, prepare everything — so that you may absorb that vibration, so you absorb that knowledge.
Sometimes, the masters do not talk; they look at you, that’s all. All that they do is join your sight, look deep into yourself, allow you to look deep into the masters eyes. Their toes, their eyes, their fingertips, and their head, these are all very important things for communicating, especially the eyes. They look deep into you; that’s enough.
So, you prepare yourself and ask questions. You cannot ask questions without serving the master. He must be ready to answer. You cannot say, “Hey! You are a teacher, come on and tell me this.” Who cares? “Get out of here!” is what he says. No, that’s why Krishna says humility, service, and then question. Then, the answers will come spontaneously. There’ll be a rapport, there’ll be understanding. You become slowly the part of the master. The master will embrace you as a student, as his disciple, as his own. Then, he will start instructing. That instruction is not available in any other pretext, in any other way. That’s the reason why Krishna waited until the war came to the forefront to instruct Arjuna. When he realized, “I am nothing. Oh Lord, please instruct me.” Then He said alright, now I will tell you. It had its affect. All those years before the war, He never instructed him. He never bothered to. He waited until that one psychological moment which prepared Arjuna to accept.
Thus, we have understood all those things, but still we hang on to our ego more than to the master. We bow to the master and say, “How am I going to be a better master than you master?” Tell me, let me challenge the master. The master will say alright my friend, and in one kick he’ll throw you out of bounds. Let us not do that, let us be humble, let us prepare ourselves. It is in our own interest. Masters may act funny; they have nothing to gain. They are beyond this material seeking, so they need not worry about it. We are not judges; the moment that we start judging, we lose that contact. It starts rusting. The rapport breaks. Then you’ll be neither here nor there. You’ll be lurking somewhere in the darkness. So, that’s when we partake in the spiritual life. In the spiritual life, we should be far above the material plane. Whether you be a king or a pauper, whether you be ugly or beautiful, strong or weak, it doesn’t matter. All these things don’t qualify you. Your qualification is to devoid yourself of your ego and prepare yourself, prepare to serve and accept; start getting instructions. That’s more important. All the rest is unimportant in the spiritual life. That’s what my master said, that’s what my master’s master said, that’s what my master did, that’s what we did. We are enjoying that, and every word of the master was proven. We always waited eagerly for what master would say. He would look deep into our eyes and say something. It use to give us a shock, the whole body used to be full of that vibration. What a joy it was to sit at the feet of the master. What a great love that we enjoyed. We are still enjoying his grace and love. In simple words he spoke. It looks simple, and in the spiritual sense what a great enlightenment. Thank you very much.
PERCEPTION OF TRUTH
Science is a different exercise though the central purpose is to unveil the reality. What happens in our case is that we have accepted certain things, though we have not realized, though we do not know, still we believe in the words of those who seem to have realized. That's all. We say, in order to be understood, that one who has realized is one who we believe has achieved, or established oneself in the truth. We don't know what the truth is in the first place, so if one claims, “I have established in the truth so follow me,” then we blindly follow, because we don't know if that one is really established in the truth. Thus we are conditioned, and we are not heroic enough as to make an effort to deny them, yet we should be very respectful in accepting them. So we may not accept the statement, but we may not deny it. You see, following means you are accepting them and their beliefs and try to do the same in our lives. And we do not, but if it is truth, you may traverse it yourself, you can travel, repeat the same steps. That's the whole life, what is the life's purpose after all? So, you keep busy in search of Truth.
Mind that we have to make our own efforts to find the truth, and you will find. As I told you, truth doesn't seem to exist in one particular way, it doesn't present itself in the same way every time; it is multifaceted. Though truth is not changing, the perception of truth changes, your approach, your endeavor, and all these things change. You hold onto a green spectacle, and you see it (truth) green, and you hold onto yellow glasses and you'll see it yellow. But truth is the same, and it's beautiful to know. If Jesus talks about truth and Shri Ramakrishna talks about truth, and elsewhere some other people talk about truth, we cannot deny, yes they have seen through their glasses, but their glasses are different from my glasses. They are seeing what they are seeing, what they are seeing is true, maybe true, but the explanation, exposition of all that may be different. If I say, “Oh yes, I am also going to see the same thing you do,” I fail, I may be a failure. Though my failure doesn’t mean what they see is untrue.
You may be rejecting the truth because you condition yourself. If I say it is red, you want to see it red. But by the time you see it, it may be yellow, because you are wearing a yellow glass. You do not know. Thus, the perception of truth may vary. That's the reason why we have to establish ourselves in our own path, and we need not feel guilty about not following anybody. We have to appreciate each other, whether one is intelligent, or ignorant, or smart, or scientist, or saint, or criminal, we don't care, because what is it after all? Saints also die, criminals also die, scientists also die, sages also die. We should put that on a bumper sticker "Everyone Dies." That's good. But where are they? Can you shake hands with them? If they are living on, we understand the meaning of living!
Maybe he cannot do the same trick, leave cookies and milk during the night, and the next day it is gone, so long as you are a child you accept, yes, he came with a long beard, and he ate that, and blessed us. So when you realize, when you grow up, you will laugh at your own self. But you don't stop it, you continue that, that's what is happening in our case, even after realizing the truth, people are not allowing us to find out our own truth. A lot of these people, if you take the masters whom we follow, didn't follow anybody, each one was independent. Take Sivananda, take Jesus, take anybody, they owe their respect, they bow down to their masters, but they never followed them. Nobody followed anybody.
That's why I follow Sivananda. Whom did Sivananda follow? After having learned the ways to search for Truth, he embarked upon his own, that's what he told me. That's the very reason why I am like this, I am very independent. Because that's what he said. A lot of things he told me, but all of those made sense. He knew my spirit. He used to call me many things. So I am proud that my master recognized, or realized what I was, he realized my weaknesses, my strengths and all that. So as soon as I became a monk he told me, you must pursue your path, if you stay here it will not be realized, you've got a goal. Go to Himalayas, or go to Kashi, wherever.
So I did that, to the great satisfaction of myself. It was good. So I used to go to the ashram, and nobody bothered me in the ashram. Like the wind, I would go there, leave whenever I wanted. So that's what the element was.
There, in the Shri Aurobindo Ashram, I became of my own choice very dependent on Mother. It was more, we bonded ourselves to Mother so much, though She did not bind us, we bound ourselves. We wanted, there was a pleasure in being under the direct guidance, or supervision of the Mother. So there was great pleasure from Mother. Every day, every time we eat, every time we stand, we used to say, “Oh Mother, what does Mother say? Does She say so? Does She accept this, does She?” That is a lack of independence. Maybe I must have lost a little, but Mother also advised me. When somebody approached her asking permission to take me away in order to run their institution (a hostel for boys). This is where Mahatma Gandhi used to rest, it was a great institution. They wanted me to go there, so Mother said, “Your purpose is there, go.” So I went there, from there I went to Sivananda, all kinds of things happened anyway. So what happens is, each one of them, did they follow, whom did Shri Aurobindo follow, whom did Mother follow, whom did Sivananda follow? They're all masters, they all had masters.
We say Dattaguru, he is the greatest yogi, every yogi bows down to him. He said in his life he had twenty four teachers. He learned everything from the prostitute, from the cow, from the dogs, butcher, and so on. See, at the time when you want to learn, there are ways of learning. If you don't want to learn, even the greatest master cannot teach you. So he opened himself, he learned, all that made him a great yogi.
Acceptance is more important, and what we accept then we have to realize. That's that reason why we have plenty of paths, billions and billions of paths, each one is a path. It is true that everyone cannot tread the same path, because in the spiritual life, in the seeking of truth, what happens is every time you take a step, you are wiping off the footprint from behind, you never leave a footprint. We think, “Oh I see a footprint, so I follow,” no. Wherever you make a print, that's it, there's nothing like going back. That's the reason why Sri Aurobindo also says once you become a human you will never go back in the evolution. See, we have evolved. We have come from what we don't want to be again, it's upward movement always. Once you become a human, you may stop over there, if you don't make an effort, and if you try to be a perfect human, then the next step is to become divine yourself, it's a natural promotion.
What is the difference between the human and the divine? — the ignorance. Slowly as you grow, as you are on your way, try to be perfect. We talk about perfection, nobody knows what it is anyway, so try. We think that as humans, we are to believe this, this, this, that's the whole confusion now. Thank you very much.
THE MISSION, TEACHER AND THE GOAL
The state of being that we are now enjoying here is only a modification of our true state of being. We set upon ourselves a mission, and then according to the mission we have taken upon ourselves the needed paraphernalia the body, the mind and the senses. Whatever we want, we have taken upon ourselves to fathom this, the truth, the reality as it is, as it seems to be. Not that we do not know the reality, but that we do not know that we know the reality; that is the whole thing, that is the whole game. We pretend that we do not know. Unless you pretend that you don’t know, you’ll never embark upon the mission to know, to fathom. That’s the whole game.
In the process, what has happened is, though we have come out of that darkest region of ignorance, yet we have fallen into that other pit of ignorance. We have subjected ourselves to the ignorance. Ignorance often modifies itself into a promise, hope, guiding into the pitfall, misguiding what we call guiding. That is the reason why we are all in a state of confusion. Because, we think that we have followed. We thought we do not know, so we go in order to find out what we do not know. We go to the sources that we think will enlighten, and unfortunately we meet with failure, and keep on running from pillar to post until our head breaks its bone. That’s what the situation is. We think other than what we are. That is the greatest ignorance. We have been entertaining that we have grasped, we have been led.
Into each one of us, if you can turn within, go deeper. As you go deeper into the material world, even one third of that, if you can dive deeper into yourself, you will strike something, the gold mine of understanding, the knowledge, the knowing. You will start knowing, which is quite different from what you think you have been experiencing outside as “knowing”. Then, that will lead to hope, real hope, the joy of being there at the right time, the right place.
We have not done that. We have fallen into the wrong hands; we have taken the wrong road. Getting nowhere, that’s what has happened. We have been confined because we have not been able to be strong. We have no faith in ourselves. We have become cowards. That is the reason why we are paying heavy penalties in life. Life is short, average is seventy four years in America, and elsewhere it is thirty two years. So within that, what can you accomplish? People have accomplished a great deal. For two thousand years, we have not even been able to understand what they have gained in thirty one years. Look at Jesus, look at Shankaracharya, look at all those great people. They have lived for only thirty two years and we have not even been able to understand them even after two thousand years. What a shame we haven’t understood. We have been trying to understand the interpretation of what they have done. That interpretation is often misinterpretation.
That is the reason why we have not been able to reap any harvest, in spite of all our struggle. We have been led into wrong hands. We have been bound by a lot of these, what they call themselves, teachers, the masters, soothsayers. Talking about the future without knowing the future. Talking about the past without knowing what the past was. They themselves are in the confused state along with us, and we are following them. That’s the whole problem. We are all capable, my friends, turn your gaze within. Everything is within. You are the master, you are the student. You open your eyes within, open your ears within, see the vastness within. Then you don’t run hither and tither. Your salvation is within.
What is salvation? understanding, knowing, the fullness of knowledge. That’s the salvation. Beyond salvation is what only you have to experience. We have been mislead, we have been victimized by the desires and passions of the others who call themselves the masters, the guides. That’s what has happened. We must find a true teacher. Once you are sincere, faithful, you are led into them, they will come to you. Wait, don’t run, and at the right time the right thing will happen. What happens is how are we to know who is the right, who is the wrong custodian of our lives, our mission, our everything? We surrender to whom? Should we do that? To whom should we not?
He is the teacher who takes full responsibility and guides you in spite of full resistance without seeking any fulfillment in return. He is more interested in you and your welfare than his own welfare. That is a teacher. And he is not a teacher, she is not a teacher, who tries to hold you back from your progress. What will happen? It is the duty of a teacher in a primary school to teach you the A B C’s. I salute them, they taught me the A B C’s. But he never held me back; he didn’t say, “I taught you the A B C’s, so stay with me for all the eternity.” No, he said, “My son, I have taught you the A B C’s so make use of these A B C’s; go ahead.” So, I left him and went to the next. So with the A B C’s, I started putting them together, c as in cat, m as in mat, r as in rat. Is it a sin to have gone past the teacher who taught me A B C’s and to the teacher who taught me to make words out of those syllables? Then he said, “My son, you have learned c as in cat, m as in mat, r as in rat, now go on,” and he pushed me to another teacher. These are all great teachers. You should bow down to them. They never held us back. They were interested in us, they pushed me further. So that teacher further taught me how to read, how to write, how to compose and so with every teacher. Maybe in our lives we come across so many teachers, everyone is helpful. Anyone who pushes us further and further and further, they are the great ones, they are true. Though he taught me only A B C’s, his knowledge is not only A B C’s, it’s far beyond A B C’s. But he gave me only that because it was only my capacity to understand. Now as I increase my capacity to digest, understand, my receptivity is open to another teacher. My other teacher teaches me.
Anyone who pushes you further in your progress is the right teacher. Anyone who holds you back, pulls you back, takes you deeper and deeper into the dungeon, “don’t do this, don’t experience this, don’t question.” This is the stupid teacher who is more detrimental to your progress than to guide. They are not your guide. If I do not know, I should be able to tell you, “My son, I do not know. This you must go to some other people who know. Then when you know, please come and tell me too. I’ll be happy.” That should be the spirit of the teacher. Only such people can be our teacher. Under them, you can go fetch everything in this world; there is nothing which is beyond. But unfortunately in this iron age, the delusion of Maya has spread Her sheet of delusion which has blinded us. We have become deaf to the right music, and we have closed our eyes to the right sight. Still, we think we are great.
Now this is the time that you must regain your independence, become independent. You have learned your A B C’s, you have written, you have gone far beyond that. You are great, each one of you are the masters of the future; in each one of you I see that light. Within your own capacity, within your own circle, you can shine. You may not be the suns now, but you are not less than the moon, your light brings a lot of joy and happiness to the other souls. Their joy will bring you greater joy. The greater the joy, you will try to do greater things. And, the greater the joy, greater light, brighter light. It is all within yourselves.
Try to take a few minutes every day to look deep within yourself. Don’t depend on anything; depend on God. Whether you know it or not, He is the light, He is the Hope, He is the Guide, and He is the Goal. You may not see Him; He sees you. That is more important. You may not touch, you may not know where He is, so He can touch you. He knows; He can embrace you. Have faith; be strong, don’t be a coward. You are capable. There are masters guiding you. There are masters taking care of you. You will never do wrong, even if from the social point of view it is wrong. We are human; God knows we are human. At the right time, the right master will do the right thing for us. Don’t fall into wrong hands. Don’t fall into the pit. Exert, brighten yourself. You are all made to be the great ones; you are the hope of the future, my friends. You are all there, you will all be there. God be with you. Let you be successful in your spiritual endeavor. Thank you.
We have been very fortunate in this life, for we have been witnessing many beautiful things. If we can open our eyes, we can see; if we can open our ears, we can hear. If we keep our heart open, we can tremendously feel that grace, that love, that kindness, and that which we have been seeking throughout all our numerous lives. But, unfortunately, ignorance is so strong it doesn’t allow us to open; we easily become victims of the dark forces. We are susceptible to their tricks, that is the reason why we have not been able to make the most of the available light, that beauty. In our short life it is rare that we witness many beautiful things like this. We always think in terms of sadness, but we should think in terms of happiness, joy.
The other day when we heard, it was a shock, an unbelievable shock that Mother Teresa, the holiest of the holy, the best manifestation of the Divine Love and grace, passed away. But, we should always remember two things. Commonly we are happy in celebrating the birth of somebody, even the birth of a cat. The birth of a kitten in a house, or a bird, a cow or even one of our own species always brings happiness, and we are always saddened when they die. So long as we don’t know what birth is, and what death is, it is customary to express our sadness. But is it sadness? Because of our attachment to the body, to the frame, without which we cannot recognize, without which we cannot behold and feel, we suffer immensely from the loss of that instrument. That is the reason why we are saddened, not because of the other thing.
We have lost the means of seeing through to that form of divinity, that is the whole saddening thing. Sadness should be when we cannot recognize one’s greatness when they lived, sadness should be there, not when one passes away. For is it not a fact that we have seen Jesus who did His work and then passed away? Krishna came and taught the whole world as to what life is, and what its purpose is to be skillful in this life in order to swim across this ocean of woes. He died, He passed away. Rama, about whom we sing every day, passed away too. Buddha passed away. My mother passed away, everyone passes away. I am also going to pass away one day.
So, it should not be a source of sadness. That is the reason why in my country, and in my culture we always celebrate the departing time and day of the great people. Like my Swamiji, yesterday was his birthday, September eighth. We don’t celebrate the birthdays of these saints, but the passing away. Why should we celebrate on a grand scale about the passing away of a saint? It is not the passing away, it is not the death that we celebrate. The whole meaning is this, why are we born? We are born in this world because we have to work, we have to pay back, for whatever we have done. It is the cause of that ignorance that we are born. We have come here in order to reap the harvest of our actions, which we did in ignorance. One act of ignorance multiplies; in order to repay that we have to be born several times. Is it a pleasure, is it a happiness that we are born? Even if you consider it as a source of happiness, alright, many people are born and die, who cares. But through the life what did they achieve, and what did they do for themselves and to the others? That is more important. Billions of people have died, we don’t celebrate that, but when a great one dies we celebrate, because they became the light, they became the medium for God to do His work through. So they lose their identity and become one with the divine. They lose their individual identity, they will have no purpose, nothing, but survive only for the sake of the divine. They become a means for the divine to work through, that is what one does. Not only do they pay their debt back, but they become a medium for the divine to work through in this world. So that is a great joy, and they are never born again. They emancipate themselves into the divine, that is the final beatitude.
Should we celebrate the death or the birth? Birth is also a source of enjoyment, but compared to the death in which we see the pinnacle of all endeavors passing through this life, becoming one with the divine light, that is more important than the life. That is why we celebrate the death on a grand scale, nobody wants to miss that chance of celebrating. That is why we all used to meet in the Ashram; thousands of people used to come from all over for Swamiji’s anniversary of his death. That is the day we worship him. So we should remember, it doesn’t have to sadden one.
That is what Mother at Sri Aurobindo Ashram said, “Don’t become attached to my body; I’m here today and tomorrow I’m not. But, it’s enough if you come only once and establish that contact, even if you are far away, that contact is always maintained.” That is my experience too. Baba also says the same thing. Everybody says the same thing; this frail body has to go, but they don’t go. It’s a great joy. We had amongst us an unseen ray, like an invisible ray. She is blessing us, she is healing us, she is doing it without our own knowing, and we are all recipients of her grace, her love.
I told you the other day of my experience in Bombay. In my life, I saw Mahatma Gandhi once, and Mother Teresa once; that is enough. I told you my experience, of how to prove that Mother Teresa was not a body, was not a frail little dwarf, but a great manifestation of that Divine Light. She wanted to bless me with her light, I think, that is why even when I was far away it was as if I was beaten on the head “Fool, turn around and see, I am here.” I turned, and low and behold my eyes were filled. That sight has never passed from my memory, because it was such a beautiful aura, beautiful light, divine light. Unless there was that simplicity, I could not have seen that beautiful light. So that was the light, like an x-ray; these people work like that. It’s enough.
Everybody on this planet and elsewhere must have received her grace, still we continue to receive her grace. The body is gone, but she is not gone. She was not a goner, she will always be here. In one way or another all these divine persons continue to work. How simple she was; the more I hear about her actions, the more I revere her. The other day they were talking about Mother’s greatness. It seems an Archbishop went to Calcutta and stayed with Mother. She was anointing people’s wounds, deep wounds, horrible wounds, with love and without any emotional upset or anything. The Archbishop, of course, didn’t want to soil his well ironed holy robe, and he told Mother, “Mother, I wouldn’t have done that for even a hundred thousand dollars.” So that reveals his feelings, and Mother replied, “Neither would I. I am doing it for Jesus.”
She had completely identified herself with Jesus, that divine personage has become Jesus herself. She has invited and housed Jesus in her heart, not only in her heart but in every part of her: her mind, her soul, her body, her senses, everything was occupied by Jesus. When she talked, when she walked, when she did everything, that glorious beautiful spirit of Jesus flowed through her. Jesus is a feeling, it’s a love, it’s that service, all these things. That man, who was an official from the Vatican, could realize her real greatness within a grain of salt.
Just the other day I was talking to someone about how on American Airlines another great man had an interaction with an airline steward. He was more worried about his well ironed holy robe, and he was so egoistic he said, “Do You know who I am? I’m this and that. . .” Who cares, how can these people even talk about Jesus. She talked less of Jesus, but worked more as Jesus wanted. She was far beyond the religions, or nationality, or gender. She didn’t want anyone to become Christians, she didn’t do things to make people become Christians. Anyway, they were dying, sick, and in what way could they care whether you call them Christians, or Hindus, or Muslims, or Jews, who cares. All that they wanted was that treatment, that dignity that she gave them. She didn’t want, she didn’t care; the people went for baptism, that is all. Such a person, such a divine light was she.
It is our fortune that at least we saw her, like Halley’s Comet we just saw that comes every 75 years. Like that we are fortunate, though many of us may not have seen her, it doesn’t matter, she has touched your heart. The moment that you think, “Oh, Mother did something like that, I too should do that.” The moment that you think like that she has already blessed you, she has already been with you.
So, there’s an endless joy about these people; when they lived, they brought joy, and when they’re gone, they have left a great bundle of joy. It’s a joy, it’s a spiritual joy, it’s an investment, it keeps on growing. She has converted so many thousands and thousands into her joy. Her work no billionaire could do, no Raja could do, no monarch could do. Just a frail small short nun did all these things. She could not have done this had she not invested herself in Jesus. She completely merged herself in Jesus, so Jesus used her for this tremendous work.
What was that work? God, nothing but God; she saw God everywhere, that is what she said. In anointing that person, she saw it was God she was serving. That is what my master also said. Many times many people said, “Why are you initiating all these people, Tom, Dick, and Harry’s? You do not know who they are. Why do you bring all the criminals and everyone into the Ashram, why do you?” In his view there is no criminal, there is no nothing, it is a passing phase. Everyone has to pass through life. So unless somebody supports them, how can they grow? That is what my master said, “At least I have taken them away from society; let the society be, I am prepared to deal with them.” Everybody turned out to be good.
That is what Mother Teresa also did. We are fortunate to come across all these people, these great ones; we should learn from them, covert ourselves, imbibe and spread their word, enthuse others to do the work of them. It will be a great joy, it will be the worthwhile thing to do. Any day that we talk about Mother Teresa, it is a fortunate day, it is a great day. Anytime that we talk about our master, Sivananda, Baba, or Dattatreya, or whoever it is, it’s a great joy. That is why we sing; we sing so that even subconsciously sometimes the singing goes on far deep within. Even without our own knowing, we will be enjoying it. We do not know why we are enjoying, we are happy. Why are we happy? We do not know; that is what happens when you keep on repeating their names and begin to understand them.
When Arjuna asked Krishna, “Oh Lord, you say we must always worship You, we must always be in Your company, but where are we to find You? Where are You?” Krishna said, “Arjuna don’t think that I live only in Heaven, I’m not in Heaven alone. I am in every heart of those who are devoted to Me. Anyone who is devoted to Me, their heart is Mine. By serving them, they’ll be serving Me.”
So the same thing with Mother Teresa’s heart, it’s full of God, and anyone who worships Mother worships God. Anyone who offers their salutations and respect to Mother, they do it to God. She was nothing but a manifestation of that divinity; her heart was full of God. We are happy to worship her, and it doesn’t matter as somebody was asking, are they going to anoint her or canonize her as a saint? Who cares for the canonization? It is stupid. A saint is a saint, that is all. Who cares if they certify her as a saint, they can even certify some Tom, Dick, and Harry as a saint, and are you going to worship them? It seems that the other day in the church they showed some movie of Saint Francis of Assisi, I like Saint Francis of Assisi so much. In the ashram we used to enjoy talking about him, we used to talk about him, and we used to enjoy. So his very name we used to enjoy. He was such a mad man, madcap. Was he a madcap? He loved God so much, he loved Jesus so much he gave himself up to Him. Like a madman, he walked through the snow to build a temple; all that he did, why? Not so the poor would have to bow down and kiss his feet; he was an ordinary man. Just like Jesus and Mother Teresa, these are two shining stars that I always adore.
When I learned about Saint Francis of Assisi, oh! I used to enjoy. We were all Hindus, why should we give that high place to people from Christianity? No, they were Gods, they revealed God. My master revealed God, Mother Teresa revealed that same God. The same thing with all the saints. They are all the great people, they don’t have any bondages, they don’t have any limitations, they belong to everyone. But not everyone belongs to them, they don’t feel they belong to them, that is the whole thing. Muslims came to my master, Hindus came, they all became monks, they progressed. They are not Muslims, they are not Hindus, they are not Christians, they are not any of those things. They must have been born there, they must have had faith in that in the beginning. But as they progressed they realized that all those divisions must fall. They fell, that is the reason why we all worship them. Let us all try to follow them, follow in the sense that we imbibe their efforts. Let us be enthused, let us try to do the same things that they did, that is all we can do anyway. That is the thing that we are all trying to do, and our efforts will be hastened, and our hopes will be stronger. Our faith will be solid if we can learn anything from them, let us behold them, hold them fast unto our chest. Worship day in and day out, in one way or the other it doesn’t matter. Pray; May their Grace be upon us all. Thank you very much.
FREEDOM AND ITS TOOLS
Q. How essential is it to have a Guru or spiritual teacher to make real progress?
However you seek a spiritual teacher, a teacher is a teacher. He cannot work for you. You may have to do the work for your own progress. At the most, a spiritual teacher will explain to you what he did in his own life and what made him to be what he is. If you also want to become so, he tells you what you can do, what you must do is left for your own self. Because all that a teacher can do is inspire you. There are other methods of shakti pat and all that. There are methods of raising your mental status to a particular plane so that the teacher comes in contact with your mental status and work upon it, but that will be a subjugation. You will be subjugated by him. Wherever he is, he is able to work thorough you but he will never allow you the independence. And he can play havoc because he can stop your progress if he is displeased! He can leave you. Then you will never make any progress because you have offered your mind to him. You have lost control of your own mind in the process. And he controls it. That is a silly idea.
Guru is one spiritual teacher who has understood the values of freedom. Freedom of movement, freedom of action. In the way that he gives this to you, he will be your spiritual teacher. When he knows, loves his freedom, he knows the value of it, how can he dare to withhold the progress or withhold the freedom of this disciple? So he is a good teacher, he is a real teacher who just helps you to be free, more free. Even if you want to attach yourself, he makes you free by giving you fullest knowledge, filling in you the spirit of freedom and confidence and hope and thus he will inspire you. He will give you the impetus and watch. He will be watching, lending his hand whenever needed. It is a silly idea to say that one follows the other in this world.
My Sivananda never followed his Guru. And we are not following Sivananda. Sivananda is my guru because he inspired me. He gave me a home. He gave me confidence. He gave me love. He gave me everything I needed, like a mother. But Mother’s love can make me grow. But Mother’s love cannot keep on pumping me every moment. It creates a certain favorable atmosphere in which I can blossom, go on, grow. A spiritual teacher does only that much. Helps you to grow by yourself.
Don’t you be in a hurry. Everything shall happen. If you are patient enough, if you have faith and hope, wait at the right moment the right thing will happen. When opportunity comes to you, don’t reject. That care you must take. When it comes, don’t reject. If you reject, you may have to wait for all the eternity again. To the degree of your preparedness, the opportunity will be round about you. Prepare yourself to seize that opportunity to grow!
We go to a Guru because he has struggled. He knows the path. But every movement that you go forward, you will be wiping off your footprints in the past; you must remember. In sadhana each one has to find one’s own path. Every time that you make a step forward, you will be wiping your footsteps away behind. You will not leave a single footprint while traveling towards God. That is the reason why there is no single path. Everyone who treads it, it is a new path, and each one will have to make one’s own path and tread.
All that it is is. Since I have done it, I tell you so that it may inspire you. It is possible. Yes, all that I do, yes, it is possible for you also to do. It is true. I did it and I got it. That means to say that it is possible for you also to do your own sadhana and find it. There is no certificate that I can issue. It is not a ticket. I certify that it is true, that’s all as a guru. And you will do it.
There are grades of gurus. Grades of Gurus depends upon to what plane of consciousness the guru belongs. A true guru is one whose consciousness is one with the whole universe, the cosmos. That is the reason, without imposing any of his own thoughts, he will just allow you to grow by yourself. He helps you to grow by yourself. Because he can work very freely, he can identify himself with you and when he identifies himself with you, he can make you free. He can watch you very clearly and help you to grow. It is only a third-rate guru who says you must leave your path and come to my path. That itself is proof that he has no path of his own. He lags in experience! He has not tread anything. Each one would have to tread one’s own path.
In my life I did the same thing. I just surrendered to Mother. I told Mother, told God, “I am not prepared to accept any human being, I see only weaknesses. If a weak man were to lead me, why should it not be my own self? So God, if you are keen about my progress and myself, I just surrender. I don’t want to do anything. If you are keen, you please take hold of me and lead me. If not, I am prepared to die, for all the life I don’t care.” And, everything happened. Mother took care of me, Mother led me smoothly through all hard struggles. At every juncture, at every right moment, right things went on happening. It is happening still. I am not proud of it but humbly state the fact. And when it does not happen, I am not sorry about it, because I am in her charge. That is one way of doing, just surrender completely, raise your hands and accept your weakness, but be strong enough to say, “O Mother, if you want you can do it, if not, I don’t care.” And She will do it.
Q. Did you have a spiritual calling or did this just come about by itself? (Your life.)
There was a strong undeniable prompting from within. Intuitionally you start feeling from within that there is a call. Call is an experience for which you don’t have any explanation. There will be an experience, some movement within yourself which is strange to you because you are not used to it. That is the beginning of it. It stimulates your thinking and it stimulates your understanding. It takes time. Once you understand it, you know that it is a call. And you know how to adjust yourself, how you have to respond.
It will not leave you in rest at all once that movement starts working within you. It will never allow you to rest unless you know it and start yielding.
Q. Are your garments always this color, orange, and does that signify anything?
It should signify the sense of renunciation, that is having no attachment. I have the greatest attachment to my cloth anyway! It shows that I am not interested in any of the mundane life. I am just trying to achieve a great height in spirituality. I am trying to devote myself to that cause. I am hitch hiking! I am going this way, please don’t distract me, don’t try to pull me down. If you can help, help, but don’t pull me down. It is an announcement, telling everyone what I do and I am up to. It shows, “Oh! He is a sanyassin. This means he is not interested in this life, he is practicing spirituality so let us not bother him.” That is one thing.
Second thing is, it signifies the realization. It is the color of the earth. Usually we color our cloth with a piece of stone that is available in India, so that exactly symbolizes the earth. Earth stands for the highest forbearance and renunciation. Like a mother, it loves everyone. It accommodates everyone. It bears injury and insults every day. So, I am expected to be like that, but I don’t know how far I am that I immediately react to everything!
Q. How did the realized Masters of India like Ramana Maharishi, how did they present themselves to the devotees?
They don’t impose, they just inspire, because they identify themselves with every soul that goes to them. You must remember, all souls do not go to one master. Each soul has its own master. You must remember that a group of souls since a long time, since several births, develop or evolve under one master. And every time those souls recognize the master wherever he is, whether the souls were born in America, or Africa, or New Zealand. They all gather either in India or somewhere wherever the Master is. In any form that you think of Him, he appears. He shall positively respond. Have faith.
He appears to you in the way that you seek him, either as Mother or God or Jesus, Krishna or Rama, it does not matter. You just call and say, “I am helpless, I cannot decide, please help. I need a little more help.” He hears. He helps. He just involves along with you so that He may help you to come out of that situation. That God is very kind. The world holds a definite meaning. It is a beautiful thing to be here in this world with all the paraphernalia around us. So, let us understand this world and everything in it, our own self, our own instruments, and then involve ourselves with an understanding, with a good heart and good intentions. Then everything will be fine. The whole kingdom of heaven we will find here. If you don’t find it here, nowhere else will you find it. If you don’t find God in your house, you cannot find God anywhere else. If you do not find peace in the house where you live, you cannot find the peace anywhere else. Where you are, peace must be there. Where you are, everything else shall be there.
Many people ask me, “I want to go to India.” Why should they go — to starve? There is a drought. You have to starve if you go to India. Don’t think that only India monopolizes in God. Only thing is, people in India might have seen God — but the same God is here in America, verily. The eyes that see God in India will be the same eyes that are required to see God here. We don’t have these eyes, so we don’t see. It does not mean that just because we don’t see, there is no God here. God is everywhere, God is here and same God is there! So, all that we need to do is what they do to meet Him. The eyes that they have to see Him is what you should try to have to see Him with.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna reveals himself in His true form. It is impossible to see for a common man. So Krishna says, "Before seeing Me as I am, I shall give you the eyes which can behold Me. So take this." That is wisdom. We cannot see God through these eyes, we can only feel. Feeling is the eye! That which gives you the feeling, the experience of God, is the eye. So God says, “I give that eye through which you can see me.” So He grants him that understanding, the ability to see Him through it. So when he sees, he sees to his amazement — Krishna is not Krishna at all, He is God. He is vast, He is eternal. So, that is the eye that we need. If we want to have that eye, we must do what Arjuna did. What he did was Surrender! "Oh God, I surrender to your will. I thought of solving all my problems myself. My God, it is beyond my capacity. So I just surrender unto you humbly. Please take hold of me and see that what is good for me, you please do."
Then Krishna took charge of him. When he took charge of Arjuna, he redeemed himself completely of ignorance! It was necessary for Arjuna to grow. When he understood what it was then, to do as God directed him to do, he was prepared to go and fight. It is an involvement. It is necessary, it is sanctioned by God. It was God’s will! Had Arjuna not fought, he would not have grown. So thus, we have to understand the world. We have to do everything. If it comes to sleeping, sleep —do
Unto the Master,
Swami Sivananda, The Saint of Himalayas
as a mother nourished me,
as a father guided me,
as my master (guru) lead me
into the light and Secrets of life,
as my "Ishta" who delivered me,
And as a friend heard my heart and
never used a word to hurt me,
who fondly called me "Niranjan".
Unto His holy feet, I bow down in
And shelter my soul in their shadow.
GURU DISCOURSE 1
In Bhagavad Gita when we want to know something, we should be humble, we should go to the teacher, the preceptor or the one who knows, or the one whom we think knows. With a folded hand, you must go with something in order to offer your goodwill, your respect, offer it. Fall flat, that’s the custom, that is called Sastanga, which means all the eight parts of our body should touch the floor; that is the surrender. Then tadviddi, viddi means going, then humbly you must sit away, not higher than the teacher, but humbly sit quiet and at the right moment ask a question. If you are really sincere about knowing something, if you have a question, ask. Under these conditions, those who know the principles of the Divine and those who know the Divinity, will answer your questions; they will try to remove your doubts.
In many cases you go, there’ll be thousands of people; you cannot even see the teacher, let alone ask a question, but our faith is there. Because of our faith, we go and we sit and come back and are gratified. But still, your doubts lurk in the mind, your doubts have not gone, so you go to an ordinary small person where in a conversation you get your doubts cleared. Many times it has happened. So why?
What happens is this: those people, the great people, may not answer your question, may not entertain your question. You think they are not entertaining, not answering your question. Maybe, he doesn’t want to or maybe he doesn’t know; that’s what we conclude. “Let me go to the next one,” that’s what we think. We should know when we have gone to them that they are recognized as the great jnanis, men of knowledge; they know, that’s why we have gone. Then why do they not answer? They know, that’s why we have gone. You ask a question because you do not know; they don’t answer because they know, why? In their view, “Oh Lord, You have come to test me. There is nothing that you do not know. They do not identify you as a man without knowing.” He recognizes you as he recognized himself. He recognizes you, he recognizes the same thing in you and in him and in everyone as he knows; he knows that you also know. Then when you are asking, he laughs, “Do not make a show that you do not know, Oh Lord, do not test me.” You know, so he keeps silent. “The Lord is testing me. Lord wants to play with me. It’s all right. This is one way of putting it because as I know, you also know.” That’s why he’s a Jnani. Jnani is one who recognizes the same Divinity in everything. That’s the reason why he recognizes the same Divinity in you. When you are the Divinity, how can you not know? “You know, but you are making a big show. Don’t fool me sir, you know.”
Another explanation is this: skillful teacher, he has gone through a lot of things in order to know. He also knows; he knows what is all required in order to come to that state of knowing and now we are used to these ready made things. We want everything: ready made soup, ready made bread, ready made thing, ready made shirts, ready made shoes, everything ready made. We don’t want to wait. We don’t want to undergo the process, so when you go to that teacher and ask him a question, he looks at you and says, “Just wait.” He laughs, “You want everything easy, huh? You have to go through the process in order to know. If not, it is just to please the mind.” Even if you go today to somebody who tells you something, you are not serious. It’s the mind which wants you to ask the question, tease. In order to tease the mind, then you forget and the same question you’ll be asking at several places. So, it’s a habit. Sincere seeker will try to wait before he asks the question because he knows, “I have to wait, let me see; the question has come so there must be an answer. So the question is the beginning, the answer is the end. I am somewhere in between, so why should I be struggling? Let me wait, have patience.” Patience is a virtue in spiritual seeking. That’s the reason why we go from ashram to ashram, teacher to teacher, from one to the other, jump up and down; we don’t have patience and we are not prepared to undergo the process. We want everything ready, it does not happen here. So that teacher will say, “If you want to know, this is the way. You will know by yourself.” So he will show you the way. He will tell you, go through this, this, this, then you will know; it will be solid knowing. So just because he tells you to undergo the process in order to know, you cannot say, “Oh, he doesn’t know, that’s why he is putting me though this trouble”. You can tell him, “See the other guy? He didn’t know, so he didn’t answer me. You do not know, but you want to make a show that you know; that’s why you want me to undergo all this trouble. If you know, tell me; if not, I am on my way.” This doesn’t happen in the spiritual way. It’s a long process. So, this humility is one thing that is a virtue as patience is. We should not jump into conclusions.
Often times, we are led to believe that the religions, these associations or these great organizations, will bring relief, bring answers to my questions. They do not. They have a limitation. What you seek is not known except by you yourself; you have to struggle for yourself. Only you can know it, nobody else. What happens is in a religion, it has its own social aspect. So long as you want to belong, you have to exercise certain things; all these things are there, rudimentary things. Beyond that, even the religion raises its hand, white flag, “I’m sorry, I cannot help you there. If you want to be happy here within Nature, within this world, there is God, but I don’t know God. This seems to be the God, this seems to be the way, pray, sing, all these things, keep on doing it.” That is what it says, but it does not guarantee you anything. That’s the reason why if you take any religion, those saints and sages who became saints and sages, they left the religion, they left the society, they left the organization; they left because on the contrary, they are a pain in the you know what. You have to adhere to them if you want to live with them. You know that it is fake, it is not producing what you want, so what should you do? You stay away; they are called atidharmis, dharma means code of conduct, atidharma means those who go beyond this, because they want to seek something beyond which this cannot produce. So they go.
Jesus left and went. For twelve years, he went by himself in search; then, when he came back, everybody said , “Oh yeah, yeah.” That’s what happens in India. All these great sages and saints, those who are there, do not celebrate Christmas, do not celebrate this; their celebration is meditation, reaching the highest by themselves. Everyday is a celebration, every inch towards reaching the highest is a celebration; that’s where their celebration is and here we celebrate. Today we celebrate, today we mourn, today we are sad, but there, there’s nothing; you have to go beyond these dualities, these emotions. These are the things that bind you, these are the pegs which hold you on to this; that’s what we create in religion and in associations and organizations. “Oh, today this, you must bring these things; you must do this, this, this, this.” Somebody controls something; you are always controlled, you do not have any liberty by yourself.
Unless you have liberty, you will never reach the goal. That’s the reason why they run away. Shri Ramana Maharishi left the house, left everything and went to the temple and sat. He did not want even to bother about the temple. He sat there in a corner.
It took a long time for people to realize. That’s the way and all of a sudden, you go there and say, “Will you please tell me what is God?” “My friend, go and sit there and get eaten by worms, then you will know what God is.”
So thus, process is difficult but at the same time, if you have the determination, patience, all these things, endeavor, then it is easy because you want it. You are prepared to sacrifice everything for that and you will get it, so there’s no easy way.
That’s what we should understand. When you go to people and do not get answers, do not think because one does not answer, he does not have answer. You have to come back and think, why, so that will give you impetus, a starting point, why. Why did he not answer? Let me think by myself, let me be independent. That will help. Thank you very much.
GURU DISCOURSE 2
Whenever we talk about our life, its purpose, its goals, its method of reaching that goal, we come to realize that we need some guidance somewhere. We need someone to guide us. Though often we hear that our guide is far deep within our own hearts, we need somebody to open that heart so that from there, the light, the guiding light would emerge. And it is that element that we call Guru. Guru is one who removes the darkness and brings light into our lives. That’s what we call Guru, the guide.
Everyone cannot be a Guru. Everyone can know, but merely knowing doesn’t make one a Guru. There are so many people who have read the books, who know, who have accumulated knowledge, but still they cannot be Gurus. At the same time, there are people who never went to school, who never studied. We do not know where they went or what they did but they have the qualities, the elements (tattva) of removing that darkness and bringing in light, sometimes consciously, sometime unconsciously; sometimes they know, sometimes they do not know. Are they intellectual? They may be, they may not be. And all those who are intellectual cannot be Gurus. All those Gurus need not be intellectuals. Many a one we know who brought in lot of light into our lives but if you ask them, “Can you please fix my car?”, they don’t know, they cannot. Do you know physics? No, chemistry? No, biology? No. Can you remove my darkness, the ignorance? “Yes.”
So, these are all the things that you have to consider. That’s the reason why there are so many people with knowledge, a fund of knowledge, running around in this world. But there are very few Gurus whom we find. All cannot be Gurus. All Gurus cannot be found in this world.
Also, we cannot find Gurus because are we good students? Blind people cannot see sun. Those who want to see sun will have to have good eyes. Thus, it depends upon who will find the Guru. Those who seek, who are seekers, who are determined, who are tired of their ignorance, who cannot survive anymore with what they have, want something to survive, that which gives them the survival element, that knowledge, that knowledge which can remove all ignorance. Those who are seeking cannot live in this world without getting what they want, so they run around; they have given up everything for their concentrating in reaching that point. It is they who run around, find out, qualify themselves to be disciples.
When the disciples are qualified, that Guru runs to them. They need not run to the Guru; Guru runs to them. That’s the reason why there are so many people, “Oh, I want a Guru, I want a Guru.” They cannot find a Guru because they are not ripe. Gurus are not available for inquisitive mind. Gurus are available for those who are seriously seeking, those who are sincere.
You cannot become a Guru overnight just because you have read the Gita or the Bible or you have read something else or you have gone to religious college and graduated. Thus doesn’t make you a Guru. Just because you want to know, you want to fulfill the desire of your mind, cannot make you a disciple. A thousand people can go to a lecture to hear a man who has come from India, or from Italy, or from somewhere. Neither can he become a Guru nor can he become a disciple. Discipleship needs a lot of qualification. It is simple, but there must be burning desire from within, not the mental seeking but the Soul, the cry from the soul which cannot be quenched unless you meet.
Guru is one who doesn’t publicize himself. Guru resides somewhere, nobody can know, but he knows the seeking souls and he runs; he’s embodied, maybe disembodied. It’s a principle, Guru is a principle. Principle works, principle runs. There’s a harmony between seeking soul and the delivering element called Guru. Both of them become confluent at the right time, at the right decisive moment. They are not cheap, neither seeking soul nor the delivering element called Guru. It takes time, it takes qualification, it takes many things.
Gurus are not made. Gurus are born and we are all born as seekers. When the seekers seeking is fulfilled, in a long time, after establishing that, when he no more seeks, then be becomes a Guru. It is the seeker who becomes Guru. That’s why Guru knows who is a seeker. Thank you very much.
GURU DISCOURSE 3
To continue what we were talking on Tuesday, nowadays it has become a fashion because there is lot of money involved in that, so they try to form a lot of groups and then they develop, try to be different from all the others. They evolve some new thoughts or old thoughts in a new cover, whatever it is and in order to propagate those thoughts try to have an establishment and then when it grows want to produce the teachers. So they establish an institution and institution's purpose is to produce the teachers and the teachers will start functioning as the money tree. That is what is happening today.
That's the reason why, in these dark ages, just like in the past, it was proclaimed to be true. Untruth will become truth and truth will vanish into thin air. Untruth will become predominant. That's what is happening, anti-Christ. So what happens is, any amount of training will not yield the result that we seek in spirituality. We can fool all the other branches of knowledge, but when it comes to spiritual knowledge you cannot fool anybody. You cannot fool anybody because its experiences and results are so subtle, so deep and so varied, but still it has a common ground.
What happens is that we have so many theological institutions and they want to have their own thoughts. It has no other meaning than to proclaim to be on the top of all these religions and to make money — more people, more money. Innocent people are brought into the fold and are further duped into accepting things that may not be true. And many of them I have seen, I have come across them. They have not even an iota of spiritual lending absolutely. They bring the same Bible and they bring the same Bhagavad Gita, but when they talk it is far from what it says.
I was once taken for a ride also. I wanted to know from Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses and some others; even some Muslims came to me. They all talked to me. From the same Bible they wanted to teach me in some other way but I heard them and then later on told them that I'm not interested because the way in which I want to understand, that's only the way in which I will understand. So neither will I influence anybody nor will I be influenced by anybody. So thank you very much. Then they wanted to pray, I said all right, you can pray. They prayed and I never saw them again. Then I had to tell them, once Mormon Seniors came to me maybe about 18 or 20 years ago. And I told them, after I heard all that they wanted to tell, “So you have vacation and now you are on the spiritual path. You think it is spiritual path that you are going on your bicycles? Going to people like us and talking about Jesus? That's good. You know, I am a monk. I spent much of my life in the Himalayas and other places, learned under hardships whatever I have learned and I know what is involved in learning and what it is that you have to learn, and what it is that you have to propagate. In order to propagate, you must know; in order to know, you have to practice. Especially when it comes to religion and philosophy and spirituality, you must have done but you have not even gone, you have not even spent a day and how can you come and talk to us about all that you have been telling with certainty? You do not know, you have been brainwashed so you keep on trying to brainwash others, that's all. That's not the way. You go back and try to spend some time in the cave in the jungle and somewhere in your own house, sit down, realize, experience, then come and then your words will have value. We can immediately understand whether your words are just empty shell or full of meaning. We can understand. We can feel it. Then we will say, ‘All right, thank you very much, it is good.’ Now I cannot say that. The people are making use of you and you are being used.” So they heard, they never came back anyway.
So thus, spirituality has become a cheap commodity, yoga also. The same things that we do, they in the circus also do. In the circus, they show more talent; the same body bending, same thing standing on the toe, same thing standing on your head, everything, especially they do it on the wire. They don't need even a big space. All that but still for what use? So once I was with my friend who has international fame; he has done a great job in yoga, teaching the asanas. We were watching TV, there was this Chinese Circus and they were doing the same thing, same poses that he teaches for which he is praised and is given awards and all that. So I told him, “See, we are doing the same circus.” He didn't like it, so he frowned and yet we are great friends. We are friends, we are just like brothers. We lived together and all that but still when I said that, when I showed it jocularly, he didn't like it. Can't help whether one likes it or not, it is there. It is vividly present so what happens is we have commercialized it and it is not a commodity to become commercialized, spirituality.
Also, for each individual it is different. Though all the twenty people come together, two hundred people, two thousand people come together, still each one is an individual. Each one is independent and each one will work out one's own way and realize. That's what Gita also says, “Each one has to realize oneself by oneself." Each one is born with one's own luggage. Who knows what is holding you back, what is pushing you forward, what are all these things. See, each one is an independent unit working one's own way into the same spiritual path. So before becoming old river, it was all the drops; each drop when they form become one, melt with each other, join each other, then it becomes a river; so it cannot be a river first. We are all drops, then it becomes a river. That's what all these main big churches and big religions have become now because there is a contribution. So many individuals in course of time have contributed their strength, their visions, their experiences, their realizations into this path. That's why it is yielding some result. But there are very few people who bathe in that glory of Truth and get redeemed. The others are only washing their sins, doing nothing but the others are making use of it, positively. In the end, it is a big river. If you know how to make use of it and if not, it becomes a boring polluted water. Religion becomes a polluted water because when you see the people who are propagating the religions, then you see. Is this the religion that I want? So they are representing the religion as if it is a polluted river in which they are asking you to bathe. So you should be careful.
So, we cannot be Gurus. Guru need not put on a Board or Sign Dr. So and So theologist and he has become a teacher, no. Teacher is born, he doesn't need, he doesn't bother, he doesn't even want disciples; he sits away and looks like sitting in the watch tower watching everyone. And where his help is needed, he jumps there and lifts; Guru is not bothered about all that. Once you start adding degrees and adding titles, adding all these things and your bank balance grows, then your spirituality becomes bankrupt. So thus, we should be careful what we want to be. If you are intending to be spiritual, don't try to become teacher, don't try to become this, that and all that. Naturally if you are teacher, tomorrow you'll be a teacher. Without your own knowing, you'll be doing the work of teacher. So teachers are, don't hanker after being something. Try to be nothing, then you'll be everything. If you hanker after something, then you will lose even that something. Thank you very much.
GURU DISCOURSE 4
When it comes to Gurus and their play, it is very hard to fathom and it is by my own experience and I have to tell you it is not easy. I have met Gurus under whom I was trained. They were very kind, they were very great, they were very devoted.
My father was very fond of music so he was keen that I should go to music. Maybe I was five or six, something like that. He had a friend, Rajarao; he was a great master of music so he went and asked him whether he could send me to him for music lessons. He said yes, so I used to go to him. His house was far away from my house. I had to go every morning. I went, I used to get up early in the morning at that age; my father was very happy that I got up so early. He sent me, I walked, maybe for about 3 miles, where now the railway station is, just near there. So, I had to get down to that park and go to his house. He used to teach me because both my father and he worked in the same office; I had to go there, he used to teach me. I think he gave me something to drink also, I don’t remember. He was devoted. I learned a lot and on occasions he used to give concerts and I had to go with him and in dead of night I had to walk back home. I did that, all that. Then later on, my father said it is too far so he put me on to another, Nagarajarao, just nearby. He was also great man. He used to teach Harmonium. I used to go there in the evenings; sometimes, there used to be 2 or 3 more students and then he used to ask me to practice with another man who used to work in the mills. So I used to go to him and practice with him. The third one, Nagarajarao sent me to another disciple, very near my house. I used to go there early in the morning. It used to be cold and it was a small house, only two rooms I think. One kitchen, something like that, it was too small but still that man, I’ve forgotten his name, very great man, he used to make some concoction of black pepper and ginger and all those things. He used to give me that to drink, then we used to practice. We used to repeat this, do ra me fa so la ti do and all those things, all the variations and all that, very devoted. All these three people gave me a lot of upliftment in my music.
Then of course, things happened. I had to go to my mother who was sick. I had to take care, all these things happened, so much confusion crept into my life. My father had to go to work and used to come and pick me up from the hospital and we used to walk back home.
Sometimes he came directly home and I had to come by myself in the night. It was pitch dark and there were big trees, pipal trees, people used to say, “Ghosts live in that tree,” but I had to go home anyway; if I want to go to the house I have to pass through these ghosts. So my mother used to say, I remember, “Take the name of Hanuman and nothing will happen.” So when I came there the whole blood used to circulate fast, I used to close my eyes and repeat the name of Hanuman and pass through. I don’t know how I passed for many weeks, many months maybe I walked through that. Now I go, and the same thing, now that tree has been cut, houses have been built, still the temple is there and all those things. But no, not that pipal tree, not that one, but the others are there.
So what happens is, mother is the greatest guru. She was not a musician but she encouraged me to go to these teachers, to whom I went, they taught me with all the zeal, with all the love and especially my father is a beloved friend of theirs so they all used to love me because I am the son of Krishnaswamy Rao. So now I can realize the greatness of my father. So these are all the gurus and now there is one. I used to sing, my father used to love me to sing; by this time, my mother had passed away. My father used to cook for us, feed us and then go to office which was about five or six miles away, everyday, barefoot. And then he used to come back, cook again and feed us, all these things. Meanwhile, we were free. We went to school, we fought, there were complaints always, sometimes he used to get enraged, he used to just kick us in the ass; at the same time, he loved us. And whenever everybody ate, then he used to eat. At that time, he used to ask me to serve him. At that time, he wanted me to sing. I used to sing, he used to enjoy and I used to enjoy too.
Meanwhile, next door neighbor was a great musician of repute, all those famous now in India proclaimed him as the greatest musician. I remember all these people used to come and stay outside the door waiting for him to call one by one to talk to him. He was such a great master. Of course then, his nephew became my disciple, Mani. Once he heard me singing and he talked to my father, “Why don’t you train him or send him to me?” So next door, there is one wall, that’s all so my father said, “All right, if you like.” He taught me and Mani’s father taught me, both of them; their profession was music and lot of these great people used to come there and serve him and he used to be simple. One dhoti and one towel, that’s all. He used to sleep on a mat on the floor when he was tired, that’s all. He taught me things. These are all the gurus.
Then as I grew, I had no time to attend the school because my mother was sick and all those things. Now I joined the school. There were teachers. I was very mischievous. Once I remember, there was one Siddalingaiah, who was a Kannada teacher, my vernacular teacher, he was very fond of me and there was a movement for the freedom at that time. People were influenced by Gandhi and people were taught and encouraged to make their own thread, weave into cloth, that was called khadi. We used to wear khadi; so especially I used to wear khadi cap but rest of things were all mill made, banian and other things. So once he asked me, “How come you put on your khadi cap on your head and rest of the things are mill made.” I told him, I remember I told him, “Sir, this is my head, this is my brain, nobody can influence this. My brain thinks of khadi so I put on khadi. The rest, whatever my father gives, it is his body, whatever he gives I put on, that’s all, I am a free thinker.” Oh, he loved it.
I was the monitor of the class and at the same time I was mischievous. So my head master, Mr. L. Swamirao, the moment that I went he used to take the cane; I said, “Sir, no I want to take your signature here.” “No, nobody sent you here without any reason.” So I had to convince him. He was a great teacher and everybody loved and respected him. It was a public examination in the lower secondary school. Results were out. So teachers allowed me a period to go and see my result. They all said, “I want to know your result.” They were keen about my result. I never failed anyway. So thus, they were all interested, they were poor, humble. Teachers were so humble, they were paid less. Sometimes they used to ask us to bring coffee, and dosa or something. We used to bring it, that’s all, and they taught; they were very serious, very sincere. They wanted us to learn. They were all great. Today, that’s the reason why even when I came here, I used to go to see one teacher who taught me in the primary school. I used to touch his feet and he used to recognize me, and he said, “Oh, Srinivas, you are only one man who recognizes me.” He used to be so, I could see his eyes filled with love.
Teachers don’t expect anything. If you progress well in the life, that’s the payment, that’s what they expect. Now, they are all passed away. I don’t see anymore teachers. I would like to feel, like touching their feet if I find them. No. And what I am today is the devotion of those people, those teachers. It doesn’t matter what they taught, but what they taught has made me what I am today. I can talk English, I can talk my language, I write, I read, why? Because of their devotion, unrecognized, unassuming teachers. What great teachers they were.
In music I made a name: I became a dancer, I composed my own music, I used to teach all the artists from the studio, who formed my orchestra. I used to engage them and spend nights and days in getting my music for my dance — my dance, my music. All these things came from where, from these teachers.
Then things changed and I went to Swami Sivananda and to Mother at Pondicherry. When I was young, Aurobindo ashram was very near, Pondicherry was very near, Tiruvannamalai was very near; I never went there. I was fond of my dance, music, for this and that, congress and the freedom movement and all such things. Later on, my eyes were opened to other fields, Swami Sivananda, then I came to Pondicherry, then to Tiruvannamalai. Why did I not go there when he was there? The time has to come. Just because physically they were not there, does not mean that they were not there and did not know me. No, they are there, they are eternal beings. These masters are eternal. They need not have a body, they may take body, they may not have body. These are all the masters. What did we pay them? Nothing, all that we went for was devotion, fell flat and prayed, prayed for more; we gave nothing but prayed for more, that’s what happened.
But still, they were prepared to give more; empty yourself, they fill it. Every time you empty it, they fill it. That’s what I have been doing now. But eternally, they will be doing; then came Sai Baba and I was in Sri Badarinath Dham at that time. Once, when I came to my Aunt’s house, my Aunt took me to see Baba, “Come on, let’s go to Sai Baba.” I said, “All Right.” Then I was a sannyasin, I had some change. When Baba came, I prostrated and all the change I had in my pocket fell on his feet. “Oh, you want to give all your money, it’s all right.” He blessed me with the vibhuti, a second time he called me inside the interview room, my aunt was also there. He said, “Whatever you are doing in Badari was right, you’re all right; I will take care of you, don’t worry.” That year when I went, the temple took me as their own. From that year onwards, I never worried about milk, kerosene, which are very rare commodities, I used to get everything from the temple.
All these things happen so we do not know; we do not know how gurus work. You can know many things in the world but the way in which they work, nobody has understood. Nobody can understand, nobody will ever understand, especially when it comes to Dattatreya. How he was kind, he is kind but the path he leads through is hard. If you are a coward, you will lose. It is not for you but at the same time, once you surrender to Him, He lifts you like this but He will test you; for accepting, He will test and test.
Twice it happened. When I had plenty of money, when I had plenty of things to do, when I was famous and all that, I could not go to Shirdi; Shirdi was just nearby. When I finally went there, I hardly had anything. I had to beg for bus change and rent and stayed in a room and I took a free meal from there. I cried, I went to Baba and said, “Oh Baba, when I had all that money and everything, you never called me. You never brought me. Now I have nothing and you have called me.” I cried. That’s the way in which it works.
When I was in that room one day, a child started doing something and the mother started crying, “Baba, Baba.” All of a sudden, I could see a marble coming out of his throat. I went and I saw what happened. That boy swallowed a marble and it was stuck; he was gasping for air and there was no doctor, nothing. She didn’t know what to do. All that she did was cry, “Baba, Baba.” Twice, she cried and I saw that marble jump out of his mouth and he was saved. This was one wonderful thing that I saw.
There are many miracles. I was going through a lot of these spiritual experiences. At that time, I used to fly over the whole of Poona. In the night, I could not walk, so I had to take the help of my friends to lead me to the bathroom because I thought that I might fall off. I was living on third floor. Horrible, I always lived in my room, on my bed, so my friends used to take care of me. It is at that time that I went there. When I came to Bangalore, my disciples were taking care of me and I didn’t like any light. I wanted everything to be dark so that my eyes were restful. Even a little light would disturb me and I didn’t like any sound. They took care of me like that. Then it was suggested that I should go to Ganagapur; Ganagapur is one of the temples, see the picture of the temple is on that book, that’s where I had to go. I sat in a train which went in the opposite direction; then I realized and I had to come back and next day I went to Ganagapur. The same thing, no money, nothing. I stayed there, went along with the priests and all that early in the morning and came back and did my Namaskar and all that along with all the people I went to all the houses; they fed us. Sometimes, I used to get hungry. There was one hotel, I told him, I have written to my brother. When he sends money, I will give you; he said, “Oh, don’t worry.” He fed me. Then my brother sent me some money. So, all these things. Ganagapur, that’s the place where Dattatreya asked a farmer to cut off all the crop and then people said, “You are a fool, He must be joking, why did you cut off, all your crop.” On the contrary, there was plenty. We used to pass through that field for the Sangama (confluence of two rivers). So without my own knowledge, now when I read that, I said, “Oh yeah, that’s where I took my bath every morning at two or three o’clock,” you see? It used to be raining, but still we went there and all that.
So, sometimes miraculously, they make you do things, see? In order to bless you, they will make you do things and then they bless. That’s what they do. Those are the gurus, those are the masters, not charlatans. It is hard to find Masters. Masters need not be in physical form. When you are ready, they are there to guide you. They will accept; once they accept, they test. They accept, you’re free, you will be in their hands. They will lift you from place to place, from stage to stage until you are free. That’s the way the Masters work, whether they are in physical form or non-physical form. It all depends on your receptivity, your attitude, your desire, your firmness; everything will happen, everything. Thank you very much.
GURU DISCOURSE 5
We were talking about guru, it is not easy to be a guru anyway. That’s the reason why Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus and he respected all the twenty-four, not only twenty-four but later on we hear he had many more and he respected every one of them. Why do we respect guru, because guru has undergone the experiments and experiences earlier than you people so that you can reap the harvest of your guru’s hard work. That’s the reason why people respect guru and I told you about the wrestler, the one who wanted to be a good wrestler, he went to a guru. What do you want to be? He said, “I want to be a good wrestler. Make me a good wrestler.” He said, “All right, stay with me.” He taught him all the things and one day he went to the guru and asked him, “Have you taught me everything, sir?” “Yes.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Okay, then I’m going to challenge you, I’m going to fight against you.” He said, “All right.” So the wrestler came and in a fraction of a second he was down. “Oh, you didn’t teach me this?” “That’s why I’m a guru."
You see, guru teaches everything that he knows but he keeps a little for himself until the last day. He parts with it, with this secret only to the best of his disciples and that is the end of it. Once he teaches, he’s no more there, he’s gone.
That’s the reason why gurus don’t accept too many people. There are followers, thousands and thousands and thousands but disciples who are very near to them, are only very few, and out of very few, only one or two with whom he discloses his secrets. That’s the reason why gurus are rare. Thank you very much.
THREE DISCOURSES ON DATTATREYA
The other day as we were talking, it is a two pronged attack on ignorance. Until we are relieved of ignorance, it is impossible to be redeemed. Redemption is nothing but the removal of that ignorance which has made us to wrongly identify with all these perishable, impermanent entities, though we are not. There is nothing like we, there is only I. “I” seems to look like “we.” One seems to be many, that is all; it is the reflections.
In order to remove that ignorance, there is a two pronged attack. One is to understand. What does cause this ignorance? — fear, not understanding. In order to remove that, what we have to do is to know, knowledge; we have to understand, know. Once you start knowing, then naturally that fear of not knowing vanishes by itself. So knowing, that is the reason why we read the newspaper, we go to library, we go to talks, we buy CD’s, and we buy tapes; and we hear either by way of songs, or by way of poetry, or by way or art, by way of anything. The purpose is this — to know, to understand. It is the fundamental basis for our progress toward redemption.
After a long time, after having put in all sorts of efforts in knowing, you will come to know. You will come to know that, “Oh yes, that is right, I have come to the conclusion that I am not what I think I am, but I am something else. That is right. I am not a man, I am not a woman, I am not a beast, I am not this, I am not that. I am not that which lives today, and dies tomorrow. No. That is not my nature. Then, what am I?”
And it is not a thing to be understood only by the theory. Theory gives you an understanding as to what you should “know,” but it doesn’t make you know. It will only tell you what to know. But, it doesn’t make you know. In order to know, you have to experience it. That is the second part which only yoga can do. Yoga is nothing but a process by which you experience what you have to know. Knowing is one thing, and becoming exactly that is another thing. It is that yoga which brings you in touch with your own Self.
So, this is the two pronged attack on this ignorance. Once it is done, you are free eternally. Neither are you born, nor are you dead. When you are not born, how can you die? That state is called the Abode of Supreme Consciousness — Parabrahman, exalted Brahman, the highest plane of consciousness from where nobody comes back. Once you merge yourself, you are eternally there. But, as we discussed, immediately everybody does not go there. Depending upon the state of experiences, they travel through several phases, several states of consciousness, though not immediately.
There are people who go, but unfortunately, one in a zillion. The rest of them will be lurking in one of the seven planes of consciousness. But, they are far superior than what we are here. They have a greater freedom, greater understanding. They are there; that is the reason why they extend their hand in order to lift us also there. It is their grace, the “unseen hands.” And from there, there are other people, there are other stages; so like this, it is a long journey. Once you leave, it is hard to know which plane, how you are going. But in meditation, through yoga, you may go through and come back, but you may not stay there in that plane. In order to stay there, you have to progress here. There are many stages, many things that you have to undergo. Once you are on the move, it is a complete move. Slowly, but steadily, but definitely, you will be moving. One thing is here, leaving this station, that’s all. Once you leave this station, it will go; it is on its own way at a certain speed.
But the whole knotty problem is leaving this station with which we are engrossed in this material world. That is where yoga helps. We have to conquer, we have to extricate ourselves right from the physical, the mental, vital and the psychic planes of being here. “I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the senses.” It is not easy. We can say. Saying is what we have learned, so that is the jnana part. Now to immediately do it, extricate ourselves, and experience is the yoga part on the first stage. Once you know “I am not the body, I am not this, I am not that.” identify yourself with your own Self, keep extricating yourself and identify yourself with your Self, that is the beginning. That is enough.
But then, why am I here? So, it is 8 carrot, then 10 carrot, then you become 20 carrots, then you become 22 carrots, and then 24 carrots, and then pure gold. You become completely pure. When you become pure, you will be one with what we say, Parabrahman, Unmanifest Divinity. That is what you become. And once you become That, nobody can identify you, and you cannot be identified at all. You will be one of the rays of the Sun, Sun of that Parabrahman, but we cannot distinguish one ray from the other.
And we know many such great ones: there are great rishis, and great saints and sages. They are all there in all the stages, in all the planes of consciousness. You will see them as you march through them. Each stage is a beautiful stage. They are hospitable. Everywhere you go, you are welcome. They know that you have made it, you have struggled. They have struggled to reach there, so they know, they realize. They become so hospitable, keep you safe, happy. And “there” is nowhere; at your own will, you can move in all those stages. Here, you are bound; there, you are free. You can stay, you can go; you can go and come back and go. All those things happen, and all those things are possible.
So like that, there are great yogis. Of all the yogis, we call Dattatreya the foremost, whose birthday falls one of these days, the full moon day. Is it full moon today? No, tomorrow. So, it is already there in India, so it will be here tomorrow. So, on this day he was born. And, when we talk about, especially Dattatreya, Datta means having given himself the trinities; treya means three, trinities. Trinities, they have given themselves to us in the form of that great yogi: Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara. These are all the manifestations of the Unmanifest Divinity. As an Unmanifest Divinity, it doesn’t do anything; it is status quo (static). It is an immovable, Purnamadah. It is full; It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t move anywhere. Where should It move when It is everywhere? So, It doesn’t do anything.
In order to do, It has to move Itself into manifestation, It has to divide Itself into three: creator, sustainer, and destroyer. So, these are the three aspects which manifests as Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara. Each one of them organizes their offices, their administrations. Thus, this Nature, because when we come to this Nature, there is too much red tape. In order to reach anything, you have to please each and every one, that is what the Vedas, all the scriptures say, “You have to do this ritual, that ritual, this, that, in order to please this and that.” And all kinds of things are here in this Nature; in this manifested world, everything is here.
So, in order to extricate ourselves, and to guide us, these trinities became one as Dattatreya in a peculiar way. There were rishis in those days; there were no monks as in modern times, only rishis. They guided the whole society from the king to the pauper; everybody bowed down to them because they were the authority on everything, spiritual as well as mundane subjects. Everybody went to a rishi’s ashram for 12 years and learned, graduated from there; until then, nobody married. That was a different system anyway.
So, Atri was a great rishi. These are all Vedic rishis. The Vedas were not written by one man; it is a contribution of many whose names are not mentioned, but some of them we know. Atri is one of seven primordial rishis that God created as Krishna told Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. So, Atri was a great rishi; he lived in a hermitage, and he had his disciples and he had his wife. Her name was Anasuya, “Anasuya Nandana Om Om.” Nandana means the son, the beloved son of Anasuya. Anasuya means the one who is devoid of jealousy; that is the meaning of Anasuya. She was the wife, and wives were so much devoted. They loved their husband and worked without any complaint.
So, there was Narada. I think I talked to you some time ago about Narada, the celestial rishi, who is very fond of traveling all over; he is an exalted rishi. He has a free pass wherever he goes, nobody checks him. He can directly enter into the inner chambers of Brahma, Vishnu, or Maheshwara, anywhere. Nobody can stop him; that is his status. Also, he was very mischievous; he was very fond of causing some constructive trouble in order to bring about some principle. It was not his purpose to create that problem without a divine purpose. So, he went to all these wives of the head persons like Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara. He said, “Oh, you think you are the prettiest, and you are more devoted to your husbands. There is one lady down there on Earth, and nobody can beat her. She is so much devoted. You cannot find a single thread of fault in her in being a wife: no jealousy, no hatred, nothing, not a single complaint.” So, they became jealous, all the three great ladies, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati. They took the phone and called each other, “Hello, did you hear this fellow telling me about Anasuya? Yes, yes, he told me too. What shall we do? We will send our husbands and check it out. All right,” they said.
They did not talk when their husbands came home. “Oh.” they thought, all these three people, great Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara, “Oh, this is something. Let us ask. Why are you not talking?” “Oh, come on, there is nothing to talk about.” “What, tell me what.” “Oh, it seems, are you not happy with me? Are you not happy with my service, devotion?” “Oh, you are all right.” “But Narada was here, and he was telling them that there is one lady called Anasuya, the wife of Atri, and there is nobody to excel her in being a devoted wife. Will you please check? Until then don’t talk to us.” “Oh, my goodness! Ok. I will do so immediately.”
Then these three people took the phone, and said to each other, “Did you hear what my wife was telling me?” “And my wife also told me.” “My wife also told me.” “All right. Come on, let us have a meeting.” So, they met in a coffee bar and talked about what to do. “Come on, let us go.” They took the first plane and came to earth, and found out the address. They saw, “Yes, she is.”
Because after all, what are Vishnu, Brahma, and Maheshwara? They are enlightened beings; they are not ordinary. They are the very manifestation of that Parabrahman, the very knowledge itself. “We cannot play tricks on this lady; she can ruin us. What shall we do? Let us try; let us see.”
Every morning, Anasuya used to wash the feet of her husband, and keep that water in a bowl. She used to drink that water. She used to serve him with total devotion. So, Atri was out; he had gone on an errand. So, these three people came like mendicants, as guests, “Oh, we are hungry, we want to eat.” Anasuya said, “Oh, nobody is turned away from this house without being fed. Oh, please wait, I will cook.” “No, no, no, we have some strict rules to obey.” “What?” “We have our own food; doctor has told us to eat only this. We have this channa dal, millet, made of steel, and you have to cook this.” She saw and said, “Oh my, it is my test.” She said, “All right, oh Lord.” She went inside and prayed to her husband, and put it in the water she had saved after washing his feet; and it cooked.
She brought it, “It is ready.” “Oh, we have another principle. The one who serves us should be naked.” In those days, there was no cabaret. So, woman never exposed herself except to her husband. “Now my husband is not here. How can I do that?” She went inside and shed tears. They said, “We are hungry, if not we will go, we will go to the next village.” She said, “Oh Lord, it is your test. All right.”
Then, she thought up a plan, “These are three big people, right? If they become babies, what will happen? I can feed them.” So, she brought out the water with which she had washed her husband’s feet. “All right, please sit down.” And she sprinkled it and immediately made them babies. She took them on her lap, and fed them.
One day passed, two days, three days, Atri came and he learned about this. He said, “Oh, let them be like this.” So, he neglected, and said, “All right, feed them, that is all.”
One day, two days passed, and one of the wives of the Trinities was eager to know, what happened. Then, Narada came again. “My husband has gone and he has not come back for the last two weeks, all the three of them.” Narada came in search of them and saw what had happened to the Trinities; he laughed, and laughed, and laughed. “Oh,” he said, “you have beautiful children, Anasuya; oh, you are blessed, all right.”
He went back and told the Trinities’ wives, “Your husbands have become babies there.” “Oh?” they asked, “What happened?” Then, he explained what happened. Oh, they started crying. They all came running to her, touched her feet, and said, “Oh please, give us our husbands. Anasuya said, “We did not know who they were. We did not know. I did not know they were your husbands, so I do not mind giving them back. Take your husbands.” “You have to make them what they were.” Then Anasuya said, “On one condition, all the three of them should remain here for the sake of the people.”
So, she sprinkled water and they came back. Then as a favor, having been pleased with what she did, they said, “We will be eternally your children.” So, they all, all the three spiritually combined together. That is how Dattatreya became one.
All the three spirits became one, and practiced under Atri all the yoga. It is Dattatreya who taught how to worship the Mother. In addition, it is he who taught us that learning should have no restriction. You can learn from anywhere, from the prostitute, from the butcher, everybody, anything. Watch, there is something to learn — learn. That is how you can enrich yourself. This is the way. That is what Dattatreya taught us.
And, in his life, he became an Avadhut. Avadhut is one who is beyond the shackles of any dharma; any, no religious, or any mundane rules can touch him. They are beyond all that. That is the reason why Hindus, Muslims, all the casts worship Datta. To worship Datta, there is no cast system. He is beyond the casts, and he doesn’t do any ritual or anything. He is beyond all that because he has no desire; he wants nothing. And, he is Eternal; he is always there. He is the greatest yogi. It is he who opened up the eyes of all the people into this yoga which he taught. So like this, if you worship Dattatreya, you are worshiping all the three trinities.
It is his birthday today. And, when I was in India, every year I used to come back from the Himalayas, and conduct this ceremony in which all the musicians and others used to come to participate and later on, I came here. That is all. When you are able to do it, do it. When you are not able, let God be pleased. Since I learned about it on the Internet, they said on such and such a date it would happen. All right, then I said since I know, why shouldn’t I talk about Him. Whenever we talk about Him, it sanctifies me and my environment. By hearing about Him, you are also blessed and become recipients of His grace.
His grace is always there. He is One; he is available to everyone: poor, rich, prostitutes. Anybody, can reach Him. So, here it is the same. He is the same incarnation in Sai Baba, and Akkalkot Swami Samartha Maharaj, whom I served. And there are so many incarnations of Dattatreya. He is always there, and Shirdi Sai Baba was his avatar. And this Sai Baba is the incarnation of that Sai Baba, so logically he is also Dattatreya. Sai Baba has said that he will reincarnate 60 miles from Bangalore as Prema Sai Baba. So thus, he is amongst us; he has been eternally with us.
Where there is yoga, where there is talk of yoga, where there is talk of spiritual things, Dattatreya is always there whether you know it or not, whether you recognize it or not, it doesn’t matter. His presence is always there. So thus, we are grateful to that great Dattatreya — Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara in One. This is one yogi, it is this one yogi who fits all sizes. From the child to this, there is no particular way in which you have to worship him and seek his blessings. Merely singing his name, merely trying to contact him is enough. Try to see him; trying to seek his help is enough. He is always there; he is so flexible, and easily available.
At the same time, he is severe. He wants you to be serious. Once you talk about yoga and you accept it, you must do it. You cannot play tricks with him. He is a great entity. It is good that we are talking about him. So, let his grace be upon all of us. Let us try to adhere to the principles of Dattatreya and achieve what he has achieved. Thank you very much.
So, next week is Christmas. Wish you all Merry Christmas, and we will be meeting before the New Year. So those who may not be available at that time, let me in advance wish them all a Happy New Year. Then, we will wait for wishing for a New Millennium. We have seen through many millenniums. Since we are conscious of it, let us enjoy. Unconsciously, we have spent so many millenniums anyway. One is not different from the other anyway. It is all spiritual. It is trying to fraction the time. Time itself is a conception. It is a dimension. There are too many dimensions that we are talking about. I read, last time I think I talked about it, they have discovered about 11 dimensions. So, from 2 to 3, 4 to 5, now they have come to 11.
So, it has taken these million millenniums to recognize 11 dimensions. So, how many more dimensions are there? Really speaking, there is only 1 dimension. Having known that 1 dimension, you will know all the other dimensions. You are always everywhere. It is not the atom, it is all this, and they say it is this string. That’s what they have been saying since time immemorial. What is this life? There is something which is — that is what Krishna also says, “Sutre Mami Gana Iva” (That is how I am, I am the thread holding all the beads). You see? Ok. Thank you very much, all of you. Thank you.Two
The other day we were talking about those twenty-four Masters. More than the Masters, it is the disciple who should be understood. Though He’s a great Master, He continues to be a student. That’s why He became a great Master. One who thinks he is a great Master ceases to be a great Master because he ceases to learn. It is that learning which makes a Master a Master. When the learning ceases, the Master ceases to exist as a Master. Like a traffic cop, he goes nowhere; he stays there.
So, especially the history of Sri Dattatreya, He is immensely important for any seeker. Especially in the spiritual world, there’s no better ideal to follow than Sri Dattatreya. Any idol that we choose to worship is nothing but one, that is Sri Dattatreya. He’s for both for those who accept the manifestation of the Divinity in the human element and one untainted, uninvolved in this creation, unmanifest. In both these fields Dattatreya excels. He belongs in both places. He is and He is not.
First of all, He’s a full avatar, just like Krishna. He’s the incarnation of all the three great entities of whom we often have talked about, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Each their duties differ; but in Dattatreya, they are all combined together.
Apart from that, He’s a great ideal for us, because as seekers of Truth, He is in the forefront of us; we are all following them. Often I tell you, “Nobody follows anybody.” But here, wherever you go, He’s there. You don’t follow, He’s there. You don’t find the others. That’s why you don’t follow them. They are gone. They don’t leave their footprints. But here, He’s there. You turn left in order to avoid Him, He’s there; about turn, He’s there; right turn, left turn.
That’s why He’s called Digambara: all the sides, directions, are his clothing. That means He’s pervading in every nook and corner. That’s the reason why we cannot avoid Him; even if you avoid, He knows you. Especially for the seekers of the Truth, He intervenes; He’s very keen about it. Especially when you take to the life of meditation and yoga, without your own knowing.
Often I have told you that there are so many saints and sages hovering around, working for our benefit, guiding us without our own knowing. They don’t need us to understand them through the mind. They know us as we are; so, they guide us. Dattatreya is the main purport there. So, He’s a great guide in the spiritual life.
What made Him great is not merely because He is a manifestation of all those three elements, but He showed us the way. If you want to learn, you have to go out all the way; you cannot be selective. In each and everything, there is a possibility that you have to learn. You cannot forego anything to learn: pain, joy, blemishes, all these things. So, you cannot learn only from the good, you have to learn from the bad, too. You have to learn, not only from the roses, also from the dirt. So, all these things happen. That’s the reason why, in order to make us know, don’t close your eyes. Don’t close your ears, keep on learning. Open your eyes and see things; don’t shut your eyes, don’t shut your ears, that’s what He means to say.
Also you were talking about why it is not in logical order (referring a question regarding the order of Dattatreya’s insights), there’s no logical order in learning; as it comes, you see? If you are walking in the street, you cannot regulate the traffic, you cannot adjust what you do not want to see. So, as it comes you have to learn. A Sadhak goes out and accepts things as they come and tries to open and learn. That’s what it is. That’s what He wants to make us know. Don’t wait, don’t scheme that I have to learn after this, after physical chemistry, after geography, after history, no. Whatever comes, you learn. Everything enriches you. It doesn’t matter; knowledge is the same from whichever the corner it comes. It is that knowledge, the cream is the same, whether you derive it from x, y, z.
That’s the reason as He moved on and came across in the day to day life, He learned; that’s what He mentions. There’s no logical order; there need not be any logical order in learning. You have to be open all the time to learn. That’s what He tries to make us know. So, He cannot say, “Oh come on, you are tired, you come afterwards.” “I want to learn this. You come later.” No. You may miss it; don’t miss. As it comes, try to open your eyes, ears; offer yourself as a student and learn. That humility, that simplicity and that receptivity are all the qualities one has to have. That’s what Dattatreya shows.
He’s a great Lord. He need not have learned. The world has to learn from Him, because He’s a Teacher. World has to seek a Teacher and He offered Himself as the Teacher; and, in order to lead all the Teachers, He showed us the way. If you want to be a Teacher, this is how. If you want to be a student, this is how; both are in Him. There’s a great, great student; we have to learn as students. And, what makes a Masters is also the element of being a Master; one who continuously tries to be a student is the greatest uplifted Master, the Teacher. Teacher ceases to be a Teacher if He stops learning. That’s what He means to say.
It is not only twenty-four sources; He has learned from several sources. Each one defines something for which He understood and that’s what He wants us to understand. So, let us all try to imbibe that spirit of learning from Him. And, the moment that you talk about Him, the moment that you remember Him, His presence becomes very much felt. He’s one great yogi. You can just feel; others you have to think of, but here you can feel Him, feel his spirit, feel his touch. That’s what I have experienced in my life and He’s a great guide. All of you will be guided by Him, undoubtedly. You’ re already blessed by Him anyway; do not turn away from Him, learn more about Him. Thank you very much.
In life, when you embark upon this path, path of seeking, we learn a lot. Learning becomes an essential part of life and it is only that learning that ultimately relieves us of ignorance. And that’s the reason why, always it is said we should not try to avoid anything in this life because it has come to you. You didn’t invite it but they have come to you, they have come to you with some message, some knowledge, something to tell you. Try to know why it has come. Don’t fight, don’t try to eliminate, don’t avoid. We have to avoid certain things, of course, and for all that you have to be very cautious. That’s the reason why in yoga it is said, you must have a right power of discrimination, what to accept, what not to accept, what to hear and what not to hear. So, you should be careful when things come. It is that which makes you a great yogi.
Yogi is one who has accomplished. In the beginning he is called a seeker and at the end he is called a Sadhu, accomplished yogi. Yogi in the beginning is called Sadhak, seeker. So, seeker doesn’t resist anything; he or she tries to use her or his power of discrimination and tries to understand everything, anything and everything. That’s the reason why very many times you will see the seekers keep on asking questions. They want to know, but some of them are so vague nobody wants to answer, that’s all. But, there is that trying to know. That’s what makes one ultimately a great accomplished yogi.
The greatest yogi we were recently talking about is Dattatreya. He’s already an incarnation of all the three aspects of the Divinity. Was there anything else to know? No. But yet once, even the Divinity falls into the womb of the Nature, everything will be natural. He is also bound by the rules of the Nature. He doesn’t overstep any of the principles, rules and regulations, constitutionally Nature. That’s one great thing that we have to learn, whether we study Rama, Krishna, Dattatreya, or for that reason Jesus, or any of these great incarnations anywhere in the world. They never trespass the limits of the Nature because they have to obey. If they do not obey, who will obey?
So, though there is nothing to know, Dattatreya has expressed, “I learned all these things from all these sources.” He has illuminated twenty four sources of his knowledge but it is not merely twenty-four; each one just follows.
It is night, we will sleep; by the time we open our eyes it will already be day. And, we enjoy it, the time, by the time we are tired and again night falls. So what does it mean? Whether it is day or night, nothing is permanent. If it is day, you have to expect it is short; if it is night, it is short too. Also in the life, whether it is joy or sadness, none of them are permanent, that’s what Krishna tells Arjuna, “All these things come and go; bear it. Bear it; it will make you stronger.” So all these things come and go, that’s all. Whether the night or the day, they are not permanent, it keeps on changing. So also in your life, if you are unhappy today, tomorrow you are happy. If you are happy today, maybe you’re unhappy tomorrow. In this life, if you’re happy next life, who knows what will be? Nothing is permanent here, nothing is static; everything keeps on changing. So, as a part of this, you’ll also be changing. You are a part of the Nature. You cannot stand still when the Nature is moving, you have to move because you are also part and parcel of the, just like if you move your hands also move. If your hands move, your head also moves along with you. If you take one step, the whole body moves; anything that belongs to body.
Similarly what happens is when the Nature is moving as part of the Nature you are also moving. Here is a small unit so we can know; but in the Nature, we cannot know. It’s a vast thing; moment is so slow, you cannot even feel it. Nevertheless you are changing, too. You cannot avoid changing. That’s the reason why I was fifty years old, seventy years old; I was a baby, now I am an old. I am living; I am dead. What does it mean? You are participating in the movements of this Nature. So thus if you have to learn, you have to keep your eyes open, ears open; and everything will contribute, especially, there’s nothing that we have to reject in this world.
Everything is a source of knowledge; it is enriching you. That’s what it is: Madukurarty. Madukura means the bee. Madu means honey. Maduttara means one who makes the honey is bee. What does it do? It doesn’t distinguish from one flower to the other, all that it wants is that honey. Whether it is red flower, white flower, whether it is here or there, whether the top or the bottom, it doesn’t care; it goes miles together in order to collect it. So also, a seeker doesn’t distinguish between the sources in order to know. Even from the bad people we have to learn. Even from the wisest we have to know. We have to know everything and then use to discriminate. Buy everything; keep what you want. Throw away what you don’t want.
So thus, we have to have that tendency of a bee; we have to learn. Madukary, all the Sannyasis, the recluses, they are called Madukary. Madukurarty means, they don’t go to one house and eat what they are given; they go to several houses and mix all the offering. They don’t have a choice, they should not cultivate their taste, “Oh! This is good, this is not good, this is hot.” No, whatever people have given. They take little here, little there, little here, and mix it all up and share it with others. As I’ve told you a number of times, a part of it goes to the river, a part of it to be Buddha’s, and the rest you eat it after putting it in the water three times. Madukurarty means collecting from each house and not asking what you want; take what they give you.
So these are all the sources, that’s what it is. Dattatreya came and he revealed the strength of His yoga and what a yogi becomes and what yogi can do and what makes yogi a yogi. Why? He need not have done all this. There was a purpose.
He knows that everyone is a seeker. The moment that one falls into this Nature and develops a tendency to be a human, until then you’re all right. Once you have your mind and senses, all these things change the perception and all these things, then you become conscious of yourself. It is at that time the struggle starts. What am I? Who am I? Why am I here? You’ll start feeling strange things, all these things. At that time you need some guidance; you need guidance, you need help. In order to provide all those things these realized people, the Divinity with all the kindness and love come. And they come to gather their own part; we are all part and parcel of the same Divine. They come to collect their own parts and keep them safe; keep them in good position and good shape. That’s the reason why they incarnate very often, not once, not twice; we enumerate only a few, like major ones. But amongst us, there are so many of them.
To certain degree, maybe ten percent, fifteen percent, twenty percent, eighty percent manifestation, you find; they are called God men, Godly people. Why are they called that? Because you see that manifestation of the Divinity there. They are mixed with that human nature, that’s why. So, we have to learn.
It’s a source, as Dattatreya says, these are the twenty-four sources for Him. Dattatreya is the greatest source for us now. If we do not follow Him, do not understand Him and do what He did, nobody is to blame but ourselves. For this you create humility, simplicity and certainty in our life, and we prolong our journey. You are sure to reach your goal, if you can understand and try to imbibe the teachings. It is worth meditating on Dattatreya. Dattatreya is the greatest source, source of all these sources. Wherever Dattatreya is there, there is the Mother. He is cause for the worship of the Mother. Dattatreya and the Mother. Mother is the Nature. He is the great yogi that knows all about the Nature. So if you take shelter under his guidance, definitely you will seek benefit of Mother’s grace too. So by doing this, you’ll be hitting two targets at the same time. Thank you very much.