-- Smt Dipti Joshi
Dear Rev. Sir and my dear brethren,
Rev. Master has made this statement at Raichur on 16-01-1970. From the initial sentences of the message, it can be inferred that He has given this talk after the completion of the mission’s ashram building there.
Places like ashrams are those where people used to go to learn and practice certain methods, and rituals with the aim to know Divinity or to understand how to live in accordance with Divinity.
In the ancient days, Rev. Master points out that the environment in the ashrams was charged with the spiritual force of the teacher and that used to help towards the transformation of man.
Due to the passage of time and the continuous digression of humanity from Divinity, the state that we have reached now is such that our thoughts, rather than helping the other person move towards Divinity, are detrimental for the spiritual purpose of transformation of man. He says even then we should rise above the situation and try to help others as much as possible though this kind of service is inferior to spiritual service.
Rev. Master further states that God or Divinity being the subtlest, the path to attain or even understand Divinity should be subtle. However, people think of God or Divinity to be like them and hence proceed in a grosser way towards that which is the subtlest. Some of them who are a bit advanced ask a fixed set of questions to everybody. One of their questions is, why has God created the world in which there are so many miseries. In response to this Rev. Master says if these people look inside themselves at their own condition they will come to know the answer meaning that our thoughts make our environment and vice-versa. So if we see miseries in the world around us that implies that our individual minds are also in torment. The fact is God has not made the world that way; it is us who due to the misdirected tendencies of our minds have spoilt it.
Referring to people who talk about Divinity or God or Reality without really trying to achieve it or having no practical experience about it, Rev. Master says, ‘If we go on talking about the taste of mango it will not help us unless we eat it and know for ourselves its taste’.
Rev. Master has stated further on in the message that, ‘Reality dawns upon him alone who goes back along with Nature making himself subtler and subtler. Unless the grossness is completely off, we cannot even peep into Reality’. How do we get rid of the grossness that we have accumulated? The grossness or the impressions that we have formed in our heart can only be gotten rid off when we undergo their fruition. Rev. Master has stated in ‘Reality at Dawn’, ‘Bhog does not only mean undergoing the effect of our past actions but it really means passing through the process of unfolding the intricacies of the point which we have already arrived at’ (Page 45).
Going through the bhog in order to become subtler and subtler so that we may be in tune with Nature or Divinity requires quite an amount of courage. It is in this context that Rev. Master’s statement, ‘Lion-hearted men alone can dare approach Reality and men are made so, by Natural Path’, rings true.
There are two aspects to this statement. One is that lion-hearted men are needed to approach Reality; second is that others who may not be that courageous but have the yearning to approach Reality are made lion-hearted by Sahaj Marg.
Let us try to understand Rev. Master’s statement with respect to the society that we live in today and how we can step up to the call of Rev. Master. Some days ago there was a big billboard on the road near my house; it had an advertisement given by a construction company, advertising for some residential venture of theirs. The billboard showed a person saying, ‘I want more comfort, more space, more luxury’. This line sums up the mental tendencies of the people living in our society today. So many people in our society today are busy in securing better jobs, better houses, better living standards and many other things. They do not have any inclination of thinking about the divine, leave alone trying to reach it or trying to live in consonance with it.
When living in such a society, if a person wants to make some efforts to live in consonance with the Divine, then that itself requires a lot of courage on part of that person. Some among us are very clear as to what they wish to do in life and spend no time in fixing up Divinity as their goal. We are extremely fortunate to be in the company of such lion hearted persons who having understood the necessity to live in tune with Nature, have been unshakable in their path towards Divinity. There are many amongst us who have not minded opposition from friends, and family or even changing fortunes (factors which would make most of us rethink about our chosen path) and have remained steady on this path to Reality. They have carried on through life with a stoic attitude, with full faith in the Master, discharging their duties as trustees having all along the thought of Master in their hearts. These people have been practicants of Sahaj Marg for quite some time of their lives. For those of us who are willing to move on this path, such examples before us are living proof of how Sahaj Marg makes men lion-hearted. Each one of us, from our own experiences since the time we joined this system, can validate this fact to some extent.
How does Sahaj Marg make people lion-hearted? Rev. Master says in the same message, ‘The Sahaj Marg system adopts natural ways for God realization’.
Usually for any spiritual endeavor of this kind, self-effort is never enough. Rev. Master states, ‘In order to develop the required condition, self-effort (abhyas) alone is not all or even enough. It must be supplemented by Divine Grace which is one essential for the purpose’ (SDG-16).
The practicants of Sahaj Marg are asked to do certain meditational practices like morning meditation for one hour, evening cleaning for 30-35 minutes, 9 p.m. prayer, bedtime prayer, point A and point B meditations.
We are asked to do point B meditation for 10 minutes before our morning meditation. This point B meditation acts as a tool to clear off the dirt which makes it difficult for a person to meditate on divine light. The morning meditation helps our mind to settle and settle on the Divine. Usually if we observe, our mind jumps from one idea to the other. The ideas are widely ranging from the gross to the grossest. Very rarely do thoughts settle on human or divine qualities. This unsettled nature of mind has to calm down and it has to settle on the Divine. The morning meditation helps in calming these unsettled tendencies of the mind. So rather than suppressing the tendencies of the mind, Sahaj Marg helps to mould them in the most natural way.
The impressions that we have accumulated are of three types; mala, vikshepa and avaranas. Rev. Master states categorically unless these impurities or coverings are removed inspiration or guidance from the inner voice is meaningless (Reality at Dawn Pg – 59). That means even if our yearning is there but these impurities are not cleaned then guidance or inspiration to move on the path to Reality cannot happen.
Mala means superficial impurities or dirt that is caused by lack of control over the senses, such as laziness, sloth attraction to trivia, etc. Vikshepa means the unreal projections of desires for enjoyment such as greed, avarice, jealousy and other. Avaranas mean the layers of grossness due to past samskaras or impressions. Mala needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, so Master has suggested cleaning methods for abhyasis which need to be done every evening after our day’s work is over. Here the abhyasi has to apply his will to get rid of the impressions. Depending upon the individual, different cleaning methods are prescribed by the trainer. Vikshepa and Avaranas are cleaned during individual sittings and satsangs.
Most of our problems with others are because we have forgotten our common origin. We are asked to do 9 p.m. prayer to develop universal brotherhood/Fraternity. The day ends with point A meditation which is done to check the indulgences of the mind followed by bedtime prayer. These meditational practices constitute the self-effort of an abhyasi.
In Sahaj Marg, Divine Grace comes in the form of Pranahuti. Rev. Master states, ‘In Sahaj Marg, Divine Grace is directed towards the abhyasi through the process of Pranahuti (Transmission). As a matter of fact, what Pranahuti does for the spiritual uplift of an abhyasi and removal of complexities in a short time, independent efforts cannot achieve even in a full decade’ (SDG-17). Pranahuti is an act of will done by a person who is fairly out of his own body consciousness, for the spiritual progress of his fellow brethren. We receive Pranahuti during satsangs and individual sittings. ‘The first and almost immediate effect of the transmission is to give peace and calmness which can hardly be expressed in words. This experience in meditation helps to gently remind us of the source to which we must return and repeated experience strengthens the remembrance of our original home, and so loosens the bondage of the present life’ (SDG-20).
So with our self-effort or abhyas we make ourselves deserving and the Divine Grace had during individual sittings and satsangs, helps us to move smoothly on the path to Reality.
In addition to this, Rev. Master has given us Ten Commandments which have come to Him in His superfine state of super consciousness. These commandments teach us the way of life. Practicants of Sahaj Marg use them to help better themselves in various situations of life.
The current state of the world has become full of negativity and strife. No one is happy with the life they are leading. The first point that we need to correct with regards to our life is given in commandment 4 which states “Be plain and simple to be identical with Nature”. Here the Rev. Master asks us to have a life which is simple and plain. What do we understand by simple and plain living? Our Masters in many of their articles have repeatedly told us how simple and plain living should be. Our dear Rev. grand Master Lalaji Maharaj has said that our needs of life should be meager. Some people make the possession of the latest and greatest gadgets, houses, vehicles as their need. Some feel that as long as they are looking fairly well after their own convenience in their life they are not indulgent and are ok. However, Masters have clearly asked us to have meager needs. Needs cannot differ a lot from person to person. In other words we may differ in our needs only a little but not by a great margin. For example say we all need a house to live in. We cannot say that we need a big mansion to live because that is how we would like to live. A simple house which meets the necessities of a family is good enough. So as long as our basic needs are met we should not feel overly concerned for anything else. What does Rev. Master mean by ‘be identical with Nature’? From my understanding accepting the truth about our own selves as what we are rather than presenting ourselves in good light, is one aspect of ‘Be plain and simple’. To understand the next part ‘be identical with Nature’, we have to understand that we all have come from the same origin, Divinity. Rev. Sir has explained this point in Imperience Beckons. He says that the state of the society is such that when we look at ourselves or each other, we do not see any trace of Divinity in us. We only see somebody X, or Y or Z. This is because we are displaying our own particular likes or dislikes, rather our own creation and not the creation of Nature which we ought to be. So we should live our lives in such a way that when any body looks at us he sees us as an expression of the Divine and not as somebody X, or Y, or Z. This commandment sets a perfect benchmark for us to lead our lives.
When we are trying to follow the commandment 4, there come different situations in life where we feel something bad is happening to us without we deserving it or somebody is treating us bad unnecessarily. How to deal with such situations so that they do not cause any impressions upon us? To deal with such situations, Rev. Master gives us the commandments 5, 6 and 7. Commandment 5 states, ‘Be Truthful. Take miseries as divine blessings for your own good and be thankful’. Commandment 6 says, ‘Know all people as thy brethren and treat them as such’. Commandment 7 states, ‘Be not revengeful for the wrongs done by others. Take them with gratitude as heavenly gifts’.
Whenever we feel something is happening to us which is undeserved, if we follow commandment 5 and treat any misery as a divine blessing then any miserable situation will fail to trouble us. Reaction to any situation will be there but it is temporary. Purposely brooding over the situation will create impressions. Therefore if we take whatever has happened to us as something that was due to us then it will not trouble us.
Also when we feel somebody has harmed us without reason, following commandments 6 and 7, if we treat all people as our brethren because of our common origin we will not have revengeful attitude towards that person and we will be able to take wrongs done to us as gifts of the divine. Because, the focus here is not the person who has wronged us, but the Master who loves us more than we love Him and is helping us clear off our samskaras so that we move towards Him faster. When He wants us to live in a particular way and He is taking care of how we should proceed towards the goal then all that remains for us is to be happy whichever way He wants us to be. We are not aware of what is right for us and by unnecessarily demanding a change in our situation; we are meddling with His work.
To follow these commandments we have to move away from our sheep mentality of wishing to live like everybody else in the society and put faith in the Master. So here itself we are trying to be courageous.
We may not be lion-hearted when we start our sadhana but with whatever little effort if we start sincerely we will gradually progress on the Satya Pad Marg (Sahaj Marg). Life does not stop if you are faint-hearted or lion-hearted. Whatever you are, you have to go through life and its situations which you yourself have asked for by your actions in past lives. We are fortunate as followers of Sahaj Marg, as the samskaras or impressions of the past come up for bhoga in this life itself. So when the law of Karma has to and will prevail irrespective of whether you are lion-hearted or faint-hearted, the only way out for you is to ‘take the bull by its horns’ as they say and deal with the situation effectively as per the commandments ask you to. We may not be perfect in following of the commandments but to help us improve Rev. Master gives us commandments 1, 2, and 3.
In commandment 1, He gives us meditation which is a way of inviting Divine grace towards our heart from the bosom of God. When we start each day with meditation, we are touching the Base during our meditation and it is with the remembrance of that imperience that we spend our day. Rev. Master, in commandments 2 and 3 which are, ‘Begin your puja with a prayer for spiritual elevation with a heart full of love and devotion’; and ‘Fix your goal which should be ‘Complete Oneness’ with God. Rest not till the ideal is achieved’, tells us the attitude with which we should sit for morning meditation and the purpose of the morning meditation that we do. We are praying for spiritual elevation alone and nothing else. Asking for anything else is futile as what is due to us will anyway come to us. In the third commandment, He has asked us to set up our goal for which we are doing this meditation. Any task that we take up in life needs to have a goal. Without the goal any task becomes meaningless. If we are aiming for some smaller goals like peace, calmness, etc then we find out that once peace is gotten, a person may feel what next as the soul is not satisfied with just peace or calmness. This is a matter of imperience for all of us. In addition to this as we go through life we find out that peace or calmness that we were aiming for is not enough to go through. A need for something more is felt desperately. Therefore fixing the goal as ‘Complete Oneness’ with God, is the only solution to our problem of life.
Food that we take in goes to our soul and like-wise Rev. Master gives importance to the way food is prepared, in what thought and the way it is eaten in commandment 8 that says, ‘Be happy to eat in constant divine thought whatever you get, with due regard to honest and pious earnings’. Food should be gotten by legitimate means and cooked and eaten in divine thought then it makes us purer, does away with a lot of spiritual diseases and helps us in becoming deserving of His grace. However if food is gotten by wrong means and cooked and eaten without any consideration, then we do not see any improvement in our spiritual condition.
We are human beings and as is the popular saying, to err is human; however when we fall short of the mark in following the above commandments Rev. Master gives us an excellent way of not repeating the same mistakes again and in the process, halting our progress. We cannot rely on the saying to err is human and go on committing the same mistakes. This will be contrary to our purpose of striving to reach the goal. He has asked us in commandment 10, ‘At bedtime, feeling the presence of God, repent for the wrongs committed. Beg forgiveness in a supplicant mood, resolving not to allow repetition of the same’. We are supposed to feel the presence of Divine. When all the day’s work is over and we are winding down; what better way is there than to take refuge in our dear beloved Master, putting before Him all that we have committed wrong? Repenting for stepping away from Him and feeling lowly, we resolve not to repeat the same mistakes. This commandment strengthens us to follow the other commandments much more sincerely every time.
Once we follow all the commandments stated above sincerely with a devoted heart, our living will gradually be moulded and in that process we will be following the commandment 9 which states, ‘Mould your living so as to rouse a feeling of love and piety in others’. Other people, on seeing a person who follows the Rev. Master in true letter and spirit are on their own drawn towards this spiritual way of life. When such a thing happens, we will be following the commandment 9 well.
Following the commandments is a lifelong process and there can be never a state where you feel you have achieved the goal.
No where does Sahaj Marg promise relief from any pain or misery for any of its practicants. All that the Sahaj Marg promises is to equip us with the courage and the different divine qualities like patience, forbearance, compassion, etc. to go through the path to Reality. Rev. Master does not give us these qualities as gifts but gives us situations in which we have the scope of developing these qualities.
In today’s world that we are living in, Rev. Master’s statement which is the topic of the seminar is a very big assurance given to us. If we follow the Master in true letter and spirit, looking no where else but to Him, then our passage to our homeland is set and there can be nothing that will deter us from the path. So all that is required of us, is to follow the Satya Pad Marg (Sahaj Marg), with full sincerity and dedication.
Our origin being total purity, we can find lasting happiness only by making ourselves subtler and subtler so that we unfold all the intricacies that we have developed and live in perfect harmony with Nature. As Rev. Master says, this can only be done when we gird up our loins to sacrifice our pleasures and shake off our idleness and practice the system with love and interest and will ourselves to reach the destination. With this kind of attitude, sincerity, and dedication to Sahaj Marg, we will become lion-hearted to go through the path to Reality.