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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Our country is a great, holy country. Our holiness started from times immemorial. Whatever records we have is in the form of writing, narrations, the basic two being Ramayana and Mahabharata besides the Vedas; both of them are biographical and autobiographical in nature. That is something very important! The history and the culture of our country are rendered by people through narrations in which the contents narrated also revolve around themselves. The narration was made by the narrators when the events were taking place right before them, in which they also had a part to play. That is why it is an autobiographical narration.
Sri Rama was living while Valmiki Maharshi was living. Valmiki Maharshi was perhaps in his forties or so. And when Sri Rama was for the first time mentioned by Narada to him (Valmiki Maharshi), Rama must have been in his tens. Narada narrated to him whatever he knew about the first son of Dasaratha, asking him, “Now you try to find out yourself more about Sri Rama, The Prince of Ayodhya”. So, Valmiki Maharshi started hunting for further and further information. Valmiki Maharshi was living on the bank of Tamasa River and Sri Rama was in the Ayodhya Palace. The distance was not too much. So, he could collect the information.
So far as Vedavyasa was concerned, the people about whom he was narrating were born of him biologically. So, you can imagine how intimate was the subject to him. He speaks about six generations from himself. So whatever narrations we have in the form of cultural history has got an added authority, an added significance that the writers were present during the events they were describing.
When I left Kolkata after a short period of professional life there, which was not professional I understood, that was the real spiritual and cultural formation in my life, I happened to meet my Gurudev. The association with my Gurudev before and after my deeksha from him, that really meant spiritually everything for me. Then I decided to become a recluse, an ascetic person, took up sannyāsa from him and came over to Kerala to start my parivrājaka life.
When I embarked upon this new mission, I did not have any idea at all. Rather I wanted not to have any idea. I don’t think the tree has any idea when it sprouts from the seed. But it grows into a huge tree bearing fruits all the while. Maybe it will last for decades and even centuries. Similarly, I thought I would not have an idea. And from no-idea mind would the right idea flow. I don’t think the river had any idea to flow. It was a small collection of water which started flowing from the peak of a mountain. It did not want itself to flow but the slope of the mountain made it flow! Similarly, I thought I would also flow if at all.
I had the idea of sitting underneath some Banyan or Aswattha tree. That is the way I conceived of saintly life. If anybody comes to me, I would tell them something that I know. I had the minimum vocabulary to speak. But what happened was we became exponents of the Supreme Spiritual truths. This was not expected. But it came to be like that. Then it also led to establishment of an Ashram like this which has now grown to be an institution hosting visitors, hosting programs. I think we can host about 60 to 80 people at a time maximum without difficulty.
Why I said all this - with a purpose. What is that purpose? I had only the idea of sitting underneath a tree. Now also, we are surrounded by trees, maybe planted by us. People started coming and they preferred or desired to stay here. So arrangements were made. These arrangements continue perhaps with greater colourfulness, complexity and expansion. All of you have come here in that group. I think that one element that makes people come here is their seeking, yearning. That yearning is not a worldly or a secular yearning. It is a spiritual yearning primarily centred in the company of a saint or the Guru.
Once you agree that all of you are coming here with a view to get benefit of the satsang with the Guru and a period of stay away from your household routines, I would like you to make the best use of it. How can it be done? You are free from your household chores. So remain here freely. You have your food, place of stay. Everything is cleaned up; you don’t have any work. Do not think that you should always have work, work, work - That is what you always have at home. Come here and if there is work, willingly participate in it. If there is no work, do not feel bored. We have a library where you can sit, take one book or the other. We have our own books and publications, quite a number of them. You can read them, not once but many times.
I always ask people to read ‘My Beloved Baba’ at least five times before seeking deeksha. ‘Quietude of the mind’, ‘Science of Inner Redemption’, Ma’s book ‘In the Company of my Lord’, ‘Prabhata Rasmih’, ‘Vedantic Way of Living’, ‘Essential Concepts of Bhagavad Gita’ - all these books are there. Why don’t you read them? Don’t read them under a stress or with a special purpose. Make the books your company, your friends. As you will chit-chat with your friends, you chit-chat with the books. Try to find out what the books have to tell you. And if you have anything to say back, shape it, come and discuss it with us here. If other people are there and if you feel like talking to them, make friends with them; you are free to do so. But in your friendship, the subject of discussion should be spirituality.
We had a Christian and his Hindu wife here, a couple. We ourselves don’t know them. He was a Christian, so the question naturally was there, ‘Why should a Christian come to the Ashram?’. That question was certainly in my mind. Hindus know what is an Ashram, what is the tradition etc. Christians do not have that background. At one point I asked his wife, “What is that your husband is saying and doing?” I also found some kind of displeasure and misgiving in her mind.
From Chennai, a couple had come here. I did not know. They became so friendly. What was the necessity to become so friendly? They may perhaps exchange their business interests, business possibilities etc. This man went on looking for a place here. Generally, whenever anybody proposes to do anything, they express it to us. Here they directly spoke to somebody, started seeing one place after the other and gave a news that “I am going to take it on rent. I am going to shift my residence. I will bring this. I will bring that”. I don’t know what happened between him and the Chennai couple. Finally he went away from here. And a few days later, we hear that from the Chennai couple he had got a few thousands of rupees. I don’t know whether it is 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000. The Chennai couple started writing.
Anybody will come to the Ashram. Perhaps some of you are coming here for the first time here. We may know you; we may not know you. Normally known people alone come here. The knowledge takes place beforehand, mutual knowledge. But here was a couple who came here for the first time! We had not known them intimately but before that all this happened. And this man writes saying that he came and took away money etc. I was laughing. As householders, you must be more mature in these matters to be safeguarded.
You are coming primarily to the Ashram to promote your own seeking, strengthen your seeking, deepen your seeking, purify your seeking. This purification is to be done. It can be done only by reading books, reflecting upon the messages you get from them, talking to others only about seeking. Suppose you talk to somebody who is not interested to speak about seeking, that is very clear indication that you cannot and you should not talk to him. Why should other subjects be dragged?
If anybody is curious to know who you are, what you are, how resourceful you are, what are your business connections and interests, I think that itself is a minus mark for him. People come here as seekers and seeking should be the cardinal factor around which all others remain. In this assembly also, there are people who have come here for the first time. I see them perhaps for the first time. We have not spoken to them. I may not speak also initially. There are so many others. We get some kind of inputs from the others also about the person who has come. It is a slow process. Nothing sudden.
The way you should utilize your stay is by sitting in the reading room, reading books, reflecting upon them, talking to us depending upon the time available and discussing your sādhanā, try to intensify it, go into the depths of your mind, purify it, whether anything harmful is there or benevolent alone is there, I think this is how you can grow. You are coming here because you want to improve your life which improvement may not be possible remaining in your household atmosphere. So this atmosphere should at least suddenly bring intensity for you.
Spirituality is such a good and a nice path, every bit of it like a jaggery wherever you taste it, is sweet, spirituality is very sweet and auspicious. Hearing about it is auspicious, reading about is auspicious, thinking about it is auspicious, introspecting over it is auspicious, meditating over it is auspicious and forgetting everything in the process of meditation is most auspicious. True spirituality when you pursue, engages your mind exclusively until at last your mind and thought process together dissolve in their very source. I think you can reach up to this. Remember this and act upon it.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.