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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
This time after the visit to Mumbai and Jamshedpur and after listening to whatever has happened in Malaysia when Nutan Swamiji went there for the annual visit and programmes, the subject of Guru-shishya relationship is occupying my mind.
I generally say that people are generally getting born as children to a couple. May be after one or two years the mother tells the child that you are my dear child, I am your mother, this is your father. He accepts the statement. We don’t know about our own birth at all. It is more a heresay. Then when we start growing, the parents put us to education. After completing the education may be we get employed or girls get married. Then children are born. After some time they become grand parents, old and finally depart from this world. This is the general nature of mankind or humanity. Neither the birth of the body nor the so-called death of the body, is known directly by anyone. It is not a personal experience of every one. It is more a hearsay and an apprehension than a fact or an experience.
While this is so, very few people have a feeling that I am a human being; there are so many beings in this world upon the earth, but we alone have the power of articulation and preceding that the power of thinking. With these two additional powers, we certainly carry a superiority or greatness in our life. What is that greatness? What am I to do with it, am I leading my life in the proper manner or there is still something more to be known about it. Who will answer me or guide me. Neither the parents, nor the academic teachers nor the elderly people in the society will generally have any kind of a valid and a useful answer before such an enquiry. That is the time a person becomes a seeker and he tries to approach someone who leads a different type of life, people like us. We were also born in the household as children to the parents but something had happened to our mind and there was an enquiry, a very hearty and deep enquiry in order to answer which, we had to take up an altogether line of life.
People come to know of such people, saint, sages, sadhus and mahatmas and they go to one such who apparently is quite competent to deal with the subject and give sufficient instruction to the seeker in order to fulfill his enquiry and life. When you go and stand before the Guru and present whatever you have in the form of a confession, and the helplessness that you suffer from and seek acceptance in his hands and subsequent instruction. I say, to the people who come to me seeking deeksha, ‘now this is a second birth and an optional birth’. The first birth of the body is something that you don’t know and none knows about it. But this is an optional birth you seek in the hands of an enlightened person. I would like you to understand it, I tell my seekers who are in my front wanting to get initiated into brahmavidya. I said this is something very important and I would like you to know. When you have sought a sadguru like this and you have become a disciple or seeker in his front, a new relationship is born.
It is the seeker who makes the other a Guru. Otherwise he is not a Guru or a teacher at all. He is just an enlightened person perhaps in whose case his own enquiry and seeking have been met and fulfilled. He doesn’t tom-tom about what he is. He becomes enlightened for his own purpose. But besides that enlightenment he becomes a Guru when a disciple, somebody goes and stands before him saying that I am a seeker, I would like to be accepted as a disciple. I consider you as my Guru; I have accepted you. Please instruct me. We have blood relationship, matrimonial relationship, in addition to that we have friendship, professional and social or societal relationships. This is called the spiritual relationship. This spiritual relationship is a second birth not of the body, but of the jeeva that you are, which animates and activates the body as I always say. If, of all the relationships, this kind of an optional relationship that you have sought in the hands of the Guru, in the hands of the enlightened person, carries a sanctity, a sublimity and a fullness which the disciple should understand and preserve throughout his life.
I am finding that many people have come to me like this, they may not expressed their feelings and thoughts in the manner I have presented before you, but the fact remains that they have sought the Guru-shishya relationship, from me. Otherwise I have nothing to do with them and I have no right over them. But what I find is that most of the disciples, they neither value the relationship with all the sublimity and sanctity it carries, nor do they behave sometimes in a manner befitting of themselves and respectful to the Guru.
We were setting up the Jamshedpur Centre. You know the construction was going on for the past nearly 4 years and we have practically nothing to do there. Everything is done by some of our devotees and the others, some of them are engineers. They discuss the subject with us and proper guidance and instructions are given. When it came to a question of finishing point, what I find is that, people seem to have their own rigid options, selections and ways. Some of them sometimes are very costly and we don’t need that much. Some of them are a little substandard and sub convenient. After all who are the end users. Primary users are we ourselves along with the ashramites; we go and stay there. Then it is for our devotees and the others. So the whole group is ours. We run an ashram here. We know what are the conveniences we provide or want to provide. Devotees come here. This ashram has existed for 50 years and in the 50 years we have various kinds of interactions with an assortment of devotees, seekers and others. Looking into all of them, enriched every time by whatever we see here and deal with, we are trying to have some standards and styles. One important factor in these styles and standards is that our architects and engineers, structural engineers always tell us – “Swamiji, this is not a private residence. This is an institution. Public institution has its own standards and needs and we have to make some provisions for public gathering”. In a private residence, not many people will come and assemble.
We are sitting in a hall Vijnaana Bhavan. Sometimes you will find 150 to 200 people assemble in this hall but such a situation will not come in a house. So, we will have to provide sufficient reinforcements in the form of steel and sufficient thickness in the form of concrete and sufficient columns, measurements etc. It will not be just like in a private residential house. We also stipulate before them, ‘these are our needs’.
We have a mezzanine hall on the right of, where I am sitting. It is a 1000 sq.ft hall. When it was being made, I told the architect, this is primarily meant for storing books. Books are very heavy. One after the other will be stacked. It is almost like granite, it will weigh. And all the weight will be supported by four legs of a bureau or almirah. So the weight falls concentratedly on a point and it is quite lot of weight. A 6 feet almirah stacked fully with books – we cannot say, don’t load it too much. So many people will come and handle. So even if a 100kg sugar bag is brought and dumped, there should be no damage for this hall or the floor. This is what I told the architect. And you know what we find now. I said we may have something like 25 titles. May be a thousand or two thousand copies will be printed. So it must store that. Now we have no space. Some of the books which are printed are lying unstacked or merely stacked and again further titles are to be printed. Some of the books will be distributed fast, some will not be. So there will be stock of already printed and stock of to be printed. All these will be there. So, the place is inadequate now. This is how a growing public institutions has its requirements.
So, when we give some directions, some of the people, they start questioning it to such an extent Why? Why? My intelligence does not approve of it. See, after all who is the end user? Whenever you try to do something for another, what should be the predominant consideration in you? Let me do it in the best possible manner. When you offer something to God, you should offer the best and most dear and in the most clean hygienic and devotional manner. We emphasize this quite a lot. You cannot purchase a costly article and wrap it up in an ugly manner and take it. It all comes in the form of refinement. So there is one question that is arising in some of the devotees minds, ‘why is Swamiji so particular about these details’.
So, one day I started speaking from my heart, yes what do you want us (to do?). Do you want your Swamiji to be an uncivilized, uncultured, uncouth person who is not capable of thinking and who will be ugly, who will not bother about whatever he does. When a house is to be built or a residence is to be built, a building is to be made, I will certainly go into the quality of the building and the quality of the work that is being done. When we are printing a book, how much of time and attention are we giving to see that it is mistake proof.
Arpita, a brahmacharini who is a Ph. D., she started preparing my letters in English and you must ask her how many times she did it to have the right sense of proportion about, how much of left margin, right margin, top free space, bottom margin, all these things should be done. What should be the number of letters left for a paragraph, what should be the inter space. Suppose there is a letter which does not have much matter, if it is printed in the front half and the lower half is completely felt, I used to say why are you doing this, bring it lower down and distribute it proportionately in the page. Suppose there are two pages. The first page is fully crowded, the second page has only 3 paragraphs. Then I tell her, no, distribute the paragraphs in such a manner that there will be a proportionate space distribution for the first and the second pages together.
So, I think it has taken quite some time for her to stabilize her understanding about what is the right way, where the date has to be put, where the number has to be put, where do you begin (with) ‘dear and blessed x’, and when do you put ‘Harih om tat sat’, how do you end it up on the left or the right, how much space should be given for the signature, what should be ‘in the service of the nation’ or Antaraatma I write. Now, it took quite some time for her and I was wondering ‘Arpita! will it take so much time? You are a Ph.D. She said it takes time. Now you tell me, do you want me to be careful and attentive to these matters. Would you like to have a Swami who is attentive, and who is given to details? I don’t press the details in front of anybody. About those people who are working with me, I tell them.
Our Sridhar has been a very professional man, a Financial Controller also. He prepares some letters and finally brings to me for my signature. And right in a simple glance I do, I find some irregularities or final, a little imperfections or some wrongs and he scratches his head, Swamiji I have spent so much of time and still there is a mistake there. Now when he says something should you not become happy? Oh they are so careful, let me do it better. Instead of that, a questioning and other attitude. According to me this is very, very suicidal. Suppose this attitude prevails, persists, then you know what will happen? The relationship will be broken in the sense that, the functional proximity and dependence will not be able to survive. And will that situation be all right? I have instances where some of my old devotees are not able to progress with their saadhana and keep pace with whatever development, growth or additions take place in my life. More and more people come. The old devotees must be catholic enough, friendly enough, considerate enough, compassionate enough to see that the youngsters are brought up, give them the right advice, make some useful comments and be happy that they are coming and growing.
So, the question was why so much of insistence and some of the items which they have done I find is they were absolutely unnecessary and a little costly also. We wanted to set up, the octagonal hall where about 300 people can sit, it is not completed. A false ceiling has to be given. What is the height at which it should be given? It is a very tall hall, it is to be air conditioned. So if it is very tall, the volume of air to be air-conditioned will be more. That is one. And the sublimity of the hall has to be preserved also, it’s an octagonal hall. It is looking very nice. So, if we have to have a shrine and also a platform, the measurement of the platform, the height of the platform, the material with which it has to be made. We thought we will make it with a wooden structure with a little art work etc. so that when people come there they will have a sublime look as in a spiritual centre. But, without taking all these considerations, a kind of a steel structure has been made. We don’t know where to put it now.
Now, this subject came up for discussion and the ending note was not at all happy and I feel certainly unpleasant about it, pained also. After all it is for the end user. Whatever they like or he likes, can we not simply accept it. What is the problem I don’t know. Now, so far I spoke about an objective situation, now listen to saadhana.
The entire spiritual saadhana consists of 3 important limbs:
विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान् पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः ।
निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः स शान्तिमधिगच्छति ।।
Vihayah kamaan yah sarvan pumaams charati nispruhah
nirmamo nirahankarah sa shantim adhigachchati.
-Bhagavat Gita 2.71
Three items are to be left and sublimated. One is desire, the second is possessiveness and the third is ego. Don’t you think that this is a question of ego biting you so much like a cobra? As a result of which, you remain deluded under the poison. So, that possessiveness should be left, desire should be left and ego should be left. So in one of the discussions a person was telling me, ‘Swamiji, I have got so much of ego, what shall I do?’ I said, ‘You will break down, you will simply collapse. Is it good? Would you like it? Why don’t you make your ego a little flexible?’ When you are not prepared to accept what I say or others say, at the same time you want others to accept what you say, don’t you think it is self -defeating? X is not prepared to say I accept what Y says but x says you should accept what I say. What logic is there, what rationale is there?
So, I just wanted to say, the Guru-shishya relationship is very sublime, try to understand it, preserve and pursue it. Don’t try to pamper your ego to such an extent that you will confront your own Guru or elderly people. Any time you have to be flexible and don’t try to victimize your mind by your rigid standards, styles or options. Ultimately you are the sufferer. The Guru will remain in his own kingdom. He will not have any problem. You cannot stop Him. He will go in his own way. And you cannot victimize his ego. He will not be victimized. The trouble is you will be victimized. Sri Krishna speaks about a great man:
मुनिः प्रसन्नगम्भीरो दुर्विगाह्यो दुरत्ययः |
अनन्तापारो ह्यक्षोभ्यः स्तिमितोद इवार्णवः ||
munih prasanna gambheero durvigahyo duratyayaah
ananthapaaro akshobhya stimitoda evarnavah.
Srimad Bhagavatam - 11.8.5
An enlightened man can never be excelled by anybody, excelled by anybody. He is very deep, profound and his intelligence is quite deep and permeating. This is the characteristic of an enlightened people. Don’t think that the enlightened people are fools. They are ugly, uncouth. Not at all. Some people may be like that, but the intelligence and mind are the only focus in the matter of seeking, enlightenment and fruition.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
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