For a while I wrote a lot (quoted a lot) of a book, “Love and Death” written by my current guru. I’m finished with that now and have moved on to the next book in my pile, “Call of Spirituality, Vol. I & II.” This post will be the first of probably many times I’ll reference this new book, although you may be relieved to know that I’m already nearly 1/5th through the book, so it’s possible you wont have to suffer much before I finish it.
I’m going to share with you bits from the second chapter, which I think are timely for me. In my last post I critiqued a couple practices belonging to other paths. And distantly related to this thread is a Facebook status of mine which brought about interesting wisdom from a good friend regarding how one is perceived and how other’s egos factor into that and often try to flavor reality. (In fact, egos will invariably try to flavor reality. Believe it.) As a person with strong yet evolving opinions and sometimes goofy bravery (it’s from my mother’s side), I’m known for being honest and direct about how I feel and what I know to be true. Lots of people adore me for this and I find others building their own self-esteem and courage from the example I’m able to set, but it’s also landed me in the frying pan a time or two (which is natural and nothing to be terribly worried about) and has also highlighted some otherwise obscured distance between myself and others. To go back to my Facebook post, I think it’s important to successfully distinguish between someone who thinks he is right all the time and someone who merely sees through perhaps more egoic bullcrap than your average bear.
If you take the spirit of my Facebook status, place it within the context of the example critiques I reference in my last post, and then remember that everyone is growing and evolving, you might understand why the following bits from chapter two of “Call of Spirituality…” feel timely and resonate with me.
“People talk of brotherhood. Do they treat at least their own brothers as brothers? Brotherhood should start with one’s own family. How many amongst us treat our brothers as brothers? They consider him as a person who has a share in the property. Jealousy starts now onwards. What will he ask tomorrow? Did father write a will? Is my share correct in that? Will we get the property we desire? Or has he written the property in his name?
“We start this even at the age of fifteen. When there is no brotherhood in the family itself, how will it come from outside? So you see, all of us in Sahaj Marg have a great responsibility. Our words, our behavior, the way we see, the way we listen; everything will be judged. In all this, we will get a bad name, but the Master’s name can be spoiled. They will ask, ‘What sir, is this your Sahaj Marg? Is this the work your Master does? Is this the way he shapes you? I don’t want your Master.’
“They will not reject you; they will only reject the Master. Each time we act wrongly, behave without respect, be greedy, act with uncontrollable desire, what we do becomes a betrayal of the Master. Somehow because of his compassion, he does not punish us. But we certainly deserve to get punished.
“I have heard some speakers speaking ill of other systems and gurus. It is to be completely avoid in Sahaj Marg. There are two reasons for this. We do not know about all the systems and all the gurus. How can we criticize something that we do not know? I have the right to speak of the greatness of my Master. I have been living with my Master for fourteen years. I feel about him and hence I speak. I have a right to praise my wife as Lakshmi or Saraswati because I am living with her for the past twenty-five years. What right do I have to talk about the lady next door? Similarly, I have absolutely no right to talk about other Masters. We should not speak anything based on the books of other systems and what the Masters of other systems say. Just as we cannot use these to criticize, we cannot use these to praise, too.
“We have two legs and we will rely on them and make use of them. This is Sahaj Marg. I don’t have to go to any other system to talk about this. I do not need any other evidence. We have no necessity to criticize any other system…Since I am strong and capable, I do not need to criticize others.”
Obviously, it’s necessary to understand the difference between calling a spade a spade and using that title against the spade itself. Not everyone who is critical is being critical for the sake of tearing another down, and not everyone tears down for the sake of their own self glory. This is clearly a vast and complex matter and one I’ll be chewing on for a little while yet.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha