A Child’s Toy

 

The thought of people generally does not go beyond the point of liberation, which they take to be the final limit of human approach. But that is a wrong idea. As a matter of fact, liberation is one of the lowest attainments on the divine path; hence it is just like a toy for a child to play with. Beyond that there is yet a lot to be achieved. The infinite ocean lies still ahead, which is but a limitless expanse. Have your eyes fixed upon That and That alone, and go on and on to trace It out.” – Ram Chnadra, The Complete Works, Vol I, page 334

Every path is unique, despite any parallels it might have between other paths.  Sahaj Marg (Heartfulness) is no different and I think the quote above illustrates that to a degree. Certainly, we are unique in other ways. But in most of Hinduism and Sufism the idea of liberation is where things stop. After all, what more could there be once you are free?

To back up a little, let’s discuss what this “liberation” is. Most of the time, in contexts like this one, liberation means liberation from samsara. Samsara is the wheel of death and rebirth. Some view this wheel as a kind of trap but it isn’t. It’s merely a result. When we don’t direct our reactions and responses in a responsible manner, then the resultant karmas (both good AND bad karmas) bind us further to this wheel. And so we go on experiencing death and rebirth, cycle after cycle, until our personal evolution is such that we are able to step off of that wheel like an exhausted hamster and then finally to know peace. This is what most people, in this context, consider liberation to be.  (Side Note: There are branches of believers who have the understanding that God will, through immeasurable and unwarranted grace and mercy, wipe away the factors (what we call samskaras & karmas) keeping a person from reaching heavenly liberation, thus bestowing liberation to the one who believes. This is a lie.)

Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness doesn’t dispute the aforementioned idea of liberation. What makes Sahaj Marg unique in this context is that, in our understanding, this liberation isn’t the actual end goal. A lot of what spiritual aspirants take to be significant spiritual progress and developments are understood within Sahaj Marg as simple sign posts. Indications of progress, sure, but nothing more – certainly nothing to be distracted by or focused on.

In a way, we treat these experiences and developments much like any thought that arises during meditation – notice it if you must, but keep moving. Liberation is no different. It’s like our guides and gurus are saying, “Okay so you stepped off the wheel of death and rebirth. Congrats – Now keep moving.” An interesting thing to note here and which might surprise most people is that this liberation – escape from endless cycles of death and rebirth – is seen as a very low attainment and like a child’s toy. Most people would immediately disagree. But it is certain that those people view their current reality through a different and probably lens. After all, to a kindergartner learning the alphabet is daunting and quite an achievement. The idea of getting to Junior High is hardly something they understand, never mind finishing that and moving on to High School or any form of education thereafter.

The lineage of Sahaj Marg guides have always stated that religion is like kindergarten. And they’ve always gently encouraged us to keep moving. From where they sit, they speak to us kindergartners and encourage us onward. “Beyond that there is a lot to be achieved.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Nature and God

Daaji arrived at Ahmedabad airport to begin his trip to Mumbai. He was sitting with a small group in the lounge when the flight was delayed. He was remembering his travels with Babuji Maharaj. It was Babuji’s flight to Delhi after the Surat Birthday Celebrations. Babuji was at the airport waiting for a flight to Delhi. The flight was supposed to go to Jaipur first and then to Delhi, and Daaji was also travelling with him.

Daaji was waitlisted at number 136, so normally there would have been no chance of him getting on the flight. Soon the airline announced that there were sand storms around Jaipur area and the flight would not be landing there. Many cancelled their trip and so eventually Daaji got a seat. Babuji looked at him with a smile and said, “You are happy now!” Daaji happily recalled other incidents about Babuji. These small stories took everyone somewhere!

The spiritual life is about remembrance in the heart and love for the Beloved.

It was supposed to be a short flight to Mumbai, but it took a long time to land. During the flight, a lady walked up to Daaji and said, “You look like my son’s friend Marg!” She was happy and surprised by this unexpected meeting.

Later in Mumbai, at 5:45 p.m. in the evening, it was nice weather, so after finishing his work, Daaji went out to sit in the garden. A small group of industrialists had come to meet him. Daaji spoke to them about spirituality and how an experiential approach is the most practical one which leaves one with no ambiguity. He also spoke about the idea of being and non-being. Then he offered the guests the immediate experience of meditation with him. After meditation, there was a short informal interaction with newcomers about consciousness and Yoga. He encouraged them all to meditate and explore further.

Here are some snippets from the session:

“Quality of work drastically changes for good in the spiritual environment.”

“Meditation improves our moral and work ethics.”

“Evolution is not a matter of choice. It has to happen.”

“Many people argue: why can’t an all-powerful God change humanity for good? How can you change without willingness? One should invite change willingly.

If I have to become like my cherished personality,

“… I have to imbibe those qualities. If I have to become like that individual personality, I have to imbibe creativity in me if I dream to become like God – that is point number one.

“Then there are other qualities that can be observed in Nature: I have to become simple and in tune with Nature. What is Nature? Take trees, for example: they take the minimum and give out the maximum. So, am I able to receive the minimum, or nothing at all, and give the maximum? That is God-like. So, even though I may not have happiness, I have to give that. I then become that, and I don’t even care for it anymore. So the second principle, which comes from Nature, is efficiency – taking in the minimum and giving out the maximum.

“The third principle, also from Nature, can be seen when we observe the trees in the US, shedding their leaves just before the winter commences. They adjust themselves for the colder weather. The trees have to preserve all their energy and resources in their roots. They do not have the luxury of extra leaves on their branches. They shed them, sacrificing. In our case, are we able to adjust with the external in our relationships? To do so, we have to sacrifice some of our habits. It is better if we can adjust.

“The fourth thing is that Nature is its simplicity, NO complexities.

“The fifth thing that I find is automatism. For example, trees bear flowers automatically when the season comes. That automatic response is not there in us. Our response is, ‘What do I get out of this?’ Based on that we play with it.

“So these five things help us to be in tune with Nature and God.”

 

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Evolution of Our Mission

The following is being reposted / shared from an abhyasi bulletin from the middle of October and includes Daaji’s words for our benefit and guidance…

“Let us look at how our Sahaj Marg has evolved since times of most revered Lalaji Sahab. There was no Sahaj Marg during the lifetime of Lalaji Maharaj, yet, activities went on. He was as busy, perhaps more than we are, with little or no organization. During Pujya Babuji’s life-time, SRCM was established to serve humanity in an organized manner. He worked all the while, singlehandedly with no help. He was a lot busier than all of us.

“Dear Chariji faced many challenges due to legal issues faced by SRCM and, to safeguard the assets and spiritual tradition, SMSF came into the picture. Many minor outlets were formed, like SHPT that handles publications and media, plus a few more to handle abhyasis’ residential colonies. All this was with one intention: to streamline our efforts to serve most efficiently.

“Now, with Heartfulness Institute, the intention is also to smooth the way forward in an orderly manner, so that the things that cannot be taken up by SRCM or SMSF can be taken up by HFI. Maybe some of our members find it a bit heavy to understand, and react due to complexities involved in organizing this. We will be serving the same spirituality, the way most revered Lalaji Maharaj did in his times, but now with multiple tributaries or subsets so as to make serving more efficient. Also, this way we are able to protect and preserve the by-laws or the principles of the respective organizations like SRCM or SMSF while remaining in complete compliance with the laws of the land. The delivery remains the same ‘spirituality’.

“While we are working, we must take younger minds with us, groom them with love and care, and prepare them with love and respect. We are expected to be graceful, extremely refined, light-hearted, ever-ready to help, respectful and trusting towards each other. We have to leave the legacy of our inner `royal’ status with our descendants; with our spiritual sisters and brothers.

“It is surprising to note that our predecessors were extremely busy, and we are hardly contributing even 10% of what they could offer in terms of their qualitative delivery, plus we lack the input of necessary efforts, despite our efficiencies, education and technology.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha

Aum Shanti

Speaking Tree

Another place Daaji is making his presence known is on the Speaking Tree website by Times of India. You can find Daaji’s profile there by clicking here. When I came to find out about this, Daaji had only 33 followers through that site and also was the first “Followed Master” to have a following that hadn’t yet entered the triple or quadruple digits. He now has 34 followers there and I look forward to viewing content made available through the Speaking Tree.

When this was brought to my attention via a recent abhyasi newsletter, it was because of this website being the location of another of Daaji’s online blogs. You can click here to access that blog. Right now there is only an initial post which only gives a taste of what is to come – Daaji’s presentation of Heartfulness.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shri Gurubhyo Namaha | Aum Shanti

HuffPost, Y’all

Daaji, the “global guide” for Heartfulness and Sahaj Marg, now has a regular blog postings at the HuffPost Healthy Living site. You can find it by clicking here. The first post you’ll see here is that Daaji discusses “How to Put Your Heart Into Living” and breaks that approach up into ideas dealing with “How do we compromise our intrinsic good?” “How does the heart speak?” “Easing the burden: the play of heart and mind” and “How to integrate the heart and mind?”

Before diving into these areas of discussion, Daaji gives a few examples of when ignoring the heart and its connection to the brain lead us awry. “There are many issues at play. The most powerful arise when we ignore the intrinsic goodness and the intrinsic peace that exist in all of us,” he says, to gently remind us of what Eastern Dharmas have told us for many thousands of years and which is a trademark difference between spiritual paths originating in the East versus those from the Middle East or West.

When discussing the usual compromise of intrinsic goodness experienced by each of us, Daaji rightly points out that the whole mess begins with us labeling things and experiences and then being caught between these labels of our own making. Here in the USA, that is very apparent – and something about which we’re in deep denial. Regardless of the context – whether political, religious, sexual, economic, you name it – we do nothing but label and categorize things and experiences and then find ourselves caught because we’re so buried in self-created madness that we lose the right ability of discernment.

The first thing shared with us about how the heart speaks is that which is really common sense, but which most people gloss over: When we do what we ought to the heart is at peace and is silent, but when the opposite is true the heart protests! All of this hinges on simplicity and being in tune with Nature – relating back directly to the Ten Maxims.

The heart and mind, Daaji says, are always interconnected and when mindfulness and heartfulness are in perfect synchronicity they function as one and purpose in life is experienced and realized.

In closing we focus on integration – what Sahaj Marg and Heartfulness are really all about. Daaji mentions the need for observing “inner weather” – not too far off from the many times I’ve mentioned here about tending to one’s inner landscape or inner garden. We learn to still the mind, connect with and through the heart and find ourselves evolving and as Daaji pointed out, “… we steer through life wisely, steadfastly, sans regrets.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shri Gurubhyo Namaha |Aum Shanti

Maxim VI

Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

 

“Know all people as thy brethren and treat them as such.” This is the sixth maxim in Sahaj Marg. This seems to be our equivalent of “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” or “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Personally, I’ve always loved the “love your neighbor” verse in the Bible. It’s too often too quickly glossed over. Ultimately, to truly put that into effect you have to first realize your own Self and also recognize that Sameness in others. The Sahaj Marg version of this is actually a bit more digestible. It’s a tough thing for most people to reach realization of their true Center, let alone recognize the same in others that they meet – others who cut them off in traffic or vandalize their home.

But to see someone else as your brother is more doable. I don’t have to see you as non-different from my Self, but I get to start at a more comfortable and doable place which is knowing that we come from the same Parent – as brothers would. As one grows and deepens their personal evolution, of course, the natural revelation is that your brother IS not different from you – at all. Loving your brother (or neighbor) as yourself is literally loving yourself.

From a linguistic standpoint, I see a big difference between “like” and “as.” Most of the time, in the English language, the two words are fairly interchangeable. But the meatier parts of them are actually significant. Let’s contrast the two. If I love you LIKE myself, then it could be said that I’m loving you similarly to myself… as in, in a similar way. Similar does not mean the same. However, if I love you AS myself, then it could be said that I am loving you “in place of” myself. As if you were / are actually me – which is the ultimate Reality. Nondifference. If you go to a dance AS someone’s date, you are literally in the place of that person’s date. You’re not faking going as their date – you’re really in the place of their date. When that level of understanding is applied to this maxim, things really take on a new meaning.

The part of this I think many people are most likely to struggle with is the last four words: treat them as such.

It’s too easy to sit around and philosophize and ponder the deep intricacies of life and say, among friends, “We’re all One.” It’s another thing entirely to be out in the world living that oneness – to recognize your essential connection to the person who just cut you off in traffic or the person who transmitted HIV to your sister. Sadly, Christians come to mind with this. The Abrahamic religions come with hypocrisy built in – from the foundation up. It’s unavoidable, unfortunately, because of the structure of their belief system. But the reality is that the Christians, Muslims, and Jews aren’t alone – all people are guilty of this, even the godless. Our default is laziness and greed. We’re fine playing nice as long as things go our way – but the whole time we’re really just playing and really only for so long as things benefit us. To live life as though you truly see and know others to be your siblings – if not your Self – takes truthfulness mentioned in an earlier post.

What a profound and tough maxim this short one is!

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

A Parody of What’s Inside

images2

 

About two weeks ago I experienced a night that was a doozey. I work in the medical IT field and, as it’s the most constantly-evolving field I’ve ever known, there are always changes that put demands on our professionals. One such demand recently placed on me was the requirement to participate in our Windows Services monthly patching. Because of things like this in my life, it’s not uncommon at all that I end up missing satsangh with local abhyasis. I really hate that. The truly fortunate thing, for me, is that Sahaj Marg is a “householder” path and since I’m a very busy grhasta type guy it suits me increasingly well.

I missed another Sunday satsangh that morning because of last night’s patching (which was really this morning’s, 00:00 – 06:00) but lucky for me one of my local prefects emailed out to all the abhyasis the text which was shared and read to everyone after the morning meditation. I found the timing impeccable and the text much needed

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The Universe is You

It is like when you run a marathon, twenty-six miles. Well, for the practised marathon runner the eighteenth mile, nineteenth mile, they are pretty easy. Then he starts to feel fatigue. At the twenty-fifth mile, he’s almost falling. Then comes the second wind. From where does it come? It is coming from within himself. He is drawing upon resources hidden in himself of which he was never aware until he exerted himself to the point of extinction.

Therefore, spirituality says, “Die before you die, and you shall see what is the glory of death itself, what it opens out beyond into: the eternal life that is promised.” It only means doing what the runner is doing, you see: that you run until you are almost collapsing, and then you find the miraculous awakening of fresh powers inside yourself, from inside yourself, of which you could never have dreamt, because you never exerted yourself to that level before. Spirituality says, “That is the outer world; here, you do it inside.” Close your eyes, meditate, and the feeling comes that I’m diving deep into some sort of a bottomless hole, very dark. And then the tendency, sometimes the need, is to open one’s eyes to reassure oneself that one is still in this world of human beings. That is the danger.

It is like the runner stopping at the fifteenth mile to see, “Oh, do I have that hidden resource that Chari was talking about?” You can’t feel it. It’s gone, you see. It’s like, you know, the petrol tank. Sometimes we used to have – I don’t know whether you still have – an emergency small tank which you opened up when the main tank went dry. Some drivers were careless; they left it open all the time. So when it stopped, it stopped finally, because the reserve petrol tank was always open. The idea of a reserve tank is the capacity should be reserved for those emergent occasions when there is no gas station nearby. Then you open it and move to the nearest place. But if you are leaving it open all the time, you have lost the capacity to have control over it, which is what we are doing with our physical energies: draining them to the last possible drop of essence and then, when the need for a reserve comes, it just isn’t there.

So the sensible human way of living is not to drain your reserve capacities unnecessarily – in any field. One of the reasons for morality, for celibacy, is that: reserve your capacity for the ultimate spurt. Don’t waste it on your routine jogging and your swimming: yesterday I did nine, today I did ten, tomorrow fourteen. Then the reserve tank becomes meaningless; it hardly exists for us.

So, you see, when we go into meditation, we learn all these things: that I have to die in my meditation to be reborn in that meditation, and to come out yet the same Paul, the same Bill, the same whatever you are, you see. But with a very, very different outlook on life; with a very, very different inside that has now been opened, changed, cleaned up, refurbished in some mysterious way. Therefore, every time we sit in meditation and we go deep into it, we come out new – renewed, you can say. That is why meditation is refreshing. That is why meditation is never exhausting, you know; however deep you go into it you come out fresh. Pains are gone, aches are gone, more of the heart – which is a very great need. There is solace derived from ourselves, from within ourselves, by ourselves. So we see that, in a very real sense, we are becoming independent of the universe. We seek no solace outside, we get it from inside. Others take renewal from outside, we get it from inside. The others take renewed strength from outside, we get it from inside. Then we find the ultimate experience: that within me is the universe. Not this which I see outside, however vast it might be – ten million, ten billion light-years big, so what? It is only a parody of what is inside. This has no limit that can be measured in terms of light-years. You cannot measure this at all. It is truly infinite.

Being truly infinite, its resources are truly infinite, its potentials are truly infinite; therefore, spiritual law says, go within and you are going towards infinity; go outwards, there is only repetition of the same experience, nauseatingly repeated again and again. But you think you are enjoying a new thing every day. So spirituality says, beware of the external life. That is only a mirror image of your self, you see, like when you stand in a hall of mirrors, and you are there alone, yet you see a hundred of you surrounding you. Here, the Atman, the soul, sees itself reflected in so many other existences. Whether they are real or not, who can say? You think I am real to you, I think you are real to me, perhaps both of us don’t exist. It is in some dreamer’s mind, cosmic dreamer’s mind, you see. It’s frightening. It’s also fascinating.

Frightening, because it is almost impossible to imagine that I don’t exist. We are always afraid of death. That’s a very natural fear. But to be told that perhaps, my dear friend, you don’t exist – even now – would be awful, wouldn’t it? But when you plunge into yourself in meditation and if, by Master’s grace, by the solemnity of your experience, you are able to experience those spiritual states where you find first nothing, then you find yourself all alone, and then you find that the universe into which you are put all alone by yourself is really you…!

The universe is you. You are there as something experiencing yourself in a cosmic form. Then comes this, you know, really brilliant, fascinating experience that “I am the Universe.” Which means you are part of me, everybody is part of me, you are me in a sense, you see. Then comes the possibility of true love, true sympathy. Not because of some charitable instinct of doing good to others, but because in you is also my existence. In keeping you alive, I keep myself alive. In feeding you, I feed myself. In looking after your welfare lies my welfare. In a very real heartfelt sense – not out of a sense of charity, not out of even a sense of brotherhood, but out of a sense of an absolute need – like a car will not run if one of its tires is punctured. We are not being altruistic when we stop and patch up that tire. It will not move if the spark plugs are gone. It will not move if its fuel pipe is cut. So the functioning of the automobile depends on the functioning of every part that is put into it. No part is more important than the others, because all need to function before the car will move.

Similarly, if God is ever to be having peace of mind and contentment and happiness, He must ensure a universe that is content and happy and peaceful. And we, at our scale of existence, have also to ensure it. That is the true need for brotherhood in yoga. Not some artificial Christian sort of brotherhood, you know, where we slap each other on the back and say, “Oh, how wonderful this is! You are here and I am here and what more do we want?” That’s too artificial, too much of an imposition on ourselves. But when I see inside myself that I am the universe and you are all of course in the universe and therefore you are part of me – not just somebody I have to look after, but somebody whom I have to look after if I have to look after myself…

Can you have a bath without wetting your feet? “No, no, I hate my feet, you know, I’ll have a bath like this.” It’s not possible. The whole has to be wet, the whole has to be soaked, the whole has to be dried. In that wholeness, in the consciousness of that wholeness now arises my awakened being, and we see this vast unlimited glory that we are all one. Not in the sense that we are all together, therefore we are one; [but] wherever you may be, wherever I may be, we are still one.

… If I am the universe, whether I feel it or not, whether I perceive it or not – because yoga, meditation, the ultimate truth only enables me to see as I am, not as I am something to be in the future, you see – then by virtue of that fact we are already one organism.

(Excerpts from Heart to Heart, Vol. 1, pp. 99-105, talks by Shri. P. Rajagopalachari)