The last, Last Sunday Sabha of 2014 at Shabad Surati Sangam Ashram was presided by Swamiji (Swami Suryendu Puri Ji). He spoke about the new initiatives with which we all can welcome this New Year. The audience was a mix of children (the girls of Girls’ Government High School, Tapa Mandi) and adults; and Swamiji switched comfortably between his relaxed, humorous talkativeness with children and sharing some impactful plans with adults. Parts of his speech are shared below to be of benefit to aspirants:
- There is a child within everybody. That is what keeps us alive. Children are full of joy, enthusiasm, observation and inquiry. If an obstacle strikes them they may cry for some time but the next moment they are up and running. So, it is good that none of us ever grows up because “agar bann gaye bade to samjho kabar mein pade”. When children are around even the atmosphere begins to smile and is electrified. This is the magic of being a child. And Maharaj Ji often says, “If you want to stay young, you should keep the company of young people”. So let us be with children, to rediscover our latent joy, our latent questions, and our rightful freedom.
- Tripur Shiva Peetham was inaugurated on October 3. On October 4, Maharaj Ji locked his door. Before doing that he said that he has not decided for himself where his body is going to stay – it may be a cave in the Himalayas or the sands of a sea shore. But his sole concern and interest is in advancing this stream of Mahayoga sadhana forwards. And those who share the same goal, will invariably find him in one way or another.
Here Swamiji took the audience on a brief tour of Maharaj Ji’s journey with the intention to make everyone understand the reason which brought the solitude loving Maharaj Ji from the high peaks of the Himalayas to live amongst all of us at village Mallke.
- It was 21 years back that Maharaj Ji came to Mallke. In 1983 Swami Dyalu Puri Ji (Maharaj Ji’s gurudeva) left his body. For 9-10 years before that Maharaj Ji had served him night and day with one-pointed focus, devotion and energy. When Gurudeva left his body, the administration of the ashram expressed their wish that Maharaj Ji takes the charge of running and serving the ashram (Qila Raipur Ashram has 80 acres of land used for farming and also a gau-shala). But Maharaj Ji replied that his life was given to his Master; as long as the master was in his physical body he served him through that, but now when the master had withdrawn his earthly play and taken his seat as Naam in the heart, he was going to serve him in that way. So, Maharaj Ji bid goodbye to all external activity and retired to a life of wandering sannyasi, keeping only an extra piece of ochre cloth and two books with him; traveling without money and worry. On many occasions he went without food and shelter. But this was how he lived for the next decade. Yes, in between some satsangis would also visit him when they knew he was at Badrinath or other shrines. In fact, there were some devotees who would go and live with him near his cave, sometimes they would arrange tents to stay near him. But side by side they would also request him to come down and stay amongst them. Maharaj Ji judged the truth of their yearning and compassionate as he is, he came to live at Mallke. And in time the devotees built the present day ashram. But no labour was hired in construction activity in the initial days. The satsangis themselves built the ashram brick by brick, with a hope to build a common place where they could all join in a spirit of love and explore the inner path. This is what brought Maharaj Ji to Mallke. And all these years it was again our love and inquiry that kept him amongst us. Not very long back, Maharaj Ji used to sit in the pangat and partake his meals, even thrice a day, compared to now, when he hardly takes anything. His room used to open at 10 in the morning and all day he would stay with us, compared to today, when he has totally locked himself in. He used to dance with us, took us on tours. But things seemed to have changed now. Why? Because all this while Maharaj Ji was also moving further and further on his path, and probably we could not keep pace with him. And now it is impossible for him to confine himself to any limits – of the ashram or a group of people. So is Maharaj Ji leaving us? No, he is just moving on his chosen path and it is a path he has been showing to us and inspiring us to walk from so much time. But he cannot hold on to wait for those whose approach is lukewarm. So, our duty is to strengthen our desire, our hunger; for he is ever willing to take us along; the only issue is if we are ready and have attained that level. He has given us so much already, told us so much, shown us so much that sometimes we are afraid how we will be able to do all that. But we must remember one fact that a child holds the right to his parents’ property. So do we, children of our Gurudeva, are rightful heirs to the treasures he holds – the treasures of bliss, power and beatitude. And let us not become forgetful of this. Check how much work of our work is inspired as being “children of our gurudeva” and how much of it stems from our false ego.
New Year Plans
Hereon, Swamiji laid out a map that we can use to increase our hunger, longing and ability so that we can once again be guided directly by Maharaj Ji. It includes the following:
- In addition to morning meditation in the temple, evening meditation sessions have been started from 31st December. And beginning February, twice a month, 12 hour dedicated anushthans inside the temple should also begin.
Here Swamiji added an important observation that even if 4-5 people are ready, these anushthans will be started because a only few dedicated people are sufficient to transform the world; for a ray of sattva is all what is needed to end the long dominion of tamas.
- All aspirants should maintain a yearly diary which should contain a log of at least four things through the course of the year: daily practice, daily study, some inspiring work that we did, the wrong things that we did. Maharaj Ji himself had proposed this plan of keeping a diary, few years ago on the occasion of Guru Purnima.
- All sadhana shivirs would go on as usual and one should try to attend all of them.
- There is also a provision to do solitude practice in the ashram but only if two conditions are met: 1) Before entering into solitude practice some days should have been spent doing seva in the ashram for through seva mind is purified and the body becomes conducive to sitting practice; otherwise one may rather get gripped by the ego of having done a special retreat. 2) If there is any ongoing quarrel/matter-of-dispute of the aspirant with anyone, first that matter should be sorted out, before undertaking solitude practice – this point having especially been stressed by Maharaj Ji.
- Householders devotees should at least take out one week in the year (other than the shivir days) when they come, live in the ashram and just serve. This would help us to rise above the walls of “mine” and “thine” – attachment, which is important before any meaningful practice can be undertaken.
Here, Swamiji narrated a humorous story that explains how we get caught in our worldly affairs.
- Two friends were walking on the river side when one of them saw a blanket flowing down in the water current. He thought of pulling it out. So he jumped in, swam to it and started pulling it back with him. But some time passed and he was still struggling to bring the blanket out. The other friend called out, “Come on! Just come without it, if you can’t bring it.” A worried voice replied, “Well, I am trying to come back, but the blanket won’t leave me.” The blanket actually turned out to be a bear. So, it is with the objects. We go to catch them, but it is we who get caught. Today, we are living so that we may be happy, then we start living for our children and then their children. Would this chain ever stop! Seva means to serve our household in the form of God, but don’t just remain stuck there. After your duties are settled i.e. your children are able to care for themselves, then you move on your way, think about your purpose of life and take the necessary steps.
Here Swamiji went on to explain the science of ashrams: moving from Brahmacharya to Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and then finally Sannyasa. He said that all of it could sound daunting, but with love everything becomes easy. If there is genuine love between us and our guru, everything will flow effortlessly. Swamiji rounded up by explaining some facets of Sri Yantra installed in the temple and the worship of the Shiv Lingam.