14-16 Oct. In the second week of October, Maharaj Ji left the ashram for a short tour of Mandi Gobindgarh, Chandigarh and Kila Raipur. In retrospect, it turned out to be a tour on which clear, resounding messages were given to the grihasthas or householders. Maharaj Ji was invited to speak at Mandi Gobindgarh on the topic, “Tutate Rishte, Bikharte Parivaar”; in other words on crumbling relationships in the modern society. Thereafter, the same thread of thought continued at both Chandigarh and Kila Raipur. Portions of the discourses are shared below:
14th October, Chandigarh: Is there something specific to be discussed today? (Since no one replied) In that case, let us talk about our home – not the home that exists within our bodies, but the home that exists within the boundaries of stones and bricks. Let us talk about that home which we also call our family. When we say a family, we include in it husband and wife, parents, children and relatives. Everyone has his own family and this family is a very significant learning school. But which subject is taught and learnt in this school? It is the subject of: Brahmvidya. He, who fails here cannot study Brahmvidya. He, who thinks that he cannot live a household life, who wants to run away from there, he has failed even before appearing in the examination. He, who enters a household way of life and then expands himself to include the entire creation as his family, is the one who passes in this course.
Even while living in a small family we are connected to the entire world. A family is a small part of the entire world. In the afternoon it was asked if a family makes the world, or the world makes a family. Which among the two is more important? It is clear that a small part leads to the whole, but without knowing the whole, the small also cannot be understood. Both the family and the world are important in their respective places. By knowing the part we may not know the whole, but knowing the whole we know the part. If our world is fine, then our family is fine. If we can keep the family fine, the world will go on becoming fine. What we are trying to say is that if we think we can keep our small family good, and needn’t care for the larger world of which it is a part, if we have severed our relation with the world – the whole, then even our family is in no good.
There is a wall that separates our family from the rest of the world. There is much difference on the two sides. On the side of our family our real face i.e. our nature cannot remain hidden for long. We can wear masks to trick the world. But within the family our nature comes out as it is. It may happen that with the world we deal very calmly, lovingly, but if this does not continue with us when we are in our family, then we need to improve ourselves. We may say, that some person is very calm, never gets angry; it may be true, but go and ask his children or his wife, they would know how he really is. We really hear a lot of such cases. Usually the wives complain about their husbands. “He deals so nicely with all the people outside, but the moment he comes within the house, they become so different.” Outside, we can repress our real nature, but for how long! It has to come out. And it appears in its true colour inside the house.
If we cannot be peaceful in our home, then we cannot be we peaceful in reality and would not find access to the inner path. If they say about someone, “He practices so much. He is inward drawn. He is really advanced on the path. He hears nada”. You can ask about all this from his wife. She may not tell you. But she really knows the truth. Someone may say, “This man is so kind, he cannot bear anyone suffering”. You can confirm that from the servants in his house. They would really know about his kindness. Outside the house, we can, and usually do put up many masks to hide what is really inside us.
The small family in which we live is really a great laboratory to help us understand ourselves, our true nature. If we cannot improve ourselves while we are living in the family, understand, we are doing no bhakti, no sadhana. It does not matter if one is a great orator, a great Mahatma, if in one’s conduct with one’s family he does not possess the positive traits; then all is a waste. One has not learnt his lessons. To say that family is an impediment, that one should leave it for it, never gives peace – means he will be unable to find that peace anywhere.
Let us take an example. Once there lived a man in a village. Everyone called him mad, because he really did funny things. He would use heaters in the summer, and use fans in the winter. If he was asked to switch off the lights, he would put them on. One day, he really became tired of the “insults” that were always coming his way. He became despondent. He knew he was all normal. No problem with him! So he decided to leave and go somewhere far far away where no one would know him, and hence none would call him mad. So it happened. He came to a forest. It was turning dark. He wanted to hide, lest someone would come and identify him as mad. So he dug a hole in the ground to hide himself. There came a passerby and saw this man, crouched in a funny pose in the hole, and he said, “Hey are you mad? What are you doing there?” (laughter) . So it is. If our conduct in our family is not good, it will never he good anywhere.
People coming to the ashram once in a while say, we will also like to live here. Here it is so peaceful. At home we can’t even breathe. But when it becomes all-solitary there, then they begin to get uncomfortable and want to go away. He who has not begun to master himself, while living in his home, in his family, can never master himself, irrespective of where he goes.
We would state this. If we do not respect our mother and father, if we do not have reverence towards them, then we cannot have reverence towards any saint or guru too. And despite this, if we revere some saint, some mahatma then we are only pretending.
If there is not mutual love between brothers, then there cannot be true friendship outside. If it seems to be there, it will based all selfish; once the agenda is fulfilled, the friendship would tend to lose its meaning. There would also not be love with a fellow spiritual aspirant.
If we have not truly fulfilled our responsibilities towards our children, they we will fail to fulfill them elsewhere too. Yes, we may do many tasks, but all those tasks would again be coloured in hypocrisy. They would not tend to purify our heart and lead us godwards.
And the most important relation is that of husband and wife. If there exists a wall between the two, there is trickery in this intimate relationship, they are not sincere towards each other, then the same wall would also stand between each of them and God. It will stand strong in their relationship with the Divine.
And all these things are quite into each other. It cannot be that a husband and wife have a very good relation between them, but not with their parents. If this is true, then somewhere in their relationship are growing the weeds of selfishness.
The household life is the field where we are to purify ourselves. Even if we fail, we get more opportunities. This is especially true of the Indian culture, where relations do not break very easily. People fight but then again make amends. We are to go on learning the lessons. In this way, this is different from the Western way of living where divorces are so common. In that culture household life is not the place of learning the lessons of service, selflessness and renunciation of fruits. It is more like two people come together if their interests meet and then seek to enjoy life, but separate when there is a clash of opinions.
There are very few families where the natures of husband and wife are similar. Mostly, it so happens, that one of them wants to serve and meditate and be in solitude, but the other wants to go out. What is happening in these cases? Now is this an impediment for each one of them? No, it is an opportunity to climb and steep cliff. When the natures meet then there is no struggle. One may get angry and the other too gets angry and the matter is finished. But the problem arises when the natures are different. In such cases it is invariably the case that one of them is more evolved than the other. In such cases he/she gets a chance to rise even higher. And history is lined with plentiful examples of such cases.
Wherever there have been great mahatmas who have lived a household life, there have been such a gap between the two, or they have been great siddhas from their very birth, like Nanak and Kabir. Take the case of Meera. How much difference there was! And there have been many more such wives in history where they made this difference a means to evolve even further. And there have been men like Socrates, Tukaram, Eknath who remained extremely tolerant in face of their spouse’s anger. Thus, one who is more evolved, is more drawn inwards, gets a very opportunity for growth, if he does not takes off his eyes from the goal, even in such adverse circumstances.
Wherever we are is the result of our karmas. This is where the Divine Law has placed us. If we fail once, we will get more opportunities until we evolve and learn our lessons. What we wish to emphasize here is the householder, who could not go inwards while living in his home, will never be able to do so by leaving his household life.
One complains – “How can I manage? My children are so small.” But know, that for those who are attached, the responsibilities will only keep growing as the children grow. But those who are aware from the beginning, will go on becoming freer with time. Their web of outward responsibilities will give way to liberation from them.
Long time ago, we met a couple in their sixties. They were in Vanaprastha. They told that they had planned from quite early that they would take Sannyas or Vanaprastha the day the husband retired from his service. They went to his farewell party ready to go straight to Haridwar from there, to their Guruji’s ashram. But this only happens when it is clear from the beginning. If we think that right now let me fulfill my responsibilities and then I will thinking of turning inwards, then it never happens. A lawyer came to Siyaram Yogi and asked for his advise as to what he should be doing after his retirement. The saint replied, “You would be doing what you are doing now. Now you are going to court. Then you will seek the same thing somewhere else.” It is like this. We will end up doing that which we are doing now.
Learn the lessons living in the household. Do not make pretence and excuses. Identify your true nature. And live with your true nature outside. (With a laugh) Or just as well as we conduct ourselves outside, try to be like that, in truth, in the family as well. You never get angry with your customers. Then why should you get angry with your children. You may still get angry with a customer and you will not suffer much loss. But doing so at home, you will incur huge losses. But our sight is focused only on wealth and money. We are not concerned about our spiritual growth. We do not worry that we might end up maligning our hearts with anger, but are always concerned not to lose out on a meager profit. So, understand what are you seeking. If we really want to evolve, to travel within, then the learning starts at home. That is not a test, it is the school of learning these lessons. In the Indian culture, you do not fail easily in what the household has to offer. In the West, one mistake can cost you the marriage. That is not so here. James was with us sometime back. It so happened that Baldev Ji and his wife were then celebrating their 25th marriage anniversary. James was quite astonished and remarked to Baldev Ji, “25 years with one wife!” (laughter). Yes sometimes arguments do arise. But go on learning.
13-14th October, Mandi Gobindgarh
- Answers without question carry no value. You may get best answers, but if you do not have the right questions with you, you cannot use those answers. If you go to a doctor without knowing your ailment, you cannot use the medicines that he may give to you. And further, if you know the question and get an answer, then without applying that answer in your life, again it would not be of much value. So, those who wish to understand crumbling relationhips in the modern society, must know what problems they face in their own lives individually, and then only the answers could be put to use.
- Times have changed. Earlier there was one earning hand in a family and he was, in a way, the leader of the family as well. Now, in one family there is a doctor, an engineer etc. and further they work at different places. Someone works in Delhi, someone even abroad. So the family cannot live under one roof any longer. But even in this, if the relationships between the family members do not break, then this means that the thread of their relationships is slowly enveloping the entire world.
- Let us understand this as follows. The branches and fruits of a tree crumble in a storm. If their contact with the roots is totally severed they die. But if the roots remain healthy, and the tree keeps growing, then even if the fruits fall off a tree, there emerges a complete orchard in place of them.
- For the saints the entire world is a family. This is the goal. The goal of any householder. As long as we try to save our little families alone, the relationships are bound to go on crumbling. If our goal would not be big, then we would fail to save our small family as well.
- The household is a school of learning. We call it grihastha–ashram. In our conduct with people outside, we can pretend to be otherwise from what we really are. But we can’t pretend at home. Our true face emerges at home, amongst our family members. And it is only where our true nature emerges, do we get the chance for improvement or growth.
- One who has set right his relationship with his family, which includes parents, spouse, children and other relatives, for him the entire world will go on becoming a family. Then it does not matter that he may live near or far from his family. Relationships would not crumble.
- If we do not have respect for our parents, our first teachers, then nowhere else can we be respectful, though we can feign or pretend to revere someone. If we do not have genuine love for our brothers and sisters, we will never make a true friend in the outside world too. If we become friends with someone, that will just be to satisfy one of our selfish needs. And supremely important is the relation of husband and wife. If they have some kind of a wall between them, then that same wall will also stand between each of them and the Divine.
- We take an example. We know from Ramayana that Sita Ji had to go to the forest hermitage when she was to give birth to the twins. This was an order from Lord Ram himself. Many doubts and arguments are raised even today about the righteousness of this action. Mahatma Gandhi, who was a devotee of Ram, was once asked the same thing. He said, that its absolutely correct answer can only be given by Mother Sita. And what does Sita Ji say? She tells her husband to care for the people of the kingdom. As for her, she was his power, she could never be separated from him, and that it will be good that the child(ren) would be brought up in the positive vibes of the Rishi Ashram.
- Now, we are sannyasis, but in a way, we are bigger grihasthis. All kinds of problems are presented to us and we know something about them.
- The first thing is that we have forgotten our goal. We are unaware that a householder’s goal is to attain God, Divine Bliss. And if we only end up pursuing the objects of senses, wealth, power and prestige, then for certain, the relationships would go on crumbling. If we give more importance to these things than pursuing the goal of Divine bliss, then relationships would break. Money is a power. It should be utilized. But we should not put cart before the horse.
- This pursuit for increased wealth has led women to earn as well in the modern society, even at the cost of familial peace. Recently in Canada, a husband was complaining that his wife asks him to do household chores, because her earnings are as much as her husband . The wife feels she is no less than the husband. But this competition for equality leads to tension and strife. Man and women cannot be similar. This attitude of seeking superiority is wrong for both are different in body, thought, and their sphere of work etc. Instead, each of them should rise higher in their respective spheres and should complement each other in the growth. One should not try to outdo the other.
- When money becomes the goal the following also happens. Now, God has willed it so that women alone will bear the child. A mother has the great task of giving virtues to the child. But when she wants to earn as well, the children are brought up by servants of the house. In such a case how would the child learn what only a mother can give!
- Money is an inert thing which can only make us its slave. Unless, the family tree keeps itself healthy by tending to the its roots which lies in seeking the divine, it would get entrapped in the delusory goals and relationships would invariably crumble.
16th October, Kila Raipur: The month of “Assu” went by to usher in “Katak”. In the Guru Granth Sahib, there is a wonderful composition called Barah Maha (Twelve Months) which portrays the emotions of a devotee with the passing seasons. About the month of “Katak” it is said there
Katak karm kamaavane, dosh naa kaahu jog, parmesar te bhulian vyappan sabhe rog…katak hove saadh sang binseh sabhe sochh.
i.e. in the month of Katak, earn good karma. Do not blame anyone. All kinds of ills happen only when one forgets the Lord…in the month of Katak, live in the company of the saints; this removes all doubts and anxieties.
This was the way Maharaj Ji began his discourse in this episode of the monthly spiritual gathering at Harisar Ashram, Kila Raipur, held on the first day of every Indian month. Below salient points from the discourse are summarized:
- Those who wish to delve within should not blame anyone for their predicament, except their own karmas. This is the Lord’s creation, so how can we find faults with it. Yet, if you see some wrong somewhere, go on cleaning the darkness that surrounds you and keep advancing onwards.
- The beginning of the spiritual process happens with satsang. In satsang we are to learn to earn good karma. Yes, we are to earn, make a profit of 1) of the Lord’s Name; we are to earn it so much that the Name permeates and vibrates in every pore and cell of the body 2) of the way we conduct ourselves externally.
- The beginning of external conduct begins with the family. If we are very good with the people outside our home, but show irritation and anger on our family members, that implies that we are not genuinely good. We have put up a show of goodness. We are hypocritical.
- This happens when our only goal is to get wealth or prestige from the society. We do not really desire to attain the Lord. It is impossible to attain the Divine bliss, without cleansing one’s heart and this process begins when we genuinely and sincerely act virtuously with our family.
- There are many challenges when we live in our family and in general with people. We see many faults in others. But know this, if we are truly cleansed of the faults within us, we will also not find faults with others. Then, if we see faults in someone, we will not hate him/her for that, but try with great love and pain to help him overcome them.
- So, a wife who feels troubled by her mother-in-law should first of all learn to feel the same way towards her, as her own mother, and in this way the her troubles would cease to be. This is true of all relations. Our conduct in the world is the means to help us purify ourselves, first of all.