Saturday, June 3, 2017

                                   Imaginary Conversations with God - 5 

Devotee - Swami, may I repeat the question? Last time you said you have come to promote spiritual life among mankind. What is spiritual life, and what is not?
Swami - When you look at a tree, what do you see? The trunk, the branches, and the leaves, don’t you?
D -  Yes swami.
S -  Does the tree live on the trunk, the branches, and the leaves?
D -  No Swami, it lives on its roots.
S -  So that which you cannot see is the source of that which you see; and your inability to see something does not prove its non-existence.
D -  Yes, so it appears.
S - A tall building stands on its foundation dug deep into the earth. The building cannot stand without its hidden foundation, will it?
D -  No Swami, the foundation holds the entire building in its place.
S - Likewise, whether you are able to see it or not, a person has his roots in God, who is normally not seen. One who believes in this, and tries to feel his roots in God, begins to live a spiritual life.
D -  Why then is it called spiritual, not anything else?
S - Spirit is the essence of a thing, the basis of a thing, its fundamental aspect on which it exists. You are using telephone, computer, fridge etc. How do they run? If you have no power connection in your house, will they work? No. So you see the fundamental to all these tools is electricity.
D - Then what is fundamental to life, Swami?
S - Kindness, love, devotion, sacrifice, truth, trust are some of the values without which life cannot go on. A spiritual person believes in and lives these fundamental values spontaneously.

D - But Swami, there is plenty of selfishness, cruelty, untruth, exploitation in the world, and life is going on all the same.

S - These are no doubt visible effects of a humanity which has lost its path. But if you look at it closely, you see there are a lot of goodness, kindness, love, sacrifice and truth still holding up life. Humanity is crying out for stability, and for happiness, for it knows where its fundamental needs are. Life is going on, but it is threatened at every step. Do you want this to continue?

D – Of course not. But people who do not promote these fundamental values far outnumber those who want to promote them. They can gradually suck the values that support spiritual life.

S - Unless you allow them to. Even if you allow, God won’t. Tell me, what would
       you prefer: a life lived in kindness, understanding, compassion, sharing, or
       a life lived in cruelty, selfishness, anger and hate?

D - I wouldn’t surely prefer the later to the former, Swami. But when I am surrounded by animal passions, I wouldn’t be allowed to live a different life. My security shall be in jeopardy. It won’t be practical.
S - If a person who believes in negative values of life can stand by them, why can’t a person who believes in positive values do the same? If you stand by God Power, God Power would stand by you. Life is meant to be an investment in light, not companionship with darkness.
D -  What is God Power swami?
S -  Dharma is God Power, Truth is God Power, Love , Kindness, Compassion – all this is God Power. These powers build up life, they always endure because they are fundamental to life.
D - But what would anyone get by following these spiritual values except pain, suffering, injustice and insecurity?
S - Can you assure me those who do not live these fundamental values do not go through pain, suffering, and insecurity?
D – Hmm… Swami.
S -  Then if pain, suffering, and fear of insecurity are common to both, why not go through them for a noble purpose than for an evil purpose?
D -  You have again become difficult, Swami. What is noble purpose?
S - To live on the side of God. Those who live a spiritual life, in God, they live for a cause, a value. They do not live for themselves. The world lives on their sacrifice, their faith, their love, their kindness, and their forgiveness. You know the story of Jesus. Though he had the power of saving himself from a painful death, he preferred to go through it, for he knew in his death shall be written the story of the triumph of God. Krishna says in the Geeta that the suffering and pain of spiritual people forces him to take a body. Isn’t it glorious to live and die for God than rejecting God, or being indifferent to God?
D - Swami……it appears that to live a spiritual life is a constant challenge, a constant strain!
S – Feeling strain is a sign of anxiety; anxiety is a result of doubt and lack of faith. Spirituality teaches you how to strengthen your faith; faith in God, and faith in yourself. It is a process of continuous self-renewal. I thought you wanted to be my soldier!
D - Yes Swami… I want to be your soldier… But it appears you want me to be forever in fighting trim!
S - Therefore I have a very small army, and we fight all alone to keep the humanity, the globe alive. I sometimes come down to see if I can recruit more soldiers, but my search never ends. Only those who are very efficient, very devoted, and very brave are recruited in my army.  Not that I need an army to establish my greatness, but to share my joy of working together for the sake of my children makes me seek soldiers.
D -  Swami, I am both scared and inspired by your words.
S -  My son, there are two ways to live: to crush others in order to live a life that stinks, or to live in such a way that even if you are crushed, you leave behind a trail of fragrance. But to be sweet is not to allow the evil to crush you. Yudhistir thought he could win over evil by being good to it. He forgot that Dharma cannot be upheld by mere goodwill, you have to stand up for it, you have to protect it, and then you will receive its protection. Have you read the story of Prithviraj and Mohammed Ghori in history?

D –Yes swami. Mohammed Ghori attacked India 17 times, and 17 times Prithviraj defeated him, and forgave him. Next time his father in law betrayed him and Ghori defeated, and blinded Prithviraj.

S - Forgiveness is a fine quality, it shows your strength, not weakness. Once or twice you can forgive your enemy. But 17 times! It was the dharma of a king to protect the land and the people. Prithviraj’s personal pride prevented him from performing his duty as a king.

D - But Swami, stand up means to fight, and fighting is violence, himsa. And one of the basic principles of spirituality you have taught is ahimsa.
S - My boy, you are completely confused about the two. Suppose you have a decaying toe affected by gangrene. Doctor says you must amputate it if you want to save your body. Will you say no to him because you want to practise ahimsa?
D – No Swami, that would be foolish. To save the body I must sacrifice the sick toe.
S – And do you sacrifice it out of hate, or anger or malice?
D –No swami, I still love my toe, but its presence in the body will poison the  whole body. So I agree to amputate it.
S – Therefore there is no himsa in amputating the toe. Anger is himsa, hate is himsa, greed is himsa, selfishness is himsa, destruction for personal gain is himsa. Fighting to establish greater good, as the surgeon cuts out the toe for the health of the body, is not violence.
D -  It is  very difficult to comprehend Swami. Please speak more about it.
S -  Today I have spoken to you long. Next time we shall discuss that.
           - To continue

Friday, March 10, 2017

                                  IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD

Devotee - I have been eagerly waiting to hear You Swami. Last time You promised You would tell me how to become Your soldier.
Swami - Why do you want to be my soldier?
D - Then I can work for Your mission.
S - What is my mission?
D - To establish dharma on earth, and help people live according to it.
S -  How would you do that? Do you need a strong army to establish dharma?
D - No swami. I understand you are using the power of love to achieve that. Any other power is violence, and violence never wins.
S -  Why should people live according to dharma? Do you know what it is?
D - Well, Swami, please you tell me what it is.
S -  All that takes people closer to God, and closer to each other, is dharma.

D - Ah! What a wonderful definition of dharma!

S -  And dharma is that eternal truth which promotes at all times a wholesome humanity. It is however not a cake walk to follow it. Why should people follow the difficult path?

D - Swami, I think the best path is always difficult, and the easy one is not always the best. I would rather do the best thing, which is difficult, than the easy one which may be wrong. And besides…..
S -  Besides..?
D - I want to follow you, for I love you. You have also asked me to follow the Master, and you are my Master.
S -  Look my son, all this is mere words. Following me does not mean joining my school, or college, staying in the hostel, wearing white in school and college, not eating non-veg food, sitting in a privileged place in the Kulwant Hall, participating in bhajans and the like.
D -  Yes Swami, there ought to be more to this.
S -  What is the first quality of a soldier?
D -  Obedience.
S -  Second?
D -  Loyalty.                                                                                                              
S -  Third?
D -  Courage.
S -  Then?
D – Maybe expert in wielding weapons.
S -  Is that all?
D – Hmm…. I am not sure swami.
S - You haven’t yet mentioned the most important quality of a soldier. To go to battle just because you want to prove your superiority does not make one a soldier. He must have a good cause to fight for, and it is strong faith in the cause that makes you a soldier.
D -  How is that necessary Swami?
S - If you don’t have very strong faith in the cause, you cannot give your best, obedience, loyalty, courage, weapons notwithstanding. The power that comes from soul alone is invincible, and faith draws that power from the soul. Therefore just before the first arrow was released in the Kurukshetra war Yudhistir declared that anyone from his side who did not believe in the justness of their cause, may go the other side, and anyone from the other side who believes that their cause was just, was welcome to their side. This brought one of the kaurava brothers to the Pandava camp.

D - Ah! I am blessed to hear these words. That is so Swami, without faith a person cannot give his best. May I interrupt Swami?
S -  By all means, my boy.
D - Swami, when my father put me in your school here for +2 in order to ‘discipline’ me, I was not at all happy. I came from a city school, so I did not like the strict life here. I called it overdose of discipline, sorry Swami, but I really felt like that, and I cannot hide anything from you. I did not like you also, for I thought you were the cause of all my suffering. However, I did not neglect my studies. But I did not fare well in my first unit Test. I didn’t care either. But gradually I got used to life here, and began to see how you want to mould us into great human beings. Then my faith in you and myself improved, and in the 3rd unit test I got the first rank!
S - That is why even after staying with me for decades people run away from me, and even speak against me.
D - This happens because they have no faith in the cause, Swami? But how does that happen even after staying with you so long?
S - It is not the length that matters, it is the strength that matters. If you do not have faith in someone, can you obey him? Can you be loyal to him? Can you show courage in fulfilling your commitments to him? Can you follow him? Can you make sacrifices when the need arises?
D -  Yes swami, without faith in the person, it is not possible. But cause?
S - You should remember my son, a soldier cannot say, “I have love and respect for my commander, but I cannot always obey him”. Likewise, you cannot say you love me, respect me, and want to be my soldier, but find it very difficult to have faith in what I stand for. Faith and living the faith are same. No cause can stand alone, and no one can live well without living for a cause. You must understand this very well. Just living life is vegetable life.
D - You, and what you stand for! I don’t understand the subtleties Swami.
S - There are no subtleties my boy. I have not come to play silly little games with teenagers. I have come to clarify, and empower the paths to God. Therefore me and my mission are same, for I am the path. I am at the beginning, and at the end I am. If you claim you love me, then you must love the path too and walk it. If you do that, you obtain my love. If you are unwilling to follow the path, you cannot love me, and be my soldier. The natural charms I have, the powers I have may attract you for some time, but the moment you realize that to be with me is to pay premiums, you will quit. But I tell you my boy it would be the most unfortunate thing in your life if that happens. When later you feel sorry for it, you would have lost the opportunity of many lifetimes.

D - Swami, I am scared even to think what it means. Please explain it further.

S - Me, and my cause are the same. You cannot be two persons at the same time, one to yourself, another to me. I am in your heart. I see what you don’t, or pretend you don’t. How long do you think I would close my eyes to your double-dealing? Therefore I always tell you I don’t want your
       devotion, I want your transformation. This is spirituality.
S - Swami, I am not sure I quite understand this spirituality. What exactly is this?
S -  Oh, I see you have fundamental problems. I will explain that next time.

        --To Continue


Saturday, February 25, 2017

                             IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD


Devotee – Swami, the whole of this week I have been thinking about what you said last Thursday. The more I think about it, the more wonderful it appears.
Swami – What appears to you as wonderful?

D -  This idea of being in contact with You all the time.

S -  What is so wonderful about the idea?
D - Swami, if I can remain in contact with You all the time….I mean if I can feel your love in my heart all the time…..what could be more joyful than this!
S -  Why if? Do you doubt the possibility? Do you think you can’t do so? Do you think it is too difficult a task?
D -  I have no doubt about the elevating experience it would give me, but I doubt my own ability.
S -  Why doubt yourself? That is man’s greatest enemy.
D -  Yes Swami, that is so. But I still do not know how to achieve it. To feel Your love all the time in my heart….that is a tremendous possibility. At times I feel it, but very soon lose it. I cannot hold on to it even for a few hours, and here I am expecting it to be with me without a break! I must confess my weakness, so that You can guide me.
S -  It is good you confess it, but even without your confession, I know it, for I
      am in your heart. But don’t talk of it as an achievement.
D -  Swami?  
S -  My boy, Bhakti is not an achievement, for it is not gaining anything , but losing everything. When you love me, you don’t gain me, but lose yourself in me. And when you lose yourself in me, in fact, you gain yourself, for then I manifest in you; I think in your thoughts, work in your work, live through your life. That is what you really are.
D -  Ah!......Swami, the grandness of the vision thrills me….
S -  Then let this grand vision guide you.
D -   Swami, You just now said, you are always in my heart. Then where is the
        problem? Why is this talk of Your flowing into my heart? You are already there, then how can you flow into a place you have already occupied?

S - I know I am in your heart, but do you know? Since you do not know, you have some problem in recognizing it. Therefore I am using a language you can understand.
D – Sorry Swami, I put it wrongly. I wanted to say that since You are already there in my heart, where is the need of Your coming into it? And why don’t I experience Your presence within myself?
S - Because you do not recognise my presence within yourself. Experiencing God is not a static but a dynamic experience, so I mentioned the image of flowing.
D -  Swami, you are getting more and more difficult !
S - I will make it easier for you. You keep foodstuffs in your fridge. But only when you are hungry you remember to open it. If not hungry, you keep your fridge shut, and almost forget about food-in-the-fridge.
D -  Which means, we remember you when we need you.
S - And your need for me is so limited that you do not feel the need to remember me all the time. Suppose someone has a chronic stomach ache. He may be doing a hundred things throughout the day, but he is always aware of his pain. It will be almost visible on his face. If you are waiting for an all important interview in two days for a very lucrative job, whatever you may be doing, wherever you may be going, the thought of the interview shall predominate. But I do not occupy such an important place in
       your life. You need me once in a while; so you remember me once in a while.

D - Swami, we always pray that you make only good things happen in our lives, protect us from dangers and difficulties, make everybody happy, we always succeed in all our good ventures….
S - That I stand as a watchdog to your property, your health, your position; that I continue to push you up and up until where you want to reach I do not know !
D -  Swami !
 S - There is no end to your need for me; You need me because you need so many other things that you believe I could give you without any tag in exchange for a bhajan, a little charity, a new food or dress habit, and a few pictures of mine on your walls! How cheap I am in your account!

D -  Swami, I shall be a great sinner if I think so.
S - You have strange notions about me. You want to please me by singing a song, by showing me a piece of designed thermocol, by making a speech with borrowed ideas, by showing me a O grade in exams, which I gave you, and in many other funny ways, while you remain the same! You always forget that I am sitting in your heart, and can see your motives even before you are fully aware of them.
D - Then how can we please You, Swami?
S -  My child, I am not interested in what you claim to do for me, but in you. I have come for you, to love you, to be loved by you, to take you home. I need you, not your antics. The work I give you is only a communication channel to contact you. You must need me in such a manner that I will always need you.
D - But Swami, You have no needs; You are Purnam itself, how can we make You need us?
S - Surely I don’t need you for my sake. I am complete in all aspects; I do not lack anything – so what can you give me that I don’t have? I have all powers
      at my command – so what can you do for me that they can’t? Then why do you still tell me you make so many sacrifices for me, as if I need all that you give me, or give up for me? I have come to fulfill you, therefore I shall be satisfied if, and only if, you need me because you love me.
D -Please forgive me Swami, I am not able to understand the difference between needing You for something, and needing You only.
S - I will tell you; but this is not the first time that I shall have shown you the way to light. There is nothing that I haven’t said several times to persuade you to walk on the highway to God. But you have a tendency to dismiss all that as ‘all this philosophy’! You take what pleases you, not what is good for you.
       D - Swami, I humbly confess we do not always try to understand what You say.

S - And far less willing to practise them! Most people need God only in an
       emergency. A terminal disease, a financial crisis, a bereavement, a threat – and they call upon God for help. The emergency is passed, and God is shelved! Then there are people who need God for success, whatever they take it to be; for a child, for a job, for a house, a good spouse etc.

D -  Swami, is it wrong to pray for such things?
S - May not be wrong, but it is making very limited use of God. In that case, your love and adoration increases or decrease according to whether God fulfills them, or not.
D -  Yes Swami, sometimes this happens.
S -  Then there are people who need God for enlightenment, for understanding the meaning of life. They know that even after most physical and mental needs are satisfied, one can still be denied peace, contentment, and joy, for God alone is the source of the juice of life.
D - But still that is needing God for something, isn’t so?
S - Yes it is; but that is closest to God’s heart, closest to your own nature. In that case you need God for what He would like to give you gladly. Thus your need for Him and His need for you synchronise. This man rates God as the highest need in his life; not an occasional, or alternative need, or one among many other needs. That person is very dear to God.
D -  Are there any other types, Swami? 

S -  Yes. The fourth type just loves God. Their relationship with God is not need based. They don’t need God for something. They develop such closeness with God that He would be eager to do something for them. For them God is the only reality, the rest of the world is only a shadow. They are forever in communion with God, and forever in peace, in contentment, in unspeakable joy. They are the most powerful people on earth.
D -  Most powerful, Swami! How?
S -  Because my power can flow through them freely. I can use them whatever way I want to. So I protect them, I make them achieve the impossible. They are my instruments.
       D -  How do You use them swami?

       S – Not to win kingdoms, but to establish my kingdom on earth, to bring peace,
       contentment, joy into the hearts of people. They are my invincible soldiers on earth, but sadly very few people choose to be my soldiers. Hanuman was one, Jesus another.
D -  Swami, I would like to be another.
S -  My child, how I wish you understand why you and I are here today!

                - To Continue