Saturday, July 29, 2017

                        Conversations With God  7

Devotee  – Pranams Swami. Been waiting for your call.
Swami - Yes I know. You don’t want to learn anything, just sit with me, for it gives you a pleasant feeling.
D –No Swami, it gives me an elevating feeling. In the elevated Presence all learning becomes easy and clear.
S – Therefore you must create within you an elevating situation in which you can learn your lessons fast, and gradually ready yourself for the ultimate experience. That is called spiritualizing life. My purpose of giving you this special time while thousands of devotees are waiting outside is to help you and the boys to do just this, spiritualise life, their lives, and in turn life in society.
D – Swami, this appears to be a tremendous gift of Grace you are giving us with a tremendous amount of responsibility.
S – Yes, Grace comes to you by God’s will, but to retain it is your responsibility. So don’t waste precious time in frivolous pursuits, in unbecoming doubts; start restructuring your lives to carry out your responsibilities.  
D – How can we preserve this grace Swami?
S – Discipline your lives. Discipline is the twin brother of devotion. When you have these two you will know what is your duty, your dharma, and live for it. Devotion is not blind. It helps you to make right choices in life.
D –This devotion, duty, making choices all getting mixed up in my mind. Devotion is loving God sincerely, isn’t so Swami?
S - And do nothing? You will sit at one place, and sing Ram nam, and Ram will bring you food, make your bed, clean your house and your clothes, and stand guard at the door when you sleep! Is that devotion?
D – No swami, not that. How can that be devotion…. O, I am really confused.
S – Tell me who do you think is a great devotee.
D – Swami, Hanuman.
S – Good. Did he simply sit in a cave, and chant Ram…Ram…Ram..?
D – No Swami, he did so much for Lord Rama.
S – Why didn’t he simply sit at one place and sing Ram bhajans?
D – I think he wanted to express his devotion through Ramaseva. Swami, now I remember you said in one of your discourses what Hanuman told Bibhishana. When Bibhishana complained to him that he was chanting Ramanama for years, but Rama had not given His darshan to him, Hanuman told him that he was chanting Ram’s name alright, but not doing Rama’s work. He must express his love for Rama through right action. Mother Sita was imprisoned in Lanka, and he had not even informed Rama about it!
S – Yes, devotion purifies action. Without pure action devotion is ineffective. Now you understand why I need an army? I have no enemy, but I need an army to do my work, which is establishing dharma-living in the world. That is the way you can preserve my grace, doing my work.
D – Now I understand Swami.
S – My apparently getting angry with you is my way of preparing you for my work. When a mother gets angry, it means that she wants to discipline you, wants you to obey her without question, however unpleasant it may be. If you want to be my soldier, you cannot question my decision, or my intention.
D – Swami, how shall we mix discipline with devotion?
S – It is not mixing two opposites, it is recognizing one as the other’s face. When Tyagaraja was requested by the king to be his court poet, Tyagaraja asked himself, ‘O mind, is nidhi (wealth) better than sannidhi (proximity to God)?’ He spontaneously chose sannidhi. Wealth had no attraction for him in the face of devotion, and he did not arrive at this choice after disciplining his mind. It was just another face of devotion.
D –So you want to say, swami, devotion and discipline are complementary to each other?
S – Yes, you understood rightly.
D –But Swami, everybody cannot be Tyagaraja. So what about ordinary   people? We love you, but find it difficult to follow the discipline you
       impose. Why is it so?
S – Because you really don’t love me. If you love me, you will love all that I love.
D – Yes Swami, that is true.
S – Take an example. Before a girl is married into a family, she did not know them. But from the next day of her marriage she begins to look upon her husband’s family as her family. Her husband’s mother becomes her mother, his father her father, his brother her brother, and if anyone of them falls sick she feels sorry. All this happens because she loves her husband. She cannot tell her husband, as now wives are saying, they are your family, not mine. I have nothing to do with them. Similarly, if you claim you love me, you cannot say, ‘Swami, I love you, but I cannot follow all this discipline which you impose on me’, can you?
D – No Swami, I must love to follow all that.
S –When you see discipline as another face of devotion, it will have great impact on your personal and social life too.
D – Swami, devotion is a very personal thing. How can it affect our social life?
S –If you have devotion, can you indulge in hurting others, being cruel to anybody? In vengeful action? Can you distribute favour at a price? Can you buy and sell morals?
D – No Swami, apparently not.
S – You will have daiva preeti and papa bheeti; and society can be rid of the most dangerous virus, dishonesty in private and public life. This will happen, of course, if you see discipline as a face of devotion.
D – But Swami, nowadays people don’t have love for God.
S – That is not true. Why do you think hundreds of thousands of people gather here, in Prasanthinilayam? What do I give them? How many people I talk to? Still they go back to change their lives. Everyone loves God, everyone wants to be happy, to be safe, to succeed in life, to live in peace, don’t they? That is the face of devotion too. Only they don’t know, or afraid to accept, that the happiness, prosperity, success and peace they want is available when they are ready to discipline their lives.
D – Swami, this is such a wonderful idea! Why don’t people understand this?
S – Did you understand it? You only said you love me, but find it difficult to follow the discipline I impose!
D – Sorry Swami, I really said so. But when you explain anything it is so clear, and easy to understand. Swami, I have another question.
S – Ask.
D –You have been referring to discipline so often. What exactly is this discipline? Wearing white, not eating non veg, getting up in the morning, coming to college in a line etc, is this discipline?
S – All this is discipline as much as a shining silver plate without any food in it is a sumptuous dinner.
D – What! How can an empty plate be a sumptuous dinner?
S – Similarly, what you wear, what you eat, how you walk, how you speak can be symptoms of discipline, like the plate that hold the food, but real discipline in inside you. It is in your thoughts, in your beliefs, in your way of life. Discipline is dharma-living, in unity of thought, word and deed. It is compassion, it is truthfulness, it is purity of action, it is seeing God in all.
D – Swami, this sounds very interesting, but very difficult to follow.
S – Do you participate in the Sports and Cultural festival we celebrate every year?
D – Yes swami.
S - What did you do last year?
D – I was in the bike stunt.
S – You just took your bike, drove into the stadium, and started performing?
D – No Swami, what do you say! We had to practise it 8 to 10 hours every day
       for more than two weeks.
S – Why did you undertake such a difficult task?
D – Swami, we want to please you by our action. The thought of your smiling at us, and saying well-done makes it easy for us.
S – Similarly, any work can be difficult if it is done without love. If you love to live a great life, a life of spiritual fulfillment, you will not take any work as difficult. I have told boys on many occasions there are three ways you can approach you life’s work: one without love, second with love, and third love without work.
D – Yes swami, I heard that, can’t say I understood it properly.
S – Take the first, with a little change, discipline without love. Since you are forcing to discipline yourself, you will drop it at the slightest pretext. Therefore, when you go home during holidays, some of you take it as a big relief. Second, discipline with love. As long as you love me, you will follow all discipline willingly. But if I don’t respond to you the way you want, you get angry with me, and rebel against all codes of discipline you followed so long. But if you really love me, truly love me, all discipline will come naturally to you.
D – Yes Swami, that is true. You are the greatest teacher on earth, You can make us understand even the toughest idea easily.
S – Even the greatest teacher can do nothing to an unwilling student.
D – Swami, one more question.
S – That’s enough for today. Next week you can ask your question. In the meantime keep contemplating on what I said today.
D – Thank you Swami.


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