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
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
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
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
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
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 ordinarypeople? 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
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
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
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
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