Saturday, October 19, 2013

God is something you have to experience

Hari om.
You know, we make spirituality and God secondary in our lives. And during Navaratri and now, at this pournami, it clearly indicates that we pray when we feel like praying. We go to service, to temple, when it suits us. The time has come now for all of us to hold onto God dearly. I think I say this every time. We need to understand one thing: that this life of ours is not about just enjoying the material aspects. It is about enjoying the material and experiencing the spiritual. The only way you can experience the spiritual aspect is when you go to places where bhajana, or service, is rendered, where the vibration takes you into states of ecstasy; that place is called a temple or an ashram. Nowhere else can you have that kind of ecstasy, yet we're so engrossed and caught up in the material aspect that we forget to render some service to God. My guru always said to me, “Always get up from your little dreaming and realise who you are”. And live that realisation for the rest of your life. Because this journey that you are on now, this material journey, is only a maya, a dreaming, nothing more than that. Tomorrow morning you might not wake up. That's how this journey is. It's only a maya, a great illusion in front of you, and yet you enjoy this illusion to such an extent that you forget that you, the self, exist. You've forgotten that.

Spirituality is a state of ultimate sense. What that means is that when all the nonsense is out of you, then you are spiritual. As long as you have the nonsense material aspects within, you're not spiritual at all. Do not become God-fearing: “I have to go to pournami because I put my name on the board”. You don't have to go. It must be something that happens from within you. An automatic urge, a divine urge, a spiritual urge, a condition within you that allows you this space, time and moment. And only at that time can you make the connection with God, and that process is called yoga. To unite with God. If you don't make the union with God in this life, you're going to come back here to this miserable material plane, and live through this life again – you might enjoy three days of happiness but four days of pain. Those three days of happiness that you enjoy cannot overcome the pain. In your karma you've done so much good in your last life that you've been given a chance to be human in this life - not a dog or a rat, but a human being who can think, understand, and logically work through things. A rat and a dog can't do that. There's no logic in them. They only have instinct, but you behave like you have more instinct than the dog and the rat!

We need to wake up, experience God, and find those moments of stillness within us. And when you find that moment of stillness, enjoy it. It doesn't happen to you all the time. How often you drive from point A to point B and don't remember driving? You don't remember anything on the road, or on the side of the road? How many times have you done that and you don't remember anything en route? Many times. What is that moment called? That is the moment of experience. In that moment you can experience every kind of ecstasy. If you can concentrate that much on your driving, you can take the same thing and concentrate on God. God is not just unique He's a Super-Engineer. He engineered your being here, the way you look. The Bible says you were created in His image. If you're created in His image, why can't you act like Him? Why do you act any other way? Why can't you act like God? Because within us we have this thing called atma, and from where does that come? From paramatma, which means that we are a unit of that big Super-Unit called God. And if we are a unit of that Super-Unit then we must have some qualities of God. One of the highest qualities of God is Anbu Shivam Shivam Anbu, 'God is love, and love is God'. My guru, Swami Murugesu, lived in that anbu, and the only reason he did is because he lived through the troubles and obstacles of normal life. God, in His wisdom sent such a man to us and yet we cannot follow any of his teachings.

We, the Gayathri children, have the unique opportunity of experiencing God in guru, without even thinking about it. Just sitting here you can experience God in guru, but you're not interested. You have too many other things to do. We give you a calendar for twelve months - and the dates are right - and you will not come to a prayer or pournami because somebody gave you an invite two days before the pournami. Think about that  logic. We tell you twelve months in advance. And if you can't make the time to be here, you're the biggest loser. Some people will come on a Friday and if pournami is on the Saturday, they won't come because they've done their quota for the week or month. We need to get a wake-up call. Right now! You'll know about this in a few weeks time and why I said this. But we need to wake up now.

There's no other time better than this time. Don't worry about yesterday, you made all the errors then. Don't worry about tomorrow. Worry about today. Worry not about yesterday, worry not about tomorrow. Worry about today because tomorrow will become today tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll call it 'today' no matter how you look at it.

So please, I can't tell you anything else. I can't push God down you – it's not like a child who doesn't want to eat. We can't do that to you. God is not something you have to digest, God is something you have to experience. In whatever form you desire, God will present himself. And you have the ability to logically analyze within yourself, and experience God. That's all I have to say to you because it is very important that I say this on this pournami, and that you experience somehow the grace of guru and God.

Hari Om.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Things we do

Today is the last day of Navarathri. There are some things we don't do. We don't blow out a candle, cut a cake, or participate in Vijayadashmi. We don't blow out a candle because the Hindu religion is based on light, and when we celebrate birth we celebrate the light within. We don't want to blow that out. We don't cut a cake because a knife in anyone's hand can be dangerous. A knife symbolises danger. And we don't do Vijayadashami because we don't believe in submerging the murti. For ten days we recite hundreds of mantras and then on the tenth day we're supposed to submerge the murthi in the river. The first requirement is a clean river.

All Hindus have this power: they'll be walking, they'll pick up a stone and leave it at the lamp, and eventually the stone is equal to God. Many of you have things from your mothers or fathers, passed on to you, and you'll have one stone with a red dot, an ordinary stone. And we will set it up as a lingam. We can do anything so why should we go and submerge the coconut, figurine or murthi in the water? In India, for the first time I saw them take a papier mache Ganesha to be submerged in the ocean. They don't know why they do it – because somebody else does it. They're polluting the ocean because they use paint on the murthis which look so beautiful it's unbelievable. They've prayed for the murthi for ten days, gave it all the life they can, and after ten days they revert to the tamasic activity. They don't want the murthi there because it reminds them of the sattvic activities they performed over the ten days. We don't want to acknowledge that we are now sattvic, pure, and we no longer do wrong things like eat meat and drink. Believe me, tomorrow you should go to Nandos and sit there and ask the people coming there what they do. Many of them will be priests. On the tenth day some people even sacrifice. It defeats our purpose of fasting, of keeping the nine days sacred. They count down to the last day. Tomorrow morning at one, they'll go to the freezer and take out what they kept there. Mielie-rice breyani in the fridge. Once we do that we break the fast. The nine days are supposed to be filled with total focus on the female energy and aspects of the divine.

I know the energy yesterday was so good, take it as a compliment - I did not think that Zenita would make the walk but the energy was so good. But somebody said 'lucky the rain came, we didn't have to walk back'. So we are very tamasic in what we want to do . When we attain the state of sattva we think it is too much and we go back to our old habits. You know, we had a devotee in our ashram in the early days, and just before he joined us he went fishing, and he caught a fish and put it in the freezer on the Wednesday or Thursday. So on Thursday he came to see me and I told him to do a fast for nine days: no salt, no meat, etc. The following week we were starting khumbishegam – we talked him into participating for fifty-two days. When we had finished, we realised that we had done it wrong so had to fast another fifty-two days. He took his fish out of the freezer ten times, and then had to put it back again. That poor fish wasn't meant for him. By the time he could eat it, it was dry fish.
Life is a very strange occurrence. When I went to primary school we used to visit a place called Jake's Estate, on the beach, the North Coast, not far from Stanger. I don't even think I was in grade six yet. It was a small community of about six homes, and whenever we visited my mother's cousin we visited everyone in the area. All these years later, we have an aunty from Jake's sitting here with us, and she was here yesterday as well. Can you believe that I was a young boy, and here I am seeing someobody, at my age of sixty, who I knew then?

Hari Om

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Navarathri talk

The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are very important times of climatic change and solar influence. These are the two periods chosen to worship the divine feminine energy of the Mother, and are determined according to the lunar months or lunar calendar.

Be reminded that Navarathri is actually celebrated five times a year during Vasanta Navarathri, Ashada Navarathri, Sharad Navarathri, Magha Navarathri and Paush Navarathri. But we are celebrating Sharad Navarathri tonight, observed during the month of Puratashi. Sharad Navarathri is the most important of all navarathris, therefore it is commonly called Maha Navarathri.

Navarathri is dedicated to the feminine nature of the Divine. Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are symbols of three dimensions of the feminine. They also represent the three basic qualities of existence: tamas, rajas and sattva. Tamas means inertia. Rajas means activity or passion. Sattva, in a way, is the breaking of boundaries, dissolution, melting and merging.

Among the three celestial objects to which the very making of our bodies is very deeply connected – the Earth, the Sun and the Moon – Mother Earth is considered tamas; the Sun is rajas; the Moon is sattva. Those who aspire to power, for immortality, for strength, will worship those forms of the feminine which are referred to as tamas, like Kali or Mother Earth. Those who aspire to wealth, passion, life and various gifts that the material world has to offer, naturally aspire towards that form of the feminine referred to as Lakshmi or the Sun. Those aspiring to knowledge, knowing, and transcending the limitations of the mortal body, will aspire to that aspect of the feminine which is referred to as sattva – Saraswati, or the Moon, is  representative of this.

To approach these nine days, and every other aspect of life in a celebratory way is most important. If you approach everything in a celebratory way, you learn to be non-serious about life but at the same time absolutely involved. The problem with most human beings right now is if they think something is important, they will become dead serious about it. If they think it is not so important, they will become lax about it – and don't show the necessary involvement. The secret of life is in seeing everything with a non-serious eye but being absolutely involved, like a game.

Tamas is the nature of the Earth, and she is the one who gives birth. The gestation period that we spend in the womb is tamas; it is a state which is almost like hibernation, but we are growing. Tamas is the nature of the Earth and of your birth. The moment you come out, you start activity – rajas begins. And if you are aware enough (or fortunate enough) sattva will touch you. Investing in these three will influence your life in a certain way. If you invest in tamas, you will be powerful in one way; if you invest in rajas, you will be powerful in a different way; if you invest in sattva, you will be powerful in a completely different way. You must draw upon these three dimensions of existence and sustenance for yourself because you need all three. But if you go beyond all this, it is no longer about power, it is about liberation.

After Navarathri, the tenth and final day of Dussehra is Vijayadashami – that means you have conquered all three of these qualities. You did not give into any of them, you saw through every one of them. You participated in every one of them, but you did not invest in any one of them; you won over them. That is Vijayadashmi, the day of victory.