Our habits depend on our mind

Perth, 10th October 2007

Om, Bramhananadam Parama Sukadham, Kevalam Jnaanamoorthim
Dvandhvaatheetam Gagana Sadhrisham, Tatvamasyaadhi Lakshyam
Ekam Nithyam Vimalamachalam, Sarvaadhee Saakshibhootam
Bhavaatheetham Trigunarahitham, Sadgurum Tvam Namaamee.

Once again offering our unconditional surrender and prostrations with deep love and reverence at the Lotus feet of our beloved Master Shivabalayogi Maharaj. I greet you all this evening with my love and blessings. Blessed that you are, that you could take out some time to be here on this auspicious evening.

I have felt whenever we can remember the Divine that is within us and ourselves as part of the Divinity that is everywhere, that is the most auspicious moment and that shall be the most auspicious day or night.

One day a couple of years ago, I remember a person asked me this question, "Why is it that always in this world, to do good things it is harder and to pick up bad habits it is so easy?" He might have been right from his view point or experience but in my experience and opinion, I said "It is not really so." Whether it is a good habit or bad habit it becomes easier and harder based on our mind setup, our mental attitude. Ask a person who has been an honest person since childhood. If you ask him to tell a lie, it will be a hell of a job for him, he cannot do it. If he is habitual to tell the truth always and that is his habit, if it is strongly set in his mind, then he will not be able to do it. So that is how things happen. If a person has not robbed anyone and has been honest and earned his livelihood honestly, ask him to rob some person, he cannot do it. It is very hard and impossible for him. So where are the good and bad here? It is the habit that we pick up, we determine and we become like that.

In childhood when the mind is still not exposed to this world, that is when we start picking up habits. If we are lucky, if we get the right atmosphere, right guidance from our parents, from our elders, from our teachers, the Guru and all such then we would be able to pick up the right things always. So that is when we always considered ourselves as the luckiest and the blessed to have been born to such parents and to such an atmosphere and for the teachers we found since our childhood in different levels of our academic studies and eventually the spiritual Master that we found. We wanted it to happen that way and the grace of the Divine descended definitely helped. So it is ultimately the habit.

In the great war of Mahabharata, Sri Krishna wanted Yudhisthira, the eldest brother to tell a lie. It was impossible for Yudhisthira because throughout his life he had never lied. By nature he had been very honest and always told the truth. The situation was that Dronacharya (their teacher) was the commanding chief of the opposing Kaurava Army. The Kauravas are supposed to be the wicked ones in the story, they had cheated the Pandavas in gambling and in so many ways to steal their kingdom and send them to the forest. Finally when the Pandavas returned to reclaim it, the Kauravas refused to give back their kingdom and their rightful things. Duryodhana was not even ready to give a small village to them when the Pandavas expressed that they would be happy and satisfied if only five villages for five brothers can be given and they can live peacefully. But the greedy Duryodhana refused to give that also and he was ready to go to war with the Pandavas. He said, "Let them fight and take if they can."

When the war was declared with Duryodhana, the great grand sire Bhishma was one of the noblest personalities of the time who knew what was justice and what was injustice. Dronacharya was the great teacher of weapons to both Pandavas and Kauravas, yet because Dronacharya was employed by the King of Hastinavati, the father of Kauravas, he had eaten the salt of that kingdom, so he decided to be with the Kauravas in the battlefield. After Bhishma fell, Dronacharya became the commander-in-chief. Now he had to be defeated too, otherwise it was not possible to defeat the wicked Kauravas.

But there was one weakness in Dronacharya - he was so much attached to his son. So if anybody could tell Dronacharya that his son, Ashvatthama got killed then he would sacrifice his weapons. But Dronacharya was not going to listen to anybody like that, easily. Only if Yudhisthira can tell him only then he would accept because he was perfectly sure that Yudhisthira would never tell a lie, even in the midst of the worst conditions.

It was so difficult and impossible for Yudhisthira to tell a lie. He was not use to it. Since childhood he was always used to the habit of telling the truth come what may be, that was his habit. So then a plan was chalked out finally, that Bhima would kill an elephant which was also known after the son of Dronacharya, Ashvatthama was the son's name. So then Yudhisthira would tell that Ashvatthama got killed. To this also, Yudhisthira refused, "I cannot tell that one. I will tell only that an elephant by the name Ashvatthama got killed, that I can tell." So then everybody thought what is the use, then Dronacharya will understand that it was only an elephant and he will continue to fight, it is so difficult.

So finally what happens, when Yudhisthira was uttering the word of elephant, Sri Krishan blew the conch powerfully so that in the sound of the conch the word elephant got drowned, and Dronacharya heard Yudhisthira telling only, "Ashvatthama got killed." So an "elephant by name" got drowned out and by the time he came to "Ashvatthama got killed," he had stopped the conch and Dronycharya believed it because that was what Yudhisthira told. The story was that, then he sacrificed the weapon and he got killed.

From the other side when we see what Sri Krishna was doing, from one point of view, to make him tell a lie might appear as a wrong thing, a bad thing, but there was a huge difference between an honest person like Yudhisthira and a great Realised soul like Krishna whom we consider to be an incarnation of God. Not that Krishna was trying to do a wrong thing by asking Yudhisthira to tell a lie, what Krishna taught was a totally different thing, that is the very highest philosophy. Not easily can one understand these things.

What Krishna taught was that the purpose was more important. When you tell a lie or when you tell the truth, one has to always act for a larger cause, that is a much more righteous, dharmic conduct. His logic was that Dronacharya and Bhishma, even though they were noble, they were simply silent witnesses for a wicked thing that the Kauravas did, including when the Kauravas tried to disrobe Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas, in the court of the Emperor of Hastinavati, Dhritarastra. So that is why, they also need to be punished, they need to be killed in the war, because they are siding with the wicked. So that is the law of the war, that if they are on the enemies side, or whoever it is, for the sake of the country or for sake of the dharma, we need to kill them. So one needs to understand this.

So here, our topic was habits of people, what we were trying to discuss and understand. A person asked, "Why is it harder to do good things?" It is really not harder, when we pick up the habit, when we understand and when we get influenced by the right people then it becomes difficult for us to do a wrong thing. A person who is a teetotaller would not be able to drink alcohol, it would be impossible. If you ask me to eat egg or meat it would be impossible for me. Not that it is a bad thing, we are simply habitual to the vegetarian food, that is all. When you become habitual through the mind setup, such a thing becomes quite easy for you. Unfortunately many may not get such an atmosphere of being born into a spiritual or noble atmosphere, because the society has become like that. So that is what I was trying to tell. When you practice meditation, all this would be possible, even if you have reached middle age, or old age, if you have had a certain mindset which has been bothering you for a long time, it would be possible for you when you practice meditation to change yourself, to transform yourself because you would gain the strength of your mind. It is ultimately through this mind.

As a child you would not have had any control over your mind. Simply it was not exposed. Like you have heard that "ignorance is bliss", but ignorance can be very risky and dangerous, because when you are ignorant of a thing, but suddenly if you get introduced to a wrong thing, you are likely to pick up the wrong thing. That is what has happened about religion and God, about our own Self and about the things of the mind. So many superstitious things have come because when a person is ignorant, is ready to accept anything that is taught, if the Gurus are going to teach wrong things, people are going to pick up wrong things about Gods and about the Self. All such superstitious things we have been watching in this world coming from time to time. So that is important that always, parents, elders, Gurus, teach the right thing, present the Truth, whatever they have experienced, whether it is acceptable to people or not, whether people are going to follow or not. One must talk the Truth and we are trying to import the knowledge to others.

So as I was telling, if you try and practice this meditation everyday, even for twenty minutes to half an hour, it can have such a strong effect on you. If you have any wrong habits which would be bothering you, you can overcome such a crisis in the mind. You can get into a proper mind setup by which you can achieve peace for yourself, happiness for yourself and a better conduct in this world and you would be able to achieve so many beautiful things of this world. You would be able to think in the right direction. A person who would be able to practice meditation in the right direction, would always try to think of a larger cause, he would not be narrow minded totally. If a person is behaving narrow minded or selfish, that means he has not worshipped God properly, he has not conditioned his or her mind properly, has not practiced the sadhana. We call this sadhana, any one of the exercises, like you try to meditate or you try to chant a mantra, you try to repeat the name of God, you try to sing the glory of God through bhajans and so on. These exercises are known as sadhana.

Sadhana I have told much before, that is your efforts to achieve, these efforts are known as sadhana. So when you are trying to do sadhana to achieve, you need to put your efforts in the right direction.

If you are not practicing the meditation properly, if you are not able to overcome the personal ego, then one remains narrow minded, because tests keep coming every now and then in this world. Like when you try to study Medicine for four, five, six years, you read and want to become a doctor. So what you have read, what you have practiced, what you have experienced, what you know, comes to light, only when you come out and try to become a doctor. In the same way, every person who can claim that they are great devotees and they are worshipping God and they are doing a lot of meditation, comes to light only when they behave in society, in their day to day life - their attitude, their words, their thinking. All of these things tell what they have practiced and they have not practiced, what they have worshipped and what they have not worshipped, whether they have understood their Guru's upadesam (teachings) properly, whether these teachings have penetrated into the inner layers of the mind, whether they have been able to put these things into practice.

So when these things happen, when one is able to pay apt attention when the Guru is talking, means when the Guru talks, that is the teaching. He simply does not gossip, He does not simply give long lectures, based on some book or some scripture. It is His own experience that He is trying to present in front of you all. When He talks, when you can pay apt attention, your mind's best concentration, then these teachings penetrate the inner layers of your mind. Then you won't be able to forget, even if the Guru goes away physically, it will always be there. Every moment, every step that you take, every behavior that you try to do in this world, it will prick your consciousness, "Oh what we are doing is wrong, oh what we are trying to do is not for a larger cause, it is simply based on our own egos and narrow mindedness." But yet again, habits are such. Even Krishna tells Arjuna after giving that Bhagavad-Gita, that beautiful upadesam, "I know Arjuna, you will behave according to your nature, so you must be careful, even after listening to me. If you are not going to practice, if you are not going to put it into practice, beware, you will behave the same way that you would have picked up your habits. So the transformation may not happen, if you do not listen to me and practice."

That is what we always tried to tell, when we try to teach meditation. You need to pick up the methods properly, the techniques properly, what we tried to tell and you should not forget, even after you go back home, and you should be able to sit down every day and practice. Only then a transformation will come and then a peace will descend on you. You will be able to feel the taste of your mind's peace. When your mind remains at peace, when it remains quiet, then you get the taste. If ever you would have experienced, you would have experienced at least a glimpse of this thing, even if not through the spiritual exercises, even in the worldly things also. So many happier moments would have been there to you, if unhappiness also has been there. All these happier moments have been because the mind had become quiet, even for a fraction of a second. It might be sitting on some good thing of this world, some happier thing of this world, or on its own, whatever it is, then you would have experienced that happiness. How beautiful it is to experience that happiness. You understand this when you have to experience the agony again when a sad moment in your life comes, you would miss this happiness, this peace, so much that you would crave for it, "If anybody can give me this happiness," you would be ready to give anything. But this happiness, I assure you, does not come from outside anywhere. You cannot buy this in the shops; you cannot bribe God and Gurus and get this happiness. You will have to achieve by practicing.

This is the Truth, that a true Guru shall tell you. A Guru can inspire you, help you to practice, pray for you from God so that the grace shall descend on you, so that you shall be the luckiest, so that you shall be the blessed one, but however, you need to put in some effort. When we tell the technique, this is how you have to meditate, you need to remember these points. So that is why in every talk I try to repeat, it is not that we have to be telling different stories to keep your mind engaged and happy, that does not happen. You will have to know the technique so that repeatedly we talk. If you read any scriptures like Yoga Vashistha or Bhagavad-Gita, any such thing, repeatedly they have spoken the same thing, 'How to now keep the mind quiet,' in so many ways.

In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna talks, if you are working you can still try to keep the mind tuned into God. It is possible, He calls it as Yoga there. You can keep it in communion, in union with the Divinity, that you yourself are. In your Self attention you can keep it at peace, by trying to remember God through name or through practice of meditation, these things can happen.

When you practice good quality meditation, even if you are working in the office or a business, you will be working, but at the same time, you will see that the mind would not jump into anxiousness, or unnecessary tensions or fear would not occur. You would simply do it as a duty. Just like when a valiant soldier is fighting in the battlefield, he would not have any such thoughts whether it will happen or not. He would have to simply concentrate on the sword and the opponent's sword, that is all he would have to concentrate on. He cannot try to think any other things at that moment. So that is how you practice meditation, with best concentration. When you sit, when you close your eyes, you should not be thinking anything else but trying to concentrate in between eyebrows, your every effort. You should not lose inspiration, you should not feel frustrated, you should not lose patience, then you achieve it, that beauty of peace and happiness. While watching, when thoughts and visions come, let it come, you do not think what it is, you just watch it. That is what it is.

Darshan of a Yogi means when a photo of the Divine Guru or anybody is there, when you watch, you simply watch, you do not try and think what it is, then your mind becomes concentrated. That is an automatic process. When you do not think, when your mind becomes quiet it becomes concentrated and automatically goes introverted, only then it goes introverted, that you will be able to experience. This experience is a very different thing. When you see the photo or when you see a beautiful scenery, when you think, that is totally different, when you simply watch and experience, that experience is totally different. It would always be of a higher quality, when you simply experience the beauty of a scene and you become dumbfounded. It becomes inexplicable for you when the real happiness happens.

When you meet the Guru, if you are really attached, if you really love that Guru, you become so emotionally attached and totally the experience becomes inexplicable. You experience the Guru's presence, but you will not be thinking what it is. That is what happened, when, thirty five years ago, I met my Guru. I went and told my mother, "Mother I have found, I must go to Him. I want Swamiji," My mother was asking, "What do you mean by Swamiji, what do you know about it, what have you thought about this life?" "I don't know, I have not thought anything." I really didn't know how to answer this question because I had not thought anything. I simply experienced that love of my mind that went into Him. It was so beautiful and exciting, so peaceful and so wonderful. It was so amazing that I wanted to experience again and again, again, and again. I just wanted to watch Him, I never wanted to think about Him, what He is, whether He is God, whether He is an ordinary person. That is what I told my mother, "I do not know whether He is a Yogi, or whether He is a robber, what He is, I do not know. I enjoy watching Him, I love Him, this I know. I have fallen in love with Him, this much I can tell." Everybody can tell this, when you fall in love with God or the Guru, you can experience this but you may not be able to tell what the Guru is. That is what the sages experienced when they went into Self Realization. They experienced that boundless Divinity that is all pervading, omnipresent, omnipotent Divine and that is why they called it boundless, ananta, inexplicable, it is inconclusive. I told my mother, "I can not explain anything about Him, what He is, but I know that I love Him. I have experienced this. I just want to watch Him."

So that is how things become inexplicable sometimes, when you watch it, when you experience. This is what has to happen in meditation, then you would have really experienced yourself. When you really experience yourself you would not be able to think and explain or define, analyze or make any judgment what it is. You shall simply experience because that is your very nature. It is so supremely peaceful and happy and that is what you are looking for. You want that happiness. That is what knowledge is. That is what knowledge personifies. Because when you try to know something else, if you have to earn money, you have to give a lecture and you will be paid three hundred dollars, then you will try to know so many things and along with so many things you will imagine so many other things which will be pleasing to them so that you will again be called to give a lecture on that subject. All of these things you will be doing. But when you want to really experience and when you want to present the truth, you can imagine how impossible it will be for a Yogi to present what it is. But I would like to motivate you all, to go and experience the truth, but I would like to inspire you all to go and experience this truth that you yourself that you are. That is the most amazing experience, that supreme peace and happiness that you can get. For that only, I would like to help you all to do some meditation, practiced based on the methods that I will tell you and when you experience only you will know this Truth, what I am trying to talk, repeatedly these points, otherwise it would be simply, "I do not know what this Master is trying to tell." But you will know it one day, when you experience that Truth of love within you, when you experience that love, that peace, that happiness. That is what I always try to tell and motivate you.

Now I would invite one by one all of you to come and take the traditional vibhuti blessings which is the mark of initiation from the Master.

Once again for all the newcomers I assure that it will not be binding on you, there shall not be any conflict. I would not be forcing myself upon you as, "I am the Master and you have to be listening to me," - no such bondage will be there. If you are interested, if you have a yearning for real peace and happiness, if you want it, if you want to experience it, then I would recommend that you go for it, that you practice this. If you think it is worthwhile to practice this method and if you think that you need me in any way to guide you, to inspire you, to be with you, to pray for you, then I will be ready, I will be happy to do it. That is my duty, that is my mission. So apart from this there is no other bondage on you. You can be reassured yourself. You just have to practice this method and then see to it what it can give you.

After taking this vibhuti  blessings, you go back and sit at your place, then we will tell you a couple of breathing exercises.

Breathing is so much connected to the mind, this life current. When you breathe slowly and peacefully, learn this method, it can bring down the restlessness of the mind to a considerable extent and help you to feel more concentrated in your meditation and the mind's concentration gets enhanced if you can practice this breathing exercise also. Whenever you are restless, wherever you are, just give half a minute, thirty seconds, fifteen seconds, take a long inhale and exhale of the breath. Your mind's restlessness gets cooled down a little bit, then you can start thinking and you will be able to execute your life's decisions, channelize them in a better way, on the right path always, you will not get confused with excitement, you will not be taking the wrong decisions.

So then it will become easier for you to meditate also when you follow the same method. This is important, when you sit down and close the eyes, when the thoughts and visions occur, try to simply watch them and do not try to analyze what it is, do not try to think what it is, "Is this good, is this bad, why is this happening, why not something else?" Do not try and imagine what God is. If you try and imagine then you will expect the same thing that you have imagined to happen, so that might be simply a limited thing.

How vast, how boundless the space is if you try to put your fingers and tell, "This is all the space," how amusing it would be. Anybody would laugh. So in the same way do not try to imagine God, means, don't get confused or perturbed, without trying to repeat the name or the form of the God, or thinking, "Am I doing the right thing." You are doing the right thing when you try to keep the mind quiet because when your mind becomes quiet, it will go introvert towards the ultimate Truth which is recognized as the real Self, what you are, or the God or the Divine or whatever name it is that you are familiar with, that is what will happen. If you are familiar with the name God, your mind will automatically go to God only, there is no third way for the mind, I have assured. Either it has to be in this world wondering like a monkey or it has to go back to its origin, the Divine, the droplet going back to the ocean. Then you experience the ocean that you are. You are no longer the droplet. You are not a droplet.

 Copyright © 2007 SRBY, All rights reserved.

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