Never give up until the last breath
Perth, May 13th 2005
It was with a touch of sadness, combined with a deep awareness of the privilege they had been granted, that devotees awaited Babaji's arrival at the final evening's program in Perth. The great Yogi entered the hall, His presence filling the room. He performed aarathi to Swamiji, took His pranams, and began His evening's address, again singing stanzas in honour of His Guru, Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj.
Ekam Nityam Vimalam Achalam
Sarvadhi Sakshi Bhutam
Bhava Teetam Triguna Rahitam
Sadgurum Tvam Namami
This mantra, as well as the great song of Adi Shankaracharya, Bhaja Govindam, and also the prayer Asato Ma Sadgamayaâ, mesmerized me when I was younger. These are some of the beautiful mantras. They portray truth in its full sense, which needs to be understood and experienced.
Brave children, never give up. You need stamina. You need an attitude of "Never give up, 'til the last breath of life." Obstacles always do come, they are natural, but it is the attitude that matters. We require the attitude that we NEED this and we are not going to give up. Then overcoming obstacles is easier and becomes simple. Once my Guru said, "When I was in Tapas, the obstacles came in hundreds. In every Tapas this happens. Ignore them, then they are easy to overcome."
Remember the saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." In the Bhaja Govindam, Adi Shankaracharya says, "The simple truth is, when death comes to this physical body, none of your health, wealth or worldly status is going to help you."
In the Vedas, it is said that God created kala - that is 'time' - which consumes everything. Everything that is born or created will get destroyed. So when we set the target, we should go for the highest things. If you aim for peace, then aim for Supreme Peace - one that never goes, one that is there all the time. So we have to keep going because we NEED it. We must keep going, or time will consume us. Every day is being consumed continually.
In the legends, Lord Yama is said to be in charge of time and death. So when Nicheketa came to Him, he set the highest target. Nicheketa's father was a scholar, who would daily give discourses about birth, death, immortality of the soul, no physical body is permanent... Once his father was doing a homam, a fire sacrifice. All the scholars and gods were invited, and were to be given gifts. Nicheketa was very naughty and playful and was troubling his father when he was organizing a list of gifts for the guests. He playfully came and asked his father, "To whom will you donate me?" His father was very busy, and shot back, "I will donate you to the death god, Yama. Now go away."
So at the end, when it was the time to give the gifts to those who had attended, Nicheketa came to his father. "You promised me to the death god. Now you must fulfill your promise." His father was shocked and started crying, "You are my only son. How can I give you to the death god?" Nicheketa replied, "You promised this. If you don't do it, it will give you a bad name." The legend says that Nicheketa jumped into the homam fire, and went to the death god. Lord Yama was away on a tour for some days, so Nicheketa simply waited. When Yama returned, he was pleased with the boy's discipline and said, "You are very young. I will send you back to the world and will give you three boons." So Nicheketa asked for his three boons. "Firstly, Bless my father that he will not be blamed in this." Then for his second boon, he asked, "Tell me what is the secret of Death. The mere mention of it causes people of the world to panic. Even my father, who is supposed to be such a great knower of the truth, when I said I will go to the death god, he started crying and was so upset. What is the secret of this death? Some people say we continue to live after death. Some say that we really do not know. Are we really soul, not this physical body?"
So in the story, for long chapters, Yama offers Nicheketa other things, trying to avoid giving the answer. He offers a worldly life of 1,000 years, of 5,000 years, of 10,000 years. He offers that Nicheketa can be an emperor and rule a huge empire. But Nicheketa will not be put off. He asks, "After that 10,000 years, is there anyway I can avoid coming back to you?" Yama replies, "No, you will still come back to me." So the boy replies, "Then what is the use of these things? Please give me the Truth."
Now a real teacher is not interested in getting money, status or whatever from the student. The teacher is only interested in the student's attention. So Yama tells him, "OK, I will talk, but you must pay 100% concentration, 100% attention as I speak, because I will not repeat anything. Also you cannot ask any questions."
All Gurus demand this 100% attention. It is the same in the story of Ashtavakra and King Janaka. Ashtavakra was deformed in eight ways, because as a baby when he was in his mother's womb, he would listen as his father recited mantras, but when his father made mistakes in the recitations, the baby would move in the womb, and in the end he moved so much that the physical body ended up deformed. So when Ashtavakra entered the king's court, at the sight of his deformed body, the courtiers started laughing. Even today some do the same thing when they see someone with disabilities. We must learn that if we can't help, at least don't hinder. Because of the laughter from the courtiers, Ashtavakra replies that he had expected to see intelligent people here, but they are all only foolish. Everyone at the court thought this was disrespectful. But King Janaka was intrigued and asked, "Why do you say they are fools?" The sage, Ashtavakra, replied, "Because they think this physical body is me. They don't know who I am."
Now the king had given a challenge, that he wanted a Guru to give him Self Realization; but he added the condition that the Guru should be able to give him Self Realization within the time it takes to mount a horse. If the Guru failed, he would be punished or killed. Janaka asked Ashtavakra, "Do you understand and accept this condition?" To which the sage replies, "Yes, but in return you must give me what I demand. First you must accept me as your Guru, and you must give me your attention, and surrender, and do as you are ordered." King Janaka agreed to this, and went to mount the horse. Just as he was swinging his leg to mount the horse, Ashtavakra commanded, "Be quiet." Because the king's attention was on Ashtavakra completely and he was completely receptive, the king's whole being became quiet - his physical body, but also his mind. His mind settled, and he realized the Self.
The Guru also says this at the initiation, "Be quiet." It requires our attention and concentration. You need to authorize the Guru to command you.
Try to look for God everywhere. Do your duty like a lotus flower in the midst of mud. As Sri Ramakrishna said in His example of the maid looking after her employer's children, "She looks after them as though they are her own, as a duty; but her mind is always on her own children at home. At the end of the day she will go back home." You are only a maid to God. Don't get so involved. The children you are looking after are God's children. As Kabir says in one song, "Why grieve at the time of death? It is then that one can get back to your home." 'Home' is the Divine.
I am trying to do my duty in this way. You are all God's children and definitely God will one day inspire and guide you back home to the Supreme, to the Divine. It is said that God has kept all the happiness to Himself and put none into the world. So if you seek happiness, it is found in God only. But you need to pay your attention to the Guru. If you pay attention, your mind becomes capable of absorbing the truth.
Vairagya is another strong word, meaning 'detachment', which we see in such great examples as Hanuman and Lord Buddha. Also you need personal effort. The Guru's Grace will come, but you need to put in personal effort. People are concerned about chakras, energy , kundalini ..... but if you just bring the mind back to its origin, then all the other energies are controlled. If the mind is settled, it lifts the kundalini. Vairagya is necessary to bring the mind back from the world, like a faithful dog. No obstacles will stop you. Vairagya is not a depression. It is an alertness that nothing belongs to you. Everything is 'Yours', God's. Just as in the story of Guru Nanak, when he recited "Thera, Thera" - "Yours, Yours", his mind got absorbed and he became a great saint. We become agitated, if we think, "This is mine. No-one should take this from me." This leads the mind into agitation. There should be no greed, no desire for fame. This is what my Guru did. He came to the dais to give Darshan if there were 40 people present, or 100, or if there were thousands. We still just do our duty. Swamiji, when His body was sick, said, "This is all God's wishes."
Appreciate Patience and Dedication. Don't be in a rush. I appreciate all your attention and your yearning. Never compromise to wrong methods. It is within you. God is within you. Tomorrow is a retreat. It is an attempt to prepare yourself and cultivate endurance. I appreciate all the services from the Perth group of devotees, and from the people who have come here from Queensland, who have come with all their attachment. All have played their beautiful part, like a cute family. This is what I have always dreamt. Everyone has their place in the drama. If Rama is beautiful, then Ravana is also beautiful. I pray to the Divine Guru to make you lucky. After I have gone, continue to practice with determination. I will always come as long as you all want.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Question: Is it important to sit still?
Babaji: Yes. If the body moves, the mind will get a jerk. Even Patanjali states that body movement is one of the four major obstacles to the mind going inward.
Question: I understand that continuity in the practice is important. Is it better to have one long morning session or two smaller sessions, perhaps morning and evening?
Babaji: In the beginning, you may like to do shorter sessions. Begin somewhere, either 30, 45 or 60 minutes. Over time you can extend the time as you are able, according to your own circumstances.
Question: Should we aim to do more than one hour?
Babaji: Yes. Then it is quicker to achieve the target. If a person can have one hour of that total thoughtlessness state, then the real mediation starts. If that state can be extended for 7 to 8 hours, then Tapas starts. After long practice, then the Samadhi state is reached. It should be reached naturally, effortlessly.
Question: After reaching Samadhi, can the mind still get disturbed?
Babaji: No, once Nirvikalpa Samadhi is reached, then the mind does not come back. The mind is then totally settled in the Self. If you use the mind in the world, and then stop, then the mind will effortlessly go back to the Self.
Question: You mentioned the four obstacles to Samadhi, and included the breath as one of them. Can You explain that further please?
Babaji: Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, gives four major obstacles to the mind settling back into the Self. Bodily movement, breath, eyeballs jerking and the mind itself. If the breath is not settled, it jerks the mind. Both usually go together, one excites the other. Therefore we have shown you the pranayama breathing exercises which help to settle the breath. But we do not recommend to meditate on the breath. If one concentrates the mind, then the breath's rhythm is automatically taken care of. The breathing exercises I have shown you at the morning sessions are good for the physical body, and are best performed in the midst of greenery and trees with fewer pollutants around. They are helpful in meditation.
Question: Does chanting mantras also help to settle the mind?
Babaji: Yes. They can help very beautifully. They should be chanted rhythmically and melodiously. Then the mind becomes relaxed. If you start slowly, the mind settles. Then, when you go to the second and third speeds, the mind should be kept settled still, and this helps go into meditation.
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