Learn how to face the moment
May 16 2004, Australia, Retreat Day
Around fifty people had set aside the whole day to spend with Babaji, this being His last program for the tour. The retreat commenced at 7am with one hour of yoga. This was led by a devotee with over 25 years of yoga teaching experience. This was a perfect way for attendees to warm up in the cool of morning and prepare themselves both mentally and physically for Baba's arrival and the first meditation session.
Baba arrived early and unexpectedly and after taking His place on the dais, Babaji recited an opening sloka then paid His respects to His Guru, Shri Shri Shri Shiva Bala Yogi, and warmly welcomed all. The excitement of spending a whole day with Babaji could be felt in the air and devotees relaxed as Baba's loving presence filled the hall. Like a truly caring Guru, Baba is always presenting His devotees with opportunities for spiritual growth. He explained the importance of being ever ready to face the moment and of being flexible enough to adjust to whatever life brings. The Guru had arrived unannounced this morning to catch us out so that we can practise this principle.
The Guru teaches that things come unannounced in life and we must be spiritually well prepared, like a valiant soldier who, during peace time, prepares himself for the battlefield. Life is like a battlefield and we must be like valiant soldiers. We can have times where we enjoy and live life but we must also prepare ourselves so that no moment is unpleasant for us. Shri Rama and Shri Krishna both taught that one should live a full life on this earth but learn how to face the moment and remain in one's Self.
After this inspirational introduction Baba noted that He would be keeping His teachings to a minimum during the day so that the focus is on practising what He has already taught us. He then led the gathering in some breathing exercises to prepare for the following one hour meditation. Breakfast was shared afterwards in a peaceful, respectful atmosphere which allowed devotees to reflect on their meditation experience and to savour this precious last day with Baba. Baba advised that attendees should eat lightly on this day of sadhana to gain full benefit of the practices.
After breakfast Baba led the gathering in a series of chants He has been teaching devotees in Australia over the past few years. The sweetness in
the air intensified as the mantras were recited and Baba gave a brief overview of the meaning of some of them. For example, the Gayatri mantra is
praying for inspiration to do sadhana and the Mahamritranjaya mantra is praying that when the physical body dies may the soul become Liberated once
and for all.
Lunch was a more lively affair than breakfast with much laughter and meeting of new friends as well as the deepening of existing friendships. Baba has developed a strong core of committed devotees in Perth and this core grows with every visit of His. The retreat day enables a fuller celebration of this community, as well as a celebration of another visit by Babaji.
Lunch was followed by some questions to Baba. One devotee reflected on a previous evening when Baba described endless journeys of rushing up and
down the hill behind the Dehradun Ashram servicing Swamiji and devotees with tea. He asked Baba what was happening in His mind as He raced up and
down. Baba made us all laugh replying that His mind was not agitated as He considered Himself to be on a mission, on a worthwhile exercise. In fact,
He often felt thrilled!
Another asked Baba to comment of the belief that there are benefits to meditating between 3am and 8am, rather than in the evening. Baba said that
early morning is beneficial but only if one has gone to bed early and gotten up feeling fresh. The atmosphere should be peaceful and calm and the
aspirant should not feel a rush to go anywhere.
Another asked, "How much sleep does Baba have?". Baba reported that He has a few of hours of sleep a night. During Tapas He would only sleep for half an hour in order to digest the little milk that He consumed. Nowadays, He will retire at about 10pm until 3am but sleeps only between midnight and 3am, mainly meditating the rest of the time. If He has had a late program then He may sleep a little more.
Baba advise another devotee, who wondered if meditation should be undertaken all in one sitting or broken up, that a learner should break up
meditation times so that an hour is done at a time. He added that any convenient time is alright for meditation.
In response to a request to hear more about Swamiji and Baba, Babaji was jovial when He said that Swamiji would feed Him constantly if He was by His
side. One day Baba discovered that Swamiji thought that Baba was fond of eating while Baba had always thought that His Guru was fond of feeding Him! Swamiji believed that Baba would be calm if He ate. Babaji cheekily exclaimed that He would be naughty at times and this was fun! For instance, He would steal away during programs to service Swamiji's room but would also eat lots of the sweets that had just been gifted to Swamiji! More seriously, Babaji recalled that His Guru would give Him many clues about how to become Realized via stories. Baba then became lost for words as though He was dreaming about these special days with Swamiji. He explained that it was difficult to convey what Swamiji taught Him right now as the words were simply not presenting themselves to Him.
The next question enabled Baba's true wisdom and insight into the Truth to shine through. The question pertained to how the intellect comes into the mind and how does it relate to the Self. Babaji stated that as long as there are thoughts then there is the mind. Mind is pure consciousness, it does not discriminate anything. It is the brain that 'involves' us, it is the brain that is the intellect. Mind is a spark of the Real Self and as one loses
thoughts then one can see the mind does not vanish, it is just becoming quiet. There is a dual consciousness, the brain and the mind, which causes
the inner battle and does not allow one to settle into one's Real Self. The brain is the enemy of the Self yet one's best friend when one is living in
The next questions related to Babaji's Tapas. A devotee wondered if Swamiji appeared to Babaji only after His Mahasamadhi or did He also appear while He was physically alive? On confirming the later, the devotee also wondered if Baba appears to devotees now. Baba explained that such appearances are not the result of a Yogi's resolution of the mind. It depends on the receiver, if there is sufficient faith and devotion then the devotee tunes into the 'radio waves' that are always emanating from a Yogi. Another asked about why Babaji performed Tapas in all four directions. Baba said that His Guru had directed Him to do so and that a mind with imaginations has concepts of space. Therefore, He meditated in all directions in order to lose their effect in order to achieve realization.
One devotee was interested in what practices, other than meditation, does Baba recommend. Babaji noted anything that the founders of religions have recommended are good if the application of the mind is understood. He said that prayers are a must and we should constantly pray for strength,
inspiration, and guidance. Music and chanting assists the mind to become composed as the mind becomes concentrated, single-pointed. Pilgrimage,
reading scriptures and rituals can assist with mind control but benefits only come by applying the mind.
Babaji continued imparting His deep wisdom for the benefit of the world as He explained the true nature of love and fear. A devotee had asked whether love is an emotion or a reality and how does fear come into that. Baba explained that love is emotionally based. It occurs due to imaginations and is a distraction of the mind. He advised that if one has an emotional temperament they can use the mind to direct the emotions towards the
devotional path of Realization. In this way it is like using diamonds to cut diamonds. The mind turns to divinity if it single-pointedly loves God. In this way, emotions can either be a weakness or a strength. With Realization all of this subsides because total peace is achieved.
Fear is emotion and imagination, it is a feeling of insecurity. When one knows the real Self then fear vanishes, when one identifies the body with the 'I' then there is fear of losing this body. All desires and cravings give rise to fear.
The final questioner asked why can faith be tested. Baba describes it as "automatic divine activity" which measures how much has faith penetrated
into the mind. Faith must be 100% therefore the more you progress, the more faith is tested.
A silent, meditative walk with Baba through the beautiful natural bushland surrounding the retreat centre followed. The tranquility of the bush was
brought back into the hall and a 45 minute sitting meditation ensued. In His usual jovial manner, Baba informed us that He would give a 15 minute
'discount' on the final meditation as we had worked hard so far. He continued to motivate aspirants after this meditation reminding us that
Yogis are about practice, not theory and that theory must be experienced. He said that there are definite benefits because the mind receding is a
divine activity. Instead of experiencing one's existence, one keeps thinking. Baba concluded by saying that we have Swamiji to inspire us.
Then, possibly what was being most looked forward to in the retreat day, was afternoon tea. Last year Babaji invited attendees to come and sit at His
feet while we drank our tea. Once again, Baba graciously invited us to come close to Him and chat informally. In this intimate atmosphere we all indeed
felt to be precious sons and daughters of this enlightened soul. Babaji then sang Jaya Rahhe to His family and several devotees led bhajans as the
gathering celebrated Baba's grace. Both Swamiji's and Babaji's aaratis were then performed. This was a sombre and intense time as devotees came up,
one-by- one, to perform aarati and pay their final respects to Baba for this tour.
Prasad was shared and devotees sat quietly savouring the final moments of the day. Some took the opportunity to personally bid Babaji farewell and then a photograph was taken as devotees huddled at Baba's feet and behind Him. Many prostrated before Baba as He left the hall and the mood lifted as He was followed out to the car and cheered goodbye… until His next visit.
Copyright 2004 SRBY. All rights reserved.