Center of the universe is in a space called the space of your heart. The space of your consciousness - Chidakasha. Come to the center of the universe that is enclosed by the clay vessel called the body, the temple of god, called the body.
Through the space, through the walls of the stable flows the breeze of the divine energy which becomes your breath. This divine energy passes through you, as it enters you, as it leaves you. Inhaling and exhaling feeling the flow and the touch of your breaths in your nostrils and the divine name, your mantra flowing as a soft sound along with the feel of your breath in the nostrils. Without a break between your breaths, without a break in the flow of the thought of the divine name.
Continue to feel the breath in the nostrils, in the space of your consciousness and the presence of your mantra, your favorite divine name and without breaking this flow of the mind stream, gently open your eyes. May God and Gurudeva bless us all.
I congratulate you (long pause) . . .
God made ears for two purposes, one to hang the microphone on and the other one to listen to others. I congratulate you on what you have accomplished. A comment to us made by a very dear friend that the gathering this year was smaller than three years ago; smaller but more cohesive and with some definite goals. With a clearer view and a clearer vision and I’ve sensed it and felt it; that Sangha is forming. And. . .Who was it who said…? I think it was Isaiah who said, “This body is a Sangha.” It comes from the Sanskrit root form, Sanghathia; that in which many forces hit a goal together. So that Sangha is there, is formed, is forming. I could go all night on the history of this word but that’s not what we are here for.
I was counting in my mind that there are 198 countries that are members of the United Nations - 20 or 21 are present here. We can congratulate ourselves on that or we can also say that we have 176 or 177 more to go.
I have told you of my master’s conversation. “Swamiji, the Meditation Center in Minneapolis is going well. What do I do next?” Over the phone and he says, “Well, how many people in Minneapolis and St. Paul?” And I said, “Two million.” And he says, “Have all those two million started meditating?” “No Swamiji, they have not.” “Call me back when all two million have started meditating.”
So congratulate yourselves when all 198 countries have learned the art and science of meditation as it is taught by the Himalayan masters. Congratulate yourself when you know that when time comes for you to leave the body, you are an enlightened being. Congratulate yourself on that accomplishment if it comes to you in this life. But, on the other hand, what you have accomplished so far under the guidance of the Gurudeva is no mean achievement. I’m happy. The sense of fraternity, awareness of being together and you go from here with a revived sankalpa to make your own spiritual progress. Repeatedly we need to keep on impressing upon ourselves that your individual spiritual progress alone is the cornerstone of the mission that the Guru has given us. And what is that mission? Reducing the pain on earth through the power of meditation.
What you earn with your job, with your hard work, with your employment, with your investment is the means to keep your body together. The body is the means for you to be able to undertake the tapasya, the self purification, which is required for making you such that you have the compassion and the power to alleviate the pain in the world.
But if you keep on dwelling on your suffering then you are not in a position to reduce the suffering of others. Your own suffering, your own suffering; what is it? Paying off your past karma so you may be free of it, and being free you may then dedicate yourself to elevating yourself spiritually and serving others. The day you would have understood this principle, your own suffering will go down because you’ll see it in that prospective. But if you keep on complaining to God or whatever forces, “I’m suffering...I’m suffering...I’m suffering…How can I do anything for others?” Without understanding what suffering is, you will make no progress. So understand the meaning of your personal suffering. It is a necessary step towards your purification. Accept it as such and go on, move on.
One thing about the material support of this Sangha. All this time many, many people helped Swami Veda to create what has been created. Financially, Swami Veda is lacking. We must not now just sit back and say, “Well, now the president has come and he said he will take care of it all.” That is the way of the lazy.
If you contribute anything for this Sangha’s work, it can be your teaching. Five minutes of teaching breathing to your neighbor who was shouting at his wife last night. You have made a contribution. You have paid five minutes worth of that to your Guru. And you have to learn to pay back that debt. Don’t sit back and say, “Well, I’m no teacher. I have no teacher training, and I don’t have time to teach, so how can I start teaching?” In which ‘mother training school’ do mothers go before giving birth to learn how to take care of the child?! Your compassion is your training, your commitment to paying off your debt to the Guru is your training. So, number one, find ways to pay your debt to the Guru lineage by teaching five minutes of breathing to the two persons you have seen fighting.
Sometimes, when I was mobile and living in Minneapolis, my household life, I would go to the shopping mall. I would see two old women sitting on the bench arguing like they were embodiments of hostility to each other. I’m a disciple, they are both suffering. Please remember that they are both suffering and they are letting out that suffering. So I very nonchalantly turned the direction of my walk and I passed by their bench and I caught the eyes of one of them and smiled and I innocently passed. . . and she smiled back. The other lady smiled back. . .the spell of hostility is broken. That is teacher training for you. Either you register for teacher training or you do not register for teacher training. This is teacher training.
So, think in your mind, “How am I going to pay the debt to the Guru Lineage, which this morning granted me even one minute of silence? Out of the 30 minutes that I sat, I really had one minute of real peace. The other 29 minutes I was fighting with myself, I was cursing Swami, I was...” A lot of people do that, I tell you, I know, I know it…they sit down in meditation and they start arguing with me. I used to argue with my master so I know it. I know it from my personal experience. Out of 30 minutes you spend 29 minutes arguing with your wife, with your husband, with your children, with your daughter-in-law, with your mother-in-law, with your neighbor, with your Guru, with your teacher. But you go one minute. What is the price of that one minute? What is the value of that one minute? Where can you walk, into which shopping mall, and go into which shop and say, “May I buy from you one minute of peace please? What is your price?” The only way you can pay the price for that one minute is you give somebody else the capacity to enjoy that one minute in their life. That is what you have to do in the next three years.
I’m hospitalized, I was hospitalized in Germany, and I’m sitting waiting for the doctor along with 20 others in the waiting room, and people come over and ask, “What is it in you? I’m finding peace.” I sit there and I teach. I went to Taiwan for the first time. I knew nobody. I just wanted to visit the country. I knew that some day I’ll have to do some mission here, I want to know. They don’t speak English. I walk into the Buddhist Temple. People are sitting with these long big, big, big malas. Somebody sitting this way, somebody sitting this way, somebody sitting this way, and they are going on reciting, moving the mala. I was wearing my whites in those days and I went and I sat down and I did my mala. I didn’t go to teach them how to sit, I did my mala. Half an hour later I open my eyes and half of the people were sitting correctly. I’ve never paid a teacher training fee. I’m not saying it to say I’m a great teacher; but I teach from my experience, from my own experiments.
This is what you have to do in the next three years, and don’t keep it to yourself. Think about, “How can I pass this message? Can I get a CD of this, what you have said, and then give it to ten people? Can I pass this on to other Yoga teachers? What can I do? Because I cannot pay the price for this, so how do I pay the debt?”
Sometimes people come to me and say, “I have great problems with my half grown children. They are rebelling and they are fighting. Swamiji, do you have any advice?” What I can do with them? What do you think my advice is? First they are shocked, I say: “Improve your relationship with your parents and your problem will go.” That is the price. That is how you pay the debt. And if your parents are not in the body you still can improve your relationship with them.
Alright, so these are the changes, steps in your progress. You have to go with the sankalpa, “Ihave to make further progress.” The progress is in your intangibles. Then that progress will spread in the Ahymsin family, in the form of intangible. Then the tangibles will come.
“I will stop going to Ahymsin meetings, they are always asking for money.” Alright, let me clear one thing. Why do you give? Not because you are paying a fee to a Swami, not because you are paying a membership fee. One beautiful study I saw in the popular newspapers, the headline was, “Money can give you happiness.” It sounded like a joke. They did brain wave scans and found that, when you are giving, the pleasure centers of your brain light up. When you are giving somebody something, the pleasure centers of your brain light up. That’s why you give, not because you have to pay a membership fee. And that should be your reason for giving.
I’m going to write down some suggestions for principles to apply in your daily life. Don’t cook just for yourself. In the Rig Veda we read, Kevalagho bhavati kevaladi, he who eats alone eats only sin. In the Bhagavad Gita the same thing, Bhunjate te tvagham papam ye pachantyatma-karanat. Those who cook only for themselves are eating the cooked food, they are only eating sin. If you don’t want to share your food, every day take just a little flour, a little dal, a spoonful of sugar, a spoonful of oil. Put it in a separate pot, put it away. When you have enough, go find somebody who is hungry and give it to them. When you are getting your salary, take out 1%. Put it aside. That is not for yourself and that is not for getting tax reduction either. It is for the pleasure of giving. These are the conditions of progress. It is not just sitting there reciting, “Swamiji, next year what mantra you are going to give us?” This ís the mantra. These are the mantras for the next three years.
December 2011 we are expecting a gathering here of children and youth. Please work towards it. Think of introducing them to a sacred place. Your grandchildren, even your grown children who have not being initiated into the tradition. Bring them and let them feel a change of atmosphere. I’ve never seen a child come to this Ashram who wants to leave. They keep asking, “Mother when are we going back there?” Because they sense what the adults don’t always sense.
So first these two three items I have suggested and then work for the children because that is easy work; and silence. Those who have already done some silence practice, now take the next step in that silence. Advise it to others, come for that. Back home, even 36 hours of silence every week or every month. You find the time. One step more in your practice of silence.
Three years from now, 2013 when we meet we’ll put aside three days for the administration and the organization of the Sangha and the discussion; rest of the time all 200 people will keep silence. How would that be - 200 people in silence for nine days? But prepare yourself now, start doing the practice now. Ok? Alright.
And the people who are helping, guiding, whether holding an elected position or not holding an elected position; as I said, in this organization, in this Sangha, there are no presidents, no vice presidents, no secretaries, no executive members. You serve as initiates, you serve as disciples. If I find that in this Sangha there are people who have greater knowledge, greater experience, talent, ability to serve, and their services are not being used, then I call them and I say, “Would you help me with this project? Would you help me do this? Would you help me do that? Ok?”
In the gathering, in any organization there are always differences of opinion. Quite often we take those differences of opinion personally, we create an emotion out of it. We stop evaluating it. A lot of times I have found that when there are two options there is a way that both options can be applied. People don’t learn that art. It is not choosing black against white and white against black, but choosing both black and white. On this Earth is there light or is there darkness? What kind of a question is that?! Is darkness in India? Is light in America? Twelve hours later it will be dark in America and it will be light in India. Somebody asks the question, “How should I answer these multiple choice questions?” The answer is both. There is no contradiction between the two, because the contradictions complete each other.
There are no contradictions in the Universe, there are no opposites in the Universe. There are only forces that complete each other. So think of differences of opinion on that basis. That how can this opinion and this opinion that on the surface looks like opposites of each other, how can the two both be incorporated as in the answer to the question whether there is light on this earth or is there darkness on this earth. This applies to the people who are running the Sadhaka Grama, this applies to those who will guide, those who wish to be guided, those who wish to express an opinion, those who have a contribution to make. All of you, ok? And do it.
There is a phrase in Sanskrit, svanta sukaya, because it gives me satisfaction. Not because it helps the organization, but because it gives me satisfaction. Do it for your internal satisfaction.
I’ve nothing more to say, enough has been said, I’ll write some of these things down and just give them to you. Help out please, there is so much to do. There are 176 countries more to go. And probably still two million people left in Minneapolis, that’s right.
”Swamiji are you putting United Nations out of business?”
No, no, I’m only complementing their work. They preamble to the UNESCO (United Nation’s Education Social and Cultural Organization) says, “Wars begin in the mind of the people. It is in the minds of the people that the problem of the war is to be solved.”
So I’m only helping them out.
God bless you all. Thank you.
Lecture by Swami Veda Bharati
6 February 2010, at SRSG