We bear and hear of so many anxieties and complaints about these ‘modern times’, about what is happening to ‘all of us’ ‘these days’. The cycles and parallel journeys of joys and sorrows are perennial. They have never ceased. Read the ancient story books, the Jatakas, Katha-sarit-sagara and all the rest that narrate the lives of ordinary people in the olden times. They all enjoyed the same things we do; they all suffered the same things we do, and had the same anxieties. This will be so ten thousand years hence when people will feel nostalgic for our present times as ‘those good old times’. It will be so, if you are planting the sankalpa for it to be that way. Or, we can change the direction of our individual and collective sankalpas. That is the secret for your future a year hence and a millennium hence.
At present, Thursday nights and the weekend retreats seems to be the only times . . . . Well, there is one more, and that is an opportunity to have a personal meditation. Sometimes a personal meditation alone is insufficient. One needs to hear something more. Again, in each case the method will be a flexible one, will be a different one. Some things will appeal to one. Some things will not appeal to the same one. And so on.
When you work on purifying yourself, that purity naturally overflows the bounds of your personality and inundates all those around you. Your silence cools the world, when there is sufficient silence within you. You cannot blame others for conditions in your personal life, else you will also blame others for the collective life of the planet.
We are born from silence and at the end we re-enter that silence. At the end you re-enter that silence. When three souls unite and the very first globule of the fetus is formed it is silent. Slowly within the womb subtle waves of awareness begin to form. Very subtle images of past lives, memories of the moments of past enlightenments that have been forgotten. Yes, memories of the past enlightenments that have been forgotten. Again the images of the karmic lives and again those moments of absolute silence of divinity.
Just a few thoughts that I'd like to share with you, simple things, very, very simple guidelines, okay? Sometimes get letters from little, beginning, struggling centers. What shall we do? We have financial problems. We don't have enough teachers. How do we publicize? How do attract members? How do we get more donations? How do we become more effective? And all those questions are so familiar from the experience that's been developed here. And I begin to give them one or two standard answers. One, your purpose as executives, administrators, teachers of the center is not the growth of the center, nor the solvency of the center, nor that you must make a success of the center and how do we go about making a success of the center? The moment you begin to think in terms of "How do we begin to attract more people so that the center keeps running?" you have immediately impeded the progress of the center.
The title that I gave today was Communicating with Students. From what we have been saying all of this time, that should not longer be a problem. And I am going to play my old broken record all over again and will not tire of playing it. Your work is with yourself. You are working hard on your postures or your breathing or adding one more exercise to the list of those that you have mastered. But where it's at is in your emotional framework. Let me remind you here again that we are doing a whole weekend on the Yamas and Niyamas next month, and I expect the teachers not to miss it, because that's where it's at. Asana, the third of the eight limbs of yoga, comes after Yama and Niyama. And a large number of us have not even begun to give serious thought to the Yamas and Niyamas. If you have got your Yamas and Niyamas straight, you have no more problems in the world. That is the test of the perfection of the Yamas and Niyamas, because then you have somebody solving all your problems. And that somebody is called the Yamas and Niyamas. You have a referent. You have some place to which to carry your problems. You have a set of guidelines. You have a set of systems against which you evaluate and measure everything in your life. Somebody there is counseling you. This applies. This does not apply. This is effective. This is not effective.
I will now take the question of what is culture, what is religion and what is spirituality. In the teachings of all the wise men of the world, religion and culture start from spirituality. This spirituality is a personal realization of the principles that run the universe. Some may call it God, some may call it dharma, still others may call it enlightenment, but it has to be an inner personal realization. For this, the personal resolve that: the truth that Buddha or Lao Tzu realized, may I realize the same truth. What Lao Tzu or Jesus realized, may I realize the same truth. All efforts that go towards that internal realization are called spirituality.
Always try to find opportunities to make yourself small. Always try to find opportunities to make yourself small before others in humility – mental humility – not always trying to assert your bigness, not always asserting your thought that “I am right!” Say, “I’m wrong,” and then you will grow. “Yes, I’m wrong, my mistake, my fault. Yes, it’s my fault.” And sometimes do it even if it is not your fault.
Tonight we are going to be talking of bhakti yoga, yoga of devotion, love, emotion. In this branch of yoga, chanting is the greatest expression of emotion. When the spirit is filled with love the song bubbles out. There are certain mantras which are collective and common. You may call them a thousand names of the deity. You may call them a thousand affirmations of your own divine nature and as your mind is filled with the thought of peace and quiet from your heart center an emotion wells up and it bursts into a chant.