Let Us Reform Ourselves
'Translation and substance' of a talk given in Hindi at Sawan Ashram

The significance of Satsang has been explained on a number of occasions. This is a sacred place (Sawan Ashram) and must be taken as such. Whenever you visit a Gurudwara or a temple, you do so with a feeling of reverence. If you go there without such a feeling and keep thinking about worldly affairs, what will you gain? The purpose of your coming here is love of God, His remembrance, and communion with Him. Come here with a clean mind and pure heart remembering the Lord. Then alone you will be able to derive full benefit from Satsang. The more attentive you are, the greater will be the benefit. Whatever you understand you must practice. Otherwise, the result is sorrow.

Swami Ji Maharaj has aptly explained the significance of Satsang. Kabir in a couplet says: "The heart is somewhere else, but the body is with the Saint. How can an unbleached cloth be dyed like this?" If you just sit quietly and attentively, even if you are not able to follow the Satsang fully, you will derive some benefit. By thinking about mundane matters, you not only harm yourself, but also spoil the atmosphere for others. We do not assemble here to make friends, but to establish true relationship -- the relationship with God that does not break even after death. It cannot be snapped during one's lifetime. It is only because of our lack of understanding, false sense of ego, and such other ideas that we are amidst this conflict. To where does this conflict lead us? To suffering.

There can be no (no ! no !!) salvation by visiting this place as a routine. The more you put your heart into the Satsang, the happier you will be. If you do this you will get something which is not available elsewhere. You have been asked to maintain a diary, but you remain adamant and do not do so. If we keep a diary regularly, we can become angels. We are not Saints, but have come here to become one. This can happen only if we put our hearts to what we understand here.

If we do something for a number of days or months, it becomes a habit. Habit so formed should be unraveled. Bad habits falsehood, deceit, enmity, intrigue, backbiting, etc. should be discarded. It is to shed these old habits that we come to Satsang. If that is not done and we make only a show of it, then, what is the point of coming to Satsang ?

We come to Satsang to form such habits and adopt such ideas as to forge a link with the Truth (Sat), to give up negative ideas, and to assimilate positive thoughts in our lives. The holy Quran says that even God does not care about a person who does not think of reforming himself. By reforming ourselves, we can change the whole world.

The worst of all the bad habits is to criticize others. One must observe non-injury (nonviolence) even in thought. All religions are good, but the observance of nonviolence is the highest. Forget the past and discard all bad habits. Otherwise, we will only harm ourselves and remain entangled in the whirlpool of births and deaths. Thus, Saints lovingly exhort us to give up obstinacy now.

"Deceiving the Master" means that we think whatever we do (good or bad) is all right and that He is not watching us. But the Master Power is always within us and is watching all our actions. The Master is not an ordinary human being. The Master is a Divine Power manifest on a human pole. That Power is always watching us, although physically He may not be seeing us. So, recognize the Master Power. The Master loves all, even those who may consider themselves as His enemies. He wishes everyone well. Even if someone threatens to kill, He will not wish ill of him. Why? Because of the Master Power in Him. If we recognize this Power in Him, we must obey Him, for He will never give us bad advice.

Swami Ji reminds us that Satsang is done by the Master, Who is not an ordinary human being. Then Who is a Guru (Master)? He is God Himself. You should come here in His remembrance and go out remembering Him. Adopt whatever things are helpful to reach Him and reject those that become obstacles. To reach God is not difficult, but difficult it is to become a man. Although we may appear to show great reverence and understanding, we consider ourselves to be wisest of all. That is why Swami Ji Maharaj has said that we must leave our old habits.

Everyone judges things from his own level. Unless you concede someone as your superior and obey him, you cannot get anything. Anyone who has not attained a higher level will take you downward. He Who is at a higher level will unite all. All human beings are liable to make mistakes. If someone commits a mistake, forgive and forget.

Kabir says that if someone considers the Master an ordinary human being, he will get the lowest birth. The manifest God-in-him is the Master. If you consider Him a superior individual, you must listen to Him. If you do not agree with Him, He may not contest it and may say that He might have made a mistake. Even then, if He is blamed, it cannot result in happiness and will cause suffering. There is not an iota of doubt about it. The purpose of Satsang is to increase happiness within ourselves. When a soul gets a link with God, it will acquire all His virtues. The Master is full of compassion; He ignores and washes our sins. For example, a mother lovingly cleans the dirt of her child before embracing him. She does not harm him. We come to Satsang to become Saints. We can do so if we practice what we are able to grasp. Swami Ji, thus, very lovingly explains that we are committing a blunder if we see the Master from our own levels.

The question now is: Who is a Master? This is not a new question. Guru Nanak was asked this question. He replied that the Word is the Guru (Master) and soul is the disciple. The Lord Himself is the Master and our souls are His disciples. Kabir also gave the same reply when He was put this question. When the soul establishes a contact with Him, it is free from transmigration. Then Who is the Master? He is the human pole in which the Light of God is manifest. He can show Light to others. That is the only proof of His being the Master. Christ has said: "I am the Light of the world; those who come to me shall never walk in darkness."

The Master's word is the real Master. Those who obey what He says achieve salvation. He can give us some experience of Light. If this is done, then there is no scope for doubt. Swami Ji says that the Master is the essence of God. That God Power working through the Master never dies.

Swami Ji says that somehow we will have to understand that the Master where God Power is manifest can give us the experience of the Power. This is the only touchstone to remove any doubt. Anyone can lecture, act, and pose; but few can give the experience of Light within. Someone Who can give this experience proves adequately that He has the Divine Light in Him. Then, whatever He says must be accepted. What He says is that we should have communion with God Who is within us all and, therefore, we should love all. The mind may refuse to understand this, but you will have to make it understand.

So it is not difficult to find God; it is difficult to become a real man. Dr. lqbal, the famous Urdu poet, once said that Moses went to Mount Tur in search of God; but he did not know that God Himself was in search of a real man. Baba Jaimal Singh Ji found Hazur, my Master, in the Murree Hills of Punjab. Was there no one else for Him to find in the whole of Punjab? What I mean to stress is that mind will have to recognize the Master. Then only we will be able to obey Him. Otherwise, we will remain entangled in a maze of doubts and the purpose of human life and of coming to Satsang will not be achieved.

The Master's mission is to teach us with compassion and grace. All are the Lord's children. What is that Power which creates such compassion and love in Him? It is the God Power which compels Him to love all. He is Love Personified. He teaches love and spreads vibrations of love. His words are meant for increasing love. Swami Ji thus exhorts us to obey the Master. If we developed love of God, enabling us to see Him in all and all in Him, there is no reason for us to come to this world again and again. When we forget the Lord, our ego naturally gets bloated; and we are caught up in our conflicts. The Karmic law is supreme; if you cause suffering, you will suffer; if you do violence, you will face violence; and, similarly, if you usurp somebody's rights, your rights will be usurped. Thus, you will keep coming and going in this world. Hence the need to change ourselves. Saints always teach us with love; but, if necessary, They may punish also to reform us.

Man is the teacher of man. The Master comes in a human form and becomes like us to teach us. He is a human being like us. God is hidden in us and is the source of our lives, but in Him (Master) God is manifest. This is the only difference. Excuse me, old Masters cannot come back to guide us, although we can benefit by reading whatever They have said. The living Master, Who has passed through life just like us, has the experience of life. He says He has done it and you can do it likewise by strictly following the principles. What are those principles? They are: Truth and love of God. You should love all and ignore others' mistakes with love. Blood cannot be washed with blood, but it can be with the water of love.

Keep ready to serve. What is service? Obey His commandments and mold your lives according to His teachings. He says keep your lives clean and thoughts pure. Never think ill of anyone. Adopt Truth. Love all for the Lord resides in all. We are fortunate to have this human life, and we should derive full benefit out of it by linking our souls with the Oversoul.

The Master Power has been working on different human poles. When one electric bulb is fused, another replaces it; but the power remains the same. Once Jews brought a sinner before Jesus Christ and asked Him to punish the culprit. Christ agreed to do so and asked the people as to what was the normal punishment for such a crime. On being told that the accused should be stoned to death, He told the people that only those who have never committed such a sin should throw stones at the accused. No one came forward. Then Christ asked the accused to "sin no more." So, try to recognize the Master Power which never dies. "I shall never leave thee, nor forsake thee till the end of the world." Christ, the Master Power manifested in Him, said this and not the human pole of Jesus. The Master will explain with love, show sympathy, and even at times shed tears somehow to bring us to the right path. His aim is to ensure that we attain the Truth.

At least those who come to Satsang, and especially those who have been initiated by the Master, should have love for others. Christ asked His followers to live with love so that others know that they were associated with Him. If we are able to remove even one man's suffering by sweet words and sympathy, we have done a big service.

Swami Ji now asks: What is your goal in life? To find God. You can find God through right understanding. Your real friends are those by meeting whom ignorance can be removed. What is ignorance? God has made all of us alike. All are embodied souls. Soul is the essence of God. He is present in all. This realization means removal of ignorance and to get the right perspective. So, He pulls you out of delusion. You cannot succeed in your mission without Him. Your life's mission was to realize God and not to lose yourself in materialistic pursuits and struggles. We continue to sow new seeds of karmas which we will have to reap. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Do away with false pride and self-veneration and keep your mission in view. By doing so, not only you, but the whole world can be happy. Thus, to find God is the real mission of our lives. Only God can fulfill this mission. Swami Ji has stressed this point by saying that we should go and fulfill our own mission and not get entangled in the material world. Think before acting whether your actions will result in happiness or suffering. It is very easy to increase pain, but difficult it is to remove it. Love alone can wipe out sorrow. There is no other remedy.

Dhritrashtra once abused Arjuna's bow, for which the latter had high regard. Arjuna stood up and aimed his arrow at Dhritrashtra. On Lord Krishna's intervention, Arjuna said that he had taken a vow to kill anyone who abuses his bow. Lord Krishna then asked him whether dharma (duty) would cause happiness or sorrow. Happiness, Arjuna replied. Lord Krishna then told Arjuna to ponder over the obvious result of his intention to kill Dhritrashtra.

What is Dharma and what is its test? Both Viyas and Christ were asked these questions. The common theme of their replies is that we should treat others in a manner we ourselves like to be treated. We have to decide, therefore, whether our action will result in happiness or sorrow. Saints aim at increasing happiness. Obey Them and you will reach the goal. Otherwise, you will go on groping in the dark as before.

A Saint (Master) is a Lightouse of both the worlds. In association with Him you can get communion with God -- the real goal of life.

We are very fortunate to have this human life. If we miss this opportunity (to realize God), who knows when this opportunity will come again. Engage yourself in activities that can be helpful to realize God. All other worldly activities which cause self-veneration, cleverness, and sense of ego are useless. It is hard to find a man who aims at all-round unity. It is the Saints' mission to unite all. If you are able to find such a Saint, and you obey Him, you can accomplish your mission.

Human life is a great boon. You have been able to find a Master. If you let go this opportunity and fail to take advantage of His association by not obeying Him, by not shaping your lives according to His teachings, the obvious result will be the endless wheel of life. For, what you think so you become.

Bharat, after whom our country (India) has been named as Bharat, was a king who renounced the world and became a hermit; but he developed attachment for a deer. Consequently, he had to take birth as a deer. The Master's only concern is to see us all happy. He tries to set right our mistakes. His ideal is love for all.

Why is Gurudom in disrepute today? Modern gums are generally political at heart. They have an axe to grind to make money and to get honor and respect. They are not concerned with the well being of the people. Their object is to impress the people by their hypocrisy, deceit, and falsehood. You may be taken in by these methods. On the contrary, the Saint will talk to you frankly and lovingly and point out that you are making a mistake. He will make you see the difference between truth and falsehood. Such a Guru is a great blessing. Our soul was once separated from the Lord and to be reunited is the foremost mission of your lives.

What are you proud of?. Is it because you sing well, or you can exhibit your knowledge, or you are a good orator? These things lead you nowhere. Ravana was said to be proficient in all the four Vedas and six Shastras. Still he is popularly shown with an ass's head. Why? All his learning proved useless due to his wrong action.

Intellectual pursuits, cleverness, and indulgence in tall talk are easy. It is difficult to control your senses, to rise above body-consciousness, to keep thoughts pure, and not to think ill of others. If we accomplish these things, it is not difficult to realize God.

Swami Ji has been exhorting us for about 100 years now that we show only superficial respect for the Master instead of respecting His teachings, in which lies our salvation. Saints do not spare anyone, including Themselves.

Swami Ji says that our ego makes us come to this world again and again. Do not follow your mind; follow your Master. This will bring you happiness.

Your carelessness in failing to change your old habits or reforming yourself is harmful to you.

Discard deceit. What is deceit? You say something and do something else. Only by doing away with hypocrisy can we increase our sense of devotion. Therefore, deceit and hypocrisy should go first. Then give up tall talk and inculcate humility. A person with such virtues will automatically get the Master's Grace.

If you refuse to listen, then what can be done? Even Saints cannot help you. In that case, you will be miserable and unhappy.

The Negative Power will delude you. The compassionate Lord alone can save you from doubts and delusions.

You have no principle in life. What can be done to such a person ?

If your mind agrees, you go on making efforts to reform yourself. What is true will always remain true. Even if your vision is clouded, the Master's image will not be blackened. Try to understand gradually; do not despair. There is every hope that the delusion may ultimately disappear. To give up heart after making flimsy efforts is not the solution. The solution lies in reforming your inner self. Once you have satisfied yourself about the competency of the Master, then, you must persist in making efforts to understand. Do not listen to your mind; listen to the Master. This will make you understand.

The human pole on which the God Power is manifest is called Radhaswami by Swami Ji Maharaj. The Master explains that if you do not understand, you will grope in the dark.

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