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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Today is Mā's birthday and ‘N’ was telling me that I should speak something. One point that comes to my mind is that, South India is a Karma Bhūmi and North India is a Jñāna Bhūmi. What is the difference between the two? Here, people are very ritual oriented, very rigid. They will go to the temple and stand yards away from the deity. Nobody will enter the sanctum sanctorum or touch the deity except the chief priests or the main priest. So we are supposed to be standing at a great distance as untouchables and worship is only done from a distance. Nothing will be offered to the lord taken by us. Everything has to be prepared in the temple by temple staff, service people and then offered. This is more a rigid, ritualistic life.
If we have jñāna, it will make us very dear and close to the deity. In North India, they go and touch the deity. In Kāśi Viśwanātha, they take water from Ganga and pour it on the idol themselves. That idol also is very very very divine, sanctified. But here it will be putrefied, polluting the temple by our presence and touch of the deity; this is a concept that North Indians can never think or assimilate. I think the entire culture of the South is like this.
We are also very backward in the matter of responding to patriotism. The Chief Justice of Karnataka who once came here and stayed for two-three days told me, right from the Victorian times the British empire was feeling that South India is a disciplined and ordered population. They were not worried about them. We don't have the impact of invasion. When India is attacked, I don't think South Indians feel about it but in the North there is a lot of response, reaction and feeling.
Somehow, the three great Āchāryās of India were born in South India. The Avatārās were born in the North. Rama and Krishna were born in the North. Shankaracharya, Ramanuja and Madhvacharya were born in the South. So I think providence is keeping a kind of a balance and the providence has ascribed ritualism and rigidity to the South. Even now you find that rigidity. Our people are temple oriented; they are not Guru-oriented. Spirituality is not so much in them.
I happen to be born in Kerala and I am also a part of this rigid tradition. But because I have been moving about in different parts of India and before that I had always perhaps an adaption, adapting, adaptable and also a revolutionary note in me, I was not fully immersed in this ritualism etc. Whenever I used to find something good and nice, I always accepted it.
After Mā and Nutan Swamiji came to the Ashram years back, our Ashram has undergone an absolute change, change towards spirituality and the nice elements of spirituality. Whatever you find here in the way of Guru worship, Guru attitude and Guru devotion, I think it is solely introduced, strengthened and preserved by them. I am the Guru myself, so by nature I will not feel like telling people ‘you do this’, ‘you do that’. It is for some other person to say. If my Guru were here, then I would have said. But I am living alone, myself becoming a Guru. So I cannot set standards for me or for the disciples. It becomes difficult. ‘This is the way you have to worship, these are the elements’ etc. I think it requires an elegance.
When they came, they came as disciples and Swamiji became their Guru. So they could say it should be like this, it should be like that, this is how the śiṣya should behave and all that. So they started introducing their own śiṣya culture, devotional and spiritual culture of the North in the Ashram and everything started growing after that.
After Mā and Nutan Swamiji came here, during my interactions with them I had an occasion to find how Mā is given to this Guru Bhakti. One instance that comes to my mind is, you know I am a South Indian as I told you. We always keep our beds away; we don't touch it during the day. Early in the morning, we roll our bed and we have a place to keep. We touch them only at night when we have to sleep and we call it an untouchable place and untouchable item. We have a special name for it called ‘Vizhuppu'.
Mā and Nutan Swamiji were staying in the Om house. So early in the morning she would come and set my bed. So before that I used to get up, keep my pillow, put the bedsheet etc. One day she saw me and she said: “Why are you doing it? We will do it.” So I said: “How will you do it? You have taken bath. Is it not an item of pollution?” She said: “Why, how? Whatever we do for the Guru we should do it after taking bath. Our idols are given bath. The dress of the idol is changed. All these things are done after our taking bath. We don't consider it to be polluting or anything untouchable.” “So if you think so, then you can do my bed”, I said. That was a very important change in my life. Otherwise I was used to keeping my bed. To some extent I had changed because I started using cot and there was a bedcover to put on it and we will place a bedcover and keep. And during the daytime, whenever I used to rest, I used to remove the cover, then lie and all that. So much of confusion was there.
So when Mā said that, “No, this is the way we look at it and there is nothing wrong about it”, I simply accepted and left the whole subject to be organised by them in the manner they like. And whatever you find in this Ashram is after they came. Everything to be gerua for me to sit whether it is in the chair or any other place. Bed materials should also be gerua. No colourful bed sheets or bedcovers will be used. All these were hers. Now wherever I go I put a cloth. Somebody carries a cloth, yesterday it was not there so I put my towel and sat. Yesterday when I got into the tipper, in that hurry I forgot, so our ‘M’ was reminding me: “Swamiji, don't you put this cloth before sitting?” So I stood up, spread the cloth and sat over it.
It is very interesting to watch how people also observe and learn. Earlier I had spoken that everything in our Ashram is very well recorded, tabulated and there is only tabulation, tabulation and tabulation for everything here. Even now she starts sometimes murmuring that in Guru sannidhi and Guru seva, a special sensitiveness should be there and she is not always happy the manner in which people think and people act and we are trying to introduce it more and more. I think we are succeeding in it.
So for those who come to the Ashram, I don't know how they feel. I find there is some distinction that we are keeping in all matters, in the cleanliness of the place, in using the articles, especially for me and nowadays for them also. Everywhere you will find a distinctional note. This is a result of what Mā and Nutan Swamiji feel themselves in their heart, so it has a very special significance and message.
Many years passed and Mā used to say with a lot of feelings, not grumbling I should say about the lack of devotional fulfillment that she used to have. So at one time I said: “You have come here with a special background and purpose. Don't think of all these questions. Move about like a young girl, that’s all. Don't ask any questions. Don't worry about any goal. Carry on. The mind will be alright. When the mind becomes desire-free, it is not bothered or affected by whatever is going on, there is nothing besides it to be achieved. You should grow to a state where you are unaffected by whatever takes place and you should not have a feeling that I have to give something or I have to take something from the world here during my life.”
When this kartṛtva and bhoktṛtva, both stand extinct, that is the state of fulfillment. Then ego effacement is another attainment. Any thought connected with ‘I’, ‘I have done’, ‘I will do’, ‘I shall enjoy’, ‘I shall suffer’, ‘my this’, ‘my that’, ‘my child’, all are ego. That ego-centricness, that is the last item to be dissolved in a seeker. To which extent you can grow I cannot say. It is up to your own satisfaction. Ultimately there comes a stage when you feel ‘This is the limit up to which I can go. I am not going to worry about it anymore.’ Then you get liberated.
In the same way as Mā was grumbling and feeling about lack, I think she stopped worrying about this. That non-worry can come only from a state of enlightenment, a state of release and mukti. So I expect that she is a Jeevanmukta. It is for her to say whether she is so or not. I expect Nutan Swamiji also to be a Jeevanmukta. If it is for him to feel it and when asked to speak about it in a very polished manner. I think in that there is a great fulfillment for me also.
I am expecting the others also to grow like this but I am not always happy because they are spending a lot of time and there is lack of mutuality. Sometimes I ask, “Will there not be one person amongst you who behaves like a loving sister?” “What is the problem? Tell me. I shall do it.” “What is the problem? Don't worry. I shall do it.” This should be the approach from their side. Instead of that I believe they spend time in fault-finding. ‘She said this, I said this’. I don't know, one day it will stop I am sure. And when it stops, perhaps they become liberated. Liberation means what? Shedding one's ego.
I am saying this so that you will pick up the message for you from whatever I am saying. I cannot say this is the message for you. I am explaining to you, describing and from the description and explanation you should find out your message and work on it. Okay.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.