Although the Lord is the personification of love, we seldom allow him to enter the temple of our hearts. Truly, the wise proclaim that love is the only path, love is the only God, and love is the only scripture. Impress this verse upon your memory and chant it constantly if you want to realize your dreams of growth. Only love purifies the body and mind.
Love is the all-seeing divine eye and the wish fulfilling touchstone. Every living being is a stream of love. Let us allow someone to taste our love and let us taste someone else’s love. Love flowing in another’s life is the source of our happiness, and the love flowing in our own life is the source of another’s happiness. This is the universal law. Love is not far away. Love is as close as each of our hearts. Victory to the Path of Love.Victory to the Lord of Love.
Progress/Karma Yoga/ Sadhana
An individual can progress from association with society. As the tree is connected to its roots and branches, each individual is connected with society.
Sanatan Dharma means the whole is one family. To see this is to have a broad mind which is a spiritual mind. The narrow mind focuses on oneself and is selfish. True progress is when you reach to the whole world. Karma (yoga) is a sadhana worth performing.
Sitting straight in meditation is a narrow understanding of sadhana.
When all the walking stops then comes the sadhana of meditation.
Only when you pass through the stage of many disturbances are you ready for the sadhana of meditation.
As a group make an effort to progress together.
The best action is that which supports your spiritual growth.
Just to find happiness for yourself alone is not much… the mind becomes disturbed by that. Group progress is individual progress as well. The activity you have accepted has the potential for individual growth through group growth.
You begin your sadhana from where you are. Each stage is development on a group level.
How to Do Our Work
I consider your work to be very good karma. You will have to have firm determination for good action. Determine:
“We will love each other totally. We will not hide from, hurt or quarrel with each other.”
Your work gives strength to yourself, the group and society.
You can express your hearts feelings to others. This is very pious work. This is a kind of tapas.
It is the grace of god inspiring you to do good work.
Straight obedience is important.
Bapuji on Prasad Nov 1977
“Love is god himself. That is the highest mantra. Love your family as yourself. Consider their happiness your greatest happiness. Give others so much love they cannot be without you. They should feel your absence. Their hearts should leap when they see you, such is the depth of your love. To nourish this kind of love you must continually burn like a lamp. And for that you have to practice self-sacrifice.”
Bapuji on Prayer
The world is full of many types of people. Whenever any of them are in a difficult situation, they experience the need for an invisible divine power. Great saints call this divine power, god.
God is the creator, the sustainer and the maintainer of the universe. He is the well wisher of all. When someone accepts the existence of god firmly, he can ask or beg for help when in great difficulty.
This asking for help or begging is called prayer. The success or failure of the prayer cannot do any harm to almighty god. God is the solace of everyone. Only he is wealth, fame, friend, beloved, supremacy and strength. Prayers to him or remembrance of him always give happiness. God is the only route to happiness, peace and bliss. Anyone who can do only true prayer in his whole life, he becomes deserving of god’s supreme grace.
The cause of all unhappiness is separation from god. The cause of happiness is reunion with god. The nature and purpose of prayer or remembrance is reunion with god. Prayer is the first step of yoga. In the same way that earth is the cause of the evolution of tress so is prayer the cause of the evolution of the individual. Prayer can be done through the tongue and the mid. God is omniscient so even when the tongue will not move and the mind will not think, prayer is always there.
Prayer is the silent speech of love.
God listens very carefully to the prayers of illiterate people. God is almighty so prayer that is offered to god is never useless. Mostly he is giving without asking. He is not giving according to the asking. God takes the first fruit in his hand and only then does he listen to the prayer with a smiling face.
Prayer is the light of love.
Prayer is the only eternal path that leads us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.
Bapuji’s Farewell Darsahn
Beloved children do not give up virtuous conduct and self-discipline, even in the face of death. Keep unflinching faith in the holy lotus feet of the Lord and continue to practice mantra japa,bhajans, chanting his name, meditation, pranayama,postures observing holy vows, fasting, moderation in diet, studying scriptures and other disciplines.
I extend my blessings to everyone.
Your loving grandfather,
Bapuji’s Message to Gurudev 9/28/81
“May your ashram live long and reach to the highest. This is my blessing to you. I consider it to be my own family.”
Bapuji’s Message to Gurudev 9/28/81
“You have loved me as a son would love his father, like a disciple would love his Guru.
You have my best, my highest blessings.
Such blessings are given in life only once. My Guru gave me such blessings only once.
May our love, our mutual love remain just the way it is forever. That’s what I wish.”
Your work succeeds by the grace of God. That is why you must have: self-confidence, trust and faith in god.
Those who can give up the path of material well-being only can travel on the path of yoga.
One who selects the path of spirituality only can be a traveler of liberation or salvation.
Guruji’s (Bapuji’s) very important suggestion is:
Don’t just read what is being written; dwell on it and digest it. Just take one sentence and dwell on it all the time.
The impurity of the mind and the purity of the mind is determined by the stillness of the mind.
The impure mind is always attached to desires so it is the cause for all bondage. The pure mind is without any desires so it is the cause for liberation.
It is one thing to listen, it’s another to understand. And the third is to practice.
In Guruparan, one of the ancient scriptures of India, it is said that those who are tired of the worldly life, who have found themselves to be miserable in the worldly life-only for them, yoga is greatest and best remedy.
Please write down one principle on your heart. Bhakti is to be practiced only to please god not to throw it to the people. So whenever you do it, please do it for the sake of god only. Otherwise god will not accept the bhakti you have done to show (off) to the people.
On Amaritji’s Service
“I will now tell you a little about beloved Amrit. He has now been closely associated with me since he was only fifteen years old. We both feel natural affection for one another. If someone were to ask me, “Among your householder disciples, whom do you consider the best?” I would definitely nominate beloved Amrit first. I would not suggest Amrit only because I love him like a son, but because he is genuinely deserving. Truly this deservedness has not come to him all of a sudden, however, it has developed gradually.
Who does not make mistakes? Everyone makes mistakes, so beloved Amrit must have also made various mistakes. But since he is a vigilant sadhak, he is interested in finding his faults, and he remains aware so they are not repeated. Amritis extremely loving; he is fond of sadhana, the saints and the scriptures; he is ambitious and restrained, and he is extremely in love with me.
Once no one had ever heard of me here in America. But he placed my portrait faithfully in the meditation room, and to this day he has worshipped it as if it were a god. He has also invoked love for me in the hearts of thousands of disciples. Is this not devotion to his guru?
For the past two and a half years I have lived very close to him and have had a chance to directly observe the complete scope of his life. Really! He is a high caliber householder sadhak who lives the life of a saint.
One day with his throat choked with emotions, Amritji came to me and said,” Bapuji, kindly let us know if there are any remaining shortcomings in our service; do not hesitate in the least. Without feeling at all embarrassed we will immediately improve on the shortcomings.”
Such affectionate utterances can only slip out of the mouth of a close disciple. The husband and wifeUrmila, and the entire family of spiritual disciples have served me with total love and dedication. I am greatly satisfied with this. I convey my heartfelt blessings to each of them.
Understand that I am praising Amrit’s virtues rather than Amrit himself, for though one may be able to digest mercury or strong poison, he could never digest praises like this. A sadguru has only his disciples’ best interest in mind; so when he praises his disciple, his intention is merely to inspire him. I sincerely pray that Amrit will assimilate these praises to make his life even higher, and that he will not become unnecessarily “puffed up.”
In my youth, there were also rules of etiquette and food restrictions worth discussing here.
In India, the Brahmin caste is considered to be the superior caste. Within each caste, there are sub-castes, but these differences are not given much importance. During the same time mentioned earlier, all the castes were permitted to eat food prepared by Brahmins. However, Brahmins were not permitted to eat food prepared by other castes.
Since the Brahmin caste was predominately ascetic, scholarly, and self-disciplined, society regarded their thought and conduct as superior. Brahmin thought and conduct was not only respected, but it dominated society. Brahmins’ respect for spirituality led to the prescription of a sattvik diet. Thus, before consuming any food item, a Brahmin would assess whether it was sattvik, rajasic, or tamasic.
Although there were hotels during that time, they were used minimally by Brahmin men. Before entering a hotel, they looked around cautiously for the presence of any elders. If they spotted any elders nearby, they would not enter the hotel. Only Hindus were able to enter into Hindu hotels. Outside the Hindu hotels, separate facilities were available for Muslims. There were also many Muslim hotels. Later, the young men began to flout the religious restrictions on this tradition of hotels, and today, anyone may enter any hotel.
In my literary circle, there were more Muslims than Hindus. We met on a regular basis to discuss literature. After tea and snacks, we departed. Everyone loved me, and we used to feast upon the food of literature together; but we had to separate for tea and snacks. My Muslim friends would go to the Muslim hotel, and my Hindu friends would go to a Hindu hotel. Sometimes, my Muslim friends would come to the Hindu hotel, but because of religious restrictions, they had to sit outside and eat on benches provided.
Our mutual love for each other made such restrictions unpleasant; and annoyed, we would criticize those regulations in bitter words: “How can certain practices be called religious when they segregate human beings from one another and create a wall between them. The supreme dharma is the dharma of love. The entire world should accept only that dharma, for it can never exist where there is no love.”
Courage is an integral part of love. One day I made a suggestion to my friends. “There are ten of us. Three of us are Hindus and the rest of you are Muslims. Usually, we have to separate during our refreshments, but today I have decided to come to your Muslim hotel. I’ll have the refreshments brought from the Hindu hotel, and we’ll eat together.” They were my well-wishers and were very aware of the Hindu mentality. Thus, they didn’t seem to like my proposition.
One of them said lovingly, “It is not appropriate to deliberately provoke a conflict. Although it is all right for you to have refreshments brought from the Hindu hotel to our hotel and eat with us, be aware that onlookers will believe that you are eating food prepared by Muslims.”
In those days, if a higher caste person was caught drinking even water provided by a lower caste person, he was ostracized by members of his own caste. Not only that, but if he violated any restrictions at all of his caste, he was ostracized.
“Friends, I appreciate your love and concern, but I want to carry out this experiment honestly.”
They reluctantly consented.
So, one day, I went ahead with my experiment. This courageous act of mine became a topic of discussion among young men and old. Those were the times when it was considered improper even to stand next to a Muslim. So, naturally, it was considered a big offense to sit inside eating their refreshments.
One elderly person, twisting my ears, scolded me. “You rascal. Why do you behave in such a wanton manner? Don’t consider your misdeed to be an act of courage; it’s absolutely foolish. You may have had refreshments brought from the Hindu hotel, but you should have thought about the place in which you were eating.”
I responded, “Why is there so much opposition against the place? Scriptures say that Brahmins are gods on earth and the abodes of purity. Also, they are powerful enough to purify the entire world. Will the Muslim hotel render me impure?”
He gave me a light rap on the head, “You fool. You read scriptures, write stories, poems, essays, and therefore consider yourself a great scholar? You don’t have any experience. The glorious Brahmin which you are talking about is a great ascetic and a rishi. You are not worthy even to kiss the dust on his slippers.”
The other elders also sent for me and scolded me. “You have become absolutely corrupted and seem bent upon destroying the Brahmin caste.”
“I am a Hindu.” I declared. “I don’t have a desire to become Muslim. But can’t I sit with them? Why should we follow restrictions which don’t serve any useful purpose?”
“Oh, brother, who is preventing you from sitting with them? We only insist that you not go into their hotel.”
Thus, a very trivial incident had seriously disturbed the entire community for a week. Eventually, I had to take an oath in front of everyone promising not to behave like that again.
My Muslim friends then also pleaded with me, “From now on, please do not come into our hotel.”
Thus, I was rendered helpless.
Of course, now I realize from experience that many revolutions are not true revolutions. They are merely a kind of foolish excitement.
4 August 1977
Sanatana Dharma Foundation
St. Helena, CA
A religious person should be certain that he understands all the subtleties underlying another person’s beliefs or conduct before he either accepts or rejects them. The many underlying subtleties of religious thought and conduct have arisen from science. Average people cannot appreciate these subtleties properly. For this reason, they oppose religious thought and conduct in the name of philosophy.
Such opposition has been witnessed in every family, every country, every nation, every society, and every age. Every new generation dislikes the thought and conduct of the previous generation. The new generation then tries to replace the old ideas and customs with new ones. However, it is worth remembering here that the spiritual person is not attached to old ideas and customs. Neither does he hate new ideas and customs. He accepts a thought or a mode of conduct only when it is conducive to asceticism or self-development.
Those who tend toward pleasure-seeking are not able to appreciate the discrimination practiced by those who are ascetic. Thus, such pleasure-seekers create disharmony everywhere.
I will narrate a personal experience on this subject.
I am sixty-five years old. This episode occurred when I was seventeen or eighteen. I was born into a Brahmin family, and all the men used to wear dhotis; so I also wore one. In those days, the Kshatriyas, or members of the warrior caste, wore pajamas or long trousers.
In every society, a new generation of adults emerges every twenty-five years or so. This pleasure-seeking, joy-seeking generation usually is attracted to the very latest in fashionable clothes.
I had a pair of pajamas which I usually kept hidden. On one particular day, I decided to wear them. My entire family was annoyed with me. They complained critically, “Take off those pajamas; we are Brahmins and cannot war clothes like Kshatriyas.”
I began to wonder, “Why not? A dhoti is a loose unsewn garment, and a pajama is a sewn garment. This is the only difference between the two. Why can’t a Brahmin wear them both?”
But how was I to understand the things related to asceticism and self-development at such a young age? So, I refused to succumb to anyone’s opposition; I wore the pajamas anyway. News of what to me was a trivial incident spread through the entire neighborhood and then among the entire caste in my town. The elders gathered and decided: “We should stop this young man from wearing pajamas, and we should not allow such corruption to spread any further.”
The wiser elders advised: “Our thoughts should not be imposed upon the young people. They should be persuaded with love to reconsider their actions. This young man asks why a Brahmin can’t wear pajamas. How is Brahmin dharma harmed by one wearing pajamas? Does one become a Brahmin merely by wearing certain clothes? If not, then what is the harm in wearing pajamas?”
Some other elders expressed their thoughts: “Well, this is a result of changing times. Let him wear the pajamas.”
But other elders counter-argued, “If we let him wear such garments, others will follow his example. Then all young people will begin dressing like this. But if we are not able to explain the importance of dhotis, then it is better for us to remain silent.”
The elders were not able to agree on any one course of action.
So, I continued to wear the pajamas. After a while, my friends began to imitate me. As a result, they also had varying degrees of conflicts in their homes. But in the end, the young people won. Today, even girls and young women wear pajamas, slacks, skirts, and other such clothes.
Now, though, after many years, my experiences have taught me that the paths of pleasure and self-development are different. Since clothing serves some purpose, it is essential. Those who don’t observe certain restrictions have not understood the path of self-development and asceticism.
Different types of impressions are created by the kinds of clothing people wear: dirty, clean, ragged, new, old, fancy, plain, short, long, colorful or subdued. This influences the types of impressions created in the mind of the person who is wearing them. For this reason, the selection of clothes for those on the paths of pleasure and asceticism are different.
4 August 1977
Sanatana Dharma Foundation
St. Helena, CA
An American Disciple on Bapuji’s Storytelling
Bapuji’s body was so fluid. One gesture, an arch of the eyebrow or lifting one finger told a whole story. When he told a story it was like watching a movie. He would embody each of the characters, their longing, grief, joy and silliness. Yogi Desai (our Gurudev) would translate the story in English from what Bapuji wrote on his slate and Bapuji would act out the story in perfect synchronicity to the words Gurudev was saying.
Gurudev told us before Bapuji arrived that he was a superb actor. We had no idea. Bapuji would weave an energy picture with his stories. Though it seemed as though his whole body was engaged, it was his face that told the whole story. And he wouldn’t always just play the characters, but also the response to the characters. For instance, he would not just play Radha. But also give his response to Radha’s longing.
When he would tell a story he would often start laughing and then go off into gales of laughter. He laughed so hard at himself to the point of drooling. And we would all laugh with him, deep, full belly laughs.
One of the first times Bapuji gave darshan, Gurudev was translating and having some difficulty. It was a new role for Gurudev. When he would mistranslate a word, Bapuji would shake his head and say something in Gujarati to Gurudev and then Gurudev would change the translation a bit so the meaning was clear. And throughout the whole talk Bapuji would make faces and would gesture in synchronicity with what Gurudev was saying word for word.
Afterwards someone asked Gurudev if Bapuji knew English and Gurudev said, “He has never studied it.” Bapuji wrote his own response on the slate and Gurudev read, “He is kind of bright.”(in reference to himself). More peals of laughter from everyone!
In darshans, Bapuji first read in Gujarat and Gurudev would have the same speech and translate it. In one darshan Gurudev was translating and Bapuji told him to stop. He said something to Gurudev in Gujarat and Gurudev laughed and said” He has told me that I have gone beyond what he’s read and to not get ahead of him.”
Gurudev was translating Bapuji during one darshan and came to the phrase “Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya.” He began to translate, “O lord. Bow. Yes, bow down” and then got confused. He looked up at Bapuji to help him. Bapuji said, “Mango means mango.”
This became a joke when something was not translatable. He would say the word over and over or he would say, “mango means mango.”
Another time, I was standing outside the darshan room with a line of others waiting for Bapuji to pass. Bapuji came along. I was swept up in his energy just looking at him. He took both flowers that I was holding and I thought, “Oh I have given both flowers to Bapuji and now I don’t have one for Gurudev.” In the next second, Bapuji took one flower and gave it back. I thought, “Wow!” he read my mind.