Giving Knowledge of God:
……gives hundred and thousands of people free food every year, why; because his heart was touched by his guru Maharaj, a saintly person and awakened with the love of God. Our doctors here today, they are doctors. There is nothing wrong with being a doctor. But they are not utilizing their talents, simple to become richer and richer and more and more famous. They are utilizing their talents to actually help the body, the mind and the souls, of people in need. Help their body by using our medical facilities. Help their mind by encouraging and showing them real love and help their souls by giving them the understanding by which they can connect to God, by giving them the holy name of God, by giving them knowledge of God.
The Only Real Need of the Society-
If one is a simple house wife, if that housewife is God conscious, not only will that housewife find real fulfillment in her own life but she can give the highest gift, the highest charity for her children and her husband. This is the only real need of society- God consciousness. If this is lacking, the whole society is simply going in the wrong direction. What is the direction it is going? It is going the direction toward death? Can you name any one person on the physical level that is not in the direction of death? Is anyone’s life is not going in the direction of death? Raise your hand, you can tell me, whose life is not going in the direction of death? Raise your hand if everyone you know, their life is going in the direction of death. That’s the wrong direction.
Human life is meant to be going in the direction of eternal life, not death. This whole society is simply going in the wrong direction. No matter, how many big big building and skyscrapers we built. No matter, how wonderful our medical technology is. No matter, how many PhDs come out of the universities of the world; everyone is simply going towards death. Now take the same facilities and add an understanding of the need of God consciousness in our life and those same people in their same positions, their whole life will be turned around towards the direction of eternity, a state beyond birth and death; because the soul is beyond death.
“na jäyate mriyate vä kadäcin
näyaà bhütvä bhavitä vä na bhüyaù
ajo nityaù çäçvato ‘yaà puräëo
na hanyate hanyamäne sarire”
Bhagavad-Gita explains the nature of the soul that it is eternal. It is undying. It is unborn. It is primeval. It is not slain when the body is slain.
Human form of life is meant to bring our consciousness to that direction of understanding, what is beyond death and eternal life. So you ask, “What is the need of spiritual life”? It is the only real need. This world is in chaos simply because of lack of this information and realization.
Devotee: Maharaj, you said that everybody is leading to death. You mean to say that, the devotees are not going to die?
Maharaj: Is your truck not going to break down? What is that had to do with you? You get another one. Since I was a child, I saw my father; he must have had at least 30 different motor cars, since I have been a little boy. He was always buying a new. One time he had a Ford, another time he had a Chevrolet, one time he had Hudson, another time he had a Cadillac, another time he had a crystal Imperial, another time he had a Mercedes Benz, another time he had a BMW. He was always getting new cars. What is that have to do with him? He is still my father, the same person. Not that every time he comes with a new car, I say, “Who are you”? What are you doing in my house?
So the body is going to die, whether you are a devotee or not a devotee. But if you are identifying that I am this body, then you are dying with your body. If somebody is really attached to their automobile, if you bump their automobile, they will say, “Why did you hit me”? But did you hit him? You didn’t even touch him, because we are so attached to this body, we are suffering the death of this body. But if you simply understand your identity, as eternal soul within this body, then there is no death. Bhagavad-Gita explains,
“väsäàsi jérëäni yathä vihäya
naväni gåhëäti naro ‘paräëi
tathä çaréräëi vihäya jérëäny
anyäni saàyäti naväni dehé”
For an enlightened soul, death is simply a change of clothes. How many times do you change your clothes in a week? Does your wife cry every time you change your clothes? She would be crazy. If your wife cried every time you change your clothes, she would be considered insane. So from the spiritual prospective, everyone in the society is insane, because everyone is crying, when somebody changes his clothes. They do not understand the soul. The soul is still living, still existing. It is only the dress that has changed. If you think you are the dress, you die every time you change your clothes. But if you understand in the enlightened spirit, the truth of who you are, and then you understand that there is no death.
Devotee: Maharaj, we find there are many organizations called spiritual organizations, where there is no rules, it is very simple, just go to the room take the mantra and chant. You can eat meat, you can do whatever you like and you can smoke. But why are you so strict for those rules? I have just taken your word. What is need for following the rules? Why should you be so strict?
Maharaj: You are a doctor? If someone is suffering from typhoid, you are not supposed to eat. When you have typhoid, I think. When I had typhoid, they would not let me eat. That’s still the rule? No? They let you eat with typhoid now? What is it?
Devotee: Light food.
Maharaj: What if you eat heavy food?
Devotee: It is very bad.
Maharaj: What if you take the medicine and you eat heavy food? So why not eat heavy food? I like heavy food. I am taking the medicine, why are you restricting my food?
Devotee: That would be dangerous.
Maharaja: Dangerous! Why is it dangerous? I like it. What is the difference? The holy name is the medicine; simple activities simply aggravate the disease of material illusion. And a doctor, who tells his patients, “Take this medicine, but eat anything you want.” Is that a good doctor, if you have typhoid? He is a cheating doctor. If he really cares about you, he will tell you what you need and tell you do not eat. When I had that, they gave me for 10 days, nothing but glucose water and I was completely healed. So what to do? If something is bad for you, if something irritates and aggravates your diseased condition of life and perpetuates your suffering, is it nice to tell that person to do it? The reason for all your suffering is simple activities. The reaction of sin is pain and death. Now, if you do not give up your sinful activities, there is no question of being relieved of pain and death.
I’ll give you another example. If a child comes and is burnt by the fire, you heal his hand. But you tell him not to put his hand back in fire? What happens if he does? You tell him, “You can put your hand in fire if you like, it doesn’t matter. Just take this medicine.” Again he puts his hand in fire. It’s pain. The reaction of putting your hand in fire is pain. There are laws of nature, the laws of karma. If you sin, you suffer. So a saintly person, who really cares about you, must tell you that you must follow the strict rules and regulations, to stop the cause of your suffering. If you chant the name of God, you cleanse yourself but then if you engage in sinful activities, you throw dirt back on yourself. It is said that one who follows such a principle of life of following some meditation or chanting some mantra, but continues his same worldly activities is cleaning himself and then throwing dirt on himself, again cleaning himself and throwing dirt on himself. This is how an elephant bathes. There is no use. According to Krishna, it is all nonsense. Yoga means to control the mind and control the senses- Yama and Niyama. That you must perform certain virtuously good activities, purifying activities, and you must strictly forbid your mind and senses to engage in sinful activities. Now it is fashionable for people in the name of religion and Yoga to say, “You just do what you want, it does not matter, such persons are very popular. Why they are popular? Because they giving something cheap and people in this world; they want something cheap, because they do not want to pay the price. In America, there is a store called Came art. You heard of Came art? I believe; it is the biggest department store in America, gigantically huge. Literarily, ten thousand people can fit in this one store and they sell everything. But they mostly sell cheap things. They have jewelry counter, they have camera counter, they have clothes counter, they have sporting goods, they have televisions, and they have absolutely everything, a person can want. You just go to that one store. They even have a grocery store; right in, you can do all your shopping in one place. Then there was also a place like Tiffany’s, where they sell almost the most valuable diamonds, that’s all they sell- The most beautiful jewels. So there might be ten or twelve people that walk into Tiffany’s a day and there might be twenty thousand people that come into came art every day. Why, because people like cheap things, because they don’t want to pay the price for something that has quality.
So someone in the name of religion gives something very cheap. You do not have to give much. So tens, thousands, millions of people would flock around such a guru. It’s someone who is actually and sincerely giving the real genuine jewel of God Consciousness, who is teaching the real system of Yoga. Not so many people want to follow, because they know that they have to pay high price. They have to give up a lot of things. It is not that you have to give up you family or your home, but you have to give up misusing these things of your sinful purposes. No illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat eating. These four principles are the very foundations of spiritual development. They must be followed- these four principles or all of our spiritual disciplines will have minimal effect in curing the disease of the heart.
Devotee: You spoke of God and the needs of soul. You mentioned that we are taking care of body, but we are ignoring soul. I wish to know what the needs of soul are; so that, if I know what the needs of soul are, I’ll be able to provide that.
Maharaj: To understand the need of the soul. You must understand the nature of the soul. Now, to understand the nature of the soul is not a subject matter for your speculation. You have to understand from someone who knows. Just like you are a doctor, if you want to understand what is the nature of the lungs and what are the needs of the lungs or the heart. You just guess or give your opinion or do you go to the professors who are learned in the science and studied the authorized text books, which one?
Devotee: Go to the professors.
Maharaj: So that’s how we understand the lung; that’s how we understand the kidneys, that’s how we understand the heart; like going to the standard text books and by going to the professors of the subject matter. Not that my opinion, your opinion, or everyone’s opinion. So what are the nature of the soul and what are the needs of the soul? You have to understand from those books with scientifically described the soul. The Bhagavad Gita is such a great book. The Bhagavad Gita explains that the nature of the soul is that- it is the part and parcel of the Supreme soul or Krishna or God. And the need of the part is to serve the interest of the whole. Just like your hand is part of your body and your feet are part of your body, and your eyes are part of your body, correct? Now each part has to serve the interest of the whole body. Otherwise that part deprives itself. What if the hand decides that it wants to be separate from the rest of the body? If you cut off the hand, what is the value of that hand? The hand only has value; so long it is serving the interest of the rest of the body and is connected. But if you cut off the hand, you just throw it away, who wants the hand like that? Your eyes are very nice as long as they are connected to the whole body and they are serving the whole body. But what, if you take out your eye, what value has your eye? The nature of the part is to serve the interest of the whole, to remain in connection to the whole. So the soul is part of the God. God is the complete whole. So the real interest of the soul is to serve God. When we water the root of the tree, automatically the whole tree is nourished. Similarly, when we serve Krishna, automatically and simultaneously the soul finds real satisfaction. So therefore, service to God is the means of giving real pleasure and meaning to our life because it is our nature to serve God. It is unnatural to be disconnected to God.
Devotee: How to serve God?
Maharaj: If I want to serve you, how is the best way I can serve you?
Devotee: If I want to serve you, I will like to ask you what you want.
Maharaj: So, if I want to serve you, I should ask you what you want. So similarly, if we want to serve God, we have to find out what God wants, so simple. People complicate things so much. And how do you ask God? God has appeared in this world and within the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and within the great scriptures of the world, the Bible, the Koran; God has revealed what He wants. And those saintly persons who love God and know God intimately, they obviously teach us according to the scripture, what God wants? So if you want to know, you have to ask Him. This is the process of asking and then you have to follow. It is said in Gita, “satataà kértayanto mäà yatantaç ca dåòha-vratäù”. Krishna says the great souls; they are always chanting my glories. In this age of Kali Yuga, it is described that there is no greater service we can render to the Lord, than chanting His name; because simply by chanting his name all the spiritual qualities awaken within our heart. In the purified condition, you can perceive God and know him directly. We don’t have to ask anyone, what does God want? You can have direct perception, direct experience of the Lord, who is living within the abode of your own heart. The chanting of the holy name purifies our consciousness, so that we can perceive the presence of God within our heart. So this is what God wants us to do. He wants us to live a pure life; He wants us to chant His holy names. He wants that our every act, our every thought and our every word is an offering of love to Him. Krishna says like this in Bhagavad Gita “yat karosi yad asnasi”. Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, a business man, a politician, or a housewife, whatever you do; if you do it as an act of loving devotion to the Supreme; that will be the supreme satisfaction to your soul.
Devotee: We find that there are many gurus in India, within Maharashtra also. They have certain powers, they show miracles and therefore there are many people who follow it, have faith in them. So what miracles we have?
Maharaj: Anyone who is purely presenting the word of God, that person is guru. Anyone regardless of his colour, his caste, his nationality; regardless what language he speaks, anyone who purely presents the word of God and lives by those words is a guru. Miracles are not very important thing. Miracles are magic. Today people are more concerned with seeing magic, than they are with hearing the word of God. There was one German man; he was a scholar of religion. He came to India and he was looking for a guru. He traveled throughout India and he was going to wherever he heard about famous yogis. He saw one yogi who could literarily just walk over water with no problem. He defied the laws of gravity. He saw another guru who could actually levitate into the sky defying the laws of gravity. He saw another guru who could materialize whatever you desire with his bare hands; you want gold, you want a radio and he could just create it. He saw another guru who could read minds and he saw that all these gurus had so many followers. But of course, Germany is very advanced technologically. Of all the countries of the world, it is very very advanced. So this scholar he said, “So we have seen one yogi, who could walk over water. But we have created a boat that can do the same thing. So what’s so unique about that? I have seen one yogi who could fly on the sky. We have created airplanes that could also do that. So what’s so great about that? I have also seen gurus, who can create radios, create diamonds and create gold. We are also with our technology creating radio and diamonds and gold. What’s so great about that”? But then he came to one great guru, named Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati Thakur, who was teaching, how to love God, how to become completely in peace in loving God? And he said, this is something that nowhere in the world, have they learned how to do. Therefore you must be the real guru. This is the greatest miracle, how to find true peace in your heart by loving God.
So spiritual master may or may not perform miracle, but that doesn’t mean anything. It is what he says and how he lives that makes him an authorized spiritual master.
Devotee: Those things create lot of faith in people’s mind to follow that person.
Maharaj: That is because such persons are less intelligent. Because there are people with black magic, they can also perform miracles and people worship them as God too. It is a material facility. It is a cheap way of attracting cheap minded people by performing miracles.
Devotee: I know one person who has this guru and his enemy was going to shoot him, but his guru did such a thing on him that just he raised his revolver, his hand became paralyzed and then not only he became paralyzed, he got a heart attack. And he is now living a vegetable life. That person had so much of faith in him that he saved and he said, “If anyone does anything against you, he will be finished”. That man is following him like mad.”
Maharaj: So what I say, if that man had a good body guard, he would just be as protected. If he had a body guard, the person would have killed that other man instantly, not just paralyzed his hand. That man would have been dead. I mean that, his idea of a good guru is a good body guard. I know people in America, who have body guards. My God, if you raise your revolvers, he will be right there to shoot and you would be dead in a second, forget paralyzing you. That is not a qualification of a guru, to be a body guard. The qualification of guru is- one who enlightens your soul, who brings you beyond your body, who brings you the consciousness beyond your bodily concept of life. I am not saying that it’s bad that he is a good body guard. It is good. I am not criticizing him, in proving to be a good body guard, but it is not the qualification of a spiritual master. Some are mystic body guards and some are just rock wood body guards. They are both body guards.
So that spiritual master can actually enlighten that person’s consciousness. Whether he is a body guard or not a body guard, we will accept him. But it is not on the basis of these material feats, that we accept that person as our spiritual master. It is all just tricks. You can use these tricks for good purposes and then it is good. But the tricks in all themselves are not the qualification.
Devotee: When a person wants to start his spiritual life, how should he start?
Maharaj: If you want to start the life of a doctor, how do you start?
Devotee: I have to take admission to medical colleges, train myself as a doctor and then open up a clinic and start with it.
Maharaj: In another words, you have to begin by associating with doctors, so that you can be trained. Same thing, if you want to begin spiritual life, the beginning is you have to associate with spiritually minded people and we have to learn from them the science. That is the most important beginning, associating with sadhus. Sadhu doesn’t mean no hair or long hair. Sadhu doesn’t mean saffron dress or no clothes. Sadhu means the person who is dedicating his life in the service of God, even if he wears a three piece suit. If that person is dedicating his life in the service of God, he is a sadhu. So wherever we can find the association of such sadhus, who can train us; that is the most important beginning to our spiritual life and to keep that company as much as possible. But there is another important consideration for beginning your spiritual life, to eat prasad. Most people’s spiritual life begins by taking prasad. In America, most people this is how, they become devotees of Krishna. They take prasad and it tastes so good that they think, “I want to associate with whoever has cooked this, so that I can have more”. So in this way, just because prasad is so nice, people want to associate with the people who give the prasad, so that they can give more and gradually by eating prasad and by associating with such persons they become purified. So I think we have some prasad today. Thank you very much.
Devotee: It is okay to start yourself. But what is need of doing service? You can sit at home, chant, do your sadhana, read your own books and just keep quiet. What is the need of service? It will not deliver us. Why not just be content in doing yourself and upgrading yourself?
Maharaj: In moral, spiritual mathematics is 10-10=20. Material mathematics is 10-10=0. In spiritual life, the more you give the more you have why; because the more you give, the more you please Krishna. God is a person and by pleasing God, God reciprocates and gives you more and more and more. The more you give to God, the more He gives to give. And how do you give to God? The most intimate way of giving to God is to give others. To give others, it means by which they can find the fulfillment of God consciousness in their life. Krishna says in Gita, there is no one so greater than a person, who works for the welfare for others in God consciousness. So by performing this highest and most pleasing service, the Lord within our heart, replenishes and multiplies what we have to give more and more and more. Why did Krishna tell Arjuna to fight? He told Arjuna to fight because he was fighting; it was for the sake of others, it was for the benefit of the world and there is no greater way of serving the Lord than to work for the well being of others.