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Rev.Babuji Maharaj stated that Ego is stating something 'not true' as 'true' with respect to oneself. He said if a person is an "M.A." and says he is an "M.A." it is not Ego but if the person is not an 'M.A. ' and says that he is an 'M.A.' that is Ego. The importance of annihilating 'Ego' in spirituality needs no special emphasis. Without 'truth' there is barely any spirituality. In this context aspirants in this system of sadhana are aware of the Fifth Commandment of the Master.

It is one thing to say a 'lie' to others and another to 'lie' to oneself. In order that we may use a more polite word we may use the term 'pretension' instead of 'lie' There is a vast difference between someone being pretentious about something they do and being 'pretentious' about their nature of identity itself. Both are false and life itself will expose pretense through changing circumstances.

An aspirant through self evaluation can see clearly his 'pretense' and such a one can individual can easily confront the same. We know that if we confront any person who is pretentious about something that he does, he often feels insulted and would retaliate. Or, he may offer a reason for, why he feels the drama is necessary. Rarely he may even realize that the pretense is unnecessary.

However, when the pretense is about ones' own status or identity in spirituality and someone believes that 'he is advanced' while in fact 'he is not that' and when circumstances in life exposes it, it is a terrible shock and he is left in the unknown, scrambling for something to cling to. When an individual points out the pretense of this identity, it may very well be perceived as a direct and personal threat. The funniest part of it is the individual was dubbed with 'the false identity' by his admirers and followers and one may not be fooling himself. 'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them' as stated by William Shakespeare in his drama Twelfth Night. Gurus and Divine Masters in general belong to the third category mentioned above. Such a false identity once accepted is difficult to get rid off.

In the field of spirituality we live in an environment where we have many offers of inviting mirages for people to chase in order to quench the thirst of discontent. It is possible and likely to enter the imaginary prison of pretense as an innocent and ignorant child and leave only as one dead to spirituality. One may come up with the idea that it is the condition of a living dead while in fact it is only a corpse.

Pretense can take countless forms. It becomes even more empowered when groups of people support it. These are days of Bhajans and Kirtans by persons who would like to sing on every possible occasion. We are aware of many who would like to sing and enjoy hearing their own voice. The crow has surely its own right to caw. Music is a very interesting subject.

We find it strange that many musicians deny the limitations of their expression and pretend that they sing better than they do. This is foolish because it is obvious to other musicians and often to listeners. We are not talking about taste in music; it is about a person's to express one's self in music. There were occasions during our annual celebrations of the birthdays of the great Masters where musicians get an opportunity to sing in front of other people. During such occasions it is impolite to not appreciate after any sort of musical performance, no matter how harsh it sounds. When such musicians are denying their limitations, and sing and get applauded in so doing, this supports their pretense. It is a kind of confirmation of the ideas that they cling to. We are not saying there is anything wrong with limitations. Every one of us have. We are saying that pretending that the limitations do not exist sets a person up for strife and, eventually, conflict with others who are forced to grapple with those limitations. However the Bhajan itself does not lie. This is indicative of pretense about something somebody does.

This is the same mechanism that operates when someone imagines "who they are", where one is referencing and emotionally responding to a set of ideas rather that what is Real. It is that simple. People look to events and experiences to confirm their ideas and views of themselves and the world they live in. When circumstances are not in conflict with the pretense, those circumstances are very much like the audience applauding the poor singer. Those circumstances are used as a confirmation of the ideas that one holds in one's mind are true, regardless of how ignorant they may be. When the pretense is that of being a 'guru', which is thrust on one, who in his inner core wants to be such though he is aware of his limitations, is the worst that can happen to the individual as well as the group that thrusts such a status on him in spiritual life. As Dr.K.C.V. put it "It is one of the most important effect of people of all times to clean up the history and to substitute virtuous performance of which they were never guilty." This is the basis of all flattery of human beings.

To say that the learned people don't really know threatens to throw people back into the unknown. That is precisely what Rev. Babuji has stated in his book Philosophy of Sahaj Marg: "It is just possible that the man, who has thus impressed you, with outward form, learning or eloquence, may be at the lowest lever as regards practical attainments. Knowledge therefore is no criterion of a true mahatma or yogi. Similarly the real test of a mahatma or guru is not his miracles but experience on the path of realisation." The purpose of education is to educe from the pupil the inherent qualities and virtues in him. There are enough number of teachers and very few educators in the field of spirituality. The teacher pretends as an educator and this is a hopeless situation in the field of spirituality where we seem to have Masters any number and equally large number of Divine Masters. Rev.Babuji stressed that if any one were to feel he is a Guru or Master he is actually usurping the position of God. He could not imagine that there will be Divine Masters also and so did not say anything of them. To say this about what is actual, may appear to be snatching away people's hope and seem cynical and unnecessary. But the criterion of 'Truth' demands that it is better to give credit where it is truly due and none where it is not. Many people are endowed with qualities they do not possess due to this pretense. But equally many are not prepared to speak out the 'truth' because of another type of pretence.

This type of pretence causes a very serious type of superstition when it comes to sadhana. There is need to be aware of this pit while inquiring into our nature. Being aware of this, we will not feel it is easier to 'lie' to ourselves and take refuge in the superstition that we have been applauded our whole life: it matters little that this pretension is that of intellect, prestige, religion, politics, race, creed, spiritual status or anything else.

In such a situation that is based on imagination the pretense offers the possibility of achievement of a desire. The superstition surrounding all desire is that through its attainment one will find peace. One need not give up desires and wishes if one does not feel so. But it is necessary to know that satisfaction of desires will not give us peace. Sadly, this is precisely the strategy people have been taught to achieve peace. At best, the peace (satisfaction of desire) is temporary and there is always the next desire to be fulfilled. And this is the only doorway to peace that is taught generally.

The seeking of desirable circumstances keeps one focused on the future, so in the mind tomorrow holds the promise of peace and, as a consequence, today's freedom and peace is unnecessarily sacrificed on the alter of tomorrow. This happens one tries to die to the present and live in the future. A ridiculous proposition. Sadhana is not for tomorrow it is for today. We should know that tomorrow exists only in the mind. It is therefore not meant that we abandon all plans and live only for the moment. My dear wife always found fault with my plans that did not materialize. It took me considerable time to explain that plans are like planting a seed, but one cannot guarantee the outcome. We do not plan for the outcome of events to give us peace. Those who do sadhana as per the instructions of the great Master if they evaluate their condition know that they already live in peace. We should understand the Commandments 5 to 8 of the Master and know that we get peace by being what we are in our true nature. This may appear to be heresy but it is also true.

There is usually a feeling that we should be in control of events. As Master says it the external circumstances are not for us to change but it is only our molding that is necessary and possible. The irony of life is to simply 'Be' is found very difficult. Our Being, "Imperience" shows is not relative to something we do or we do not do. In fact as we know the 'doer' is an illusion. When we are not separate from life and know that our individual existence is an illusion, fear of death is conquered and as it is this realisation grants peace that passeth understanding.

It is our duty to realize and abide as our nature. Then we will cease to ask the world of thought and form to be that which we are not. We know that what remains in one moment of silent no-mind when all that we know to be our self is gone is bare conscious 'Being' that abides.