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Sincerity

Talk delivered on the occasion of Revered Babuji Maharaj Birthday Celebrations 25th April 2008
  

My dear associates in the Path,

We have gathered again on the most auspicious occasion of Rev. Babuji Jayanthi and we all endeavour to be in his remembrance through the celebrations. Master on a similar occasion said "We should utilise this occasion in getting into the Master and Master alone, which will act as food and tonic for spiritual elevation." But it is our experience such a condition does not prevail in us through out. There is no denial of the fact that we all love our Master very much heart and soul. Yet the lower mental states have their own way of sneaking in and distract us from the sweetest feelings of the Master. I was wondering why this happens with so many aspirants and I share some of my thoughts on this occasion.

Recent studies in personality problems found that just one act of self-control depletes our ability to have self-control in another unrelated area. For example, when subjects were told not to eat chocolates sitting right in front of them, their persistence in puzzle solving deteriorated. When they were told to suppress an emotional reaction to a movie, they had problems solving a solvable anagram. It is concluded in the study that this is the overwhelming reason why willpower only works in the short term. We only have the conscious resources to exhibit willpower on one (or at the most two) fronts at one time.

This is why it is so hard to stay disciplined with eating, exercise, studying, and the like. Any self-regulatory strategy has costs with respect to depleting a person's general resources for self regulation. It is obvious this is the problem we have to remain in the thought of the Master through out despite our will to do so. It is also observed in certain studies on the functioning of the mind that our conscious mind is only able to process approximately 50 bits of information a second, while our unconscious mind processes approximately 11 million bits per second. That means our unconscious mind processes information about 220 thousand times faster than our conscious mind. Thus our conscious mind is actually the bottleneck in effecting true change, as its main role is getting us through the present here and now. This fact is what Master stressed when he instructed us to give a suggestion during meditation and also prayer and allow that to work in the subconscious.

Therefore we have to use the switches residing in the unconscious/ subconscious to bring desired behaviour patterns. For example, if our goal is weight control, we would naturally want our unconscious mind to automatically desire healthy green foods, water, healthy tonics, exercise, etc. without having to think about it consciously. Or if our goal is to be more productive, we would want the actions of setting goals, rewarding ourself for success, focusing on our projects to be automatic. It is obvious that if we have to consciously think about it all the time, we will exhaust our resources. These are just a few examples to make the point clear. Similarly we have to allow the subconscious to continuously work towards our goal. This is the logic used by the Master when he asked us to offer prayer before going to bed and he did clarify that the prayer will be running through the night in the subconscious plane. A sincere prayer offered before going to bed enables us to get up with the thought of the Master when we wake up. This we all experience everyday.

This is one of the reasons why if we follow the instruction of the Master to just give a suggestion, be it meditation or prayer and allow that to work in the subconscious or unconscious plane we find the results are very good. On the contrary if we try to consciously apply all our mental resources to be in a condition of what we would like call focussed we tend to get into mental strain and confusion.

In the MRI studies which I am not able to fully recall conducted at the University of Iowa they could actually see the brain following instructions under suggestions. People are actually shutting off the feelings of pain, and they could see the pain gateways in the brain being blocked under strong suggestions. I am not trying to find any justification for the process given by the Master as no such thing is necessary but would like my associates to know that thought given as suggestions works. It is our experience that the suggestions which are not vocalised and are penetrated into the hearts of the aspirants have worked wonders in many cases. It is also our experience that when the aspirants instead of being receptive to the Pranahuti entertain their own thoughts during individual sittings they really do not derive much benefit. During meditational exercises of PAM it is absolutely necessary that we live in an attitude of yielding and do not use our mental, vital and physical resources to improve the quality of meditation. We need to be sincere in our meditational practices.

Sincerity is a tough characteristic to understand, develop and maintain and this applies also to our efforts to meditate and follow the instructions of the Master in all sincerity. There is no doubt that all of us are sincere and all of us desire to work for the Master. But more often a person is sincerity is taken for granted. It is likely that we define the word sincerity to mean "without hypocrisy or pretence, not feigned, and true." Sincerity is essential for anyone interested in ending misery in any walk of life and who in truth, wants freedom. It is necessary to note that sincerity has nothing to do with sentiment, commitment, religion, spiritual practice or well meaning.

Sincerity is not possible without questioning belief. Such questioning is sometimes called scepticism, but it is possible to be sceptical without being sincere. One can proclaim a doubt about anything, even against weighty evidence, and spin sophisticated arguments. But that leads to endless argumentation. Doubt is a means to understanding, not an end. When we consider the doubt about the first successful effort to climb the Mount Everest we thought it to be a hoax because it had never been achieved before. When Master said that now the entry into Central Region is possible we doubted it as no such thing has ever happened earlier. The point of doubt is not to doubt, but it is a means adopted to rid oneself of errors. A person cannot be sincere without scepticism, for a sincere person is not interested in winning; the person is only interested in freeing himself from error and finally seek truth/freedom. In the spiritual path sincerity is a tool that we can ill afford to ignore.

I had dilated a bit on the too obvious. I have a reason. During meditation or contemplation several flashes of light or melodious tunes or a feeling of 'Eureka' does happen to many aspirants. To accept them without doubt is na´ve: to deny them is ignorance. The border line between genuine and faked experience is very thin. It is here we need to have some awareness of the various conditions as imperienced by the forerunners in the path. ISRC has endeavoured its bit to provide such information. Imperiences of the Divine Path are as numerous and varied as the stars and stellar constellations. While some spiritual traditions called some formation as "Seven Sages" (Sapta rsis) some others called the same formation as Ursa Major; in the same manner spiritual conditions which are essentially the same are given different names and descriptions in several traditions.

Doubt is related to the problem of instruments of observation and knowing. The problem is complicated when we accept certain means of knowing like the Apta vacana and Sruti. I do not want to talk about this problem as it was dealt with on earlier occasions. The freedom from errors of observation and feelings and ideas which is in fact one of our main goals is not a matter to be taken for granted. The question is, are we sincere to get rid off these? Agreeably people wish to be free of troubling pains but it is not all that sure that they would like to get rid of their erroneous beliefs and habits. I personally know many who stick to odd notions of worship and practice rituals and unverified beliefs on avowed authority willingly maintain erroneous beliefs and habits because they are consoling and comforting them.

Can we call this sincerity? This is similar to a politician who uses the truth when it is to his advantage but discards it when it is inconvenient. It also is like a friend who professes never to lie to his/her friend but neglects to speak things that would be difficult for his/her friend to hear. This is usually rationalized as caring for the "feelings" of the others involved when in fact it usually is manipulation and self-centered fear. However if the truth is expressed plainly it would put the others in a position to make informed decisions about their relationship. If we will tell a friend something that we will not tell our mother, then our mother is not our friend. It should be obvious to any sincere person that any union (yoga) or relationship is not loving if we have to abandon truth to maintain the union. Unfortunately with many aspirants this is the malady as they tend to ride more than one horse at a time.

It is perhaps true that sincerity is not as common as we believe: it is in fact rare. Many wish to persist in thinking that they are sincere refusing to acknowledge the error because it is comfortable or suggestive of egoistic fulfilment. We have noticed that herds of people are seduced by pretense particularly when it is sophisticated (our babas, masters, guides and gurus) or aesthetically pleasing (our utsavams and brahmotsavams etc.) to their beliefs, expectations, and conditioned habits.

Some of us think that Intellect, intelligence, and education may be the antidote for credulity, but history does not seem to warrant such a conclusion. Wise men have often said that "Learning and judgment are often not granted in equal measure." Political and social pretenses have been a cause of much suffering, and some of the most common vectors for contagious pretense are religion, dogma, and creeds. Some of the greatest minds responsible for the most advanced breakthroughs in science have been people who have accepted untested religious ideas and beliefs. Their sincerity and scepticism were only fragmentary and were fixated in their areas of expertise.

To err is human, but to invite and persist in error, through pretense, is delusion. Delusion has nothing to do with intelligence or the lack thereof. Delusion is not about making a mistake, being limited, or not knowing anything in particular as all these require no effort. However, it takes effort to alter reality in the mind with pretense, prejudice, and beliefs and, hence, to delude oneself. The motive to delude oneself is to sustain and console an ego that otherwise would be exposed. It should be obvious that we can not entertain or invoke in us delusion and sincerity at the same time. They are contradictory and we need to reject all delusions to know the truth. This vairagya is fundamental to any significant growth in spirituality.

It is held by some English writer that there are four causes of ignorance:

      i)To follow the example of weak and undeserving authorities.

      ii) The influence of custom without proper verification.

      iii) The opinion of the unlearned crowd.

      iv) The concealment of one's ignorance in a display of apparent wisdom.

These same four causes or plagues of ignorance may well be taken to be the causes of enormous egoism. Significantly it is the fourth one listed above which is the worst as it is the spring board from which all human evils emerge.

It is obvious that one cannot be sincere and yet at the same time indulge in the habits listed above. Some may try to indulge in this double riding as they "sincerely believe" in such aforementioned authorities, customs, opinions, and one's own display of wisdom. For any rational mind it is clear that while clinging to the previously listed habits there is no way out of error and consequent ignorance. Such a position brings to our mind the words ignorance, arrogance, and indolence and do not suggest even remotely ideas descriptive of sincerity.

I do get many mails in which the aspirants confess that they are trying to be sincere in their efforts to do the sadhana as prescribed by the Master and also are trying very sincerely to follow the Commandments of the Master. I may be pardoned when I clarify that "Trying" to be sincere as an idea, is a camouflage for insincerity; it is an opposition to our will and, as such, is dualistic. The inevitable dualism that is inherent in conscious thinking is back here. It is necessary to follow the Master unquestioningly without comparing what he said in contrast or in consonance with some other thinker or sage. Such an exercise is perhaps permissible during study or work but surely is suicidal during meditation in this path.

This is why Master has asked us to meditate after offering the prayer silently in the thought of the divine light without luminosity. When we remain silent without giving any attention to any activity our mind is quiet and has no power to distort and no ideas with which to identify the self. It is then the Prayer alone is heard and it is the company of the Master that alone attracts our attention. We get merged in it. To be aware of the Master who has accepted us (and that is introduction to the PAM) and to accept Him totally as our only friend and beloved is to get initiated in the path. There are no external rituals to be observed for either but internally we need to offer our heart and soul to Him and externally dedicate ourselves totally to His cause. When we feel Him in our heart all the time and love Him all the time then we will not be out of the state of the Union and the breathless embrace of the Master is felt more intensely during meditation. Such an embrace is what we had just now even as we have it every time we dwell in Him.

Dwelling in Him always is not so difficult if cultivate certain routine habits. What I now share with you is the wisdom that I gained in about 5 decades of sadhana. They have roots in several traditions. I am aware that many of you have roots in several traditions. I am aware that many of you have your own links to the spiritual paths.

      i) We are asked to have a fixed place for meditation and a seat also. Many aspirants follow the advice given in the first commandment while many others seem to ignore. We should note that negative forces are there every where and that includes the place where we sit and meditate. I use a separate seat and have a separate place to meditate. The first thing I do before starting meditation is to cleanse the room in which I meditate and also the asan. The main purpose is that I gain strength and courage to invoke the presence of the Master in the seat meant for Him before I start the meditation.

      ii) In an atmosphere that is heavily polluted and moral degradation is very high and need for a protective cover is obvious. Every morning and before I do any work I visualize a white light coming from above flowing slowly from the head down through the body upto my toes. I also see myself surrounded by this white light. This is the protective barrier of the Master who lets only positive energy in and keeps all the negative energy out.

      iii) As I dwell in His protective cover and aware of Him always I become more and more acutely aware of my connection to Him and my body gets attuned to the subtle reactions in the environment and others. More so this happens during the time when the aspirants bless me with the opportunity to offer Pranahuti to them.

      iv) Many times I feel drained and excessively tired after attending to a person and the most effective thing that I found to regain my strength was to relax for a brief period lying down in the thought of the Master. A glass of pure water was always more than enough for me to regain the stamina to work for the Master. This is possible I believe because the presence of the Master is felt always. To feel Master is as easy to feel our breathing. It is much easier if we follow the commandment 8 in all sincerity feeling the Master through the entire period of eating silently.

Perhaps all these practices you already are practicing. Please do pardon me if I have said certain things which are obvious. My desire is that all should feel Him always and living in His company work for Him as He would like us to. I pray that this prayer of all us is grated by Him to all of us and we shall dwell in Him during the days of the celebrations and later too.

Pranam.