Satsang at Rikhia

Swami Satyananda Saraswati, December 1994

Many years ago at Rishikesh, a man suffering with leprosy was brought to the ashram in a gunny bag. Swamiji called me and said, 'Put him in a room and clean his body with the necessary antiseptics.' Swamiji was a doctor and he knew what to do. I also had a little knowledge about such matters. I am not a regular doctor but I know as much as a regular doctor. So I carried out the duty I had been given. That man was obnoxious; his smell, his attitude, his behaviour, his entire being was something which I could not accept.

The next morning, when I gave Swamiji a report, he asked me how the man was. I said, 'Swamiji, that man is so difficult, his disease, his sores are so difficult.' Swamiji replied, 'You want to find God without any effort. You want to realize God without a change of heart, mind, philosophy, and concept, without destroying your personal nest. You have a personality, character, views, habits, likes and dislikes. Destroy them first and change your heart.' If it had been a beautiful young lady, I would have served her without complaining. Even if it had been a young man, a beautiful or rich man, I would have served him. Such a man was I. Do you think I was fit to realize God? No, I was unfit.

On the day when I heard the command, 'Love your neighbours. Help them as I have helped you', that scene, and what Swamiji had told me, came into my mind. 'You want to realize God without changing yourself. You want to see the light without operating upon your own cataract. No, it is not possible.' At that time another realization also dawned. For many years I had been searching for the answer to a question. I pray to God and repeat His name; everybody does it. I like to remember Him, like everybody else, but do I love Him? Now the problem comes. How do I love Him?

You love someone with whom you have a relationship, but I have no relationship with God. The only relationship I can have is that He is God and I am a man. No, that is not a proper relationship. The relationship became very clear here in Rikhia: 'I am Your servant and You are my Master. I am ready at your beck and call. Hereafter, I will live as you ask me to live. For that you will have to tell me what to do, because I am not an intelligent servant. I am a third rate servant who has never learned the art of service.' Ever since that time, whatever I do, I do not with the idea of achieving realization, salvation, moksha, emancipation, kaivalya or nirvikalpa samadhi. No, I am doing it because He asked me to. In Srimad Bhagavata, Prahlada says to the Lord:

I am your selfless servant,
And you are my absolute Master.
Our relation is not unlike that of
A servant of a king and the king himself.
O best amongst those who bestow favour,
If You would grant a desired boon to me,
Grant that the seed of a desire
Should not germinate in me at any time.
Because with the advent of desire,
The body, mind, senses, prana,
Patience, shame, intelligence,
Dharma, brilliance, memory and truth,
All are destroyed without doubt.

In Trayambakeshwar, on 14th July 1989, He told me what to do. On 8th September 1989, He told me where to live. It was clear and I am doing that. Now that I have decided I am His servant, I will do what He says. If He tells me, 'Satyananda, leave your mala, leave this place. Get dressed properly and go out in the taxi. Drive a tractor and plough everybody's fields, help all the people', I will do it. I am not too old for that. I am a young man. My hair does not tell my age. It is my strength which tells my age.

Last year there was a convention in Munger. I had not given any hints, but the people who came here left clothes, blankets and many things. When they left I did not know what to do. Somebody from Delhi sent his company truck. So I said, 'Satsangi, consult the head of the village, get a list of the people and distribute the clothes and blankets as quickly as possible, because I have no place to keep them.' In this way things have been changing and this change was not created by me. This change was His wish, His will.

Today the leaders in many countries have disappointed us, so we cannot place our trust in them anymore. They talk a lot but they do nothing. However, there is one type of person who can do something – those people who are dedicated to spiritual life, who run after God, who think God is their life, who are spiritually minded and go into the inner field. It is these people who must come to serve the forms of God. All the people around you who are suffering, who are unhappy, who are naked, who are floundering in the darkness, are all the different forms of God. You cannot ignore that form of God which is immanent, which is all-pervading. You cannot just go running after the transcendental God.

God has two forms, transcendental and immanent. The immanent form is everywhere, in everything. If you serve a tree, you are serving God. If you serve the land, you are serving God. If you purify the river, you are serving God. If you purify the atmosphere, you are serving God. If you help the needy, you are serving God. Then we have the transcendental God also in Hare Rama, Hare Rama. I do not object to that, but the realization of God must become a total experience, not a partial one.

In the Bhagavad Gita (11:5-7), while showing Arjuna His universal form, the Lord said: “Behold, O Arjuna, all the forms of Mine by the hundreds and thousands, of different sorts, divine and of various colours and shapes. Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Ashvins and also the Maruts; behold many wonders never seen before, O Arjuna. Now behold in My body, the whole universe centred in one, including the moving and the unmoving and whatever else you desire to see.”

Are the living beings in this world different from paramatma, the transcendental God?

They are all part of God, part of the one form in which God has manifested Himself. The happy ones, the unhappy ones, the trees, the animals, all are a part of Him. If you want to realize God, then try to know not only the transcendental God, but also the God who lives in each and every living being, and also in non-living things. Only then can you know Him fully. Just knowing a part of Him is not enough. You should know Him in totality. One should realize Him in totality and in all His forms. Your inner awakening can really take place someday. God is always with you. Nothing is difficult for Him, only He should be convinced that you are totally honest in whatever you are thinking and doing.

A sadhu, a sevak, a sage, a householder who has wealth, all have to be honest. One can earn money with honesty. What difference does it make? There is nothing wrong in earning money provided it comes through honest means, but one must return it to society. The ocean collects water from all the rivers, but it returns that water to the earth eventually. What would happen if it did not? So, nobody is prohibiting the earning of money, but it must be returned to society. If it is not returned, then industry, business, shops would all collapse. All the resources would dry up. By helping the needy we help ourselves; it is beneficial to us. In Srimad Bhagavata it has been said:

In earning wealth, in increasing it,
In maintaining and expending it,
In its use and destruction,
Everywhere one has to face
Fear, anxiety, illusion and shrewdness.

In Srimad Bhagavata, Shukracharya also says:

One who divides his income in five parts,
One part for dharma, for fame, for further increase,
For self-enjoyment and for dependants,
Remains pleased in this world and the next.

Yogishwara Chamas also says:

The outcome of wealth is only dharma,
Because from dharma arise jnana and vijnana,
And thereafter follows perfect peace.
But it is regrettable that such wealth is spent
In household affairs and enjoyments only.
We do not see that this body is overtaken by death,
Which cannot be avoided by anyone in any case.

This is the most important thing: when you help others you are helping yourself. Bhartihari says:

O King, if you want to milk this earth-cow,
Then rear and nourish your subjects like her calf,
By nourishing them properly and continuously,
The earth bears fruit like the wish-fulfilling tree.

In a country where the society and its people have a tendency to help others, there are no social problems. This country is happy because of its philosophy of helping others. In Ramacharitamanas it has been said:

There is no dharma superior to doing good to others,
And no meanness inferior to troubling others.

It is my philosophy to help you. If everybody were trying to help others, there would be no problems in society. Helping others has been the greatest philosophy of our society. Bhartihari has said:

The branches of trees bend low
With the load of fruits they bear.
The clouds, rising up in the sky,
Also come down with the weight of water.
Good persons remain gentle and humble,
Even when they become affluent,
Such is the nature of benevolent beings.

It has also been said:

Without prayer, the sun makes the lotus bloom,
The moon too causes the lily to open,
The clouds also release water unprayed for,
Saints do good to others in the same manner.

When you help others, you are helping yourself. Do not think about yourself so much. You think too much about yourself, your children, your husband, your boyfriend. Think about them a little bit. A little bit is necessary, but not too much. You are over-anxious about your children, but you are not over-anxious about my children. You feel so concerned about your children, but you do not think about the children of others. You should be equally concerned about the children of others. You should think about yourself and others alike. The society which is taking care of others is a secure society. If you live in a society where people are always concerned about each other, you will feel very secure. If you want to change society, this is the ultimate philosophy.

Extract from Bhakti Yoga Sagar – Volume Two