There is only one place in the world where Christ has his own house, his own cottage it is Christ Kutir here in Rikhia. Kutir means cottage. It is a very ancient Indian concept. A kutir is not a church. A church is a sanctum-sanctorum. It is not a temple; a temple is a place where God is worshipped. Christ Kutir is the place where he lives. A place of worship and a place of residence are two different things, just as the place of work and the place to live are different. You may spend eight or ten hours in your office, but that is not your home. Similarly, a sanctum-sanctorum is not a permanent place of God. The permanent place is where one rests, eats, where one is informal, where one lives as one wants to.
When I established Christ Kutir here, the thought in my mind was that Christ must have his own home. He was working in a factory in Israel. He works in different factories, in different churches. He goes there for a short while just as you go to the office. He goes there on Sundays, and then he returns. But where does he return to? If you ever meet him, ask him to come to Rikhia. He has a nice place here.
Christ Kutir is not the only place in Rikhia where God lives. There is also Ganesha Kutir, the cottage for Ganesha. There is Raghunath Kutir, the cottage for Raghunath. Our gods and goddesses dont have any home. Wherever they go, they are on duty. Shiva is always being offered water; the poor fellow is sitting underwater twenty-four hours a day. Where is Gods home? God has his home at two places. Ganeshji, for example, has his home at two places here in Ganesha Kutir and within all your hearts. However, it is very painful for him to live in your heart because it is dirty. Just as you would find it difficult to live in a house which is full of plastic, spit and flies, God finds it painful to live in a heart that is dirty. So Ganeshji lives here in Ganesha Kutir, and showers abundant grace upon us. Raghunathji too has showered his grace on us, and so has Christ.
It was through the grace of Christ that I was able to conquer so many Christian nations and hoist the flag of yoga there. When there is grace, the lame are able to climb a mountain, the dumb begin to speak and the blind begin to see. I was born in a farmers family, but there is not a country or town I did not take yoga to. This does not happen through ones own strength. Tulsidas has said:
Jaakee charana kamala bandau Hari raaee
Jaakee kripaa pangu giri langhai
Andhe ko saba kuchha darshaaee
Baharo sunai, mooka puni bole
Ranka chale sira chatra dharaaee
Charana kamala bandau Hari raaee.
I prostrate at the lotus feet of Lord Hari by whose grace a lame person can cross mountains, a blind person can see, a deaf person can hear, a mute person can speak and a penniless person becomes a king.
No matter how weak a person is, no matter what family he is born into, whether he is attached to desires like Surdas, whether he runs after a woman like Tulsidas, once the grace of God descends, iron turns into gold, coal into diamonds, Tulsi into Tulsidas and the blind into Surdas.
To receive Gods grace, however, his home should be kept clean. To make God dwell in your heart, to make sure that he continues to remain there and bless you and your home, it is essential that you clean your heart. It is difficult to explain the meaning of cleaning the heart. How would you know that your heart is clean? Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say, where there is dirt, flies come; where there is wealth, thieves come, but if there is a beautiful garden with a lake, blooming lotuses and chirping birds, everyone goes there. Similarly, you can tell what kind of a heart you have by the people you attract.
The heart and the mind are two different things. The heart is about feelings and the mind is about thoughts. Thoughts are born from the mind and feelings from the heart. If your heart is pure, your thoughts will be positive. If you have negative thoughts, thoughts of fear, criticism, violence, passion, anger and jealousy, something is wrong with your feelings.
If your heart is clean, your thoughts will be free from jealousy, greed, lust, anger, vengeance, worry, fear and insecurity. That is the barometer of life and of purity. Thoughts dont make you a good person; it is the heart, it is your feelings that make you a good person. You may read an inspiring book about Buddha, Christ or Swami Vivekananda and have good thoughts. Its nothing. You may appreciate the ideas in the book, but you cant feel them. It is the feeling that is important; it is the feeling that is the basis of bhakti, too, not the mind.
The basis of bhakti is the heart, not the mind. The basis of bhakti is emotion. Bhakti cannot exist without emotion, just as anger, fear, jealousy, worry, joy and sorrow cannot exist without emotion. To experience bhakti, however, you must redirect your emotions from the inauspicious to the auspicious path; you must take the flow of the river of desires to an auspicious course. It has been said:
Shubhabhyam ashubhabhyam vahanti vasana sarita.
Between the auspicious and the inauspicious, flows the river of desires.
We call the river of desires emotion. We do not see this river, but we feel it. Emotions flow within us like a river. We can control this river, change its course, turn it into a channel, take it to the fields and generate electricity through it. The river that was flooding the fields, villages and habitation and damaging its own banks has now become creative. In the same way, the emotion through which you become angry, through which passion and jealousy are generated within you, which causes you to shoot someone, can be made to change its course. However, you cannot have half of your emotional self here and half there. You cannot experience anger and bhakti at the same time. The rule of fifty-fifty does not work. There needs to be one hundred percent sublimation of emotions, a complete change of course. What will be achieved through this? Grace.
After all, what was Swami Vivekananda? He could have become a lawyer, but instead he became a national figure, an inspiration for thousands of people. I belonged to an average family, but my guru changed the entire direction of my emotions and life. It has happened this way because it is Gods will. God goes with those who have sublimated their emotions, who have cleansed their heart. Even a jnani has negative thoughts, but he sends them off to the septic tank, he disposes of them.
There are three gunas: sattwa, rajas and tamas. The entire creation is under the control of the gunas. You may contain sattwa guna in half measure, someone else in quarter, three-quarters, and so on. The one who can go beyond the three gunas is a liberated soul. Such people are videhamuktas, jivanmuktas (free of the body), and they live in a different realm. They exist beyond shoonya, void. Kabir has described the four stages of existence: jagrat (wakefulness), swapna (dreaming), sushupti (deep sleep) and turiya (super-consciousness). The fourth state, turiya, is very high.
Most people live within the three gunas. It is possible to manage the gunas by living according to dharma. Dharma is an attitude, it is effort, it is day-to-day life, it is the interaction between people, between individuals and society, husband and wife, friends and enemies. Rituals do not constitute dharma. They are part of bhakti, they come under karmakanda and tantra. Dharma is different; a dharmic life begins with life itself, just as bhakti begins with emotion. So, the three gunas have to be managed through dharma. Just as you throw away rubbish, clean the sheets and cobwebs, you have to work with the gunas too. The gunas exist in your house as well the objects of purity, enjoyment and disposal represent the gunas. The way you manage them is the way you need to manage your heart.
When the heart has become pure through proper management, God will live in it. Then you will find that your destiny, the very direction of your life rests in the hands of God. It is said, Dinabandhu dinanath, meri dori tere hath (O friend and lord of the poor, you hold the string of my life). Whether God takes you to the butchers or turns you into a deity in a temple, you have given over the strings of your life to him. If you completely surrender to God, nothing is impossible, but dont put conditions on the act of surrender. Dont say, I worship you, so look after me. He is omniscient; he controls your mind, prana, limbs, your life and death. Is he so foolish that you need to tell him to remove your sorrows? He has given sorrow, joy, wealth, poverty, illness, he knows everything. He is all-powerful, all-pervading. He has the three gunas of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. He is present everywhere. He knows everything. He can do anything. In principle you accept all this, yet you doubt him. If you truly believe that he is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, you would not feel the need to ask him for anything. You would leave it up to him.
The building I live in is called Gauri-Ganesha. The relationship between Radha and Krishna depicts madhurya bhava (the emotion between the lover and the beloved). Subhadra, Balarama and Krishnas relationship depicts sneha bhava (the emotion between brother and sister). Yashoda and Krishna, Kaushalya and Rama, Mary and Christ depict vatsalya bhava (the emotion between child and parent). These are different forms of expressing bhakti. I think Gauri and Ganesha portray a very nice example of vatsalya bhava, so I called my house Gauri-Ganesha and placed their statue here.
God is tied to you through the thread of love. What is the meaning of love? It is not what you see on the television. It is the term for an emotion where two opposite elements assume union. Kabir has said:
Prema na baree upajai, prema na haata bikaaya
Raajaa parjaa jehi ruchai, sheesha deya le jai.
Love does not grow in the fields. Love is not sold in the marketplace. Love can be acquired by one, whether king or commoner, who is ready to offer his head for it.
When a merger between two opposite poles takes place, that is love. According to physics, every object has a positive and a negative pole. They are known as desha (space) and kaala (time). When they come towards each other, they merge in the nucleus. In physics it is called merger; we call it yoga. The union that is achieved in dhyana or in the worship of the divine is also between two opposite elements Purusha and Prakriti, paramatma and jivatma. These opposite elements have been ascribed different names.
We often refer to the union of the material and the spiritual, the mind and the spirit. The mind and its thoughts are material, gross entities because the mind has emerged out of the five elements. So it unites with that which is not material. The supreme spirit is not a material object; it is a transcendental and omnipresent principle. A material object cannot be omnipresent; it can exist only at one place at a given time. But the supreme spirit is omnipresent; it exists everywhere at all times. You may try to raise the level of the mind through mantra, make it subtler, internalize it, but it is a material object. The merger of that material object with the supreme spirit is called yoga, union between two opposite elements. This is the meaning of love too. Love should not be understood through a limited definition; it should not be understood as rapture and emotion alone. Love is the term for an awareness, remembrance, madness. It is said in the Ramacharitamanas:
Kaamihi naari piaari jimi lobhihi priya jimi daama
Timi Raghunaatha nirantara priya laagahu mohi Raama.
May you ever be so dear to me, Rama, as a woman is dear to a lustful man, and as lucre is dear to the greedy, O lord of the Raghus.
I live alone in Gauri-Ganesha. People try to live in solitude, but they are not able to. Just as the stomach needs food, an individual needs society, friendship and love. For many years I tried to live without these, tried to live alone, tried hard, tried in Rishikesh, but it did not happen. I was always given duties. I once said to Swami Sivananda, Swamiji, I want to live alone. He said, Yes, live alone while working. I said, But I have to work with others. He replied, Why do you worry about others? You live alone, keep yourself in solitude, alakh niranjan. But it was not possible. I would get into fights, get attached, feel bad this is the effect of company. This will not happen in solitude. In solitude, there is neither me nor you, but love and quarrels go hand in hand with companionship.
After leaving Rishikesh, for many years I was travelling all over the place. Then I came to Rikhia. It became difficult here too. When I came, there was complete solitude the whole day through. Now Rikhia is changing. I am thinking I should leave Gauri-Ganesha, too, and go off to Uttarakhand now. A small cottage has been made there. I might be able to live in solitude there.