From satsang during Serbian retreat in May, 2015
Attachment and letting go
Q: You speak about attachments, bindings, letting go and accepting oneself 100%. However, some people have reached a certain age, have certain professional duties and commitments in their careers, and cannot just drop everything – in the middle of life we cannot tear up our diplomas. The only thing we may be able to change is our perception of the situation. Perhaps during a later time, we may be able to change the situation.
So what exactly are attachment and binding, and how do we choose what to let go?
A: I think the questioner has already answered his query: it is indeed about perception, all you can do is change your perception. Acceptance is a perception. Acceptance means you are not resisting the situation, you are not tearing away the certificates. You are happy, you are doing the job, the chosen job in the given environment, or the given family. You are peaceful with everything. You are changing your perception to accommodate everything, and growing old gracefully. However, resisting those things or situations will result in internal conflict and war.
Whatever you need to let go of, is up to you. Let go of what is inducing resistance. I cannot tell you to leave your husband or brother or mother – you must accommodate every situation. What you have to let go of is probably your anger or resistance, an individualistic thing. However, nobody can come up to you and tell you what you must let go of. If they are doing so, that is originating from their perception about you, which may be untrue.
An analogy: let’s say you have collected sufficient money to buy the car of your choice, a Toyota. Now when you arrive at the Toyota dealership, you notice a Mercedes showroom next door. Although you know well that a Mercedes car is going to cost at least twice as much as the Toyota you came here for, you still decide to step into that showroom. And when you see the Mercedes, you are now convinced it is the very car for you. So the earlier and later perceptions of car choices don’t match. The reality of the situation forces you to drive off in the Toyota, but now accompanied by emotions of discontent and inner resistance. You know that you will have to work for several more years in order to save up for that Mercedes.
Before you took this birth, you wanted to be a medical professional. That is why your environment in this life created that experience for you. However your mind now says something else, “no-no, this is not at all what I wanted”. No matter what other profession you take up, your mind will protest. So where will you run away or escape to? Accept what you have been given. You might consider taking up a hobby to provide the satisfaction you crave. Realize that what has been given to you, or that what is happening to you, is not an imposition – it has not been imposed on you. It was chosen, and what is manifesting or unfolding in your life cannot be changed. This is what is called destiny.
What you are referring to in your question, is actually related to mental satisfaction. This is different from karmic satisfaction. Karmic satisfaction continues to manifest through the active fulfilment of desires, in the form of that which was chosen, which is why you have become a doctor. Now to create the mental satisfaction you are missing, take up singing or dancing or boxing or anything that will satisfy that longing.
Avatars and Avadhootas
What is the hierarchical difference between an ascended master, a saint, and an avatar? Are they moving in separate ways to get to a path, or is one above the other? How do they function?
It’s quite a broad categorization and not always easy to tell one designation from the other.
Numerous beings exist, operating in various levels. Similarly to the way we have school teachers for various classes, we have various beings performing at various levels. Broadly, we can say they are all ascended masters.
Avatars happen based only on collective consciousness. They don’t make the choice of their birth. It is when a generation or a few generations crave intensely for redemption that an avatar happens. They descend for a specific duration and for a purpose or duty, then achieve that purpose and dissolve. Usually there’s no associated karma – they appear only for the sake of dharma or truthful duty. Lord Krishna, Lord Dattatreya, Jesus, and Adi Shankara may be considered avatars. They were all renunciates and saints as well.
Now many people calling themselves avatars have no real eligibility. Perhaps they adopted that label because they liked the sound of the word! (laughter). Likewise, titles given to saints are of no value either, unless it came upon them naturally. Today however, titles are chosen and used for marketing purposes.
Ascended masters operate in higher subtle dimensions. They operate as guides, helping gross seekers to evolve to higher dimensions. Some have a bodily existence and some do not, but the essential function is the same. They may transfer thoughts and guide people. They may also contact directly and speak. However, technically, embodied and disembodied masters function the same way. They choose their life span or duration – how long they are going to be on the earthly plane is up to them, and they also choose the dimension of operation. They have this choice because they are not bound by the body.
Babaji is a multi-dimensional master – the operating level is not only just on Earth.
Now saints are basically renunciates – they have renounced a certain lifestyle, opting for spirituality and detaching from mainstream life. Any seeker can be termed a saint, and a saint need not necessarily be enlightened. There are various levels here too, just like school teachers. There are those who opt to become teachers of philosophical knowledge. The garb of the ochre robe, shaved head, long hair etc are all choices they make depending on the path or order they want to follow. They follow a certain discipline for a particular duration in the mode of renunciation. Sainthood is a broad definition. Note that this is quite different from the sainthood conferred by the Christian Church.
Note also that miracles are a spontaneous thing. When dimension changes, many things just happen around you. This is not a big deal in that plane of operation. You can appear and disappear in various places. It all happens spontaneously. The action is according to necessity.
Then there are the avadhootas, very high and powerful Masters, completely unaware of their bodies, not knowing if they have eaten food, or if they have slept. They are in supreme bliss all of the time, connected to the Source, in God-consciousness 24/7. They have the ability to transform people with a mere look. Examples include Bhagavan Nityananda and Shirdi Sai Baba, who took bodies for the sake of the people.
However the position of Bhagavaan (like Bhagavaan Satya Sai Baba, or Bhagavaan Ramana Maharishi) requires the fulfilment of certain criteria. A Bhagavaan is self-illuminated. He is self-sufficient, with no need to source knowledge from outside. Knowledge comes from inside. He is unbound by any earthly material. He is not controlled by elements. He has transcended all requirements of human existence, and the duration is finite and chosen.
What it means to be connected to the Source
When I say someone is connected to the Source, I mean that they have already dissolved all their identifications. They do not exist.
The difference is between “I do” and “It happens through me”.
When I do, all my identifications are present. I have all my character traits and I have ownership.
When it happens through me, I am just like a conduit or water-pipe. Nothing stays with me.
When a healer gets emotionally involved with the one being healed, it only implies that the ego identifications of the healer still exist. Furthermore, he is interfering with the karma of the patient.
Now some patients may also choose to hold on to their diseases, because they want to experience them. What is the cause of the illness that manifests in someone? In 80% of cases, it is trapped emotion.
How do emotions get trapped and why does someone entertain emotion at all?
Because of ignorance. Me, mine, I – all these are signs of ignorance. The physical body is temporary, taken for a particular duration, from the first to the last heartbeat. After that last heartbeat, the body is of no use anymore. However, while you live temporarily in that body, you often carry a lot of the weight of identifications, such as your name, your qualifications, your social position, what you do, what you say, what you look like. All these are weights on the system.
One of the major weights is ego. You can note its influence when you realize how in thinking about other people, you are wanting them to perceive you in a certain way, how you compare yourself with them, or how you want to impress them. And when someone says “I hate a person (or situation, time, environment, etc)”, what makes them hate so intensely? It is again ignorance. It is because of not understanding that everything that happens in your life, is happening because it has been chosen. Whether it causes happiness or sorrow, it originates from your choice.
So, when we ourselves have chosen a particular time, a particular space, a particular situation, a particular face, a particular environment for our birth and experience, what really is there to complain about? If you are sitting here and listening to me right now (which I sure hope you are), it is due to karma too. Everything is conglomerated, pre-planned in that mode.
So if in that mode, you happen to be a healer, with the attitude of letting the healing happen through you if it was karmically meant to be, then you are just being a channel for healing. Nothing will happen to you.
On the other hand, you might choose to get emotionally involved with patients, and harbor a desire for them to get better. You might forget or ignore that the cause of disease was the patient’s free-will. Then you attract that to you.
However nothing will stay with a healer truly connected to the Source, because the existence of that connection implies that he is free from ego identifications – he and the Source are one.
Q: How to stay unbiased?
A: Be objective. Realize your role is just that of a channel. If you project yourself as more than you are, or as a guru to impress others, understand that ego is at play. However if recognition by others is happening naturally and spontaneously as a consequence of your actions, that is ok. No comparisons, no judgements, no slandering. Do the job to the best of your ability, and move on.
The more dissatisfaction, the more births you will take
I don’t think that you’re actually bothered about the next birth.
We know that there is the possibility of rebirth, but rebirth need not always follow or even be necessary.
However when desires keep increasing, a way or a platform has to be provided in order to exhaust them. If the current platform is insufficient in providing the means for that satisfaction, another platform may be needed. That may be a continuing process. The more dissatisfaction you have, the more lives you will need.
There is really no compulsion for a next life. The Chinese government has banned rebirth – a birth cannot take place without permission! (hey, it is even a law there). (laughter)
Reincarnation is not a necessary or compulsory thing. It is up to you.
Keep the lamp burning
Once there were two saints, living in two different caves in the Himalayas. One of them, totally blind, lived downhill from the other saint who could see. Every day the blind saint would walk up the hill to visit his friend and return before dark. However one day when he was visiting his friend, the blind saint happened to stay a little longer than usual. The sun had set and it was now quite dark. So his friend, the saint who could see, lit a lamp and placing it in his hand said, “Keep this lamp with you.”
The blind saint replied,” Are you making fun of me? I can’t see anything. How does it matter whether I have a lamp in hand or not?” He was a little upset.
So the friend replied, “No, no, don’t misunderstand me. It is true that it cannot help you to see. However others can certainly see you by its light. So please do hold on to the lamp.” The blind saint held the lamp and left. And it helped. Nobody ran into him since they could see him. There was no collision, no accident.
The blind saint continued the daily visits to this friend up the hill, most of the time returning back to his own cave before sunset. Then there came another day, when again he stayed on until dark, and just like before, he carried a lamp and walked down. However this time, before he reached his cave, someone collided with him so hard that he fell backwards. He was very upset and asked, “Are you blind? Can you not see? Couldn’t you see the lamp in my hand?”
The person he collided with replied, ”So sorry Swamiji, but your lamp has gone out. There is no light, so I couldn’t see you.”
Keeping the lamp burning is our job. Others will see. This is a very important story you should remember and ponder on.
All you have to do is keep the lamp burning. And do not think you can see with this lamp. A burning lamp has no interest in its own light. Look outside – no tree eats its own fruit. This is the truth of existence. If you understand this, you understand all the philosophies of life. There is nothing more to learn. Keep the lamp burning.
To persist in effort or to let go
Q: How do we know when to remain persistent and move forward, to push further or when to let go? Of course I can reconcile that the situation was meant to be a certain way, but sometimes I am not sure whether to put in more efforts and continue persevering?
A: Do you really have a choice? We have this feeling that we are the decision-makers at various points in life, say for example in pursuing a degree or going for post-graduation etc. That is an illusion. However, there is also no way you can be stagnant either. You certainly have to put in some work, the job demands that effort. Suppose I want to go to my room from here – that will require me to step out and walk. Merely sitting at this spot and repeating the intent to myself is not going to make it happen. Every point in life is like that.
When we speak of having various options, usually it also means that we know all the possible outcomes connected with those options. However when we decide that we are not going to concern ourselves with the outcomes, the moment we stop worrying or getting anxious about results, our activity then becomes spontaneous. Connection to the result of the action binds us and that is the reason for our success or failure.
If we always use this criterion of not connecting actions and results, we can achieve a complete and glorious life (note that by glory, I do not mean awards or accolades). When you are perfect in what you have to do, success and glory are a natural and spontaneous consequence. Don’t however fall into the error of assuming that you created the success and glory.
Today, even though I never invited any of you to come here and listen to me (I have never even physically met some of you before), this get-together still happened. That is how it works. Realize that situations and events, specific to a particular place, person or time are all happening spontaneously. Your degree of freedom lies in the ability to perform to your best with the resources available to you.
You cannot be at a different place, at this time. By the time you decide to be in another place, that second is gone. That’s why the acceptance of a time, place, situation, is very important for success. Definitely do apply for a different job if you feel like it. If it comes, it comes. Ultimately, be at peace always. If you use your intellect and don’t get too emotional about anything, you should most likely be fine.
Transcribed by Geeta Iyer
Edited by Caroline Moscato