Take responsibility for this life
Thursday, December 4. In his opening address Maharaji stressed a favorite theme: individual responsibility.
He continued to explore the topics of the student, Knowledge and the master with humour, compassion and wisdom.
And once again he welcomed us to the World of Knowledge. Below are extracts from his 70 minute speech.
Welcome to the world of Knowledge. And for me, I was thinking about it, how beautiful this chance, this moment is that we can come and put aside everything. Because as we come here, I know there are problems. But when we come to be in the company, in the company of the heart, in the company of this life, it is a reprieve from all our problems, from all our troubles. We don't have to bring those in here. We can come and we can come from that simple place that we are. The simple life, this simple existence. Because, at the end of the day, that's what it is. At the end of the day, it is not the bad that happens in a day that matters. That's not what you're going to take with you. The problems that you deal with, those are not the problems that you're going to take with you. You can't. All you can take is fulfillment. All you can have, that you can keep forever is fulfillment.
And that's such a sweet reminder: to come and to listen to that. To be reminded that what I yearn for in my life is not all the things that I think I yearn for. But I yearn for, I long for, I want, I need, I must have fulfillment, fulfillment that is real, not contrived. Fulfillment that bears the seal of approval of this heart and not of an institution. Because this heart is the only thing that can say "yes."
Somebody comes in your life; somebody introduces to you a possibility. And that's what Knowledge is. Knowledge says it doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be that you throw yourself to the whim of destiny.
We receive this gift of Knowledge so each one of us can feel that feeling in our life. Each one of us is given that opportunity. Each one of us is given that possibility to be fulfilled: this life, this breath, this body, this existence. All the things that I have to do, I do, and in those, I try to seek enjoyment. But have I learned to seek enjoyment in that breath that comes into me?
To learn how to enjoy this breath. How to enjoy living. To learn how to enjoy existence. Very different. Very different.
And somehow, that's the possibility that Knowledge brings. That's what it brings. It's a responsibility. It's a responsibility to life. Maybe all your life you have learned responsibility to others, to other people, to the things that you have to do. But what about accepting the responsibility of this existence? What can that be like?
You come in and you see this logo, and it says, "Welcome." So, on one side, you're being welcomed, and so I see it as a threshold, I see it as a door. The master comes along and gives the key and says, "Here is the door, unlock it, and go." And on the other side of the door, "Welcome. Welcome to the world of Knowledge. Welcome to this possibility, welcome to this reality."
There is something very real here. And I am on one side, my master has given me the key. I know, in this world somebody will come along, grab me by the arm and drag me into that door, and I'll go. But the possibility that I have to walk through? Jeez. Never thought of that. Never in my life have I walked anywhere, I've always had been shoved." Sound familiar?
So, finding yourself where you don't want to be, the pushing syndrome. Pushed, pushed, pushed, pushed, pushed. All your life pushed. And so here comes a possibility, an incredible possibility, and what are you waiting for? For somebody to come and push you in.
One of the most beautiful things about Knowledge is integrity. Integrity. You have to take the key, and you have to insert it in the loek; you have to open it. And then you are welcomed to the world of Knowledge.
This one is not a question of destiny. It's not a predisposition. This is something you have to understand in your life, and you have to take that step, with eyes wide open. Is that too painful? With eyes wide open, not closed. Not just fumbling, but eyes wide open. Consciously taking every single step. Consciously walking towards where you want to go.
Some people say you know, "How old is Knowledge?" They want verification. They get interested, "How old is this thing?" How old is this thing? Have you been listening? Logically speaking, if you had to date it, from your understanding, human beings have always wanted joy and it is as old as it gets. That's its foundation. Its foundation is not laid in some books somewhere or in some tree somewhere, or in the top of some mountain somewhere, or on some mark on the face of this earth. It is the fundamental recognition of the desire of the heart of every single human being. Knowledge is the only thing that aetually recognizes that, that addresses it and says "Yes."
It is the most fundamental request, the most fundamental request. To understand the idea of Knowledge, you also have to strip everything else and get down to that most fundamental level. It is s simple as it can be: you are alive. That is the greatest, the most simple, the most profound, and the most basic thing that is happening in your life. You are alive. If you weren't alive, you wouldn't have problems. If you weren't alive, you wouldn't have anything, nothing. But you are alive. Who points to that? Knowledge does. Knowledge says, "That is fundamentally the most important thing for you." I understand. That's the building block, that's where Knowledge is going to start making its home. This is the foundation that it is laying down. You are alive. Be thankful, for you are alive. The manifestation of Knowledge happening in this world is very, very special. Somebody said to me one day, "You know, you have made a beautiful house, you have everything, why don't you retire?" And I said, "What I do, I love more than this house and everything else. I can't retire." I see the manifestation of people coming and wanting to listen, the manifestation of people preparing themselves for Knowledge. The manifestation of Knowledge sessions taking place, people enjoying that, it's extremely special. This, I can witness. This, I can see in my life. And I consider myself very, very fortunate.
So, here we are. Some of you have been travelling, coming from here, coming from there, doing this, doing that. Let go. A couple more days, four more events. Let go. Some people will say, "I've got my doubts and I've got my questions." Let go. Have you heard of the little phrase: "Doesn't matter"? Apply that. "Doesn't matter." Get back to the fundamentals: the breath matters. And if I can learn how to enjoy that, hey, then I can enjoy something for the rest of my life.
So, it's so exciting to be here. For me, it is. For each one of you, what can you do? Take it in. Accept. This is a gift. This is a gift. And it is made possible by the courtesy of the master, by the courtesy of the student, and by the courtesy of Knowledge. Those three things are what has brought all of us here. Your problems don't matter. Your headaches: put them aside. Be here, accept, understand, learn, grow. Reconnect. Restrengthen. This is a date with the heart. And you have come, so let it happen.
When you're reminded again, remember. And when you remember, be thankful. What is important in this changing, changing world is that you don't let change what is most important to you. Don't let it change. In this noisy, noisy world, don't stop listening to the symphony of this heart. In this dark, dark, dark world, don't start stumbling on all the obstacles. Let that light shine in your life and be with it. Stick with it.
This is a joke originally told by "Initiator" Joan Apter when "giving satsang" at Guru Puja, Tucson, Arizona, July 15, 1978
"Is anyone else up there?"
There is this one joke. It explains it to me so much of the human condition. This guy is walking along, and all of a sudden, he falls and slips, and finds himself sliding down the side of this mountain. He starts grabbing for anything he can. He finally does grab onto a branch and comes to a stop. He looks down and it's a sheer cliff. He looks up; there's no way he can get up. All he's got is this fairly fragile branch that he just manages to hang onto.
He begins to pray and he says, "Please, you up there, help me." And this big, thunderous voice comes out of the sky and says, "I will. I will. I'll help you. But first, you have to show me a sign of your faith: let go of the branch." And the guy looks down, looks up, looks down again. Too far.
So, he prays and again he says, "Please, up there, just help me. I really need help." And again, this thunderous voice comes down and says, "I'm God. I'm up here and I will help you. Just let go of this branch as a sign of your faith towards me." The guy looks down again. He sees himself falling, and finally, the third time, he looks up and he says, "Is anyone else up there?"
I like this joke, and the reason why I like this joke is because there is the first part of this joke, which is, "Let go of the branch." I understand that mentality. That's the scary thing. I understand it. So ingrained into so many of us. First, "Show me a sign of your faith." And people probably think, "I'd let go." If I didn't tell this as a joke, but started telling it as a story, it would be really scary for anybody who laughed. But the second part to me is the funniest: "Anyone else? This isn't going to work for me."
Knowledge is not in the realm of slaves. Knowledge is in the realm of the free. Knowledge is the realm for those who understand what freedom means in this life. It is for the ones who can see, not for the ones who have decided they don't want to. This is for the ones who want to walk this life with eyes open. Enjoying it, rather than pulling thorns out of their feet.
Maharaji, Long Beach,
December 4, 1997