International Region Seminars & Conversations With Daaji
October 2017, Kanha Shanti Vanam
The month of October was full of joyful celebration at Kanha Shantivanam. After the seminar for 30,000 people at the end of September, Daaji continued to host seekers from around the world.
From the 2 to 4 October, the seminar for Greater China attracted over one hundred participants, who were able to spend precious time with Daaji. He conducted regular group meditation, and spent time in conversation and answering questions, supported by the superb translation offered.
October was also a month of preparation and hosting of the European seminar, which took place from the 22 to 29 October. The preparations started straight after the gathering in September, as ‘scouts’ from the European team stayed on for the month to prepare. This also provided a dynamic and very fertile time of cross-fertilization of teams and ideas with the local volunteers. A number of other volunteers arrived from Europe in the middle of the month and set to work cleaning the dormitories, and working with the local Kanha team to put all the infrastructure and logistics in place.
During Diwali, the focus was on ‘Heartfulness Green’, and so many Europeans spent the day planting trees along the corridors near the dormitories. The festivities were joyously celebrated in tune with Mother Nature.
The arrival of seekers from Europe reached its peak from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 October, when the atmosphere became like another celebration.
One of the European sisters wrote: “The first European seminar in Kanha was for most of us our first visit there. We were astonished by the size of the ashram. I think until you go there you cannot imagine how huge it is. We were told that it is a semi arid place, but there are already so many plantations, and it is so full of colour and fragrance that it defies belief.
“As we were coming to India, we were prepared to drop our comfort for one week. What a surprise to see how confortable the comfort dorms are, and to have almost nonspicy food. Our hearts were melting and gratitude to our beloved Daaji arose in them. He pays so much attention and love for our well-being.”
Daaji had asked the Europeans to prepare by taking sittings every day for 2 weeks and reading Maxims 3 to 6 before coming. He asked the eight hundred or so who travelled to Kanha to bring their copies of Babuji Maharaj’s Commentary on the Ten Maxims of Sahaj Marg, as he would be speaking on this during the seminar.
The days that followed can only be described as sublime. From Monday 23 October to Thursday 26 October, Daaji conducted group meditation each morning at 9:30 a.m. followed by a discourse on one of the maxims. These sessions were also broadcast live for all those who were unable to attend the seminar in person.
In the evening he conducted group meditation again at 5:30 p.m. and after dinner met the various regional groups for Q&A sessions in the cottage area.
Monday, 23 October, Maxim 3 – the Goal
On the Monday morning after satsangh, Daaji spoke about Maxim 3. After reading the commentary aloud, he said, “I noted down a few of my understandings based on various principles that we have in Sahaj Marg. When we read this Maxim superficially, three things stand out:
1. Number one is fixing the goal. Then we have to remain wilfully aware of what the goal is all about. This is knowledge. Becoming aware of the destination is Jnana Yoga, the purposeful knowledge.
2. The second thing that stands out is using our helm (the heart) to steer our way on the infinite ocean. Remaining busy steering this helm is our practice, our determination. That is Karma Yoga, our action in play.
3. And the third idea that emerges here is the ingrained attitude of being a devotee, the relationship of a lover and the Beloved. This is nothing but Bhakti Yoga.
“So, in this short passage, Babuji Maharaj has brilliantly elucidated the three Yogas and brought them together: Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.”
Daaji went on to speak about the goal in more detail, acknowledging that for a new seeker the idea of oneness with God is not an easy concept to grasp. As a result, when we go out with our Connect programs in organisations, we tend to divert our focus away from God to more worldly benefits of meditation, like stress management, decision-making, compassion, empathy, and general well-being. But he clarified that, “The moment you remove the idea of God, you remove the purpose behind the entire practice. It is the foundation of the entire thing.”
He said that lower goals like a loving attitude, compassion, empathy and non-violent communication, so valued in the West, and liberation and bliss, so valued in the East, are all wonderful, but they can never become the ultimate goal. Even merger is only the beginning. For the highly-valued satchidananda, Daaji quoted Babuji Saheb as saying, “Can satchidananda be our goal? What is satchidananda? It is a state like a worm enjoying or relishing cow dung.”
Daaji concluded this train of thought by saying, “Going beyond bliss into a non-bliss state where there is nothingness” is the promise of Sahaj Marg, and that through our daily practice we become more and more worthy and capable of receiving higher and higher doses of more refined states: “We don’t expect to receive the final state in the very first sitting. It will only give us a glimpse of it. … As a result, our goal changes as we proceed. … When you are at the first point, enjoy this first point very thoroughly, and don’t think about the second at that moment. Though we have read about higher points in the books, and that can entice us to want to quickly go to Brahmanda Mandal and this mandal and that mandal , instead, be in the moment and enjoy and absorb the present state. That means being one with that state, and for that it is necessary to recognize that state.
“Our goal is to appreciate what has been given to us now, at this moment. Digest it and expand it. I have already shared with you how the 5 vowels help us in our spiritual practice:
A is to acquire the condition; when we meditate we acquire the condition.
When we appreciated the condition so much, we want to enliven it, intensify it, give life to it.
I is to imbibe the condition inward towards the heart.
Later we become one with that state.
That leads us to the final union.
“And this has been described by Babuji Maharaj in his commentary about the very first knot in Towards Infinity – that unless and until we are able to identify the condition, enliven it, intensify and merge in it, we cannot progress spiritually. We should take this statement very seriously. … “We have to become extra sensitive, extra perceptive, and during the sittings try to observe and see what has happened and make a note of it. Become serious about the whole thing.”
After this, Daaji moved to another aspect of Maxim 3, quoting Babuji Maharaj again: “There may certainly be countless whirls at places, but the strength of our will and confidence helps us to overcome all of them and proceed on straight to the destination.”
He asked, “What are the whirls in our life? The biggest whirlpools that we all face are emotional bursts from our most beloved, most dear ones. These are the deadliest whirls that can badly destabilise us, that make us so angry from inside that we lose our balance. How to come out of such emotion whirlpools that drag us down? Should we stop swimming in the river? Should we avoid family members altogether? What can we do when we succumb to such whirlpools and a burst of anger emerges from our system? The only solution, he says, is that the strength of our will and confidence helps us to overcome them.”
Then Daaji quoted Babuji again: “‘Now since our eye is fixed upon spirituality,” and in the next three or four passages, he describes the goal in many different words. He describes the goal as ‘ideal, which is the highest’. He also describes it as something that is ‘associated directly with the Absolute’. Then he gives another definition, ‘the Infinite Absolute’. Then he calls that highest ‘the Supreme’. In the next passage, he calls it ‘the Great Being’ and also ‘the Beloved’. He addresses it as ‘the Lord’ and also as ‘Reality’.
“In so many ways he has tried to describe the highest state so that it can appeal to an intellectual mind, a devotee, and all kinds of minds. But out of the entire thing, what appeals me the most is this sentence: ‘Divine help does come, no doubt, but only when the Supreme is convinced of the devotee’s earnestness of purpose.’ This I have read so many times but it appealed to my heart so much when I understood that I was always thinking from my side: ‘Oh! My faith in God is strong, my trust in Master is very strong.’ But it is also important that He should have trust in me too.”
To be continued … in the next bulletin we will know more about the tree planting, the ashram landscape, the inner spiritual work and the discourses on Maxims 4, 5 and 6.