"Spirituality is all about preparing for change -
changing from what we are, to what we have to become."
Change is like watching a bud open into a flower level by level, layer after
layer of petals. The important thing to understand is that it is one integrated
idea - and the idea that a bit of change is followed by another bit of change,
followed by another bit of change, until finally, we come to a changeless state.
It is necessary to understand this because we must know change as a
process. Change is a process, which involves events in time.
Where Nature brings about change, it has to resort to such means as are not
considered necessary when a Master brings it about. Master is interested in
bringing about change: Change in individuals, then through them change in
society, then in the world at large, covering eventually all humanity. The
Master works thus for bringing about change on a global scale, culminating
perhaps in change of such magnitude that we can never hope to even
conceive of the various dimensions that such change can embrace.
Master brings about global change by coaxing it out of the human heart. He
coaxes them by His Divine Love and by the offer of His unlimited services in
their self development to the highest possible level where they can become
perfect human beings - which is only another way of saying that they have
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CHANGE?
There are several levels of change. There is one level in which we can
change nothing. For instance, the universe. We cannot possibly change the
length of the day and night. We can not change the orbit of the planets. That
is, in nature we can change nothing. However sleepless we are, we wait for
the morning. The morning will not come earlier than it will come. So, in that
sense we have to wait for change to come. That applies to the physical world.
How does change happen in the physical world? One is by the laws of nature
operating on the physical world. You know, things like gravitation, velocity of
light - all these things. They operate inexorably. So you have the scientific
laws - the laws of science. There is a second operation which is brought
about by our samskaras. That is beyond our control in the ordinary human
being who has not involved himself in the process of his own change. The
samskaric pattern acts as some sort of a program which brings about
automatic change without our control. Therefore, we change jobs at certain
times - so many changes in our life, you see. Most of the time we don't want
change. Now Babuji said, "If you are living in a changing situation, and it is
your samskara which is controlling that change, you have no control over it.
So you are really the slaves of the past."
How to change it? Not by working upon the physical world itself, but by
bringing a higher force to work on it. And what is that higher force but the
cleaning of the spiritual system. When the samskaras are removed, their
operation is stopped, and we are liberated from our slavery to the past.
How does change happen in the mental world? We next come to the mental
world, mental - intellectual world. Here we find change is possible. That is
what education consists of. A man can be born an utter fool and become a
very very wise man indeed. And it is possible, much change is possible in that
sphere. So in that sphere we are not supposed to wait for change, but we are
supposed to bring about change. So we go to school, try to educate
ourselves, ask the professors or the teachers to help us change. But if all that
stops with just the acquisition of knowledge, it may be useful in our earning a
nice living and having a high standard of existence, but it will not necessarily
make us wise. Because the knowledge too must be applied on ourselves to
bring about a more profound change in our depth of existence.
How does change happen in the spiritual world? Then when we come to the
spiritual existence, we find that change is imperative. And we have to work for
that change. In spiritual life we don't wait for change to come, we try to force
change. Master makes it possible for us to achieve today a goal which we
would have achieved only at the end of eternity.
Now when we come to the spiritual level, the level is beyond the operation of
"accidents"; the operation of accidentality is removed. What the Master finds is
not accidental. What He discovers is not accidental. What He creates is not
accidental. Because He is operating from the absolute level where no change
is possible - it is the changeless condition. And therefore, for Him, all change
is manifest through all operations of time - past, present and future. So it is
only at that level that there is nothing accidental, nothing unforeseen, nothing
dangerous. Everything is planned and willed. Therefore when we are able to
submit to such a person, working at such a level - the highest person at the
highest level - who is also the changeless person at the changeless level, we
are subjecting ourselves to Him, and to the accident-free changes that He will
bring about in us.
In the highest level of spirituality we can do without knowing anything. We
have to do without knowing anything - the doing is ours, the knowing is his.
And when we are able to accept this situation, and tell the Master, "I am doing
what you told me to do, the rest is your business," that is surrender - one way
of thinking of surrender. So you see, this idea of change is a very far reaching
Ultimately it is what we do in relation to the Divine or Cosmic purpose that has
been assigned to me that matters, not what I am. What I am is continuously
changing, until I reach that condition which Babuji has called "the changeless
state," that is the Divine state. Thereafter, quality has no meaning. Till then
quality had no meaning, because quality is continuously changing. When we
talk of a man having a fixed quality, he becomes static. It is like looking out of
a train and seeing the same thing all the time. It means the train has come to a
stop. So if a man or a woman continues to show the same quality day after
day, life after life, however admirable those qualities may be, but they have
stopped evolving. So spiritual law says, "Seek that, which when you seek
shall be the same as when you find, because it is changeless."
WHAT IS THE NEED FOR CHANGE?
When we move, we have to move with the tide. Change is to be considered
as some sort of a cosmic stream which takes us along. And by the Master's
grace, that change is guided. It is not an unguided change, it is not like a
piece of wood floating on the surface of a river, soul-less, mind-less, will-less,
that may be marooned at some spot, or may be plunged into a waterfall at
another spot. Our change is not like that. Though we are floating on the
stream of eternal change, there is a guiding hand and it keeps us protected,
guided on to the sure destination that we have to achieve. And I can assure
you that change is inevitable, it cannot be stopped.
As my Master said, "Change is the instrument of progress." On one occasion
He spoke to me about the need for forcing change if the pace of progress is to
be accelerated. He said, "If we are to leave it to Nature, it may take thousands
of years, and perhaps the desired change may not even take place. There is
no doubt, the Divine Will is at work but as they say, the mills of God grind
slowly. That is why evolution takes such long periods of time. What does the
wise person do? He tries to bring about the desired change in himself or his
conditions by taking certain steps for it. This is what we are doing here - trying
to bring about the necessary changes by following in a disciplined way, a
system of practice. It is a blessing conferred upon humanity by my Master that
such a wonderful system is available."
I asked Him whether this could not be taken as going against the will of God. If
the Divine Will is at work, why should we be active in bringing about a change
which will in any case happen by His Will? Master smiled and said, "In one
way that is how the lazy person thinks. Nature does not compel us to
progress. But at the same time we have to remember that the whole trend in
nature is to bring about higher and higher things. This is called evolution.
When we try to make our progress speedy, we are only cooperating with
Nature's purpose, and therefore we are acting in conformity with His Will."
WHY DO WE RESIST CHANGE?
FEAR: We want change and we are afraid of change, which makes us think of
a static condition as a secure condition. It would be a very funny animal in the
jungle, perhaps a deer or a buffalo, which thinks that just by standing still, it
will escape the tiger. So, static situations don't give us anything, not even
security. They only make us more and more subject to everything that governs
a static condition. There is no change, there is no growth, there is no
movement. There is only what we can call petrifaction, slow solidification, until
even the consciousness of existence perhaps becomes so dull that we
degenerate into some sort of absolute lethargy.
This is, as far as India is concerned, somewhat of a national phenomenon.
People try to continue in whatever they are doing. A man wants a new job. A
new job is offered, then he begins to worry. Even though it offers double the
salary, much better job opportunities, he is afraid, that having got it he may
lose it. Is it not better to stay with the old job which only pays half?
All that we know when we come into this system is to accept the fact that
change is inevitable. Let it be a guided change, a regulated change under the
ever-wakeful, ever-loving gaze of a Master who is there to protect us, cherish
us, nourish us and take us to our goal. It is a natural thing that people are
afraid of it. I was myself substantially afraid. Strangely, I was afraid of
everything except my Master. It was not that I was of impeccable character, or
an outstanding human being, but, I blundered into Sahaj Marg very much like
a baby blunders into some situation. And when the baby goes and sits on the
lap of the king, the king does not throw it away. He accepts, may be only for a
moment, but he keeps it on his lap, he loves it a little, gives it some present
and thereafter he gets a special affection for that child because it came to him.
PREJUDICE: Resistance to change is caused by fear and prejudice.
Prejudice is the resistance to a change in values. We resist the change in
others; rather, we refuse to perceive such change. Since our views become
fixed, our own progress is adversely affected. My Master has cautioned us
that prejudice is one of the most harmful things on the spiritual path. Why is
this so? It is because prejudice is a mental phenomenon. The power of the
mind, thought power, is the highest power, the most potent power available to
man. When we use this power in a negative way to oppose change in others
or ourselves, that is, when we yield to prejudice, we are using the power of
thought in the wrong way. The greatest alertness is therefore necessary to
HOW SHOULD WE CHANGE OURSELVES?
Things of the past are in the past, they cannot be changed by any means. But
from this moment, you can change yourself and for that, every assistance is
available, every power is available. And what is the higher sin even than that?
It is to deny this opportunity for self-correction and go on, on the path of
evolution, and seek to remain as we are, with foolish ideas, animalistic ideas
of pleasure, enjoyment, freedom, things like that. So Master said, "That is a
bigger sin than any sin you can possibly commit with your body."
Why do we come to a Master? I think it is by an inner feeling of this truth, an
inner realisation of this truth, that most people who come to spirituality come
here at all. It shows an inner discontent with what we are. Otherwise, there is
no reason, I mean, I cannot imagine a possible reason for trying to change
yourself. No one will attempt to change himself or herself if they are really
happy with themselves and their circumstance. So the seed of change, inner
change, comes from discontent with what we are, discontent, dissatisfaction,
disappointment, whatever it be.
Unfortunately, human beings try to handle this discontent by further satiation
in the pleasures that they are having. By imagining that the pleasure which
one bottle of wine could not give, could be given by a second bottle, or by a
third bottle. So, stupidly, self-destructively, we indulge in repetitive activities of
this sort. So we are faced with this rather fascinating but un-understandable
fact that the highest education, the highest technology has only created self-
destructive tendencies. And these tendencies have to be corrected, and
therefore there is all the more need for yogic pursuits.
The only thing which goes on eternally without any help from us is the Devil.
God needs our help to help us. And what is this help that we have to give
Him? Babuji called it cooperation. Co-operation - to work together with. God
can lift a mountain. God can revolve a planet. He can twist the universe
around into nothing. But He cannot change a human being, because what
changes a human being is not God - it is himself.
WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGE?
Raja yoga uses the mind to train itself, to regulate itself. And here the grace of
the Guru, or the Master is necessary, because however much we may use the
mind, and however we may perfect it, if the human tendencies we have
brought into this birth are not changed, then the mind continues to work in the
same way as before, only more powerfully now. So one of the fundamental
techniques of Sahaj Marg, perhaps the most important, is what we call
cleaning. It is my Master's teaching that, by our thoughts and actions of the
past, we have created impressions of those thoughts and actions upon
ourselves. And when these impressions become very strong they become the
cause of action in a similar repetitive pattern, very much like a gramophone
record plays the same music again and again.
Now, my Master says, "To correct this way of living, this calamitous situation,
the heartbreaking society today, change cannot be brought by legislation or
by preaching." It is not necessary to tell you that governments have failed, the
church has also failed. Because both have not been able to touch the heart of
the human beings. And unless there is a change of heart, and change in what
the heart says is right, and our willingness to accept that voice from the heart,
we are like automobiles going downhill faster and faster. We can only crash.
The change of direction must come only by refining the tendencies of the
heart, by purifying the heart, and this is what we are attempting to do in our
yogic technique of Sahaj Marg, recognizing that the voice which was inside
the heart, known as the conscience, has virtually ceased to exist. Fortunately
it is still there but so weak that we cannot hear it. Because the more you
disregard it and push it back, the more it subsides.
Now the only way of bringing it out again into the open and making it an
effective instrument for guiding our life is to purify the heart, listen more and
more to it, and guide your lives by the way the heart wants you to go. The
need to accept that we are going wrong is of paramount importance. Because
so long as you think you are right, even God cannot change you. And God is
not necessary. We do not call God to change the direction of our cars. We can
do it ourselves. Here too, it is possible for us to do it ourselves. And to be able
to do it is what we try to teach in our yogic system.
To face change, which means to face the future, one requires courage and
faith. Faith that change is inevitable, faith in the fact or acceptance of the fact
that change cannot be avoided. When you have to stop motion - it is like that
famous story about the man who made the Earth stand still and there was
such violent storms and natural cataclysms that all life forms and everything
on the surface of the Earth was destroyed. Because when the Earth is moving,
the envelope of the atmosphere moves. When you suddenly stop the Earth, it
is like when you are in the bus which is moving very fast. The driver brakes
and you all hit your nose against the front seat.
Now, to change myself, again we come to this problem of attitudes, desires,
likes and dislikes, all because of Samskaras. So Sahaj Marg says, "clean it
out." But people want to clean out selectively. All or nothing is the formula for
success or failure in spirituality. I want to remind you that there is no success
or failure attached to the Master. He is doing his work. Success or failure is
HOW DOES CHANGE MANIFEST?
Growth involves change. Can there ever be progress without change? Can a
baby become an adult without changing? Can a seed become a tree and
yield fruit without change? Change is thus perceived to be an integral part of
the growth process. In fact it is change which brings about the desired result,
and what we really work for, is to bring about such change. My Master has
stated categorically that there can be no progress without change. When
things cease to change, a stage sets in which can be justifiably called death,
looked at, in this way, death can be said to be a cessation of the process of
change. That is, death is the cessation of growth.
Spiritual progress, Spiritual growth involves change. Progress, after all, is
nothing but a change for the better in our condition. The Sadhana is the
process created by my Master to bring about continuing change for our
spiritual betterment, from moment to moment. If we ponder over it, we shall
see that a resistance to change is a resistance to our own growth and
progress. Can we stop change? Is there any one capable of arresting
change? No! Change is inevitable. It is a law of Nature that things must
change, must evolve. Change is thus seen to be inescapable. My Master has
said that the only permanent thing in the universe is change. We must be
grateful for this because if it were not so, progress, all growth would cease.
When we accept change, we accept the Master's will. When we accept it
totally and unreservedly, with the faith that it is essential for all progress, the
stage of surrender sets in. Surrender, looked at in this way is a humble
submission to the process of change that my Master 'Initiates' in us, for our
growth to the highest levels of spirituality available to mankind.
WHAT EVOLUTION DOES CHANGE BRING?
The fundamental necessity behind evolution is change. There can be no
evolution without change. So change has to be accepted, in anything,
whether it is a house, whether it is a personal growth, or a system of
The only permanent thing in the universe is change. This inevitability of
change is the foundation for all our hopes and aspirations. At the lowest level,
our hopes are for a betterment in the human condition; at the highest level it is
an aspiration for spiritual evolution to the highest! Whatever our hopes may
be for, hope is founded upon the possibility of change. Hope exists in our
hearts only because we naturally and intuitively perceive the inevitability of
change, which gives us the understanding that under no circumstances can
the present continue as it is. It must change into something else.
It is this aspiration for change that is reflected in our hearts as a hope for the
future. Without change, therefore, there can be no future. It is this perception
of the process of change, and its promise for the future, which makes us strive
to become something which we are not! Change alone holds out the
possibility of progress. It is change that offers us the promise of growth, and
the certainty of becoming what our Divine Master wishes us to become.
Viewed in this way, change is the process of becoming! The Divine
Personality, our Benevolent Master, has come down only for effecting such
change to enable us to become what He wants us to become. Our Beloved
Master is thus seen to be a Divine agent of Change!
Can we oppose change? Do we have the power to prevent change? If we
oppose change, we are really opposing His Will. Our duty clearly lies in
speeding up the process of change by dedicated Sadhana, so that our
journey to the destination, our Original Home, is accelerated.
HOW IS GLOBAL CHANGE POSSIBLE?
Disciplined parents produce disciplined children. Loving parents create
loving children. So this is a lesson to the parents, you see. We are talking of
child indiscipline, student indiscipline, youth indiscipline, when the real
source of all that indiscipline is in the parents. And it is never too late
because, like children can change, parents must also be willing to change.
And when we recognize this, I mean, when the parents recognize this and
they are willing to change, you find their children hug them and kiss them with
such love as you have never known in your life.
Nothing can change without you yourself changing. When you change, the
universe changes with you. We know that each one of us is the centre of his
or her own universe, so there is not just one universe, there are as many
universes as there are people in this world.
So when we talk of changing the universe, what we really mean is to change
all these universes, which is impossible. There is the possibility that each one
of us can change his own individual universe. All change starts from the
Centre, so we have to start changing our universe from the centre of that
universe, which is our own heart. That is the main reason why Sahaj Marg
teaches meditation on the heart.
My personal universe cannot change one atom whether I become richer or
poorer, whether I become more educated or less educated, whether I become
stronger or weaker physically. But everytime I have a change of heart in my
heart, my universe changes to that extent. And the change is from the core
outwards, so that it permeates every structure of that universe. This is the
reason why we have to accept the need for change with our hearts, accept it
in our hearts, and without that, progress is impossible.
We have a very beautiful example in Indian philosophy: A perfect man is
supposed to be like a coconut. The outside remains the same, but the inner
coconut has dried and shrunk and is free of the surroundings. You can hear it
rattling inside. That is, the real coconut has become dry, desiccated,
qualityless and exists like a ball inside the shell which is only a covering.
There is a saying that it exists in its own universe, but there is no contact with
that universe at all. Similarly a spiritually perfect man - his heart is in the body
but not of the body. It should not have any attachment with the body.
In the normal human being everything we do with the body affects the heart.
In the spiritual person the body must reflect what is going on in the heart.
Instead of the life of the body regulating the heart, the life of the heart must
now regulate the body and the whole universe itself.
So the spiritual practice must begin with the heart. The qualities of the heart
must be changed. The ability of the heart to affect must be changed, that is,
instead of affecting me, myself, it must affect everybody in this universe, the
whole universe itself. And all this is made possible only when we accept the
need for changing from our inside and not from our outside. And the easiest
way is to receive the Master of the Universe in your hearts and let Him rule the
universe from inside you rather than from outside you.
External changes can be brought about only by bringing about changes in the
inner being of the human. If we are serious about bringing about lasting
changes in society, we must apply all our efforts to changing the individuals of
which society is after all composed. Society is only an agglomeration of
individuals. If society is to be transformed, the individuals must first be
When you change something in a painting, you don't only change something,
you change the whole thing. The whole painting changes. So if I am changing
myself, the whole universe must change. And that is what Philosophy says,
that is what religions have preached: Change yourself and the universe
changes. But if you try to change that, you cannot make a duck into a
peacock. Isn't it? So the secret of universal change is to change yourself.
"We have to go on changing until we come to a state,
where there is no more possibility of change.
That is the eternal change."