Mahasatsang at Kolkata
Today, the main purpose of my coming to Calcutta is to inaugurate Swami Vivekananda's one hundred and fiftieth birth anniversary celebrations.
Swami Vivekananda left behind a dream in the hearts of India's youth - the dream that India should walk with her head held high, in every field, whether it pertains to trade, religion, social justice, economics or politics. In every field, Indians should walk with their head held high; and to bring this dream to reality is the responsibility of the Indian youth.
A hundred and fifty years ago Swamiji came at a time when people did not give any importance to India's knowledge and religion. Our religion was considered to be a superstition. Swami Vivekananda presented our religion from a scientific standpoint and accorded it its rightful place in the world.
Art of Living has taken this inspiration forward and spread the light of our Indian culture and spirituality in one hundred fifty two countries of the world. Many volunteers have rendered service, whether in Iraq or Sri Lanka. Wherever seva (service) was needed, people got involved and are continuing to get involved in large numbers. Before I arrived here, I visited our de-addiction center where thousands of young men and women have been infused with the strength of freedom from addiction. The smile on the faces of those men and women gave me immense satisfaction.
It is said that if we can wipe the tears of even one person, we should consider our life worthwhile. But here, seeing that the tears of hundreds of thousands of people are being transformed into smiles, my joy is increasing even more. I want that all those who are gathered here should reaffirm the sankalpa in their minds that we want to see a beautiful, clean, secure India and a strong society and we will all work for it together.
Government keeps changing, but the government alone cannot do this work. If corruption is to be abolished, the common man will have to take the sankalpa, and listen to the hidden call of Swami Vivekananda within you, and propel it forward.
We want to strengthen this country and establish our connection with God. So there are two things we need to have: one is inner purity - we keep our life so pure that it remains unstained. I have kept it so, and I want that every youth should keep it so as well. India taught the world the art of belongingness.
Today, if you visit the last city of Argentina, or the Southern hemisphere, you will find people practicing yoga, meditation and pranayama. Similarly, if you go to the last city of the northern hemisphere, you will find people doing bhajans and meditation there. You may even go to Pakistan; our centre is being run there as well, and people are benefiting from yoga and pranayama camps.
At a time when our country had not gained freedom, Swami Vivekananda went to America with the knowledge of Advaita - we all know that. Before this, Paramahamsa Yogananda, and many saints especially from Bengal went there.
It is a noteworthy fact that the winds of spirituality blowing across the country started in Bengal; whether it is the Bramho Samaj or the Theosophical society, many streams originated in Bengal. However, it seems that this stream stopped at some point after India gained independence.
Whether it is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Sri Aurobindo, the streams of knowledge and bhakti (devotion) originated in Bengal in the previous centuries. I hope that the youth of Bengal will not disappoint the present era; from Bengal such youth will once again emerge who will present an ideal to the nation and the world.
Many of you kept saying, 'Guruji, come to Howrah.' I also wanted to come to Howrah, go across to the other side of the Ganga. The satsangs always happened on one side of the Ganga. And this time so many people on this side of the Ganga are welcoming me with enthusiasm and I am here, with you!
There is another purpose for my coming here, to assure you that God exists, and is listening to your pain! Have this confidence. Whatever you ask for, you will get, but you will have to do God's work; only then will you get. And what is God's work? - Serving the society.
God's work is not just doing prayers in temples, mosques and churches. The Divine resides in every person’s heart. So if you serve people, your work will automatically get done.
How many of you are finding that whatever you desire is being fulfilled? In Hindi there is a couplet, 'Jo ichcha kariho man maahi, prabhu pratap kachu durlabh naahin.'
They are not impossible, our desires will be fulfilled for sure; some instantly and some are fulfilled a bit later.
Whatever your troubles, your problems, the rule of the satsang is that you have to leave them behind. Leave all your problems here, and go with confidence and a smile. Wherever you see tears, speak to them, 'Oh, drop all your troubles, just smile! Come on, get up! Life is precious. Don't waste it like this.'
We also need to take an oath today. The biggest disease our country is suffering from today is corruption. So if we take the sankalpa that we will neither give bribes nor accept them, it will solve this issue. Only this will bring about reform. I do not believe that just drawing up a legislation will bring about reform in the entire country. Legislation is necessary, but reformation will happen only when there is spiritual awakening within us.
So we should wake up and embrace everyone. Where sense of belongingness ends, there corruption begins. Instead of limiting ourselves, we should expand our sense of belongingness.
Life lasts only a few years. We should live our lives such that not only are we joyful, but also the generations to come.
So many of you are gathered here. I would suggest that you create groups of five to six people and devote just two hours every Sunday to cleaning your community. Your roads will become clean. The plastics that are thrown around will be removed; a new wave of seva will arise. Are you all ready? So many people are willing; all we needed was an inspiration. Do seva, and see how the Divine will make all your work successful.
There are various kinds of pranayamas and meditations. It cannot be said that one is right and the other is wrong. Whatever you find helpful, you can do that. The techniques that we teach are simple and effective in tackling today’s stressful situations at work.