What a beautiful atmosphere to behold, isn’t it! Taal Ninaad! The relationship that the Art of Living enjoys with Solapur is very old. Thirty years back, when I first thought of starting The Art of Living organization, I was in two minds; whether to start this movement or not. I could foresee that many people will benefit from this, but I was a little hesitant about getting into all this. I felt, I didn’t want to do anything, except meditate and be immersed in the adoration of God.
Then I had to take a decision at the railway station of Hubli. On adjacent platforms there were two trains, one heading towards Solapur and the other towards Bangalore. Had I gone to Bangalore, I would have not started The Art of Living organization. I would have remained in my company, doing meditation and yoga. And taking the train to Solapur, it was certain that I would have to lose all of this and do something.
So at the last moment, I was confused between Bangalore and Solapur. There were four others with me. And they had never seen me in a state of confusion like this before; whether to go or not go. But in that one moment, I had to make up my mind and came to Solapur.
Since I came to Sholapur, this sequence of Satsangs started. Where ever I am going, I can see people are so happy right now. Every tear that you are shedding is so pure, that even the angels are longing for it. These are the tears of love, joy, happiness and devotion.
The devotion for the Divine is not different to the devotion for the nation. Integrity and commitment to one's duty, both, should go together. If we are strong within, we can do our work well.
There needs to be a rhythm in life. If life goes out of rhythm and off-key then it will lose its harmony. Life needs to be led in a rhythmic and harmonious manner, this itself is knowledge. If devotion is the melody, then knowledge is the rhythm. When to do what, how to do it, how much to do and how much to refrain from doing, this wisdom is extremely essential in life.
We should change ourselves, taking our lives from discord to harmony. Our lives should be rhythmic and harmonious, then you will see how much peace, joy and happiness there is. A gloomy life means somewhere it went out of rhythm; the harmony was lost somewhere.
That is why we have called this life an art. Isn't life an art? So, how should we handle our mind? How to handle the Self, then how to handle the family, and then how to handle the community?
I am very happy to know that the volunteers of Solapur have together done a lot for the environment. I congratulate all of them. All of you came together to clean a mossy pond that had been decaying for years, and look how all the NGOs joined together with you. If one person or group starts a work with commitment, then everyone joins in.
This is what we have to do; take our nation forward.
I have a dream, that is, to make our country the best (number one) in this world. You will also have to see this dream with me.
Unless you also have the dream of making this nation and society strong, until we free society of alcohol, caste differences and conflicts, we will remain divided and weak.
Today, all of you will have to take an oath. You are caught, having come to this Satsang, and all those who are watching this Satsang, you all will have to take the pledge this very instant that, ‘I will not even dare to look at alcohol and I will not touch alcohol’. This is the first pledge we all have to take.
The intoxication that you experience in the melody of this satsang cannot be compared or equaled to a bottle of alcohol? Give up alcohol and addictions. This is the very first pledge. The nation is being brought to ruins only on account of this.
And the second thing is to imagine a violence-free, stress-free society. Our brothers and sisters are engaged in violent tendencies and acts, bring them here with love. We will make an effort to transform their minds. It happens. Our effort should be in this direction. There must be some wound, some trauma in their hearts. Let us apply ointment and bandage their wounds and see how beautiful the person is from inside. This is necessary.
And we are divided based on caste, sect and religion, this needs to be renounced. We have to give this up. We all belong to one race, the human race. Solapur is the city of saints and enlightened persons. It has been the birth place of so many great men and great saints.
Even here, so many saints are seated. You are being blessed by all of them. They all say the same thing and have been saying it over the centuries, 'Abandon caste distinction and discrimination. We are all one.'
When we need to go to a good doctor, do we ask what their caste is. We always want to go to the best doctor in the city, isn’t it? And when we need the service of a lawyer, then too we don’t ask which caste that lawyer belongs to. We go to the one who is most renowned and does the best work. It is only during elections that we take caste along. This is wrong.
The government did a lot to perpetuate caste differences in society. They have done nothing to eliminate it. This is one reason why our country is so backward.
In politics also, do not think about your caste and community, forget it. Pick a good person and vote for him. One whose eyes are damp with sympathy for others, one whose heart aches for others, and one who is ready to sacrifice; elect such an individual. Don’t see if he belongs to your caste or some other caste or religion. There are good people in every caste and religion who want to work for the society. Such people should be chosen. Never make caste a basis.
And whenever there is an election, it is our social responsibility and duty that we have to definitely go and vote. What happens is we feel, ‘Oh! Everyone is corrupt; politics is corrupt, so why should we vote? It is better to sit at home! Who will stand outside in the sun’? With this mindset many people don’t go and vote.
Many people go to vote in Solapur, this is an extremely aware city. Many people go to vote in India. In America, only 20% go to cast their votes. At least, it is a lot better in our country. Sixty, seventy, or even eighty per cent of the people go to vote, for we are responsible people. India is a country of responsible individuals. So, we should definitely go and vote.
And we should engage ourselves in a cleanliness drive.
There are four fields of work: first, we need to dispel ignorance and rid ourselves of superstitions. We are holding on to various superstitions, especially in the name of religion when it has nothing to do with it. Let us remove superstitions and ignorance. We need to spread the knowledge of human values (dharma). The lesson of ‘dharma’ is humanity; compassion and commitment to responsibilities: all these must be instilled in us, and allowed to blossom.
These qualities are there, present in everyone. Do not think, 'I do not have these, I do not have honesty.' Honesty is there inside you. Just that an effort should be made to bring this to light. Honesty is hidden somewhere. It has been overshadowed by dishonesty.
That is why if all of us together take the pledge that neither will we take bribes nor accept bribes. All those sitting here, who accept bribes; I request them to give it up for just one year. And for my sake, don’t accept it for one year. Make this sacrifice for the nation. We will see after that. If all those who take bribe, take this pledge that I won’t accept it for one year, and those who give bribes pledge that they will never give again, the work will be done. This is necessary!
As we move forward, goodness should spread in the world, fragrance should spread. If we all resolve to wipe every tear, there will be no bitter tears in this country, only sweet tears, and tears of devotion, like what I saw while coming here. The tears that I am seeing in the eyes of thousands of people here, is what I want to see in the entire India.
So, first we need to dispel ignorance and then stand against injustice. Wherever there is injustice, we are not going to tolerate it. In this country, we keep tolerating atrocities in the name of forbearance, this shouldn’t happen. Now, standing up against atrocities doesn’t mean getting angry, burning vehicles, or damaging property. We think violent actions against injustice will remove it, but this will not happen. An unjust act can never erase another unjust act. We all need to stand together to bring about a peaceful revolution against injustice. We will not tolerate injustice.
And everyone should cooperate to remove scarcity. Laziness is eating into our nation. Over the past few years, I have noticed, that we are becoming lazier. Wherever I visit a village, the farmers complain that their children don’t want to do anything. They don't want to even enter the fields. This is what they are saying.
Farming is sacred work. That is why, in our country, prior to any yagya (ritualistic fire offering) or pooja, there is a practice to begin the pooja with sowing of seeds. That is what we do in Navratri as well! One day prior to the invocation of Mata (mother divine), seeds are sown. Only after the seeds have sprouted, is the Mata invoked. Similarly, sowing of seeds is the very first step in the ceremony of any yagya or pooja. This means, everyone should sow seeds and grow grains. Something or the other, in your home itself, you must start growing some vegetables. If we start growing something in every home, we will be able to bring prosperity in this country, in the home. Due to laziness, lack has increased, and we have to remove this scarcity. It is our duty!
Then we should bring purity, there shouldn’t be dirt. Wherever you see, plastics, clothes, paper, etc. are thrown or the gutter is overflowing and people just walk by without paying heed. Just as we keep our houses clean, we should keep the surroundings clean as well. And just like there is cleanliness outside, there should be cleanliness within. Don’t taint your mind, be happy and peaceful. It is for that these solutions have been provided - do pranayama, do Kriya and do meditation.
We say that in the mind so much anger rises, or jealousy or envy comes up or anything else, so for some time sit and do Kriya, pranayama and meditation and see how your face and heart begin to glow.
And all your tasks will get done. ‘Jo ichcha kariho manu maahi, prabhu prataap kachhu durlabh naahin’ - whatever you wish for, will be fulfilled by God's Grace. God isn’t in the sky somewhere; He is residing in our hearts. And if we cleanse our hearts, then the Divine will-power will emerge from within us. Whatever we want, will be done even before our desiring it. If something doesn’t happen immediately, then it may take some time for manifestation of the Divine will, but it will be done, sooner or later. One only needs to have patience.
There are seeds that sprout within two days of sowing, but If you sow mango seeds, it takes two, four or ten years before it bears fruits. Similarly, some sankalpas are fulfilled immediately, while others require patience and time to manifest.
Today, I want to give you this assurance that if your sankalpa is appropriate, for the welfare of the citizens and the Self, then it will definitely manifest. And for this, what do we need to do? You need to meditate in silence for short periods of time; do seva and think of the nation.
In this nation, in every field, youth are needed. I see many youth sitting here. Nowadays, people are saying that the youth prefer drums over tabla, mridangam and pakhawaj. No! Look at this gathering: three thousand youths are sitting and playing the instrument so joyfully here. India’s culture is unique and it is being valued in every nook and corner of the world.
The Art of Living has completed thirty years this year. If you go to the last city of the north pole (Tromso) or the last city of the south pole, there also you will find people practising pranayama, meditation, and bhajans.
It was once a dream of our saints and sages: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: the world is one family. Today that dream has been realized.
The ex-mayor said that the pond could not have been cleaned even with ten crore rupees, but the volunteers cleaned it up without incurring any expense. Similarly, if you all in groups of fifteen or twenty volunteers come together and get involved in a cleanliness drive, we can keep the channels clean as well. This way cleanliness will reign in the city. We are growing flowers and planting trees at various places, maintaining cleanliness. We shouldn’t think that it is the job of the government. It is our duty. We will do it. When we work together in cooperation, then we will witness a grand revolution in the country. Health deterioration will decrease or cease, and the same way, our mind will also stay clean.
Corruption is a very big problem in this country. Corruption begins right where the sense of belongingness ends. The purpose of spirituality is to increase this sense of belongingness. ‘None is a stranger to us, no one an outsider’. With this feeling, if we take the sankalpa and step forward, we can bring about a major transformation.
No doubt, we need a strong legislation. But if we create a situation where the law doesn’t need to do anything, then that would be wonderful! And this cannot happen just by the efforts of the citizens. Politicians will also need to delve into this devotion, knowledge and meditation. If they don’t, they will remain selfish and destroy this nation. Only those who engage in social service selflessly can take the nation forward. Therefore, spirituality is the foundation of life. We have forgotten this and that is why we face all sorts of problems.
Turning to the musicians Guruji says: You must play the tabla such that the darkness is dispelled. One dark cloud, we believe, is enveloping the society and the other, the mind. When the mind is negative, it goes into depression. One doesn’t want to do anything. One develops the feeling that everything is wrong, nothing is okay. No one knows where we are going. It starts thinking in a negative direction and is always crowded by negative thoughts. So play the tabla, the dholak and the damru. Lord Shiva holds a damru in his hands. It is symbolic that through its reverberations, the depressed state of mind begins to get uplifted once again.