The Time Is Now - India On It's Journey Towards Change

Feb 3 2013

Delhi, India

It has been rightly said that there should be fire, but it should not burn down one’s own house. In a way, I am happy that the youth of India are awakening.

Now people cannot take us for granted, because the youth have awakened.

We have become aware of corruption and we have raised our voices against it. Every day it is being raised against corruption, and other kinds of crimes.

‘We will not tolerate crime anymore, and we want stringent laws’, for this, the youth of Delhi have raised their voice, and the youth of the whole country have joined in.

The fire has been lit, and it is good, but we should ensure that we never take this towards violence.

Anger is essential to wake us up. But then if it becomes too much and if we are just angry without the right attitude and an action plan, then that anger is going to burn us. It will only bring destruction instead of any constructive activity. Anger is necessary and we need to channelize that anger, that energy into the right direction.

This is the specialty of India. We all want a revolution, but in a peaceful way. We are all ready to stand with our heads held high, and do all the work that needs to be done, without blaming each other.

When Nirbhaya (victim of the Delhi rape case), and her friend were lying on the road, why did people not come to help them? This is because they did not have this deep feeling that ‘I am a volunteer for this country and everyone belongs to me.’ This is what spirituality is.

There is a lot of energy in the youth. It is when this energy is channelized in the right direction, that society can make great progress.

Today, we have taken up different issues under this banner of VBI (Volunteer for a Better India), because different people have different interests.

This revolution is not just the job of one organization, it is the job of the whole country. There are many organizations, and UN agencies who have already joined in support of this movement, and we welcome the people from the government to also join in. We welcome everyone to come and join us in this movement. We will all work together with integrity, to see India as a beautiful and safe country.

Today, people are not feeling safe anymore. India has always been known as a country that accepts people from any part of the world. If people were facing problems, they would come to India and feel safe and secure. Now in our own country, we are not feeling safe!

The women are not feeling safe, the children are not feeling safe, the artists are not feeling safe, the Dalits (a mixed population, consisting of numerous social groups from all over South Asia) are not feeling safe, the Muslims are not feeling safe, and even the Brahmins are not feeling safe anymore. Fear has been generated in the minds of the people in every caste, and in every sect. What is the reason behind this? We need to go to the root cause of this.

I went to the Tihar jail just yesterday. Usually, people come to Ramlila ground first and then go to Tihar jail, but I went to Tihar jail first and then came here.

We usually say that we need to give tough punishment to criminals. Yes, we definitely need to. We need to give the toughest punishments to the criminals. But we also need to looks deeper into why they have committed these crimes in the first place.

Yesterday we started a skill training program in Tihar jail.

Do you know, if you spend one day in the jail with the convicts, your heart will melt. There was a person in New York jail who had committed many sexual crimes and killed a lot of women. When he was asked what his last wish was, just before he was hanged to death, he said, ‘All the pornographic sites that are available should be removed. Watching those websites, my mind became corrupt and I was not in my senses when I did all those crimes. I had lost all awareness of what I was doing.’

Whatever crimes are happening, happen when people are not in their senses, and the greatest promoter of crime is alcohol.

In every village, alcohol is available, and it is sold as pure country liquor, or labelled as local liquor.

Somebody once was having a big headache, so he asked another, ‘I have got such a terrible headache, listening to all the speeches. What do I do?’

His friend said, ‘You drink a bottle of alcohol, you will be alright.’

The man asked, ‘How will the headache be cured by drinking alcohol?’

His friend said, ‘Due to drinking alcohol, I lost my land, my job, and my wife left me. I lost everything. With alcohol, when I could lose everything, what is a headache in comparison? Why will you not lose your headache? Alcohol has such power, that it will take everything away from you.’

The crimes that happened in Delhi were unpardonable, and those who committed these crimes were all drunk. But no one is pointing towards alcohol, which is the main culprit.

A person who is drunk is unconscious, with no awareness of what he is doing. He does not have any awareness about the law at that time.

Changing this situation, cannot be done with laws. The minds of people cannot be transformed by laws. To transform the minds of the people, you and I have to work. We need to embrace everyone with love. Love can melt even the hardest stone, can it not transform a human being?

Similar to this, is the problem of drugs. The drug mafia is running amok in many of the big cities in the country. We have to stand up against drugs, and all other kinds of intoxicating substances that are bringing the country down.

There is a big downfall of human values and morals in the country today, and I tell you, alcohol and all these other intoxicants are one of the major reasons for this.

Criminals often experience hormonal imbalances, which causes them to act violently. That is why I said that a helpline should be started. If you see a boy or a girl with anti-social tendencies or violent behaviour, then that person needs treatment, and help, and we need to help them. That is why we have started a helpline for this.

If you see anybody in your locality that needs such kind of help, they should definitely be given help. We need to counsel people who have hormonal imbalances and who get themselves into these sorts of crimes.

When Nirbhaya (victim of the Delhi rape case), and her friend were lying on the road, so many people saw them and just went their way! Can any human being do this? Why did people not come to help them? This is because they did not have this deep feeling, or resolve that ‘I am a volunteer for this country and everyone belongs to me.’

This is what spirituality is.

Changing this situation, cannot be done with laws. No doubt, the laws are necessary, but the minds of people cannot be transformed by laws. To transform the minds of the people, you and I have to work. We all need to rise together to do this. We need to embrace everyone with love. Love can melt even the hardest stone, can it not transform a human being?

Our country, our society was such that humanity was seen in every particle. But now that sense of humanity has gotten buried somewhere, and is covered with dust. It is the responsibility of each one of us to bring this up once again. This is why each one of you should become volunteers for the country. Out of 24 hours, you must give one hour of your time to the country.

A young man once asked me, ‘Gurudev, if we give one hour to the nation, then what do we do about our studies? Parents are asking us to study more instead of volunteering.’

I tell you, don’t steal time off your studies. Complete your studies. But don’t you keep some time aside for entertainment every day? You set aside some time for entertainment, like surfing the internet, watching television, or playing games, etc., isn’t it? So take half an hour out from that spare time. One hour is enough in a day.

In a week if we spend seven hours for the society, or let us say, even seven hours on a Sunday, that will be good enough.

There are so many volunteers here and I congratulate them all. In just two months, a thousand service projects were taken up by them, and completed as well. With this, a ray of hope has risen that the country is not asleep anymore, but rather it is awakening.

When the youth of the country wake up, no one can stop them. No law can stop them, they will keep moving forward.

All of us want that our country becomes a safe place. Each one of us wants to feel safe in our own country. For this, if we do not start working now, and if we do not get involved now, our children are not going to forgive us in the future.

Making a mistake is natural. There is a proverb, ‘To err is human.’ So mistakes do happen. But when we make mistakes, we must atone for the mistakes, and make amends.

In India, those people were called educated who would accept their mistakes, learn from them and take the responsibility to make necessary amends for them. They would self-impose a punishment for their mistake that they found just, and fulfill it. Such were the values of the people of this country. We need to, once again revive this kind of attitude.

Even if I make a mistake, I would reflect on it, and learn from it. This has been the tradition in India since ages.

In India, those people were called educated and learned who would accept their mistakes, learn from them and take the responsibility to make necessary amends for them.

They would self- impose a punishment for their mistake that they found just, and fulfil it. Such were the values of the people of this country. We need to, once again revive this kind of attitude.

Especially the politicians of our country need to follow this. All the politicians in the country, whichever party they may belong to, should realize and accept their mistakes, and show that they are ready to make amends for it. If they do this, the people of the country will respect them for this.

They should not cover up their mistakes to continue being in positions of power.

These days, all political parties give election tickets to the criminals. This should be stopped. Do not give election tickets to criminals.

You might say, ‘Gurudev, your only job is to teach meditation. Then why are you getting into all these matters now? Why are you talking about politics?’

This is not Rajneeti (politics) that we are talking about; this is Rashtraneeti (strategy for the nation’s progress). This is Maanav- neeti (justice for mankind).

I stay away from politics. But I will stand up for the pain of the people, and for every matter that concerns the people of the country. Every cell of me is ready to act for this country.

I am one among those who has a beautiful dream for this country.

Some people will say, ‘Oh yes, all this sounds nice. But all this will last for a few days and will then disappear. What is the use of it all?’

This kind of thinking is what has caused dejection all over. Everywhere we see either anger or disappointment. Anger at one end and disappointment at the other end. We have to move past these two in order to fulfil our dream of a beautiful India. We have to move ahead in this direction.

Mr. Wayuddin, one of the respected speakers here, mentioned that we need to work towards building the character of this nation. For this, we need people of character to hold positions of responsibility in the country.

Now this cannot happen by just one person sitting somewhere and trying to manage the nation. The people have to awaken and become more aware towards the character building of the nation.

In every locality people should unite and make the locality safe from thefts and violence. People have to be ready and take action for this. Only then will we have achieved something. Only then will our volunteerism be successful.

So I appeal to all of you once again. Each one of you inspire another hundred more to join us and volunteer, so that we all together can make India a safe, beautiful, and educated country. There should be 100% literacy.

I would again like to congratulate the volunteers present here today, who went to slums to teach children. Children who were doing manual labour were taken away from there and given education. This is not an easy job, but they did it.

When we get into service for the society, we have to hear criticism many times. People are waiting to finding faults, to spoil your image, and see how they can put you down. Let them do it, let them find the faults. Our heart is clean and pure, so we will continue doing our work and move forward. Whoever wants to say something, let them say. We are standing up for India.

Paramatma (God) is not somewhere up in the heavens. He is within us all. He is present in every atom. That is why I am saying, ‘Service to the Country is Service to God.’

Devotion towards God and towards the country are two sides of the same coin.

Do not think that devotion towards God is different and devotion towards the country is different. If you love God, then you will love His creation too.

It is important that we be aware of the environment. So today, we will stand up for protecting the environment. We will stand firmly for the safety of women. Are you all ready?

We need people of character to hold positions of responsibility in the country. Now this cannot happen by just one person sitting somewhere and trying to manage the nation. The people have to awaken and become more aware towards the character building of the nation.

Today you all will be given nine such pledges. Are you ready? How many of you are ready? Raise your hands. (All raise their hands)

What is most needed today is Change; change in our mind, change in our behavior, and change in the society. This is very important.

It is very easy to point a finger at someone and say that so-and-so person is at fault. What we forget is that three other fingers are pointing back at us. If we start some work with a pure mind and heart, just see how nature too will support it.

Two days ago, the organizers of this event came to me and said that the weather forecast for the days ahead is that there will be a hail storm and heavy rain. Even today the forecast was the same. So they said ‘Gurudev, please do something’.

I told them, ‘Whenever we take up any initiative unselfishly, and with a pure heart, the nature will support it.’ The only thing we have is a pure heart. So I told the organizers that nothing will happen. And just look, everyone is sitting so comfortably now.

The country is still divided by caste and religion, and disconnected from the truth. Many are ready to die committing violent acts. We need to take the country, the people, away from all this.

In the time of Mahatma Gandhi, great pride was attached to nonviolence. But today, pride is associated with violence. Today aggression has got itself associated with pride. When someone is very aggressive, he is considered to be a hero. Role models are supposed to be very aggressive. Then they are good people. No, we must change this totally. Nonviolence should be our life line.

We tread the path of nonviolence, yet we are very firm, we are very strong, and we will see our intention fructifies. So we all have to work.

I once again congratulate all of you, those who have come from faraway places, and also from all parts of Delhi, and all those of you who were watching this from different parts of India. This is just the beginning.

Let us work together and give one hour every day for the nation.

May God bless you all with Satbudhhi (righteousness of the intellect). He already has, but for those who do not know this, I pray they become aware of it. With this, I end my speech here.

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