Dedicated to the lotus feet of the divine guru Shivabalayogi Maharaj


How to Balance Spiritual and Material Life Pt1 – online Q&A, No.56

Recorded on 12 August 2021 with Malaysian participants

0:00 Introduction
0:20 Is the spiritual world and material world a reality or made up by the mind?
3:18 I it possible to synchronize both spiritual and material life?
6:39 Can one enjoy material things and still progress in spiritual life?
10:12 How can we best keep the mind with the Divine while performing material duties?
18:27 How to make a connection to the higher purpose while doing everyday things?

Discourse: Thus Spake Babaji – online Q and A No. 56
How to Balance Spiritual and Material Life, Part 1

Recorded: 12 August 2021 with Malaysian participants

Start of Questions and Answers

Question:   The first question. Some say that neither the spiritual world nor the material world is a reality; there is nothing called a spiritual world or material world. These are just segments made up by us in our mind. Please explain Babaji.

Babaji Maharaj:   It is true. You see, when you look into your own mind, when you imagine a picture, the more you concentratedly try to remember that picture, or imagine something about that picture, that becomes more and more solid. So this is the imagination quality, creative quality of the mind. But when you do sadhana, the second state, a mental projection happens. And if you do tapas, manifestation also happens. But it can disappear equally. In the same way, a Supreme Consciousness has built by its creativity based on the technology of imagination solely. So that is why it is not reality. Like a dream appears – though the appearance of the dream is true, but the objects or characters in the dream are not true. They appear and they disappear. When you get out of the dream where does that dream go? It simply disappears. You cannot even locate where did it happen, where the dream happened to us. So based on these clues and experiences in tapas, we can conclude that this entire universe… Actually there is no such thing called a separate spiritual world or a material world, both are in the mind only. If a person is attracted to material world, he will be a worldly person. He is more interested in the world. He is not at all interested in the Self-Realization or Divinity or any such things. So those who are interested in Divinity, Self-Realization, they try to live more in a spiritual world. Like many of you who are all with our Mission in Malaysia, probably from very young age or even childhood, you all have spent your life in the Mission. So that has had been your spiritual world. But nothing really exists. It is all in the mind

Question:   Material life requirements and spiritual life requirements seem poles apart. Babaji, is it really possible to synchronize both?

Babaji Maharaj:   Yes, definitely. You see, as Swamiji has told, “To practice spirituality, you don’t have to give up your homes or this world. You don’t have to run to caves or forests. You can remain in your day-to-day life, the way of life that you have chosen.”  You might be a businessman, you might be a software engineer, you might be a lawyer, you might be police, anything is no problem, you might be a doctor even, you can remain in that profession and you can earn a livelihood. You are interested, you can become a grihasta, householder, you can marry, that is also no problem. Nothing is prohibited. So when we try to practice spirituality also along with. For that, first point I would like to remind, Swamiji told, “Every day in the twenty-four hours, just if you can take one hour and practice meditation, then you have another twenty-three hours to earn your livelihood and for recreation, for going and attending any other responsibilities, needs of the household, all is possible.”  So like that you synchronize both. Thus, what happens when you synchronize both, your mind gradually will learn to remain contented with whatever it gets, with whatever you get in fact. There won’t be any greed, there won’t be any further brooding; all these things will all disappear. You will become a mature person and you will always work for your needs, you will not become greedy. That is the first important point. If you practice spirituality, your mind learns to accept the things as it comes and gradually achieves a contentment. So like Swamiji used to say, “Those who are contented are like emperors; those who are greedy, they are never contented. They are the poorest of poor people. They are in the poverty, no matter a person might be billionaire, but if he is more greedy, he is to be considered in poverty.”  So that’s what Swamiji said. So that is how you practice spirituality also, and try to live a contented life in this world. Thus, both materialistic world and spirituality world can get synchronized together. It can be beneficial always. So your mind will remain in the Divinity, in the Self when you practice meditation.

Question:   Thank you Babaji. The next question Babaji. If I am truly honest with myself, I enjoy having material things in my life, like having money, having nice clothes. I do not wish to give up these things in my life. But I also feel a strong connection to the Divine and to Swamiji and Babaji. Can I still progress in my spiritual life or will the material things stop my spiritual growth?

Babaji Maharaj:   It is definitely possible. You can be spiritual also, while you want to have all these things. Because spirituality does not say that you have to give up your money, your cloth, your house, everything. A while ago also, I told like that one. You can keep them. Just remember Swamiji’s words, my Guru’s; He used to say “If you have twelve bananas, you can keep the bananas, but how much are you going to eat? You eat four, you eat six; at least another six bananas, you try to give to others, distribute to others.”  Like, many of you might be earning and then trying to contribute something towards the Mission also, towards Babaji’s travel, all these things you are trying to do. And you keep some for your own family, your own savings, for your own clothing, your own eating, for your own home. All of you can have. These three are important things, right? You can have your food, you can have your house, and you can have your clothing, enjoy your life, be at peace – just a little bit if you contribute. So that is what it comes. When you earn something, you work out a budget. Even me also, if anybody contributes to me as a daskshina, as a Guru dakshina – so, what I do is, one portion I keep for our traveling, another portion we try to do some charity work. We sometimes, our people like Ambaji and the team, they go to schools where there are poor children who are studying. We give them stationaries, we give them some clothing, some blankets sometimes, and they try to spend with the children and give them some eatables also. Like that we work out and we try to contribute to running to the Ashram also. I work out my budget like this. Little bit I keep for traveling, little bit any clothing is needed. So far, I didn’t have to buy any clothing because somebody else always keep contributing, donating. But like this, we combine both. And actually we remain spiritually. I might appear…  If I am traveling in the plane, some people might do fun also, “Oh, this Swami is traveling in the plane.” But just to reach one place to another place quickly, so if there is something, some mode of transport is available, we utilize them. But I’m not materialistic. I’m contented, spiritual always. In a simple way we try to live. So like that you synchronize both and you be a more mature person, more contented and you know how to adjust and manage. Then you are there.

Question:   Thank You Babaji. Babaji, the next question. Referring to King Janaka’s story, while performing material duties how do we best keep the mind also with the Divine? What should go on in our mind, Babaji?

Babaji Maharaj:   Your attention to the Self. That’s what the meditation will help. I’ll repeat the story of Shuka Maharishi, what Swamiji used to tell. That comes in Yoga Vashihsta also.

   Shuka Maharishi was born in the monastery of Veda Vyasa, his son, and since childhood, he practiced celibacy (brahmacharya) and did lot of tapas, and achieved Self-Realization. At that time, King Janaka was ruling the kingdom of Mithila. He was very well known for his spiritual achievements, and he was known as a videha muktha also, means he never had any consciousness on his body or attachment on his body.

   So then one day Shuka Maharishi started thinking, “I was born in a monastery. Since childhood, I never saw the world. And I practiced celibacy and tapas also I did and achieved Self-Realization. So I am able to keep my mind to the ultimate truth of myself inside – that Supreme Consciousness of Divinity. But whereas King Janaka is a king. He has to run a big kingdom. He has to favor somebody politically, not favor some people politically. In all the midst of so much of politics and householder things, how can he keep his attention towards that Self?”, he doubts. He asks his father.

   First thing here, to learn anything you must consider a person as a Guru, is recommended. Why? Then you will be serious, you won’t take things lightly. Like you all have reverence, all the fifty-four people. That’s why seriously you are all sitting in the computer, opening the zoom; you keep waiting. Whenever a chance arises, “Oh today Babaji is going to conduct a meditation,” you all come. So many other people, if they are casual, so, they will give excuses and they won’t learn ever anything. So that is what Veda Vyasa tells Shuka Maharishi, “You consider me as a father. You are likely to become casual and you won’t learn things properly. That’s why I suggest go to King Janaka. Considering him a Master, ask these questions to him. That is what is important. Seeking his permission, and then ask this question with all the reverence, then he will tell you what is your doubt and he will clear your doubt also.”

   So Shuka Maharishi, comes to the court of Janaka. Janaka also hears that Shuka Maharishi is coming. So Shuka Maharishi was also very well known in those days as a great Self-realized soul, brahmacharya. So he wants to test. “He is coming for some purpose.”  This is what Janaka thinks. And Janaka tells his servants, guards at the gate, “Just make him stand there, keep him waiting, and then observe him for two, three days. Then I will come and meet him.” After two, three days he asks his guards, “How did Shuka Maharishi behave? Was he annoyed? Was he shouting at you all? Was he trying to curse you all? What was happening?”  And the guards report, “No, Your Majesty, he is simple and quietly smiling all the time, quietly standing. He says, “Whenever your Master permits me, I will come inside. Till then there is no problem. I can keep standing.”  He did not demand anything. He did not talk to us rudely. He said smilingly that he understands us, that we are just doing our job, carrying on the orders of our king.”  

   Then pleased, King receives him with all the reception, due honors, brings him inside, washes his feet and then talks to him. “O venerable sage, why have you come here? If anything was there, you could have sent word to me. I could come to your monastery to attend to your needs.”  Then Shuka Maharishi says “No, it is the right thing because I wanted to know something from you. So that’s why it is the right thing that I have come to your place. I seek your permission to ask that question.” 

   So Janaka says, “Okay, you ask what is.”  Then he asked about his doubt. “After attending to your court, your politics, your kingdom, your family everything, how is that you are able to keep the mind on to that Divinity, all the time merged with that, contented and all these things. How is this possible? So King Janaka says, “Okay, I will tell you in the evening because I have some urgent business in the court. I have to attend to that duty. So in the meanwhile, you go around the Mithilapuri town, and go and see, enjoy everything. I will send a couple of guards with you also to take them.”  Then before going, he puts a candle on the head, a jyoti, “Please take care that this candle doesn’t fall down. That is all I need.”  So then Shuka Maharishi goes around Mithila, comes back in the evening. Then again, he is given a shower bath, everything attended, pada puja. Then King Janaka enquires, “How was My Mithila township?”  Then Shuka Maharishi says, “Where is the township? I went around in this body, and my eyes were watching, but my mind was all the time conscious that this candle should not fall down. So my attention was all the time there. So I did not see the world, your Mithila at all.”  So then, King Janaka also says, “In the same way, I do all my duties mechanically. I attend to the court, I attend to my family, everything I do, but my attention is all the time on to the Self that I have practiced.”

   So in the same way all of you, even if you are grihasta, is no problem. If you practice the meditation, in that one hour, totally one hour if you listen to me, that means what? In all the one hour, you are simply… you are watching in-between eyebrows, your attention is there and you are not bothered about anything. You don’t think about the world, you don’t think about any good or bad. Any right or wrong, what happened to you, why happened, why not this, why God did this –nothing. Don’t bother about anything. It has happened, simply a dream and it’s over, you are up. Like that if you practice and achieve one hour of real meditation, wonderful results can come to you. Your attention also will start staying onto the Self though you might be working; you can be working any field anywhere, it’s no problem.

   So now, I hope you all will understand how Babaji also works. Keeping the attention on to the Self, I talk, I answer your questions, I take the troubles of the protecting the ashrams, some enemies who come and they try to take our things. We have to defend, we have to complain to the police, somebody comes. Even Dehradun, two days ago somebody tried to cut the tree below the slopes. Again we had to complain. I had to do telephone call to each and every one, “You do this one. You have to do this”, everything I worked. But all the time I was at peace. Even now I am at peace. My attention is on to the Self.

Question:   While doing seva and sadhana it’s easier to relate the reason of doing for a higher purpose to attain awareness of Supreme Consciousness. But when we are doing our day-to-day work, it feels like I’m spending time and energy for a lesser cause. It’s difficult to make the connection to the higher purpose. What is Your advice on this Babaji?

Babaji Maharaj:   No, it is not like that. It is the attitude, what matters actually, it is the mind. You see, you all know that for twenty years I was given odd jobs – dusting, mopping, cleaning cooking, accounts, office, and looking after mentally challenged boys, managing others’ children from school – all these odd jobs were there. From one side if you see – so, you are working all these types of jobs, where is the higher purpose comes in this? But it was in the mind. While working all these, I had in my mind, “I am serving my Master.”  Just He was the boss, He wanted me to do this, I am doing. In the same way in the world also, whatever you do, consider that there is a boss, a Divinity – He wants you to do. So you go on working, offer all such services to the Divinity, to Swamiji, to our beloved Guru. Have this attitude in the mind. Like I have told when husband has to take care of the family, let him think that he is taking care of Swamiji, he is taking care of the Divine. So I hope you all understand what I am trying to convey. It is the attitude what matters, not what you are doing.

  In the bhaktavijaya stories, there are a lot of things. A person who was the earthen pot maker, a cobbler, and a carpenter, so many people – though they were doing their jobs, but they were very devoted to the Divinity and achieved Self-Realization. Sage Kabira Himself was a weaver, weaver person, He used to weave the cloth. But He achieved Self-Realization, by remembering the Divinity. Whatever He did, He offered it to God. So in this world, when you are working, you first you practice meditation also, then whatever you work, offer your services to God and work as if you’re serving God then you will not do wrong things. You will think ten times; you will be afraid and you will feel shy, ashamed to do wrong things, to have any bad habits. You will give up all bad habits, and you will become a very good person, mature person. Just like I did it twenty years, all the odd things only I was doing. Only I was not married. I never had any children. That was the only plus point that I was free from such headaches. [laughs] I’m not making fun of you. So no problem. But the rest all was odd jobs I was doing.

   Many people who used to come to Ashram also used to ask me, one or two persons. “Don’t you think that all your youth has been wasted in all nonsense work? You could never do tapas, you should have achieved Self-Realization, you should have done tapas. I said that as far as I’m concerned, I’m doing tapas. Whenever I get time, I sit for seven to eight hours meditation. If I don’t get time, if I am working, still I am meditating because my consciousness is on Swamiji’s Lotus Feet.” It is quiet because acceptance was there. Whatever was happening as a result, I was accepting. Simply I was putting an effort and accepting. So contentment was also there, whatever came, whatever results were there. So contentment was there. There was never brooding, “Why I’m not traveling in the car? Why I have to stand in the queue for a bus? Why I have to travel like this, why I have to bring?”  So that is what… even a couple of times when I was bringing groceries and vegetables in the town bus in the heavy rush, a person asked me, “Don’t you think after coming to the Ashram also, you have to do all these things? Instead, you could have married and stayed at home and did all these things.” I said, “I did not come to Ashram to escape responsibilities or work. I just came to lead this life.”  I loved it. And I love it now also. “So I don’t mind working for the Ashram. I don’t mind going and bringing groceries. I don’t mind going to town and bring vegetables. There is no problem for me. My mind is at peace. This is a service to my Master, whatever I am doing.”  So like this, I used to go to school, bring the children out for outing, bring them and feed them and again drop them. So all these things we did. It was all the attitude which helped me to achieve. That’s when Swamiji said, “Twenty years of your selfless service.”  Selfless means that. Because I had no use. But yet I went on doing it because my Master wanted. Like that you also think you are born in this world. Whatever way you have adopted, way of life, you consider that the Divine has wanted you to do like that one. Fulfill the responsibilities. You will feel satisfied. You will feel happy. You will always be with the Divine. That is what is important.

End of Session

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