“Prema Saadhana– We are here to Practice Love. When we practice Love, we are the first to be redeemed.”
More and more devotees are coming here to Muddenahalli. And it’s going to happen because where there is sugar, ants are going to come. Swami is going to attract many more people. Some will be new to us; some will be totally unknown to us. Some, we will immediately gel with; we will connect with. And for some people, we may not understand their ways, words and actions. And we may not know how to conduct with each other. But we have to keep reminding. They all have landed up in Muddenahalli because Swami knew them and Swami wanted them over here. And whether I like them for whatever reason and whether I don’t like them for whatever reason, it is secondary. Primarily, they are all so fortunate and blessed because they have all been drawn by the Divine.
Recently, someone forwarded me an audio clip of Swami’s discourse on WhatsApp. From the content it seemed like a discourse given to the Ashramites and staff at Prashanthi Nilayam. Generally, Swami’s words are sugar coated. He will never say it on our face that we are a trouble, even if we are. But that discourse was like totally out of the regular one. He roared, ‘Wherever I see, I see Bulldogs and Alsatian dogs sitting and barking at people. They don’t smile, they don’t greet, there’s no warmth. There is no trace of love anywhere.’ If Swami is saying it, it must be true. Maybe I have not experienced any of these things while I was there, but somebody might have experienced it, one heart somewhere must have felt hurt by something in the Ashram and obviously Swami was reflecting that. In that audio Swami so powerfully says ‘I want everybody to Be Loving! The minimum you can do is to smile. You are all divinity. You greet or hate anyone, it goes to God.’
Unfortunately, this is the new-age neighbourhood. Nobody knows who the neighbour is! We may know friends on Facebook faraway in another part of the world. But we don’t know who lives next to us, a typical situation in all cities. But I hope we understand why we are here together. Sometimes, we may not like each other’s ways. We all have come from different backgrounds. And there is a different culture over here. It takes time for people to understand the culture of the place and become one with it. Everybody will take their own time to come to their common, normal. At the same time, to have patience, to love, to greet and to be warm to each other does not cost us anything.
Who is in charge of the Ashram? Is it Swami as He called all of us and are we His guests and is it His problem, His responsibility to see to that everything is in order, in place? It’s like you know there is a big campaign going on against Narendra Modi. They say, he should have done this, should have done that! As if it’s Prime Minister’s responsibility alone to look after everything in the country?! Of course, it’s His responsibility to guide and show the way, to lead initiatives, to give us an opportunity. But it’s the responsibility of every citizen to look after their own country. Ashram is a collective responsibility. It’s a home. Ashrama, a place where there is no Shrama (a sense of effort). There is a Shrama because there is Prema (Love). Where there is Prema, there is no Shrama. If we really abide by these messages of Swami and create a place where each is so warm, affectionate and kind. That is the kind of environment we hope to create.
Yesterday, we were returning from Prema Sadana (an edifice of Love), the new spiritual home for all the Tyagajeevis (in Muddenahalli), Swami was explaining to Sreenivas Sir who was also there in the car about the Ashram. Then He told, “You know what Sreenivas, managing Ashram is a very difficult task!” (laughter). If God Himself says that managing Ashram is difficult, obviously it must be difficult. To manage one small family itself is quite a task. We were a family of three children and I really sympathise with my mother for all three of us were of different kinds! Swami here is managing a huge family, obviously it’s difficult.
With an Ashram (Muddenahalli) like this, which is still a fledgling Ashram because it’s just the beginning. This place is going to have a future of a few hundred years, few centuries for sure. From that point of view if you see, we are just a tiny bit in the whole span of Ashram’s life. As you all know, whatever begins well ends well. Therefore, beginning it in the right way lies on our shoulders. Look, what an honour it is. It’s like writing the constitution of India. What an honour it was. Few people who could think into the future by learning from the past and yet make a constitution which was going to be valid, useful and purposeful at all times to come. That is the kind of responsibility, an unwritten constitution over here. How are we going to lead each other to progress towards God? Answer is Prema Saadhana! (Practise of Love). We are here to Practice Love. When we practice Love, we are the first to be redeemed. When a boatman is rowing the boat, the first to reach the other shore is the boatman himself. Along with him other passengers also reach. Likewise, the first beneficiaries of loving people are we ourselves.
Jesus gave us two commandments. ‘Love thy Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’. The first part, all of us are doing quite well. We are here for Swami. We are ready to do anything for Swami. We are ready to give up anything for Swami. Nothing is too costly, too big or too precious to be sacrificed for the sake of loving or being with Swami. First part, we can tick off. But the second part, Jesus says, ‘Love thy neighbours as yourself.’ (laughter) Second part becomes difficult! Last year in Kodaikanal, in the last session, everybody collectively shouted, ‘Swami! We Love You’ and Swami turned around and said “I know, but more importantly love each other!” It is easy to love Swami, because He loves everyone. So, once we have done the second part, we have done everything!
Why are we here, we have to go on reminding ourselves. A self-audit is required, every now and then.