BY H. H. MA YOGA SHAKTI SARASWATI
Personally I feel I have not done enough in this world. I became a sadhu, a Hindu renunciate monastic, to find the best way to live, love and serve God. Some people are born in this world with a tremendous inherent desire to love and serve God. I am doing so in my own little ways. We all believe that God is Supreme. He or She has created this whole universe, all galaxies, planets, millions of forms of life and everything, existent or nonexistent. Vedic wisdom is superb if practiced in daily life. Hear the great message in these simple words of Ishavasya Upanishad, my favorite: “Every little molecule existing on Earth is permeated and possessed by the energy of God. Live and enjoy this under one condition. Do not ever be greedy, for wealth belongs to no one.”
We create barriers and get ourselves stuck. By narrowing the mind, humanity suffers. If the mind is kept open, all can enjoy immensely. Love, service and dedication are the highest virtues of life. Love brings enlightenment. Enlightenment brings love. Mind is powerful. It can bring all we wish to attain in this world.
“Truthfulness, noninjury, divine conduct, nonstealing, noncovetousness, purity, contentment, austerity, scriptural study and worship of the Lord are the cornerstones of truthful behavior.” [Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2.30; 31.] These are the guidelines which, if followed rightly, will promote a healthy and prosperous society. All born on this planet have to live and promote life. The quality of life depends on the amount of knowledge and its application in different fields. If we possess knowledge, we have to share it and make the world a better place to live.
In my view, Hinduism has been the Mother of all religions. Orthodox people are hesitant to accept this. Yet the teachings of Hindus are age-old and contain truths of an eternal nature.
There was a time when women were denied education. Now it is not so anywhere. Any amount of knowledge is available to anyone and everywhere, if one chooses to make efforts. Knowledge is to be sought by a sincere seeker.
Though I encountered many difficulties, I do not really feel that anything was against me. It was all a part of the process of learning or achievement. Nothing comes free, nor should it come free. The laws of nature, country and society should be respected and still there will be enough room to grow independently and collectively both. We are blessed that we are born in a good time and lots of knowledge is available in our times. Saint Tulsi’s wisdom words are enlightening. Listen: “O divine traveler of the Earth, treat your eye defects with the medicinal paste of divine knowledge to improve your vision! And, then tread around admiring the beauties of God.” This is a how a sadhu, a spiritual seeker and an adept lives and moves in this world, the playground of God, full of natural beauties of forests,
If we encounter any kind of injustice or opposition, it means it is calling out for attention. We can always make the best of the worst situation. We have to be more positive, creative, understanding and attentive in all situations of life to find the wish of God. Meditate more to find out what God would want us to do or act out in this particular situation. Always be ready and eager to take a positive decision to counteract the opposition or negativity.
Some experiences are difficult. For example, when I was being honored as the first female Maha Mandaleshwar by the mahants [leaders] of Niranjani Akhara in 1974, all the male Maha Mandaleshwars protested by not showing up at the ceremony. The mahants consoled me by saying, “Nothing happens overnight. If you keep your contacts with us, in time to come all will accept it.” And that was true. Rome was not built in a day!
In the last Kumbha Mela in 1998 in Haridwar, I announced that I would honor a woman saint by creating and awarding a new title, Parvatyacharya [“Divine Mother teacher”]. It became the hot news at the Mela. All the sadhus opposed it. They threatened even to burn my ashram. I had to withdraw and postpone the program. But this does not mean that it cannot or should not be done. To me it is already done. Thoughts are things for a real sadhu. And the path of enlightenment has to be pursued at any cost. Women have to learn to play the right role in the society for the enlightenment of the future children of the world. There are many women sadhus in India who are doing great work, but are scared of opposition by society. I know titles are not very important, yet it is a way to uplift the consciousness of the people by attracting their attention.
What is dharma, religion? That which promotes, protects and leads you to a glorious future is dharma, nothing else. It is a path leading to abhyudaya, sublime bliss, and shreya, liberation from rebirth. God has His own plans to promote the consciousness of mankind. Modern technological advancements are breaking the barriers made by human ignorance. Technical and electronic changes are bringing consciousness of billions together.
We know that Earth is not an eternal abode. We are all mortals. While living, we must grow gardens of beauty, splendor and usefulness, weeding our ways clear of thorns of pain which sprout out of ignorance. Wishing you all the best of a human life.