|Harih Om Tat Sat! I generally ask two questions to those who are listening to me. “Do you think that knowledge is a help?” And “Can I trust your statement?”
To the first question, the answer is invariably ‘yes’. I should say, almost always it is a sure ‘yes’. And then I ask: “Can I trust you?” Then also they say ‘yes’. But when the right knowledge is presented to solve the problems of the mind – either to overcome afflictions or to get rid of certain prejudices or defects – I find that they are not able to act upon the knowledge. There is a resistance – originating from delusion or ego – operating in their minds. Lack of receptivity and openness invariably hinders correction and progress.
Yesterday I was speaking to you about afflictions of the mind, how to overcome them and how to generate peace and composure in the mind. The topic is still very much alive in my mind.
Everyone has a past, and also a future. In between the past and the future comes the present. It is this present that we have to be always concerned with. Life implies interactions. In the whole field of interactions, you as an individual remain the constant factor. The other factors, namely persons, places and events with which you interact, are various and continuously changing. But you, the actor remain the same. The results of the interactions, whether good or bad, ultimately come to you. If you want to solve the problem that confronts you, then you must understand that the factor that has to be taken into account and acted upon is yourself, and yourself alone.
You will find that in every family, there are always good people as well as bad people. Sometimes it may be that your parents are not good enough. May be your brother or sister is bad. Sometimes it can happen that your married partner is bad or some of the children are bad. This is the way of life. Good and bad go together. We are on this earth. There are many planets in the far away sky; and – do you know? – in astrology, some of the planets are considered evil, and some are considered virtuous. So, can you escape the effect of punya and paapa from anywhere at any time?
All the individuals fall into one of the two categories, good or bad. Take one’s own home, one’s own neighborhood, one’s own village or township, one’s own limited circle in which he or she moves. In the professional life, in the domestic life, or in the social life, you will find good and bad.
So the interaction you have in life will also be with the good and bad, and the consequences will definitely be experienced by you. Rather than worrying about who is good and who is bad, particularly who is bad – because the ‘bad’ makes you suffer – why don’t you focus on the important factor that “it is I who suffer”? “Can my present sufferings be set right or not?” – why don’t you think about it?
All the past actions and their results are only in your memory. Understand this first. People generally complain: somebody said this, somebody did that, somebody behaved in a wrong manner. Who says so? Is it recorded in the air? Is it imprinted on the earth or water? Is it ever embossed in the sky? All these events are only in your memory. So, it is your memory that makes you suffer. It is not the people who make you suffer. When will you understand, my dear children, this simple truth?
You will still say: “X behaved wrongly, Y spoke harshly, their treatment was bad.” Agreed! But right now, where are those behaviours or treatments? Are they still around? They were an event, a bygone episode of a few minutes or an hour or a day. And all of them have gone. You have only your own memory left with you. And you are still suffering from the past – now dead – in the form of your memory.
Understand, my dear children, the mind that is now afflicting you, can be made to enjoy the memory of something good provided you do that good today. The great Mahabharata war was over and Yudhishthira said: “Though you say I have gained victory in the war, I say I have lost! I have lost peace of mind! I feel miserable! I am pained to the core! Of what use is the kingdom which I have won? I shall go to the forest again to live on fruits and roots and do tapasya. Earlier I went to the forest defeated in the game of dice. Now I shall go to the forest, having won over my enemies.” None could console him!
Finally he was taken to Bheesma Pitaamaha, who was lying on the bed of arrows awaiting his death. Bheeshma said: “My dear grandson, the whole event has already taken place and nothing can change it; none can make it otherwise. An event or an action or a consequence once taken place, is history. It is a memory and you are suffering from it. If you agree that past actions in the form of memory can put you to suffering, my dear grandson, listen to this truth. The present action will also become past, and they will also form another memory. The new memory will overcome the past memory and just as the present memory victimizes you and puts you to grief, the new memory – that you must consciously build from now on, if you listen to my words – will also begin to delight you.
“Resolve and engage yourself to do some good and benevolent acts. Take to some chosen, virtuous acts now. Perform them with devotion. These actions too will have their phalas, results. Both, the previous and the present phalas, will live in the form of memory. When you find yourself in their company, the new memory will start delighting you. Therefore, my dear son, go and perform an asvamedha yaaga.”
Yudhisthira agreed. The great asvamedha yaaga required years of preparations. Being occupied with the preparations from then on and after performing it, Yudhishthira’s mind began to develop new memories based on new events, new associations and new interactions. And then, whereas the earlier memory was afflicting him, the new memory started giving the sought after relief, freedom, and salvation. He was free of all afflictions and was able to conduct the affairs of the kingdom in peace and tranquility till the end of his life.
My dear child, will you take your lesson from this? Understand that nobody has caused your suffering. It is the memory in your mind that inflicts suffering. Instead of being inflicted by the past memory, create a new memory. Allow some time to pass. Let a year or two pass or may be even three years and have your chosen interactions. Interact with the best people, with noble people. Talk of good subjects. Write and think of good and pleasant matters. Write the name of God. Write anything that you like. Go on copying Bhagavadgeeta. Write Visnu Sahasranaama. Go on writing whatever you like – the Upanishads one after the other. These are present day holy associations. No one interferes there. No relative stands in your way. Go on developing new interactions, new associations, new memories. Then, you will find, just as old memories were victimizing you, the present developments will form a new memory in the hands of which you will be peaceful, prosperous, and fulfilled.
Actually, everything that I am saying is an open book. But it has remained a secret only because it is untried, untapped and unemployed by people.
Everyone has got a past – there is no question of choice about it. If you start reflecting over your own birth, your own parents, your own family relationship, you will find that there are many things which your sober mind will not accept – but again, it is not a matter of choice. May be you would have liked to have a different brother, may be a different sister, may be even a different set of parents. But what is the point! No choice about it, either ! But from now on you exercise your choice. My dear children, this is what the satsang is for.
Be associated with the satsang. There are good people here. You can interact with them, listen to good things, understand good things and no body will put you into trouble. Let your mind delight in the present memory, in the present scope, in the present interaction. This is the way of setting right your aggrieved mind.
Harih Om Tat Sat.
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