10. Planning for the Future
(Darshan given on July 22nd, 1995.)
A visitor: I want to learn meditation.
Swamiji: What made you think meditation is necessary?
Visitor: It is a way to relax.
Swamiji: You have got tension? What kind of tension have you got?
Visitor: I don't know.
Swamiji: You are not feeling happy? Is it so? You are not feeling happy inside? You have got a disturbance? Unless you find out the cause of your inner difficulties and do something about them, you cannot do meditation. There are practical approaches to practical problems. You cannot suddenly go to transcendental concepts of meditation when your feelings and emotions are not well trained.
Tension arises due to some desires which are not fulfilled. If you have any desires which you are unable to fulfil, then tension arises. You think over this matter, whether you have any wishes or desires which you are not able to fulfil. If any desire is there, it can cause tension.
Visitor: I have many.
Swamiji: If you cannot fulfil them, why do you entertain them? Only those desires which can be fulfilled are valid. If they cannot be fulfilled for any reason whatsoever, they should be considered as invalid. So it is a contradiction. Actually, you suffer from a contradiction in thinking. I don't want to go into all these questions because you have just come and you are going back.
Anyway, you can meditate. Generally, by ‘meditation' we mean meditation on the Supreme Absolute Creator of the universe. That is called meditation. In short, it is meditation on God Almighty. Do you understand what I am saying? How do you conceive this great Creator of the universe, this master Plan-maker of the cosmos? What is your concept in your mind?
Visitor: [Does not reply]
Swamiji: Do you believe that there is a God who created this world?
Visitor: I am not sure.
Swamiji: Do you know that the world was created by somebody? Somebody must have created it. That is called God. So you have to believe that God exists. If you believe the world has a creator, then you have already accepted that there is God. Can you conceive this great majestic Being who is supposed to be the creator of this universe? Can you conceive it in your mind? It is an all-pervading presence. The universe that is created is so large that the creator must be as large as the universe itself. So can you imagine that vastness of creation and the tremendous immensity of God's existence? If you think this, go on thinking it, and feel that you are going to be blessed by that. It is an initial step in meditation. But if you have got any problems, you have to pay attention to them.
Another visitor: When I go back to my country and take up my duties, I do not feel as rewarded inside as I do here. I am thinking of leaving my job.
Swamiji: Then what will you do?
Visitor: Swamiji, as I have heard from you many times, the goal of life is Self-realisation.
Swamiji: How can you leave the job and get Self-realisation?
Visitor: I have some savings.
Swamiji: Are the savings enough for your lifetime?
Visitor: No, Swamiji, they are not.
Swamiji: Then what?
Visitor: Then one finds what one can and gets on as best one can. But the concern is that life is so short.
Swamiji: You work for another one year and amass some more money so that it may stand you in good stead. Too little money will keep you a little disturbed in the mind because you will not know what will happen to you in the future. Insecurity of life is also a disturbance in your spiritual practice. Unless you are well founded and secure in society, meditation is not possible. It will disturb your mind that the future is uncertain. The thought of an uncertain future will disturb you even in your attempt at Self-realisation. Unless you are perfectly secure in life, this cannot be taken up. For that, you have to see you have done what is proper. A person who is insecure in any way cannot do meditation. You have to choose this path very carefully after considering all the pros and cons. An undecided future itself will disturb your mind, which will not allow you to meditate. If you are perfectly all right and have no trouble, and are sufficiently strong in every way so that you have no difficulty about security and so on, if you are so sure, then go ahead. But if it is not so, then think thrice before doing anything.
Visitor: Swamiji, you may have answered my next question, which is a question for the far future: How does one begin to move from a householder life to a life of renunciation?
Swamiji: Are you a householder?
Visitor: I don't have a family but I live the life of a householder. I have a job, I have worldly duties, so I am not a sadhu.
Swamiji: What do you mean by ‘householder'?
Visitor: I am a householder to the extent that I am not a renunciate. I work in the world, I earn a salary, I spend the money that I earn, so I am not a renunciate.
Swamiji: ‘Householder' does not mean that, because if you call work as a household, it can be renounced in one day. You can stop the work completely. A householder is one who is caught up in some commitments. The work that you voluntarily do is not a commitment, but if it is something imposed on you, you may call it a commitment. You are voluntarily doing the work for your own benefit; that cannot be called a household because you can give it up any day. The household is a permanent commitment; for a lifetime you will be thinking of the household only. But you are not like that, so you cannot call yourself a householder.
Visitor: Swamiji, I have a question for the future. You have resolved the first part of the question. Thank you. The second part is, I don't know if I can get back here or if I will have communication with you.
Swamiji: Why should you get back here? What is the purpose?
Visitor: Swamiji, I've benefitted here a thousand times more than I could benefit in my own country. I don't have satsang of mahatmas in my country. It makes all the difference in the world. To have darshan, to have satsang here is a tremendous difference. My question has to do with the manner in which one carries out a life of renunciation in a Western country in which that tradition is not established.
Swamiji: If you don't talk to anybody and you mind your business, you are a renunciate even in a Western country. Why do you talk to people unless you have got to do something with them? If you don't talk to any person and you keep quiet in your house, then you are a renunciate only. That which you are doing here, you do there also. In what way are you not a renunciate in Western countries, provided you do not interfere with people and don't have any dealings with them? Then how do you say you are not a renunciate? It doesn't mean that only Eastern people are renunciates. It has no such connotation. It is the way in which you conduct yourself. Do you think that only Eastern people go to God and Westerners will not go? It is a wrong notion. It is only an adjustment of mind and a way of living. If you entangle yourself with people, that is a different matter, but why should you? If you are well enough and everything is okay for you…
Visitor: Swamiji, do you not recommend repeated trips to this place even for a short stay if that's possible, because my perception is I benefit so much? But I will yield to your higher wisdom on that. I perceive myself as benefitting when I come here, even if it's for a short stay.
Swamiji: You have to chalk out your entire plan of life properly. Carefully chalk out a plan of life.