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The Waiting Room

From: "Girish Chandra Mitra" To: Subject: The Waiting Room Date: Sat, 04 Oct 2008 23:28:05 Baba "Bha'lo yadi na' ba'sile keno ks'ati na'i, shudhu ka'che eso..." - P.S. 2134 Purport: Baba, You know that I am not an A-grade devotee. So due to this if You do not love me then it is no problem, no harm. But please come close and sit. If You do not like to sit in my little hut, then at least please come and stand inside with Your sweet smile. Oh my Lord, everyone longs for You in their heart. That longing I also have and for that I have requested You to remain with me. And if You do not like to listen to my request then just You please come close and this much You tell me, 'I do not love you even a pinch'. Baba, I will go on singing Your song; and my heart will be mingled with that tune & melody-- longing for You in dhyana. But because I am not an A-grade devotee that is why I will not force You to come and sit in my dhyana. So it is exclusively up to You. What You like that You do. Baba, please come close with Your sweet smile...
Namaskar, Baba says, "This world is just like [a] waiting room. You are to remain here for a very short span." (AV-12) Tragically, in this modern world, the mass of people live and plan their lives in such a way as if this world is their permanent abode. Due to the ill effects of gross materialism, common citizens think that their bank account, their house, their job, their physical appearance, their spouse, and their worldly possessions are the prized aspects of their existence. For this reason, they use cent-per-cent of their energy running after these ephemeral things, mistaking them to be the glory of human life. This is the way materialism has led everyone astray, into some dark illusion. Baba says, "This type of crude material knowledge concerned with the crude materialism has done much harm to human society during the last one century." (AV-2) There is an inner aspect to our human existence that is hungry, yet the humanity is neglecting that which is inside because of being fully intoxicated with life's material pleasures.
As Ananda Margiis, we all know what the Goal of life is, as well as what it takes to get there. The Goal is Baba and the way to get there is by sadhana. This fact everybody knows. Yet, to some or more degree, we have also suffered from the ill effects of materialism, as it has infested each and every pore of society. It is very difficult to completely separate oneself from that environment. Huge billboards, internet ads, crude social values, financial pressures etc meet us at each and every turn. One of the clear-cut downturns of all this is that some of us do not put proper emphasis on sadhana in our lives. I can say that this is certainly true for me. I always think, 'I will do sadhana'; yet when it is time to start my practice I can find any number of other things to do. And when I do sit down for sadhana, then often it gets curtailed due to lack of time, lack of concentration, or feelings of hunger. Perhaps some of you have also experienced this or similar things. And the gross materialism which surrounds us does not help; it leads to more spiritual lethargy. Whatever inherent lethargy we may have towards sadhana is multiplied by today's crude environment. Because the world and all its inhabitants are running one direction, and we are trying to move in another. We are going against the tide. Baba says, "The present-day materialism has brought humanity to this predicament. Its consequences are dreadful." (NSS)
Before analysing more of the in's & out's of this issue, here is Baba special teaching about spiritual lethargy, or procrastination in sadhana. Baba says, "Spiritual lethargy is the worst. Spiritual lethargy means not to sit for meditation regularly. Those with spiritual lethargy have time for all other actions, but for spiritual practice there seems to be no time. They say, “It’s already late today – I’ll do a short meditation right now, and devote more time to sa'dhana' tomorrow.” They sit attentively inside the cinema hall, but in dharma sa'dhana' they feel sleepy." (AMIWL-10) We should all read the above quote multiple times and honestly evaluate how far Baba's teaching applies to our own lives.
In addition to today's gross materialism, here are other reasons why it is often a struggle to move on the path of sadhana. As Baba tells us, every human being has come from animal life-- at one point in time or another. So we are highly familiar with animalistic desires and propensities. We need not be reminded about these things. That is a known path to us, and in general people gravitate towards the familiar and are hesitant to take up new enterprises. For that reason, it take little or no energy for people to succumb to the four basic propensities: Food, fear, procreation, and sleep. No one needs any special training in these spheres; the mind automatically runs after these things. In contrast, when sadhana is the most subtle practice for human beings, then invariably it is something that is very new and unfamiliar to us. Often it is not something that we have lifetimes of experience with. Whereas, for incarnations and incarnations in animal and human form, we have been deeply engrossed in material pursuits. So being attached to this old way of living certainly contributes to spiritual procrastination.
Then there are other things that lead to procrastination in sadhana: 1) Avidya Maya: The force of avidya maya casts allurements each and every moment, and when the whole society has fallen prey to the spell of avidya maya, then the force of that maya multiplies and it is very difficult to escape. If you know you should do sadhana, but all your worldly pressures tell you to work late, or buy a big house, or go to the movies, or watch TV, or whatever, then it is difficult to move on the path of sadhana. And every time we give in to the ignorance of avidya, then the more sadhana slips out of our fingers, and becomes something totally foreign. 2) Objective Adjustment: In the name of objective adjustment, we leave our spiritual practice behind and run after worldly endeavours. We then justify that going to dharmacakra and doing sadhana there is enough for the entire week, or thereabouts. 3) Microvita: Various microvita also pull us down and hinders our sadhana routine. Plus when the entire society is moving towards money, matter, prestige, then that multiplies the problem. Each of us individually should take an honest look at who we are and what is happening with our sadhana routine, and make special efforts to overcome whatever is hindering our practice.
Here is Baba's special teaching about the waiting room phenomenon. Nowadays, everyone thinks that this world is their permanent abode. They may say otherwise but practically they live as if this is the case. So we should pay heed to Baba's strict warning.
Smarana nitya anityatam
Baba says, "You should remember always that you have come here for a short span. You won’t remain in this world for a long period. You may remain here say for ninety or hundred years or say for one hundred and fifty years. Some saints like Traelaunga Sva'mii lived here for three hundred and fifty years. He lived in Varanasi in India and died in this twentieth century. But you are to live under certain limitations – limitations of time, space and person." "So you should always remember that you have come here for a very short span. It is just like a waiting room of a railway station. You remain there for a short period and when the train comes, you leave the waiting room. This world is just like that waiting room. You are to remain here for a very short span." "You should always remember this fact – “I have come here for a short span and I won’t remain here for a very long period. My home is elsewhere. I am just like a tourist.” You should always remember this fact. And as a universal tourist, you, while leaving for your permanent home, won’t require a passport." (AV-12) So we must not treat this world as our permanent abode. We should always keep our mind fixed on Him. And internally, we must remind ourselves again and again that we have only come here for a short time. Then and only then can we truly understand that sadhana-- and not money or possessions-- is the cream of life. Here again is Baba' reminder about the nature of this human life. Baba says, "This short period of time from birth to death is human life. Human beings have come from the world of invisibility and at the end of this short span of time will return to the world of invisibility. Those people can be called intelligent who utilize every moment of their short life engaged in spiritual practice." (APH-4) Failing to adopt the path of sadhana, will lead us on an endless spiral of suffering and pain in the myriad of deaths and rebirths in this material world.
By Baba's grace we must realise that this world is not our permanent abode, overcome all tendencies of spiritual lethargy, do sadhana, and reach up to Him. Baba says, "The only way to advance is to follow the path of vigorous spiritual practice." (AMIWL-8) Namaskar, Giriish

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