Gist of the last talk of Dr. Devaki Kutty Mataji given on 23rd July, 2000 during Sadhana Week
I am going to share with you a few things, which I have learned during my association with Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. In my time Gurudev never used to give dialectic lectures, he never gave us intrusive instructions. But we learned by just sitting at his feet, hearing his conversations with people and by watching his way of dealing with situations and people. And he operated at a very high level of consciousness. It was impossible for people like me to rise to that level. So I could only get or imbibe some bits and pieces of his vast knowledge. These little bits and pieces I am going to share with you today.
We all should consider ourselves very fortunate in this abode of Gurudev. He left this great spiritual heritage for us, and he made no conditions. It is free for all, irrespective of age, sex or even our capacity to understand. He worked day and night and all his efforts were to straighten out the distorted vision we have of religion and spirituality and to widen our restricted minds. He was a person with such a wide vision! He was an ideal, a great model for us.
He always emphasised two aspects of spirituality and religion. The first one was that everyone is potentially divine. And to bring out this divinity it is necessary that for every thought, word and action we should have this thought at the back of our mind that we are divine personalities. Secondly, he said, if we want to bring out this divinity, the effort should start from within. Unless we do an inner spiritual practice all our actions will not be able to bring out the divinity within us. All our efforts should be both, inward and outward. And if we do this for a long time, persistently, every action will become a step forward to our goal of God-realisation. Because Gurudev emphasised that the only goal in life is God-realisation.
The first thing we need is inner purity. And for this we have to do consistent effort and a certain degree of introspection, self-analysis. What are the things that are obstructing the vision of divinity? These obstacles can be removed only by a Guru. But the effort is our own. And for all practical work we need some theoretical knowledge. This we get from our Shastras. Lord Krishna says: “Ishwarah sarvabhutaanaam hrid-dese Arjuna tishthati” and “Mattah parataram naanyat kimchidasti Dhananjaya”. That means there is nothing other than God. And we should never forget this intimate relationship between God and man, in whatever we do and whomever we have to deal with. We are dealing with God!
Sadhana is not confined to our Pooja room or Sadhana Week. Our whole life is Sadhana. Everything we do should have that purity which is expected of us and should be based on the positive virtues of mind, heart and brain, and only then it becomes Sadhana. We are living in this world with a lot of things to do, important commitments, responsibilities. We must find out how we meet this external world with our internal life. And Gurudev has given us the biggest lesson with his great teaching of SERVE, LOVE and GIVE.
We cannot live without service. Some work or other has to be done–it may be beneficial for us or for others. It is most essential and the first step in Gurudev’s teachings. Love is innate in all. There is no person who does not love. Even the worst criminal loves. So, we don’t have to cultivate it. We need to change the direction of our love. And we have to give. Serve, Love and Give is one teaching–I call it Gurudev’s Trisul. A Trisul is a three-pronged instrument with a handle. The handle is purity and unselfishness. The three prongs are Serve, Love and Give of which Love is the middle prong, because it potentiates the other two. They work together, one potentiates the others. One cannot live without service and one cannot serve without love. And if there is love, one automatically gives. Love is so abstract. It can only be manifested outside through service and giving. These are the two aspects of manifested love. Gurudev was a great votary of service. For him service of humanity was worship of God. And every religion says we should worship God. If we do it in temples, mosques and Churches, why not worship the God that is in man itself? Every being is a temple of God. So if you serve with this attitude, then only your service becomes worship. Giving also is an attitude of mind. It does not mean the giving of material things or money only. That is necessary too. Giving is really a sharing. A sharing of the blessings God has given you with those who have less. It may be just a wiping of tears from a very unhappy person, a raising of hope in someone who is despondent, a kind gesture or a loving helpful word. If it is done with the love within, you will find it becomes the greatest blessing not only for the receiver but also for the giver.
In the beginning when you start practising Gurudev’s Trisul it will need effort. But after some time it becomes spontaneous and our very nature to help. Divine life is not doing some service to somebody. It is the motive behind the action, the purity with which we do something. It is the understanding that God is in all beings, the universal vision. To the extent that our mind is purified, our selfishness is less, the mind becomes steadier, and the more steady the mind, the more intense the meditation.
But in our acceptance, in our practice of the divine life, we will have setbacks. It is an uphill path, and we are bound to fall. These are the real tests for us. We must see how many setbacks, how much criticism from people we can accept without being disturbed. So, every night before you go to bed, give five or ten minutes to yourself. Analyse all you have done, how many times you were disturbed, and you lost your temper …. And you must never get desperate. Every day you must make a fresh attempt and then you will find that life becomes an adventure, a divine adventure.
According to Gurudev, life has no other purpose than to lead a Divine Life. If we are Gurudev’s disciples we are to see that we all become divine beings; because he has poured such extreme grace on all of us. Even though he is not physically present, his grace is here. This whole Ashram is a manifestation of this divine grace. We must remember that he is always with us and guides us if we are fit. It is for us to take it. It is like the big sea. If we take small cups, we’ll only get a cupful. But if we take a big bucket, we will get a bucketful. So let us all become big, big vessels which can dive deep into this great grace of Gurudev, accept as much as we can, follow all his teachings and lead a life which is better, a life which is better every day, better today than yesterday.
(Dr. Devaki Kutty Mataji was born on October, 8th 1923 and attained the Holy feet of Gurudev on August, 8th 2000.)