You have seen the magic performed by Sri A. Kandaswamy. It is, therefore, appropriate to the occasion if I remind you of a greater magic, though silently performed, that saints like our Gurudev work in our own inner self. That is the magic of turning our vision inward; for man’s mind always flows outward and it is by the saint’s magic that he is helped to turn it inward. It is the magic of enabling you to rise from Tamas to Rajas from Rajas to Sattwa, and ultimately to transcend Sattwa, too. It is the magic of making you transcend the Pashu in you, the beastly aspect of your personality, to become human first and then divine.
How this magic is wrought only the saints know; but we can have an idea of how far this magic has been performed in our own life. There is a barometer which can register this inner progress. This has been given in the beautiful Sloka in the Gita:
Trividham Narakasyedam Dwaram Nasanamatmanah,
Kamah Krodhastatha Lobha stasmaadetattrayam Tyajet.
There are three gates to hell–desire, anger and greed. He who would grow in saintliness, into a divine being, should cultivate the very opposites of these qualities, viz., desirelessness, angerlessness, and selflessness. It is the extent to which you grow in these three cardinal virtues that is the degree of your spiritual progress.
Saints have prescribed all kinds of Sadhanas to help the Sadhaka evolve spiritually. But through all these Sadhanas–Japa, Kirtan, recitation of Mantras, study of scriptures, Tirtha-Yatra–this main current of growing in desirelessness and selflessness (or in short egolessness, for all these spring only from the ego) should run. You should daily undertake a pilgrimage to this shrine of perfection within yourself; that is the greatest, and the real pilgrimage.
Turn within. Introspect. Become a self-C.I.D (detective). Find out your own faults. It is very easy to find fault with others and condemn others. But that will not enable you to progress. Remember the wonderful lesson that Lord Jesus taught when people were about to stone Mary Magdalene to death; he said, “Let him cast the first stone, who has not sinned.” First turn within and find out your own faults. That is the path of a Sadhaka. That is real charity: charity is not merely giving a little money away, true charity is forgiving one who offends you “seven times seven” or, in other words, any number of times.
Krishna sent out two people on a wonderful errand: He asked Yudhishthira to bring to Him a wicked man, and He asked Duryodhana to bring to Him a good man, Yudhishthira comes back and says: “No one is bad in the world; I am the only wicked man.” Duryodhana comes back and says “No one is good in the world; I am the only good man.” You should become like Yudhishthira and not like Duryodhana. You should see good and good alone in all.
And, in all things you should always hold before yourself the glorious ideal of the saints and sages of the past and present. You should always judge your actions by their standards. “Would Tukaram, Jnanadev, Jesus, Buddha, our Swamiji, Ramana, Aurobindo, Ramadas–would they do this?” If the answer is no, do not do it; or if it is done, resolve never to repeat it. Thus you would grow spiritually. And this is the greatest pilgrimage that you have to undertake and complete successfully.
Otherwise, it would be like the Tirtha-Snana (bathing in holy waters) done by the bitter-gourd of which the Kamandalu is made. It is bitter by nature. Even if you take it to all the great places of pilgrimage throughout the world and dip it in all the holy Waters, it would yet be bitter. Be not like the bitter gourd. Be not like Duryodhana. Be like Yudhishthira. Grow in Sattwa. Grow in virtue. Become desireless, selfless and egoless. Become divine. This is my sincere prayer.