Confusion Between Real and Phony
by Swami Radhanandaji
A college girl once wrote to me
about something that had been bothering her for a while. She and her parents
attend the same religious institution as her close friend's family. But there
is a stark difference in the way they are received at this gathering. Her
parents are treated very warmly while her friend's family is routinely ignored.
And it is not incidental. This has been happening for quite some time. Why
such a difference or discrimination?
The only clue she provides is that her own
parents are financially comfortable and contribute generously to this
denomination while her friend's family is not so fortunate. They have
struggle to make two ends meet. Naturally they cannot afford to support
institution like others but they are committed to improving their life
and attend regularly. Our young friend wonders what explanation the Gita
has for this
Such a brilliant observation from an
adolescent mind can educate adults who often succumb to prevailing norms
and lose their focus. The situation is sad indeed. Gitananda attempts
incessantly to explain the Gita's true teachings through various avenues.
Unfortunately, many establishments
are run today by fake dharma gurus in the name of some legendary saints or
religions. Their sole purpose is to plant fear in the minds of the ignorant by telling them that
they are sinners and bound to go to hell and suffer eternally. They are pretty slick
at convincing the masses that only dharma gurus and their establishments hold the secret
to their salvation. Of course, there is a price to be paid in terms of
rituals, donations, building temples and spreading a message.
because of their entanglement to lust and greed. Instead of cleaning up
their own act, they like the diversion offered by establishments. They
believe that instead of curing the root causes, they can buy their way out with
materialistic means. They pump their money and resources into strengthening these
The problem is two fold. First of
all, we don't want to sacrifice anything to achieve something. We are greedy
and calculative. We want a quick return in the name of peace and joy. This
is a big fallacy. Next, the world is full of opportunists who have carved a
niche to exploit such fools. With skillful orations, they terrorize people to
run for cover and escape the consequences after death. Ironically, there is
no quick fix in the path of spirituality. One has to sweat it out whether he is
rich or poor, strong or weak, learned or naive.
All sufferings arise from the root
cause of lust and greed. If one overcomes them, he will realize the benefit of
peace and joy in this very life and on this very earth. It is that simple.
There is no magic or secret. You need not spend any money or perform any
rituals. This is not new. Mirabai and Mahatma Gandhi knew this and delivered on
that. They are among the true saints.
True saints are those who have
dislodged their desires and now enjoy the bliss of Eternal Love
and Peace. They
are neither greedy about your contributions nor overwhelmed by your social
prowess. For them everyone has the spark of That Great Existence regardless of
their situation in this world. They love each and everyone alike and wish them
true salvation. They share their wisdom with anyone who recognizes them and is
willing to try. Needless to say, they do not collect money, establish a religion
or form institutions. They fully understand the power of maya; if not alert,
even an accomplished saint can slip back to the temptations of fake prestige
and social clout. They keep wandering from place to place and from people to
people so as not to form any attachment.
What we need is the purity of mind
and heart, and a real guru to help achieve that. It is very difficult to spot a
saint in this crowded jungle. He is out there but we don't have the ability to recognize
him. What can we do? Do we have a recourse? Yes! Fortunately, a time-tested
scripture like Gita comes to our rescue. Time over time, its principles have
been tested and proven to be reliable. Even a recent saint, Gandhiji, had
unwavering faith in this masterpiece. He often relied upon the wisdom of Gitaji
when confused about his
convictions, and she never failed him.
let us begin to learn
the values as taught by Gitaji. Provided you are sincere
in your efforts, subtle and deeper meanings will unfold to you. And with God's
grace, you will get an insight to recognize a true saint from your surroundings
to be your guru. Then, you have it made. All you have to do is relax, follow
his words of wisdom and he will take you to the unmatched journey of peace and
joy. Meanwhile practice
Gitaji. You will probably never need a human guru
Remember, you do not need any
material yardsticks of money or power to reach salvation. In fact, they are
often hindrances in spirituality
. True salvation is possible only by
eradicating the desires of lust and greed. You can do this with constant
practice, by associating with the wise and being humble. If you are sincere, you
will definitely succeed. God has never failed anyone who surrendered to Him.
After all, the ball now falls in His court. God alone is the real Guru. So
why look for a fake one when Gita is near us?
May the Lord bless us directly as He does all true saints.