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Confusion Between Real and Phony

by Swami Radhanandaji

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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 to struggle to make two ends meet. Naturally they cannot afford to support the 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 situation.
 
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.
 
People suffer 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 institutions.
 
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.
 
So 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.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 September 2007 )
 

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ďA right cause never fails; a true word never hurts in the end.

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