Those who came, they are the gifted ones. Those who could not come and those who did not come, what can we say about them? I referred to two types of people – those who could not come and those who did not come. Sometimes, some people will have the interest and strong desire to come, but due to certain unavoidable reasons or situations, they are not able to come. That’s partly due to their prabdha karma. For many other people, even the thought of coming also never enters their mind. They will be very busy with other things in their life. Babaji is here for 5 days… they will think that they can just come and see Babaji on the last day… that’s enough for them. They don’t feel the need or the importance to see Babaji for all the 5 days.
Swamiji used to say.. “If anyone is a nuisance to you, just make them sit down for meditation for 1 hour. If they give you a lot of problems, just make them sit for meditation for one and a half hours. They will run away!
Do you understand this word? If you look at all the things God has given you in this life, do you realise how blessed you are? How generous God has been to you? He has given us so much!
When I was born, I longed for God. I wanted to see those enlightened beings who had realized God. There were so many enlightened Gurus like Adi Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharishi, who are no longer with us now. I could not see them in person. I was not blessed with their physical presence. I was not even born at the time these enlightened Gurus were alive! I used to wonder… are there any such enlightened Gurus around which I can go and see in person? Being enlightened themselves, will they be able to help me attain enlightenment? That was how I used to feel before. I was ready to do whatever needed to attain that enlightenment. Finally I got that blessing when I met Swamiji!
From 1963 to 1971, 8 years…Swamiji had come and stayed in a small ashram in Bangalore. I was staying in Kolar at that time, a town nearby the Bangalore ashram. But I did not even know about Swamiji at that time! I did not know who Shivabalayogi was at that time! I was yearning deeply for a Guru at that time but I did not even know that He was so near to me!
To get that opportunity is not an easy thing! How difficult it is to be blessed with a human birth, it is also equally difficult to be blessed with that opportunity!
In Malaysia, we have many of Swamiji’s centres now, in Ipoh, Setiawan, Kulim, Kluang… but this time I am not going to all the centres. I came directly to the Rawang centre and since it was a Tuesday, we had the Raam Naam Sankeertan program. Otherwise, there would not have been any program at the Rawang centre either. Only the 5 day Retreat program in Frasers’ Hill. But since we had the Raam Naam Sankeertan program at Rawang centre, anyone who wanted, could have come to see me in the Rawang Centre.
Those who were blessed came. Some people could not make it for the program and there were those who just did not come. That opportunity has gone for them! If we do not utilize it, the opportunity will be lost to us forever! That moment, that time, the Guru’s blessings… we must appreciate it. Otherwise, we will lose it even without realizing that we have lost it.
Just like I said earlier, Swamiji was in Bangalore for 8 years but I never knew of Him then. I only met Swamiji for the first time later in Mysore. After that first blessing from Swamiji, I was completely devoted to Swamiji. I fell in love with Swamiji. After that, I had no interest in other worldly events or pleasures. I just wanted Swamiji. To be with Swamiji. To go for any function or darshan program where Swamiji would be. I did not want to miss that opportunity! I wanted to appreciate and make full use of each opportunity I got to see Swamiji. I used to think that Swamiji is now here in His physical form and we do not know when He will leave this physical form. So, for as long as He is here, I wanted to see Him in his physical form as many times as I could. I did not want to miss that blessing because I knew that we may not get a second chance or opportunity for this blessing.
That is what appreciation is. When there is a blessing, a moment, or a situation, we should appreciate it.
After this 5 day retreat, once I leave Malaysia, I will only come back in October next year and again in December for the retreat. But even that, there is no guarantee that I will be able to come in October and December next year. I could have other programs or urgent matters or I could be unwell. Do you remember? There was one year when I could not come for the Retreat program in Malaysia due to some problems at the Dehradun ashram? That year, we had to use Skype to communicate with all of you during the retreat as I could not be there physically.
It’s been 15 years now since I have been coming to Malaysia for the Retreat in December. No matter the difficulties, I have always come. I come here for all of you. Many of you are here regularly. Some did not come or maybe they could not make it … there are two reasons but I don’t know which is which… I cannot see what is in each person’s mind… because my mind is focused on God 24 hours.
Every minute, every moment, if you want to appreciate, your mind must always be focused on God. The mind’s focus must always be on God at all times. Do not get attracted to all other gimmicks about people who say that they can see the future or perform certain siddhis. All that is irrelevant. All these people know nothing about God. They have neither seen nor experienced God.
When Swamiji was around, I used to serve him and take care of all his needs. Prepare his food. Massage his body. Wash his clothes. Clean his room. When he scolds, I will just keep silent. Can we get an opportunity do to such seva now? Of course Swamiji is always here with us. Of course He will always be in our hearts. But His physical form is not here anymore… that is a fact. The opportunity to serve His physical form has gone! Can we get that opportunity again now? No. It’s all gone now. The opportunity has passed. You will not get it again. He is with us in our hearts, in our minds. He is all-pervading, but that physical presence… we will not get that again!
Appreciation. If you got that blessing or opportunity, then you must appreciate it.
Many people used to say how lucky Babaji is that he got to serve Swamiji previously. How they wished that they could be as blessed to be able to serve Swamiji too. Just the same way, one day my physical form will not be here too. I know that you love Babaji. Many of you shower me with gifts and my favourite food items. But that opportunity and appreciation… do not miss it. Once this physical form is no more, then you will not get the opportunity again. You will have this Retreat, but there will only be a picture of Babaji here.
“When He was here I did not come! I could not meditate with Him, in front of Him. If I had been here, I could have received so much more blessings!” You should not have that regret in you. When Swamiji was still around, he used to ask all his devotees to meditate. Many will be there to talk stories and gossip with Swamiji every day, but when asked to sit for meditation, only 4 or 5 devotees will be there. The rest will disappear. Those who left lost the opportunity. They failed to appreciate! That time has gone and will never return!
Drill this into your mind. You can get anything else easily in life, but not this.
Opportunity. Appreciation – always remember these words!