We can say, “Oh we can’t meditate, as this book repeatedly says, recite the name of God for several hours a day. You can’t do that, it would be impossible to live a successful life – especially in modern times – the terrible rush, the strain of life. It takes three hours a day to keep up with the television and if you don’t keep up with the television, you can’t understand a conversation, because a modern conversation today consists in two television sets talking to each other. ‘Did you see my programme at six o’clock?’ ‘No, did you see mine at half past eight on Friday?’ We have so little time, such pressure.” They could take holidays, but they didn’t get paid. We have four, five weeks, paid holiday, yet they say they have no time. You can say, “Even so, it wouldn’t be possible”. But how do we know? A man was working a humble job for six hours every day, then doing a particular sport very vigorously and intensely for at least four hours a day, practicing meditation for two hours a day, and learning a difficult language for two hours a day for several years. It was successful in the sense that the sportsman got into the Guinness Book of Records and he said that his meditations began to come to him during his sport and they gave him a sort of special inspiration and energy. Taking the examples from this book, the teacher Shri Dada, who had several children, late in the afternoon in the mango grove, is sitting on the mat addressing his disciples. He’s not at home. Then after the teaching the evening is at hand. Then he sits in his meditation for his evening devotion. About half past nine he’s finished the teaching and his evening meditations (he does two hours in the morning). He has his simple meal, sharing it with the gardener’s family – this was at the place called Chandausi.
When he came to another town, Moradabad, on his arrival, every evening, often for many hours together, one of his disciples, Teerath Mal who was a very keen amateur wrestler recited portions of the Ramayana in melodious tones to the assembled men and women who would flock to the meetings. Although working throughout the day at the office as assistant to Shri Dada, his untiring joy in reading the classic of Tulsidas, sometimes for many hours together until late into the night, and the zeal with which he continually practiced his exercises as a wrestler seemed both to defy normal bodily fatigue. The minimum programme for a wrestler in India is 6,000 of two exercises, both of which an expert can do in one second. But of course they get tired, so it would have taken him at the very least more than an hour-and-a-half and probably three hours. So he had his work all day, then his Ramayana reading every night sometimes for several hours and then he had his wrestling for two or three hours.
Every night when he went to a new place, and after his arrival in Hapur, Shri Dada began his custom of spreading a mat each evening in an open space, adjoining the railway station where he worked. This was his method of devotion, and it gave him this extraordinary energy which he had. He was one of those who treated the untouchables, whom an ordinary doctor, a Brahmin doctor, wouldn’t see in those days. But often Shri Dada would get up in the night and go and see them – his meditations gave him this ability. “To have successful meditations”, he said, “one must love seclusion and create environments conducive to its untroubled practice. If man meditates for an hour a day and keeps company with the world for eight hours then whatever progress he makes is undone every day”. So he says to have as little to do with sansara, the world, as possible, but also that people should earn their living in an honest way.
He said that spiritual people who are practicing will be reviled and insulted and persecuted and taunted. This is one of the themes that comes again and again in the book. In one place, “When you can go without food and sleep for a few days, reviled and abused by those dear to you, some of those who are dear to you will turn on you, and yet with your mind unruffled and fixed on the name of God then there is cause for rejoicing. Live in solitude. Bear the taunts, mockery and derision of your relatives and friends as if they were flowers showered upon you.”
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: The Main Teachings of Shri Dada
Part 3: Verily all this is Brahman
Part 5: Flowers showered upon you
Part 6: The torch of Eternal Truth