The daily diet

Rotarians in India have a greater responsibility than in other countries for, this country is from very ancient times striving to become a Karmabhumi, a Yogabhumi and a Thyaagabhumi. It has been endeavouring to justify its description by sages and seers as the land of dedicated activity, of self-control and self-knowledge, and of renunciation. In fact, thousands of years ago, the Rishis instructed the people of this land that Immortality can be won not by the cultivation of scholarship, or the fulfilling of the obligations of a householder’s life, or by the accumulation of wealth as a means of a pleasure-filled life, but only by renunciation (thyaaga).

It is said in the scriptures that even gods are anxious to get born in this land so that they may engage in acts of beneficence. That is why it is called Karmabhumi. The science of mind-control called Yoga has been developed here, since ancient times, and thousands in every age have practised it with success, until they have achieved its fruit, self-realisation. One result of this selfrealisation has been the recognition of everyone else as but the reflection of oneself — the true basis of the Unity of mankind.

Living in such an ancient land, in the midst of a people whose minds are suffused with these ideals and aspirations, Rotarians will find their activities welcomed here more than anywhere else. The lesson that Sanaathana Dharma has been holding forth is “the unity of all created beings, of all sections of the human community, in One Cosmic Body which is God.” (Ishaavaasyamidham Sarvam, Vaasudevassarvamidam), The query, “Who belongs to whom?” is alien to Indian thought. Each belongs to all, all belong to ONE — this has been the daily diet of India since the beginning of Time.

The world is the temple of God

When someone suffers from acute stomach pain, his eyes exude tears! For, there is one consciousness pervading and activating all parts of the body, and producing appropriate reactions everywhere. Similarly, the world too is just one body and pain anywhere naturally affects other parts. No single part can rejoice when another part, however distant, however insignificant, is in pain.

I find that you use the word ‘Antharjatheeya’ for indicating that there is an inter-national body. Anthar or Inter shows that yours is an inter-connection, an anthar or inner link, a wire that supplies current to all, an inner motivator which operates and oversees every part or limb, not only in the body — the dwelling place of the individual — but in the world which is the temple of God. The Lord has declared in the Geetha that He is Sarvabhuutha-antharaathma — “the Inner Reality of all beings.” Try to be ever in the awareness of this Unity in God; this is the one truth that has to be seen, experienced and announced; this is the soundest basis for individual and social life. This will serve as an unshakable foundation for your international outlook.

I asked your president what the ideal of Rotary International was and he told me that it was, in one word, paropakaaram — “Doing good to others.” For this ideal, India is a very congenial country, since you will find willing co-operation from the people and plentiful opportunities for exercising the talent, the skill and the urge for doing good to others and helping others. But I would like to remind you that there are no para (others) to receive the upakaaram (favour) from you; the ‘para’ persons are your own. your very selves. All are waves heaving and falling, rolling and receding, on the ocean of which they are integral parts. Therefore, who can help whom?

Who does whom a favour? Whose is the helping hand? All help is to oneself, from oneself.

The pain that another suffers from, which you seek to assuage, is really your own pain; when you stop his pain, it is your pain that stops. Service can be effective only when the feelings of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ give place to ‘God’ and ‘God’s’. It is only when your attention is monopolised by the body and its needs, that egoism will grow in strength. When you direct your attention to the Antharaathma (Inner-self) which is God, then, you find the same God in all and a flood of reverence fills you and fertilises every act of yours. Saadhana is needed for redirecting the attention from the deha to the dehi — body to the soul.

Non-dual attitude will make service more fruitful

All beings are as flowers that bloom and fade before the day is over; but, like this garland you offered Me when I came amidst you, they are strung on one eternal indestructible thread, the Suuthra that is called Brahmam. Establish this Bhaava-adwaitham (non-dual attitude) in your mind; it will render your service more enjoyable, more fruitful, more sweet and pleasant to the recipient. Without that attitude, paropakaaram becomes help, doled out to lesser men and poorer folk, by superior persons. All such help will be suspected and resented; it is contaminated at the source as well as at destination. Of course, one should not treat all equally, have the same prescription for all. Serve each according to the specific need and capacity to benefit by the help. The Antharaathma is the same in all, but you should not give a knife into the hands of a mad man, or a gold necklace to a child. The child will cast it away; the man may gash some one’s throat.

Feel the sorrow of others as your own

The most precious possession is mental equanimity; and it is the one thing you cannot give, even if you have it. Each has to acquire it the hard way. But you can enlighten people on the disciplines through which mental equanimity can be gained, and shaanthi can be won. It cannot be earned through a higher standard of life, bush shirts, transistors, sofas, air-conditioners, etc. It cannot be got through riches, through the acquisition of power and authority, through developing physical strength and endurance. When you plan for service, remember this estimate of comparative values. The rich, the healthy, the strong, the powerful, the influential — all are afflicted with discontent, worry, fear and anxiety. They have no peace of mind.

Shaanthi comes from within; contentment is a mental condition. Do not feed the roots of attachment to worldly comforts more than is absolutely necessary. They lead only to anxiety and fear; they can never satisfy the innermost craving of man. Lead them into the path of devotion and dedication; for them that will be the path of contentment and joy. Emphasise the universal Aathma thathwam — essential nature of the Self; encourage prayer, meditation, quiet contemplation of the grandeur and glory of God, reflected in Nature; repetition of the Name of the Lord; encourage silence and solitude, for the sake of introspection and contact with the springs of joy inherent in man.

You are all educated persons, experienced in many fields of activity, equipped with many skills and capabilities; you are animated by genuine enthusiasm to help others; you are encouraged by the example of other Clubs to take up many schemes which will benefit the community. These are great assets. Heart has to meet heart, so that service may succeed. Speak soft and sweet; be soft and sweet. Speak with sympathy and with no pretence, no artificiality. Keep away from impure listening, impure acts, impure words, impure thoughts — everything that contaminates the will to serve, and the skill to serve.

I am glad you gave Me this chance to share with you your Aanandam; I am glad I got this chance to share My Aanandam with you. I hope and bless that you will feel the sorrow of others as your own and strive to diminish it; I hope and bless that you will feel the happiness of others as your own and strive to share it and increase it.