Swamishri blessed the evening satsang assembly held at the
Sanatan Mandir in Kisumu, Kenya, on 7 October 1999. Given below are his blessings to the assembly.
We all swim in the ocean of life and are thrown in different directions by the ‘waves’ of this world and so struggle to remain afloat. When we develop a correct understanding we are able to float fearlessly in this worldly ocean and swim in the right direction. Such understanding develops by seeking the refuge of God and his true Sadhu. By engaging in such satsang, we can easily cross the ocean of life. Otherwise, we will drown.
Life is full of ups and downs, joys and miseries. In times of difficulty, our mind becomes disturbed. We reason that despite having prayed so much, we have not got what we want. So, we give up worship to God. But this is misguided. Only by firm conviction and refuge in God do we attain peace and happiness. The Pandavas were exiled to the forest and suffered many hardships. But they sustained their faith in Shri Krishna Bhagwan, who told Arjun: “Sarva-dharmãn parityajya mãm ekam sharanam vraja;
Aham tvãm sarva-pãpebhyo mokshayishyãmi mã shucaha.” – “Give up all your resolves and surrender to me. I will liberate you from all sins. Do not grieve” (Gita 18.66). And by doing what Shri Krishna told them, they eventually won the Mahabharat War and achieved success.
Still, people live wilfully. They interpret the shastras in their own way and called it ‘dharma’. But that is not true dharma. The words of God are dharma. Whatever Bhagwan Ram, Bhagwan Krishna and Bhagwan Swaminarayan (in the Shikshapatri) have said is dharma. The Shrimad Bhagvat, Gita, Upanishads, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Vachanamrut and other shastras contain the words of God and instruct us to live a life of character.
Others may encourge us to eat meat, drink alcohol and indulge in other such things, but it is wrong.
Our shastras declare, “Ahimsã paramo dharma.” – “Non-violence is the highest dharma.” So, if you ignore this and live wilfully, will God be pleased?
Navratri is a pure and pious celebration, but men and women ignore the traditions and dance together. That is not dharma.
The celebration of our festivals – Janmashtami, Ramnavami, Diwali-Annakut and others – is described in our shastras, but people ignore the traditions and celebrate them in their own way.
On Janmashtami we are required to fast, but instead people – both men and women – drink and gamble. That is not the proper way to celebrate. That is not true dharma. On festival days, we should listen to the divine inspiring stories from the shastras instead of engaging in worthless gossip.
Our shastras reveal how to live a pure life of good character and how to offer devotion to attain liberation. This is the purpose for which God has given us this human birth.
It is a typical tendency of people to do that which is prohibited. We drop litter, indulge in addictions and do other things we are told not to.
You have come here [to Africa] to earn money. But, having saved some wealth, people indulge in addictions. This is of no benefit. If we live by the wish of the holy Sadhu, we will experience peace and happiness. By living wilfully, liberation is not attained.
The life of Bhagwan Ram was an ideal for all. His pure life brought happiness to all his people. He suffered many hardships, but respected the wishes of his elders. He gave up the throne to uphold the promise of his father, Dashrath, to Kaikeyi. Today, people easily break their commitments to secure selfish gains. People do things to deceive others and make a profit. But to be dishonest in our dealings is a grave sin. We must remember that honesty is our true dharma.
People blindly crave for more and more wealth and power. For this, they do not care how they get them. It is not wrong to acquire wealth and power, but it must be done while observing dharma. Honest effort – purusharth – is the first requirement. Establish dharma in one’s life and then endeavour. In this way, we become happy and experience peace. This also leads to peace in society, otherwise quarrels and fights break out over money.
Bhagwan Ram teaches us not to do anything that will harm or cause misery to others.
Today, many children often lack respect for their parents and elders. They do not listen to them and do as they please. But Bhagwan Ram obeyed his father, even though he knew he would have to face many difficulties.
Also, some married couples today often quarrel over small things and then file for divorce. But, the ups and downs in married life are to be faced together. After all, marriage vows are exchanged in the presence of fire, Brahmins and Vedic mantras as witnesses. This should be taken seriously. Many do realize this and endure difficult times together. They remain faithful to each other. Couples should serve each other and help each other to attain moksha.
In their desire for wealth, power and lust, people forget their dharma.
Lakshman was Ram’s brother. He did not think about benefiting from Ram’s predicament and claim his wealth. Instead, Lakshman accompanied Ram to the forest, served him and endured the hardships with him. Even Bharat did not sit on the throne, realizing that Ram was the rightful heir.
Nowadays, such brotherly affection is not often found. Disputes arise over land and wealth. Even the bond between parents and children has deteriorated, such that they take each other to court. But such actions should never even be contemplated.
It is not that you should not enjoy life, but do so while remaining sincere to our noble values and traditions. This will lead to peace all round.
Teach these values to the children and youths. Teach them about our religion. Otherwise they will be influenced by others and forget their responsibilities.
So, first it is the duty of parents to learn and do. Otherwise, what will they teach their children?
The devilish nature in man is taking hold, but his divine, godly nature needs to be nourished and revived. For this, we must learn from the shastras and stories of God.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan inspired thousands of people to overcome their evil nature and vices and guided them to lead pious lives.
By living among them, talking to them and showering them with his affection he transformed them and inspired them to worship God. He taught them that God has given everyone a body and intelligence, so use them wisely to earn wealth without hurting others and without committing sins.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan eradicated their devilish nature and turned them into true human beings. His sadhus toured the villages and did the same.
Thus, if we live a pure, noble life everything else will follow. Even if one has a lot of wealth, but if such virtues are lacking, then it will lead to misery. So, to become happy in the ocean of life one must sincerely observe our true dharma as taught by the Satpurush, shastras and mandirs. Wherever you go to live in this world, keep this true dharma with you. Visit the mandirs for darshan and devotion, and read the shastras. This will please God, who will grant you great benefits, protect you and take you to his Dham.