Gautam Sachdeva First Visited the Advaita sage Ramesh Balsekar in February 2000. Over a period of nine years, he also found himself taking on the role of a publisher, working intimately with Ramesh in the process of publishing some of his books.
In May 2007, Gautam wrote an article in ‘Life positive’, India’s leading spiritual magazine as a tribute to Ramesh on his 90th birthday. With the heartwarming response from readers to this article, and Ramesh’s suggestion to make it into a booklet, he then put down what he considered the core of the teaching as presented by Ramesh to seekers from all over the world in his morning talks.
Most of Ramesh’s books have been published from his original hand-written notes, or are transcripts of dialogues with seekers. This book is a summation of the core concepts in the “Spoken Word” of Ramesh, as if he were walking the seeker through his entire teaching in one morning talk.
This is what Pointers from Ramesh Balsekar is about. Here are pointers from one of the world’s leading Advatika sages, on how to deal with life situations, the pleasures and pains, with equanimity and peace of mind.
When Gautam told me that he had written a small book about the teaching and asked if I would like to go through the manuscript, my immediate reaction was: “Ah, at long last, it has happened!”
I had known for quite some time that Gautam was a ‘natural’ for the teaching. From the beginning of our association, it was clear to me that the teaching was more of a’deliverance’ rather than an ‘awakening’ for him.
To be told that he was more a machine than a man did not surprise him at all. And that reminds me of a story that I read a long time ago. A large multinational company had to engage a number of people at a fairly high level, and they wanted to be sure that there would not be the slightest prejudice in the selection and that the selection would be totally objective. So, they used a very expensive robot especially designed for the purpose.
One particular candidate soon forgot that he was being interviewed by a robot and, while arguing a certain point, burst out saying, “You are a fool!” The robot quietly replied, “Maybe so, my friend, but it is you who is being interviewed for the job.”
The reader, I think, will find Gautam Sachdeva’s book so tremendously rewarding that, at the end of the book, he will probably lean back, relax, and wonder: “Who’s been reading the book?!”
I remember the first time I attended Ramesh Balsekar’s talk in February 2000. I really could not understand what all the fuss was about, as all I could hear him say to the group of visitors was that everything was the will of God. I made subsequent visits over the next few Sundays to see what I had missed out, but it invariably boiled down to this. I truly wondered why people would be so fascinated by such an obvious thought, that they would come from all over the world to hear it. I kept going back Sunday after Sunday, and in the process absorbed various facets of his teaching.
It had always been apparent to me that the biggest things that moulded my life up until then had simply happened, without me playing an active role in them. I lost my father when I was fourteen. Truly, that happening was not a result of something I had done.
Similarly, another situation arose when I had to take the reins at work when 1 was twenty-four and head a staff of thirty people all of whom were older to me, or else the Company would wind up as the management had exited the business en masse to start a competitive venture. I surely had not chosen this situation either; it simply happened.
I remember, in my teenage years, when confronted with innumerable fearful situations such as waiting for the exam results, there would be anxiety and I would keep repeating to myself
1. There is no point worrying for if it is supposed to happen, then no amount of worrying is going to prevent it from happening.
2. If it does not happen, then an enormous amount of time would have been spent worrying.
Of course, while this sounded rational to the mind, at that age it did not help reduce the ‘chatter’. Rather, it added to the chatter as now the mind simply started repeating the two logical statements over and over again, like a mantra. It was clear that the understanding had to be elsewhere, other than the mind, as the mind was like a dog going round and round chasing its own tail. It was many years later, after being exposed to Ramesh’s teaching, that I understood the difference between intellectual understanding and an “understanding in your heart,” as he says.
The value of a teaching can be measured by the impact it has in one’s daily living. I found innumerable instances when exposure to the teaching consistently shifted my degree of understanding life’s situations.
To give a small example: I remember one day, a few months ago, when I took a friend from overseas and her eleven-year-old daughter shopping to a handicrafts store. The daughter had to shop for gifts for her friends, and her mother warned me that she was indecisive by nature and it would take a while, so I would be better off if I went home and they followed. I decided to stay as they needed a ride back. I was just observing the daughter going back and forth from the store shelf to the cash counter, and then back again to exchange the gifts. She was certainly not enjoying this, and I could clearly see that she was suffering as she had a frown on her face. She simply could not decide on which gift items to take. It was so obvious that being indecisive was not her doing’; rather, it was based on her genes and conditioning as Ramesh would say. Why would anyone choose to be indecisive? Compassion arose in place of what could have been irritability or annoyance, and I marvelled at how a shift in perspective could change one’s reaction. I found the mother getting stressed thinking that the child’s behaviour would make me irritable, and so now I found myself trying to reassure the mother that everything was okay. This minor incident revealed to me how the understanding could have an impact in ordinary; day-to.-day situations.
Many years later, I even got into the publishing of spiritual books by accident’ or so it seemed. There weren’t many takers for my mother’s manuscript as it was, perhaps, the first time the Kundalini experience was being explained through colour illustrations. Thus, it was perceived to be a publishing risk due to the high costs involved. Hence, we decided to publish iron our own, and that’s what gave rise to the publishing firm. Little did I know that the firm would still be around after five years, publishing other books including Ramesh’s. I remember being interviewed by a leading daily newspaper which was doing a feature on the spiritual! holistic lifestyle business. The voice at the other end of the line asked, “What is your business plan?” When I replied, “Only God knows,” he thought I was joking! When I mentioned that I truly did not know, as it was not a conventionally planned business, he promptly hung up thinking I was making light of the situation.
I mention all these incidents from my life so that you can see that in yours the big events, the turning points, had a lot to do with situations and circumstances you were presented with. If those had not happened, you would not be where you are today. Take a look at the friends around you didn’t most of them become your friends through chance encounters?
Lift happens. This is what I heard Rarnesh speak about over the next few months after my first visit. For me, the fact that we do not choose to breathe but, rather, breathing happens, ended any argument on the concept of non-doershipbefore it even began. Any concerns about the teaching being fatalistic were put to rest when I read what RamanaMaharshi had to say: “The purpose of one’s birth will be fulfilled whether you will it or not. Let the purpose fulfil itself.”
Soon, visiting Ramesh on Sundays became an endearing routine, in fact, I remember on my second visit, on seeing me again, Ramesh mentioned that I should be careful else this could become my Sunday church. And that is exactly what happened, though in this church it was clear that Consciousness was the only God. It has been eight years since I first attended his satsangs. Over this time, I have found his teaching simple, consistent, clear and straight to the point. Like he said in a satsang recently, “I will always have an answer to your question. It may not he the one you agree with, but I will always have an answer. Why?
Because I have asked the same questions that you have, and come to my own conclusions based on my personal experience.”
I used to wonder what kept me going back again and again over the years, if he was simply repeating the same thing in different ways. When I asked him this, he mentioned that it was like listening to your favourite song you never tire of listening to it repeatedly. And, this I truly felt at the bottom of my heart.
In May 2007, 1 had written an article in India’s leading spiritual magazine as a tribute to Ramesh on his 90th birthday. I was happy to see that this was well received by readers, and Ramesh suggested distributing this article as a small booklet. The idea was kept on the backburner and it was only recently that it struck me, as an extension of that thought, to write down all that I had heard over the last eight years, which could be considered the core of his teaching.
I got onto my laptop right away and found, to my surprise, that I ended up with this small book which encompassed his main concepts * and this took not more than a couple of hours. The thought did occur whether I should fall back on texts from earlier books or audio cds/dvds, hut I knew that would be an endless process and would engage me mentally as if there were no tomorrow. So, I just chose to listen to one audio cd to recall the tone of his voice in thesatsang, and then I put down what came to mind from memory.
Over the years, Ramesh has written over twenty-five books. Some of these have been directly written by him as hand-written notes, and others are excerpts of transcripts from various talks with seekers.
However, what I liked about his satsangs was the simple language that was used, and the step-by-step manner in which he guided the seeker through his concepts: short, brief sentences, one following the other to their logical conclusion. This is the same style I adopted here in order to get the true flavour of the morning talks like one of those mornings when Ramesh would end up speaking in a monologue for almost an hour to a receptive seeker. I also retained the first person dialogue here and there, as that’s the way he speaks to seekers. The emphasis in this case was more on authenticity and less on grammatical consistency.
This is what is presented in the following pages, to give you an overview of the teaching in what could be termed as ‘one satsang’ with Ramesh. You may agree with all of his concepts and that could transform you, or you may agree with some and reject the others and that could change the way you view situations in life. Or, not agreeing with any at all, you may just toss the book out of the window. But, as Ramesh would say, whatever happens is a happening that had to happen according to the will of God and your destiny.
And finally, I can picture God up in the heavens with a broad smile on his face, as Ramesh daily tells seekers that everything is His will. A teaching that attracts people from all social classes and from all over the world - lawyers, soldiers, monks, businessmen, actors, healers, nurses, artists all find, their way to Ramesh’s doorstep and find solace in destiny’s star advocate. Right from the young mother who lost her son in a tragic accident and refused to accept it, blaming and accusing the guardian in charge of the children when they went on a picnic; to a soldier who killed the enemy on the battlefield and could not live with the guilt; to a world-famous musician whose manager swindled him of his entire fortune.
Ramesh still has tremendous energy which makes him talk almost two hours daily with visitors. it’s 9 am on yet another Sunday morning. An atheist knocks on his door, enters and sits on the seat opposite Ramesh only to hear him say, atheist could not be an atheist unless it was God’s will.” Seekers come, some ask questions while others listen. The sound of the occasional car honking filters into the room from the lane below, while Ramesh makes it clear that God is in the driver’s seat.
Now almost ninety-one years of age, destiny’s child says he is ready to go home and does not care what happens the next moment. He recently quipped, “I have no regrets of the past and no expectations in the future. After all, I don’t have much of a future in any case.” And the room comes alive with laughter. Consciousness has taken good care of this body-mind instrument to deliver Its teaching through him to the seekers who come and listen. I can almost hear God tell Rarnesh, “A job well done, My son.” But then, I picture Ramesh with a naughty smile telling God, Are you kidding?!” For, he knows he did not do it. It just happened.
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