Bharatiya Culture has world-wide presence since it can correct and canalise the human emotions and motives along healthy productive routes. It is sacred and it can establish peace and joy in the hearts of all. It seeks to strike roots into life through the mothers, and the children on their laps. Women have been its custodians and promoters; men have a secondary role. And, among women, the young students who in the coming days will become leaders must become examples whom all women will wish to emulate; they must understand and practise this culture, so that it may be preserved and it may flourish. The keenness to acquire education is now very evident among the daughters of the nation, and so great hope can be placed on them, in this field of reconstruction. Education must be for life, not for a living. Women have proved throughout the centuries in Indian history that they have the courage, the vision, and the intelligence needed to dive into the depths of spiritual science and discipline.
Home is the temple where the family, each member of which is a moving temple, is nurtured and nourished. Mother is the high priest of this house of God. The centre of every home must be the shrine; the fragrance of flower and incense emanating from there must pervade the home and purify it. Mother must set an example in making the shrine the heart of the household. She must enforce discipline over children in personal cleanliness, in humility, hospitality, good manners and in acts of service. She must persuade children to revere elders by example and precept, and to allot some time both in the morning and evening for prayer and silent meditation. Humility is the incense with which the house is filled. Reverence is the lamp that is lit with love as the oil and faith as the wick. I bless you that through your faith and strength, devotion and dedication may increase in this land.
When you step into a house and on the walls of the shrine room you see a picture of Mine, do you not feel a wave of reverence and kinship surging within you? You may not like that person for any other reason, but this picture will bring them closer to you though the owner of the house may be your rival in the professional field. Even the person, whom you were treating as your worst adversary has the selfsame light in their innermost heart as yours! Know that every other person has in their heart of hearts a picture of the God you revere. Recognise it and reconcile your misunderstandings; close up all gaps and be brothers and sisters in pilgrimage, encouraging and inspiring each other along the arduous road. In the glory of that all-enveloping Light, all hate and envy, which are the evil progeny of darkness, will vanish. Know that the same light is in all.
The emperor of the Cholas sought to visit the Srirangam Gopuram temple, of which he had heard much. He got his chariot ready and moved forward many times in six months; but every time a recluse in ochre robes with a rosary around his neck and a halo around his head intercepted the vehicle. When the emperor alighted to honour him, he kept him engaged in conversation which was so enchanting that he forgot his journey and its goal. One day, when he lamented over his failure to fill his eyes with the glory of Srirangam, the Lord appeared before him and said: “Why do you lament? I am the Master who came to you so often as soon as you set out for Srirangam; recognise Me in all, that is the genuine pilgrimage to Srirangam.” Consider all whom you meet as the Lord of Srirangam, your Master. Show untarnished Prema (love) towards all who come to you.
How long can you stagnate in the same class of devotion? Have you no wish to get promoted to the next higher class? In devotion (Bhakti), there are two classes, Sahaja-bhakti and Vishesha-bhakti. Sahaja-bhakti is satisfied with puja (worship), vrata (observing ritual worship), bhajan, namasmaran, (group singing, remembrance of Lord), pilgrimage, etc. Visesha-bhakti craves for purity of character, suppression of impulses, control of the mind, practice of daya, prema, shanti, ahimsa (compassion, love, peace and nonviolence), etc., and inquiry into the why and wherefore of man. It is a matter of shame that people stick to the same class of sahaja-bhakti year in and year out. When you clear these two, there is another higher class named Para Bhakti (Seeing God everywhere), too. Cleverness can correct and solve external problems; concentrated sadhana alone can correct and solve the internal crisis fuming within.
There is a vast difference between India five centuries ago, and India today, in the field of sense control. Today senses are allowed free play; every human being is a slave to greed, lust and egoism. The fault lies entirely with parents and elders. When children go to temples or religious discourses, they reprimand them and warn them that it is a sign of insanity. They tell them that religion is an old-age pursuit; it should not be taken seriously by youngsters! But, if only you encourage the children, they can equip themselves better for the battle of life. Every parent ought to advise their children: “Be convinced that there is God, guiding and guarding us. Remember Him with gratitude. Pray to Him to render you pure. Love all, serve all. Join good company. Visit temples and holy men.” Campaign against the temptations of the senses, conquer inner foes and triumph over your ego. That is the true victory that deserves celebration!
Some people are envious of the high standard of living experienced by people living in rich nations, but the poverty of India is much more congenial to the good life than the luxurious and vainglorious life of the west. The sea has a vast expanse of water, but can it quench the thirst of man? Similarly, however much riches and comfort a person may possess, if they have not cultivated detachment, all they’ve accumulated is but sheer waste. Detachment from sensual pleasures and objective pursuits helps the growth of Love towards God and the Godly. When you realise that God is in you, you will value yourself much more, for when you know that the piece of ‘glass’ you picked up is diamond, you will secure it in an iron safe, isn’t it? Similarly know that each one of you are carefully carved by a sculptor to become a charming idol of God, and conduct yourself accordingly.