A few years ago I visited for a while a what I call ‘happy church’ in Amsterdam, one with pentecostal traits. My expectation, or better my hope, was that it would kind of help annihilate some of my bitter memories of going to church in my childhood.
For decades I didn’t go to church and it was, alas, as if nothing had changed.
For sure, on the surface it was a more happy church than the one i was raised in, but under the surface I still felt what I know so well from childhood: we are born sinners and have to beg for the mercy of what we consider to be God.
Soon I gave up going there, and for some reason I kept in touch with the pastor of the place. (Which for me is the much appreciated side effect of my going there).
After a series of conversations we reached a mode of mutual understanding,
and yet there is something that keeps us from going deeper, into real investigating the here and now. I remember the moment that that happened: he said something like ‘what you say makes sense to me, but from what I belief, I can not go along with that’.
Once in a while I remind us of this fact and we go on exploring the ocean, staying close to the shore of it.
And here I am, in this Ashram where they apparently make so much money that they can build a whole series of guesthouses with a lecture hall and and and.
On the cane mat around the building site is a text by the swami that I happened to read and I like it. Not in the least because he words, without doubt and on a high level of generalisation, what happened in my youth and what happens in the conversation with this pastor: Questions limited allowed and the why of it.
I give you the quote and for all to read this text, that is also in the brochure of the building project.
“…..when most religions start with the assumption or the un-questionability of their own existence, how can they ever teach to question anything at all!”
(pictures come later)
The time has come to settle down in one place and to continue doing the best I can do – sharing the Self-Knowledge.
That phase is over where I was personally involved with the initiating and developing the educational institutions, orphanages or some such establishments. Now, that shall always continue, but others will be there to keep it going. There shall be always the need for those types of institutions as there is too much poverty and deprivation around.
But, there are, not equal, but more number of people going through the Poverty of Knowledge – the absolutely liberating, graceful Self-knowledge. In fact, if there are millions among the billions of humanity, who may be born to riches and physical comfort, there is absolutely no human being who is ‘Born’ into total Self-knowledge. Yes, everybody ‘IS’ Immortal, all Bliss, the Total Existence – call it Divine if you choose, but not a single human being is aware of that from the birth.
The ignorance of both kinds – about the creation around and, most importantly, about the individual himself, afflicts the entire humanity. Long before, one is aware of one’s own self, and becomes curious to know one’s own nature, one is already curious about the creation around. That is where the secular education, dealing with the objective knowledge, has gained deserving importance.
But, most people in the world are yet to wake up to the fact that the relative knowledge about the world apparently adds to the ignorance about one’s own self. Even most religions, theologies or the exotic spiritual practices are moulded to entertain the ‘individuality’. They “do not” challenge or question the practices and the practitioner, the religion and the follower.
That is why the poverty, in the form of ignorance of the Self, vitiates the so called prosperity brought about by the objective, secular knowledge. That also vitiates the so called religious atmosphere as the religions are more the providers of special identity to the followers and those never ‘challenge’ the individual. In fact, when most religions start with the assumption or the un-questionability of their own existence, how can they ever teach to question anything at all! They only discourage the questioners, the challengers by branding or condemning them as heretics, non-believers, their freedom is thus stifled at the outset and the poverty of knowledge, the Ignorance continues.
Hence, the need to focus on the Self-knowledge, the Atma Vidya. So that the poor and the rich of the secular world, but both, orphans in the corridor of Self-knowledge, wake up to the Native Prosperity in their own Being!
I have now decided to focus totally on that. After much deliberation, I have decided to settle down in Tiruvannamalai and develop the place to facilitate the teaching to the students from around the world.
We wish to add another complex to the existing facilities with 32 single rooms, a lecture cum yoga hall and the dining facilities. This will facilitate not only the camps by different people for the Ashram to get some revenue, but also our continuous regular classes in the existing facility.
You have been always there in helping in so many ways in many projects. I wish you to be there to make this dream project a reality within a year beginning July 2011. As I said, thereafter, I will not initiate any project. But the projects that we already initiated can keep multiplying any such institutions if they wish or if they are capable.
My focus now is only Self-knowledge – the eternal need and the fulfillment of Humanity – for now and forever. We must have the students who shall perpetuate it from generations to generations!
With God’s grace, let us do it!
Tiruvannamalai (on the roof top)