A. It’s a very good question, really. Let us say, there is a thread with 108 beads holding all the beads together. All beads are supported by this common thread. But now, the thread has been cut. The beads are good, no doubt, but the thread has been cut. A new thread will come up in its place. That’s for sure. This new thread will collect all the beads and string them back into one chain. Similarly, after Gurudev’s Mahasamadhi, a few mission members were feeling slightly despondent. But Swami Tejomayananda has now given them a new vision to look forward to. Vision 2001. In which the Chinmaya Mission will be celebrating Its Golden Jubilee. Thus, all the old members will work along with the new and strengthen and enrich both themselves, as well as the world around them. All the while, they will be have one thought in their minds, that I am doing this work for Gurudev. That is why, Swami Tejomayanandaji has said that everyone should feel, I am the Mission. Only then will they feel one.
Q. How much does mind control really help in achieving success and gaining a more positive outlook in life?
A. I don’t believe in mind control. It would be better if the mind were given a proper direction instead. The mind is a dynamic instrument, why not make good use of it? Give it a higher goal. Just as Hanuman directed his mind and energy towards Ram. Gurudev also had a vision – for gnana prachar – and he achieved it. All his time, power, energy, everything was directed towards it. That is called a saarthak jeevan, a successful life. He was very dynamic and that was what he has taught us all mission members. As Study Group members, we are supposed to conduct Geeta Gnana Yagnas. Similarly, if in every area people wake up then it will happen. Success will take place. Thus, it is not mind control, it is giving the mind a direction. Give it a direction. In Karnataka, one lady used to organise a yagna every year. She arranged for the money and accounts were maintained. She used to manage everything. (One has to take interest in these activities, that’s all.) When she was 45-46 years old she developed brain tumour and passed away. Everyone thought, who would conduct the yagnas now? One day, her daughter, who was not yet married, called everyone for the next yagna and carried the process on.
Q. How do we lift ourselves to such great heights?
A. We have to invoke Gurudev into ourselves. There is no other way. My sincere request to all the members, to every one of the devotees who has been inspired by Gurudev, is this. Let them take an oath. Put a mala around their necks. Everyone should chant this mantra, “Om Shri Chinmaya Sadgurave Namah”, both in the morning and in the evening. It seems, when Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa attained his Mahasamadhi, people said — now the sun has set, there is darkness everywhere. Swami Vivekananda replied, “The sun has set, agreed. We are nowhere compared to him. But in this darkness, there is a candle which says, ‘Whoever comes to me, to him I will give light.’ ” Like this, if every member says that we are nowhere near Gurudev, but if we become like candles, then whoever comes near us will be given light
Q. Gurudev used to stretch his body beyond its limits. Anything about that?
A. He would tell us, when you go to conduct a camp, take a brahmachari along with you. Don’t take more than two classes a day. Pointing to his sore throat, since it was in pain, he would say, see how I am suffering? You don’t. The care, concern and compassion in him was clearly apparent because, while he would refrain us from stretching ourselves beyond our capacities, he himself wouldn’t bother about it so much. For him, the work came first, the body second.
Q. Gurudev was also a disciple once. Would you like to say anything about his relationship with Tapovan Maharaj?
A. He looked upon Tapovanji as the Supreme. Anytime you asked him anything about Swami Tapovanam he said that Tapovan Maharaj is the Supreme Brahman. That’s all he said. But his heart and actions revealed much more, Even while sitting in Saraswati Nilayam, if someone told him that he spoke very well, he would reply “I am not saying the words, rather, he is saying everything. It is all coming from the Parampara. So, it is Gurudev speaking through me, I am not speaking.” Everytime, in every act, he would feel his Master’s presence. Whenever devotees came to offer him pada puja, before the puja commenced he would bend down, touch the silver plate, put his hand to his heart and only then would he keep his feet on the plate. If someone cared to ask as to why he did this, Gurudev would reply, “I am invoking him (Tapovan Maharaj).” Thus, the pada puja was also an offering unto Tapovanji. He never felt that it was for him.
Q. What about his plans for the Mission? What were his feelings and expectations?
A. He had a vision to achieve and he achieved it by giving out the Shastras to whoever came near him. In the Narada Bhakti Sutra there is a sutra which puts forth this doubt, “After you get the knowledge (realisation), why do you work?” And the reply is, “Shastra rakshakam, gnana pracharakam.” i.e. to protect the shastras and to disseminate knowledge. By establishing the Sandeepany Sadhanalayas Gurudev saw to it that even after him the prachar would continue. He never expected anything in return from anybody. No binding them. He just kept on teaching. Even if the brahmachari continued under a different banner. So what? He would teach all the same. He believed that the knowledge would not go waste. His logic was simple. Whoever gets it will give it out.
One man, Swami Guru Dutt, is working in Karnataka from where he runs his own establishment (by the name of Satya Yoga Pratishthan) Every year, his organisation buys cassesttes worth nearly one and a half to two lakhs frrom Chinmaya Mission, Hubli.
Once, some of his delegates approached me and asked, “Swamiji, we are going to have this function at Raichur. Will you please come and inaugurate the meeting and bless us? Please do come, Swamiji.”
When I went there, I saw that there were 2,000 delegates present. Everybody was dressed in white. It was like seeing many brahmacharis sitting in front of me. After everything got over we were waiting at the railway station and I casually asked him, “Swamiji, now that you have so many disciples, how many have you initiated into your Order?” He replied, “Around 56,000.”
“Who is your Guru?”
“Swami Chinmayananda.” He said.
There are so many more instances of this sort. How many of them are we aware of? So, you can understand how the Mission has grown? Even today, he comes with his wife and children to listen to my talks. Such is the inspiration of one man. I was shocked when he said that Gurudev was his Guriu. He was earlier a professor at NITIE and had studied at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Powai for just five months. This is how Gurudev works ! ! !
Q. How do we go about reaching Gurudev’s Vision of 2001?
A. By writing commentaries on the Bhagavad Geeta and other texts, mainly focussing on the youth, he changed their whole outlook to life. He said that the scriptures teach us the Art of Living, the Art of Man Making and how a man may successfully overcome all the challenges in his life. That is their main purpose. They are not merely moksha shastras – for liberation only, and that too, as is generally misunderstood, for people above sixty years of age. As a youth, if we can study the Geeta we will stand to benefit throughout our lives. That is the cure for the ‘Arjuna Disease’. If Arjuna could come out of it, any youth can come out of it successfully.