(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 69
And then we come to the peculiarity of Shiva. Shiva has given an example of vairagya. Do not think of it as asceticism. Very often people think of it as an asceticism. But it is not so. Asceticism is a crude interpretation of vairagya. The word vairagya comes from tyaga in Sanskrit, tyaga means renouncing. And when it is said vairagya it means success in renouncing. Shiva showed it in his life. For years he did meditations; he stood for hours and for days; he stood on his head; for hours and for days he held his breath in; he went without food for days and months. All those things that one can do in order to master the matter and life he did.
When one hears Shiva's philosophy it is all tyaga, give it up, indifference, independence from all things, from food, water, air, breath, sky, from all things, renounce it, renounce it. And do not be surprised with all that, the best philosophy he gave was to his consort Parvati. She asked him questions, and he answered her gently. Through all his asceticism he never gave a philosophy out, he lived it, and by being an example. It was only sometimes that he opened his mouth, and Parvati took it down what Mahadeva gave. And there is always in the book there was a dialogue between Mahadeva and Parvati, Parvati took it down. That shows again balance. He was an ascetic, but he was not despising all that was beautiful and good. He was not ignorant of the devotion given to him. And it was he who told Parvati, when giving the science of Yogas, never give this science to the unfaithful, give it to the simple ones, give it to the poor ones, give it to good persons, wherever they may be, but never give it to the unfaithful. It is often and often that remark is made.
What is the attitude to the Guru? When in a Chela there is not the right attitude to the Guru, that Chela must not have the secret of life, he does not deserve it. One would think that when the Guru had renounced everything, what would it matter whether the Chela was faithful or not? He knew that what in faithfulness he will receive, that will do him good; what by unfaithfulness he will receive it will burn him; it was for the good of the Chela.
Now we come to the peculiarity of Buddha. Buddha showed the great reason, he began with reason. His parents kept him closed, secluded in a palace until he was a grownup young man, and never allowed him to see the misery of life, he was quite unacquainted with life in the world. He only knew his servants, the royal comforts that he experienced in the palace. And there comes one day when the father says: 'Now he must go out, how long shall we keep him in captivity?' The first day when he goes out he looks around and says, 'What is this?' They said, 'He is a blind man, he cannot see.' 'And what is this?' 'It is a poverty-stricken man, he has no money.' 'What is this?' 'This woman has a large family to look after, it is a great responsibility.' 'What is this?' 'It is age, which has its trials.' 'What is this?' They said, 'they are the heroes who fought, now they have become wounded, now for the whole of life they are in this condition.' He looked at it all and he said, 'Is there no remedy for it?' 'There are remedies, but remedies are limited.' It is this first experience of life that gave him a blow. With that blow his soul was wakened, and he began to think, how can they be relieved of all the different kinds of miseries.
The whole life of Buddha was devoted to find the remedy to relieve humanity. He thought of things, examined different aspects of life, consoled and served people, every moment devoted to find the remedy to relieve humanity whatever way it can be. In this pursuit of relief he found out the same mystery, the mystery which all the great prophets and souls have found, and that mystery was self-realization. That all the religion and meditation and philosophy and wisdom, everything led to one object and that was self-realization. That was the remedy of all remedies, and nothing else. Give the poor money, they will be poorer still.
After that Buddha had to renounce the comfort and the happiness which God had given him, and go out as a physician of the soul to console humanity. The whole of life was passed in it. And those inspired by the glance, by the words, by the presence, by the atmosphere of the Master, they spread it still more, till it became the Message of the world. Today half the world is benefited by it, and the whole world is benefited by it indirectly.