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Not a Slave. Be Yourself!

By chance, while cleaning up my mailbox I came across this sound file of a special class by Babaji Maharaja about a beautiful lesson of Lord Buddha from which we all can draw renewed strength and encouragement for our daily practice. Enjoy reading!

Not a Slave. Be Yourself!
HH Shri Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja
From a class in France)

There is this famous story in the life of Buddha:

Lord Buddha was passing by through a village. We may not know this, but he also had many enemies. We only know that Buddha was a great realized person, he was avatara and he had many followers, he was giving lectures. But we don't know that he also had to struggle. He also had to face opposition.

He was supposed to give some sermon, some lecture in that village, and there was one man who hated him. Maybe that man's son had become a follower of Buddha and naturally he is upset because his young son has become Buddha's disciple. So this man decided that when Buddha comes, “I am going to insult him, I am going to give him abuses”. When you are angry at somebody and you want to meet that person and speak to him or her, you make a big program in your mind, what you will say and then this person will speak like this and how you will reply to this and then that person will reply this and you will reply like that. So you have all the arguments set up in your mind. And you rehearse these arguments many times. Day and night these arguments will go in your mind till you meet the person. Because you are angry. He was also making many arguments in his mind.

When Buddha arrived, he walked very peacefully into the village and this man came and started abusing him,

You are a rascal!
You are a nonsense!
You are … !!!

And this man had no other experience than that when you go and abuse somebody, that person will also abuse you back. So he was expecting that Buddha will say that, “Why do you say like this? I am not like that ...”, and in that case the man had arguments to prove why he thinks he is a nonsense, like “You are just going around not doing anything, and you are living on others' donations, you are so fat ...”. All kinds of things he had in his mind. But Buddha when he heard these abuses he just listened to him. So this man was expecting a return. This verbal fight is like a tennis game, you hit the ball in the other's court and then you expect that person to hit it back and you want to smash it again, and this is the enjoyment of fight. The enjoyment in fight is when the other person is giving response to you. Suppose you play tennis with somebody and the other person does not hit back [audience is laughing]. How do you play?

Buddha did not say anything. He kept looking at him peacefully, there was no change on his face. Because sometimes even if you don't say, you get angry and you express it in your face – that also gives pleasure to the other person. So he remained completely peaceful. Now, if you abuse somebody, you cannot go on abusing, you abuse half a minute, one minute, two minutes, after that all your abuses are over, unless you want to repeat again [all are laughing]. Because you cannot invent so many abuses. When Buddha did not say anything, this man stopped.

Buddha: You have anything more to say?

This man did not know what to say now, because all his plan failed. The big plan which he had in his mind that “I am going to say this and he will say like this and then I will smash him like this ...”. Like in tennis game, “If he hits a stroke I will hit the volley …” There was nothing like that. The man didn't know what to say, so he asked Buddha,

Man: I have given so many abuses to you, why don't you say something? Why are you not getting angry?

Buddha: I am not your slave, I am my own master. If I get angry at you, then you can come anytime and make me angry. That means you become my master. Then there is no peace for me in my life. Because there are so many people, they can come and make me angry anytime.

So Buddha said, „I am the master of my own life“ and „I don't depend on others' comments good or bad. You can praise me, you can criticize me – it is up to me what I want to do. My action is not dependent on your criticism or on your praise.“ In other words, „My life is not dependent on others' comments“. The man was very shocked to hear this.

Man: But what about all the abuses I gave you?

Buddha: Thank you for your abuses, but I don't take them. You are giving, but it is not necessary that I take.

Man: Then what shall I do now?

Buddha: Suppose you brought some sweets for me, and I don't accept the sweets. What will you do?

Man: Obviously I take them back.

Buddha: And what will you do with it?

Man: I will distribute them to my children. 

Buddha: Ok, now I don't take your abuses. Take them back and distribute them to your children. [audience is laughing]

Obviously, this had a very great impact on him. Next day he came and now his whole mind had changed, he said, „Buddha is really great, he is a saintly person“ and he fell at his feet.

Man: Please forgive me!

Buddha still looked at him and he didn't say anything. So this man was surprised again [Babaji laughing].

Man: I am asking for forgivence and you are not saying anything?

Buddha: What do you mean, you are asking for forgivence? Forgive you for what? I can forgive you if I was upset with you. I already told you that I don't take your abuses. Whether you fall down at my feet and you sing songs in my glorification, or you abuse me – these things have no influence on me. For me both are same. When you came yesterday and you abused me, I did not think that I have to do something to take revenge or get angry at you 0r upset. And now you are coming and falling at my feet and asking for forgivence. Now also I don't think that I have to do anything. It is still your problem, first you are angry at me and now you are not angry and you are feeling repentant. So it is something which is related with you and not with me. Why shall I be bothered about it?


Babaji Maharaja continues:

This is
what it means
to be Yourself

This is
what it means
to actually act and not just react
In our life mostly we are reacting

We are doing things
because somebody did something
We are even having our hairstyle
because somebody has a hairstyle like that
It is not for myself

I am just reacting
all my life

Only when you have control over your mind and, then you can act. Otherwise, all our life is just a chain of reactions, although I think that I am somebody, I am free, I am independent, I am the master, I am the controller … none of these things. Anyone who does not have control over one's own mind and senses is just a slave. Slave is not what you read in the books about those slaves who came from Africa and who were sold on the market. Everybody is a slave if one does not have control over the mind. Whether they are called slave, whether they are sold on the market, it does not matter.