January 4, 1993: Vision vs. Management

After his meeting at NYU, Maharaj was invited to visit the office of the Inter-religious Federation for World Peace. This is a branch of the Unification Movement founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Sometimes controversial, sometimes receiving acclaim in halls of power, its many subsidiaries keep going, perhaps because of strong management and the sincere desire of the devotees to serve humanity.

Welcoming Maharaj to their New York office, Frank Kaufman, Director of the IRFWP, said to him, “We are sincerely, deeply honored to have you on our land, in our home.”

Maharaj replied, with Ralph Singh translating, “After all, we don’t feel it is your separate place. We know that you love God, so we feel welcome when we walk in.”

Once we had settled around a table in the office, Frank spoke honestly to Maharaj about the sometimes mundane nature of their work, which includes organizing large and expensive global interfaith conferences: “Our work in our office is focused on bringing all people, especially religious leaders, into harmonious relationships. So as a result of this work, our worldwide community of friends are many wonderful and saintly people from many traditions. Our staff is working day to day, and sometimes it gets to seem like it could be any work. Even though it’s for a high ideal, it’s more paper, more computer work. But by the grace of God, occasionally a saintly friend can be with us and those of us who are working day to day can recall the dream for which we labor. For this reason, honestly speaking, it’s a great and simple joy and happiness that Maharaj can be with us here.”

Maharaj assured him,

I know that love. There is no doubt in my mind.

There are two distinct things: One is thought which comes from vision; the other is what comes from the mind. Those things that come from our mind will never change the world. Those become management, whereas that which springs from vision has always changed the world. Vision is that in which there is nothing of ourself left—only that of God.

When Jesus was crucified on the cross, he said, “This is being done according to Your will, God. It is not what they are doing. That spirit which You have put in me is coming back to You. It never dies.” They tried to put it on the cross, but it is eternal. After all, Jesus is alive among us.

This is a great thing: When one turns one’s life over to God, people change in the presence of such a person. So why isn’t the world changing today? Because that vision is rare. We can buy a lot with money, but if one has vision, even without worldly possessions, people’s minds will be changed.

Think of the life of Jesus. Someone asked, “Master, may I stay the night with you!” Jesus said, “The foxes have their dens, the birds have their nests, whereas I have only the land God has given me, and the sky He has spread over my head. But come.”

God chooses the messenger and authorizes that person to speak on God’s behalf. Without that, God says, “What are you doing?” A lot of people who are speaking have never met God. That is why the world is not happy—because those who are representing God are not happy.

That is what I have sensed at these meetings. The people are not happy; they want their own fame. They want their words to go into the world.

Those who really love God are quiet; they are hiding. They say, “How can we promote God? He is so famous. He is doing everything.”

I have no doubt that the times will change, because historically, the times have always changed.  But before we go out and speak that change is coming, we must ask ourselves, “Do I believe that good times are coming?” Don’t say it until your mind accepts it. When will that answer come? After we have loved God and worked in service to humanity. Kabir said, “When the mind accepts, then only can I know God. If the people do not believe, then what can we do?” In other words, Kabir said, “I finally recognized God, but people don’t believe what I say. It has taken me so long to come to this realization, and they are not willing to spend any time at all.”

People are always wondering, “Why are the prophets always born into such a poor setting? Jesus was born in a manger. From a medical standpoint, it was a very dirty place. But he came in the midst of that dirt and brought the Light. Prophet Muhammad also came from a very poor family.

Why? God is making the statement, “I am connected with love. I have no desire for big buildings.” Look at Guru Nanak. Buddha was born into the house of the king, but he left it: “I want to live in Nature.” So Lord Buddha spent his whole remaining life in those natural surroundings. His whole message was, “Love Truth, build all your actions and relationships on Truth. Through meditation you will attain nirvana.” That was a very profound statement that people don’t understand. Nirvana means meeting with that greater force. Truth certainly doesn’t exist in people. People are always wavering. Buddha said “Truth;” others say “God.”

We should always remember: That which we do not accept, we should not take a stand for it in the world. If you are letting yourself down, what can you do for others? We are all doing good work, but we are talking about things we haven’t accepted. Our minds are very strong, but we have taken on all the sufferings in the world.

We should always remain vigilant: We should not become happy when someone praises us. Be happy when someone praises God, praises God’s Nature. Likewise, don’t become discouraged if someone criticizes you. Ignore both praise and criticism, and then you will always be happy.

I am very happy to see the management you have brought, and the love in your offices. It should be that way. I am not here to give you specific teachings, but I do want to encourage you to meditate. God is closer than our hands and feet, manifest in our heart. When we see that Light in ourselves, we will see it everywhere in the world.

I am not here to lecture you. I am just sharing with you those things I have felt myself. I have no doubt that the message of all prophets is one message. They have all come from one Place, and they return to that Place. God is both manifest and non-manifest. Sometimes God takes form and begins to speak, but that Light is always working. When people have really lost hope, that Light takes form. To recognize that non-manifest form, we must spend time in meditation.

There is no new message. People forget, and then God reminds us again. Jesus said, “I have not come to change one word of the Torah. Accept the teachings of the Torah.” Similarly, the Prophet Muhammad said, “Accept and honour all previous scriptures, and also that which is revealed in the Holy Quran. They are delivering the same message as the Holy Quran. All of my ancestors have stressed that there is One God. I am giving the same message. So I can say that Jesus is my older brother and Moses is my forefather. So when you address me, say, ‘This is Muhammad, who loves God.’ Don’t create big titles for me.”

I am very upset when people praise me. I have to ask God to forgive me and also them. We all have weaknesses and can make mistakes. But how great is the One who always forgives us and has sweet words for us. There is no bitterness in Him. His Love is very great.

Photo 06_1_1_1  Franz Feige gives Maharaj his book

Franz Feige, Executive Director of the New Ecumenical Research Association, confessed that he has difficulty meditating, but yet wants to calm his mind, to calm his emotions. Maharaj said to him,

When we are able to forget ourselves, God’s voice becomes clear to us. The whole reason we meditate is to let these things go. You have to delve into yourself deeply. In prayer we are talking to God. Perhaps we say, “You are the Forgiver of everything, the One who takes away my sorrows, the Giver.” But then we begin to place demands. Meditation is becoming silent and listening to what God says to us. Once you have heard that Voice, things can never bother you again.

Your question is very good. This is the dangerous programme that I have been talking about: People don’t listen to God and yet they preach in God’s name. So it is very important that you meditate, because you are sitting in a religious seat. First tame the desires within yourself; then you can help others overcome their desires.

Look toward God. He is so beneficent and so loving that He will take all those bad things away and replace them with good qualities. That Light in all things is also in us. It is the first thing we see when we meditate. The result of meditation is that not only do you see that Light in yourself, but also you see it everywhere you look.

Everyone should do that. We have all the material pleasures, but not this spiritual light. It is diminished. It is very important, and it is eroding day by day.

John Gehring, Director of Religious Youth Service, remarked, “Each of us has the inner spiritual power to do healing. Many of us don’t know it.

Maharaj agreed:

Everyone has that power. There is so much power within us that as we begin to meditate, that power will come forth and heal us and the land and everything we contact. This power is so great—and not just for healing—that the minute you think of what is going on anywhere in the world, God will reveal it to you, faster than the speed of light. Guru Nanak exclaimed, “Even before we can blink an eye, You have changed the whole world.” But the most important thing is that we think and accept that; then other people will move in that direction. But it is difficult, like a deaf and dumb person trying to explain the taste of sweetness. Similarly, I can’t explain God’s speed, God’s nectar, God’s action. It is marvelous beyond description. All we can do is sit in wonder and awe before You. And what is our mind like? Sometimes in that wonder we cry, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we become silent,, because God is there and there are no thoughts of anything else. So how can we speak of it? But we all benefit by whatever we can share.

God is not hiding. He is sitting in all of us. Look at how thin the veil is between us and God. Consider the finest woven cloth: That veil that separates our consciousness from God is thinner than that. But yet we are unwilling to part that curtain. That Light is within us, and yet we are sitting in darkness.

We should practice for our benefit, not for God’s benefit. God doesn’t want people running after Him.

Afterward, as we sat in the car on Broadway eating potato and spinach knishes, I thanked Maharaj “for bringing these special people together today.” Maharaj replied,

It is not a matter of pulling them here. It’s a matter of the impression God makes on them. . . . Jesus is very innocent and such a great host. He welcomes me everywhere here with his great hospitality. The first day we arrived in America, Jesus said, “You go and speak everywhere. I will speak through you.”