What are the Impediments on the Way
9 November 1967
First of all, the ladies and men should not always be thinking of the opposite sex or read such novels, lovelorn novels I would say, which give lusty thoughts. So the ladies should not think of the men and the men should not think of the ladies, nor read books about them. That develops thoughts of lust in us. When we go to a Master, we should go for the sake of the Master and forget whether we are men or women. We are all equally individuals and should not think of the opposite sex.
When somebody tells you about the Master, you become devoted, naturally attached to Him. When you do not always think of the Master, He is left aside, and the other person of whom you are thinking intervenes, whether it is a man or a woman. What is the result? Your inner progress is stopped, because you are devoted somewhere else. So the ladies and men should not read those books where lovelorn tales are given. The ladies should not think about the men nor the men think about the ladies. This is the first impediment on the Way. It does not mean that we should not love anybody. For the sake of the Master or God, we should love all who go to Him.
I was just speaking about one Majnu, who was very fond of Laila, his beloved. One day, he saw a dog and began to kiss its feet. People started asking him why he was doing this. He replied that he saw this dog sometimes going into the street of his beloved. For the purpose of devotion you may love, but it should be for the sake of the Master. Otherwise, this is one of the most effective impediments by which men are driven away and their attention diverted from a higher place to a lower one. This is one thing.
The other thing is, that if you are always reading about money and thinking that such and such a person has become a millionaire, or listen to talks about such things, you will develop greed within you.
Third, a man is known by the society that he keeps. Don't have the society of someone who is given up to these two things, because by society, you become that. Those thoughts will always be reverberating in your mind. The fourth impediment is that sometimes you think of your enemy or that such a man is against you. This always comes into your mind, again and again you think of him, and this creates hatred within you.
Sometimes for the sake of name and fame, we think that such and such man is rising in the world, that he is becoming known in the world, and you wonder why you are not. A man like this may have been devoted at first. One by one, these things that I have mentioned, stand in the way, and our devotion does not bear fruit. It is retarded and there is no progress. Anything that develops the thought of lust in you should be avoided, whether through society or by novels that you may read. You are to avoid such books or society in which people are given up to women and gold. Their society will also develop thoughts like that in you.
Further, if there is any man who has done something against you or has wronged you, it is better to forgive and forget, otherwise enmity and hatred will be developed within you. Sometimes, the desire for name and fame, acting or posing, stand in the way.
Another impediment is when somebody is devoted to you. There is one example that I will give you. Suppose that you have got Rs.100.00 or $100.00 in your bank. Whoever thinks or looks to you with all devotion sends in a debit bill against you. The one who is devoted will want a return for that devotion, whether you have got the money in your bank or not. You will become bankrupt, mind that! Those who can give something, expect something in return. Nobody can give even a glass of water to you without any purpose.
If anybody gives you sweets or something (leave aside the question of the Master – He is a Selfless Worker), he will expect something in return. Whether you want to give it or not, that is debited against you. You follow me now?
That is why all Masters say,
Earn your own money, live on your own earnings and share with others.
There should be give and take. Selfless work for the good of the Cause is another thing. For that you should not want anything in return. Only then will it become selfless, not otherwise. If you want something done, you give something. For good work, you will want something in return. So if you share or contribute, do so with no return in view, then you are saved.
So two things specially, women thinking of the men and men thinking of the women, and learning about things related to this or reading about them, will develop lust. In this way, one becomes more attached here than the place where one was attached before. These are the things that stand in the way. Our love, our devotion will not bear fruit.
Sometimes on account of name and fame, we have competition, we always think in this way. This also creates hatred within us. Sometimes we act and pose and we become that. Really you are not that, you are deceiving your own self, the God in you first, then deceive others. For how long can this continue? The cat must be out of the bag eventually.
So you should not think of the opposite sex, whether you are a man or a woman. If you always think of the body naturally you will think of the opposite sex. Christ said that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Even husbands and wives should not think of one another as a man and as a woman. They may have one duty of begetting children but that is not everything. It is mainly to have a companion in life for the purpose that both of them should reach God.
So first, the men should not always think about the ladies, and the ladies should not become too attached to the men. If you have to love one another, love for the sake of the Master, forgetting your sex.
Second, if you have the society of someone who is very wealthy and you are always in that society, then you will want that very thing for yourself. Greed will develop within you.
The third thing is that a man is known by the society that he keeps. Society develops its own quality quicker in us, no matter what sort of society it is.
The fourth thing is acting and posing, and doing things for the sake of name and fame and competition. These are the things which stand in the way of your devotion.
If you think of a man who has more money than you do, greed will develop within you. A man who is already getting $100.00 will be after $200.00. A man who is getting $200.00 will be after $1000.00. A man who is getting $1000.00 will want more money. People are always thinking of lust, women or gold. If you will just listen quietly, you will find that most people are talking of women or gold. If you have got a good companion, all the better, otherwise remain all alone with your own self, with the Master or the God within you.
If you live in this way, your devotion or bhakti, even if done for a short time, will give you more, a hundred times more results than the other way. In the other way, devotion is lost. Another impediment is that those who are not believers in God will naturally develop some doubts too within you. So avoid all these things. If you can get good company, where you can develop love for your Master or God, well and good, otherwise live with your own self.
There is another thing that stands in our way that affects all, whether they are representatives, group leaders or anybody. That is when they say, 'I am bigger than the next fellow.' They act and pose, they want to be the boss and naturally this causes hatred and results in no progress. This attitude in due course becomes like a church and an imposition. But Sant Mat, the Teachings of the Masters, is coloured through and through with humility, simplicity and love.
So yesterday, I talked about the things, that if you follow them, will bring more results in your devotion. Today, I have talked about what are the things that are impediments on the way to devotion. These are things explained and you have to follow them. The more you follow them, the more progress you will have. Sometimes you progress and then all at once you feel barren. Why? It is because something else has intervened, interfered in the way. So we have to be very cautious.
Think of God, or the God-in-man, in all your affairs. Let the needle of your compass be pointed always to the north, then you are safe. Love one another for the sake of the Master. If you love for the sake of the man concerned, this will stand in the way of your love for the Master. If you love the Master, then keep His commandments. These things are explained to you in great detail so that you may derive profit, full benefit from your devotion. A short time spent in this way will give you more results. If here and there some impediments come in the way, then your progress will stop. These practical rules are explained to those who want to progress on the Way.
The usual talks are only general, very round-about. These morning talks are given in great detail and give practical hints which will help you on the Way.