सब राज़ी खुशी है? (“Is everyone happy?”) यह भी कोई पूछने की बात है? (“Is this even something to ask?”) Accha! बाबा याद हैं?
Baba often says, ‘Make your manners royal’ but what does He mean?
When someone speaks about manners, we immediately think that refers to culture or the level of sophistication etc. But is this what Baba wants of His children or does He mean something different? Baba is The Supreme Teacher and He expects us to learn and remember only that which He teaches us…..a course on ‘how to be cultured and sophisticated’ is not part of His curriculum!
So then what does He mean by ‘manners’? When someone comes up to me with a question or to tell me something, do I greet them with a warm smile? When someone on my team, in my family or anyone else for that matter does something nice, do I take the time to applaud or acknowledge a job well done? Or do I simply walk away without even giving it a thought? After all, it had nothing to do with me and therefore ‘what’s the big deal?’
Manners is not about knowing your forks and knives or about how polished your vocabulary is. Instead it is something much deeper. It is about conducting myself in a manner that is respectful of me and everyone else. It is about conducting myself with humility. When I am on the receiving end of that respect, I feel as though something deep within me has been touched and honoured. And frankly no one deserves anything less!
When someone says ‘Om Shanthi’, do I take the two seconds to look up and make eye contact before I return the greeting with the awareness of who I am or do I simply return the greeting without looking, just as a reflex action? When someone asks me a question more than once, do I take the time to explain again, perhaps a different way or do I feel irritated or frustrated? I might not show it but I feel it inside. Is that any better? At the end of the day, in this spiritual study, how I feel inside is who I really am. When someone says something that sounds inappropriate or perhaps does something a certain way, do I find myself judging almost naturally? Do I find my thoughts change to “Well, I’m not sure if that was the right thing to say? For someone with his experience I expected more maturity” or “There she goes again. Some things just don’t change!” When Baba found me, had He judged, I wouldn’t be here today. Instead of feeling irritated when I fumble over and over again, He chooses to simply be there to offer a helping hand each time without saying “I told you so”. He offers me His guidance in different ways so I understand better. His mind is only filled with powerful thoughts that uplift, good wishes and pure feelings. “Yes, it is you I want”, He says despite my failing the same test for the 100th time. “You have been victorious countless times before and you can do it again”.
And so when I delegate a task to someone else, do I do so with the powerful conviction that this soul can do it and will do it? Or do I do so doubting her capabilities and thinking to myself “I hope this is not a mistake! I better have a plan B”. When an important task gets assigned to someone new on the team or someone junior, do I let that influence me and wonder why he or she deserved to get the job? Or do I follow Baba and congratulate the soul along with offering my assistance with the task. While I might not see it, the faith, trust and good wishes I have for a soul moves the soul forward. If something is my own duty, then I do it with sincerity and when it comes to someone else’s task, my duty is not to judge or look over their shoulder doubting their ability but rather, it is to have faith and best wishes for that soul.
And then there are little things we do that appear harmless…in fact they don’t even register but have an important influence on my becoming and remaining soul conscious. How often do I sit around the dining table and eat in silence with Baba? After all as He reminds us time and again, we did promise that when He gets here, we would do everything with only Him! Do I eat my meals while chatting non-stop and laughing at jokes or a funny comment about someone else? When I go to bed at night do I remember to say Good-Night to my Father or do I just crash? In the same vein, do I remember to say Good-Morning when I wake up each morning and talk sweetly with Him when He visits me at Amritvela? As Baba says, the greatest hospitality I can offer Him is remembrance! He visits me on time, each morning without fail from the far away land. The least I can do is remember He is in front of me! Imagine the feeling if the person I am visiting simply dozed off as I am talking to them?
When my Supreme Teacher is teaching me the knowledge to transform me from a mere human being into a deity, do I listen intently or do I allow my mind to wander? Do I even show up to class on time or waltz in after the Teacher has arrived and started? Would that be a show of respect even to another human being…let alone God Himself?
I realize that in order to be a well-mannered person the way Baba describes it, I need to first be aware of who I am and whom I belong to- God Himself. When I constantly stay in that awareness, I respect myself and thereby everyone else. On the same token, when I am ill-mannered, the one I am disrespecting the most is myself and my Father.
And I simply don’t have a right to do that.