Baba says, ‘Sweetest children, you will become conquerors of the world by conquering Ravan. To imbibe divine virtues is to conquer Ravan. Full effort has to be made for that.’
‘The whole world is Lanka‘, says Baba. The whole world is in darkness at this time and what’s worse, He points out, is that no one even knows! All souls have been defeated by Ravan and Maya; their regime started half a cycle ago and is still going on. For proof, all I have to do is look around. People are not in control of their own lives, it’s a roller coaster, up one day, down the other. I am ruled by fear, stress, anger, depression, and all the other forms of dysfunction.
God came at this auspicious confluence age so that I could have my life back, again. ‘Ravan has completely destroyed your common sense. You have reached a very bad state and this is why you call out to the Purifier.‘ I didn’t know what was wrong but I did know something was wrong, that’s why I called out to the Father for help. And He’s here now to liberate me from Ravan and make me free.
Ravan is nothing but the five vices, He teaches me, and to conquer him, therefore, is to imbibe divine virtues. And so Baba tells me to finish anger and imbibe mercy and tolerance; finish ego and imbibe love; let go of bitterness and become sweet etc. In other words, He wants me to destroy the old nature and replace it with the new nature, the satopradhan nature. And I want nothing more than to obey. But here’s the thing: I cannot have an obedient life until I have an obedient thought life. Ravan exists in my thoughts. This is why it is said: ‘when you conquer the mind, you will conquer the world’. It is the thoughts that are the seed that then create feelings, attitudes and behaviors. It is what affects my moods and my relationships. So to fix my behavior, I need to fix my thoughts.
Baba says, ‘Manmanabhav!, belong to Me in your mind’. Many think that they can’t help what they think but God teaches me different. ‘You are the creator of your thoughts’, He says. I don’t have to receive every thought that appears on the screen of my mind and roll it over and over. One minute I’m happy and suddenly, out of nowhere, I find myself thinking of that betrayal from the past. Then, happiness turns to bitterness, resentment; lightness turns to heaviness. A moment ago I liked everyone, now, I can’t stand anyone! ‘We are at war!’, He tells me, ‘our war is with Ravan. He is the number one enemy.‘ And in order to defeat the enemy, I first need to know him well- who he is, and how he works- so that I can recognize him and finish him. And so Baba, as the Purifier, proceeds to teach me about Ravan, more like unveil him to me.
I have mental strongholds; a stronghold is a place that the enemy hides in so that he can then sneak up on me when I least expect it. My mental strongholds are places where Ravan has lied to me and deceived me over a long period of time – I might have a stronghold of rejection, a stronghold of unforgiveness, a stronghold of inferiority, for example. He hides in there and sneaks up on me in those quiet moments and plants thoughts into my mind. If I take the bait and believe his lies, I allow him to take me away from my destiny. If Ravan has a stronghold of rejection in me, he will say things like: ‘no one cares about you’, ‘you’re no good’, ‘you make mistakes all the time, when will you ever learn’, ‘you won’t ever get a good job, no one likes you’ etc. Everything with Ravan is ever and never! But God comes and tells me that everything can change when I put my faith in Him. When I get in agreement with Him, with what He’s telling me about me daily, then, everything changes, that stronghold is broken.
How much time do I spend churning what He is telling me about me? ‘Amritvela is the best time‘, He says and I have to do this, no excuses for missing Amritvela. But I have a lot of burden on my head, many strongholds- Ravan has worked hard for half a cycle to create these places for him to hide in. So just 45mins of Amritvela each day won’t do. The Father’s direction is: ‘Remember the Father while walking, sitting and moving around. You will then conquer Ravan who made you impure. You are not given any physical weapons etc. You conquer Ravan with just the power of yoga.‘ If my stronghold is rejection, all through the day: ‘God loves me unconditionally, He cares deeply about me’, ‘God doesn’t love me because of my performance, He loves me because I am His beloved child’, ‘He calls me the master of the world’. Let me learn to talk to myself. God does not expect me to break strongholds on my own, but He does expect me to do my part and imbibe the truth He is telling me about me. Let me learn to set my mind up about who I am and Whose I am and then keep it set. I cannot start strong and then as soon as Ravan comes with his storm of lies, take the bait and lose my self-respect. I have to remain steadfast like Angad– I am who God says I am and I can do every single thing that He is asking me to do. Every day that I keep my mind set, it gets a little bit easier the next day. And pretty soon, the new virtuous nature will be just as natural to me as the old behavior is right now.
Maybe Baba is working with me to break the stronghold of unforgiveness, and I decide that I do want to forgive and be loving to that person that has hurt me. Then it stands to reason that I shouldn’t sit around all day thinking about what they did to me, how unfair it was, how much I don’t like them and then expect to behave well toward them! When my thinking is negative, there is no way that I will treat them well because what’s in me is what will come out of me in my behavior, attitude, feelings and words. My thought life is therefore the bridge between where I am and where I need to get to, between the old nature and the new nature, between bondage and liberation-in-life, between hell and heaven.
‘This is an incognito war and you are incognito warriors. All you have to do‘, He says, ‘ is be Manmanabhav!‘. He is the Almighty Authority, His mere remembrance sends Ravan scurrying back to hell where he belongs. ‘Ravan has to and will be conquered by you and it will happen at this confluence age. This is why you are called the Shiv Shakti army.‘