To become perfect, churn the ocean of knowledge

Baba says, “In order to make yourself perfect, churn the ocean of knowledge.” 

The sign of closeness to perfection is success, explains Baba. To the extent that I am successful, I am close to perfection. Successful in what way? No matter what situation comes my way I know exactly what I need to do and do it. I don’t shake, I don’t panic, I remain stable. No matter what type of souls I come into contact with, what they say or how they behave, I don’t become influenced and come into upheaval. I am able to stay true to my original religion of peace. I am able to maintain my good wishes and pure feelings for all. Whether I receive praise or defamation, applause or defeat upon completing a task, I am uninfluenced by either. This is success. I am able to live in the midst of the world, in the midst of all the turbulence caused by the five vices and yet bloom like a lotus. This is perfection.

In order to know what to do at any given moment, in any given situation – I need to have knowledge. In fact, knowledge means understanding. I understand what I need to do. But it is one thing to have the understanding and a whole different thing to put the understanding into practice. If my intellect has stored the knowledge in it but I don’t apply the knowledge in my life situations, then this is no different from the satsangs of bhakti. There too, I hear the knowledge, say ‘true, true’ and then go back home to the same old patterns. There is no transformation. Knowledge is not only jewels but it is also enlightenment, it is also power. Knowledge is not just a study, it is also an elevated battle weapon designed to bring me success. But if I have the weapon and don’t use it when needed, then it renders the weapon useless. All children have the same knowledge, received from the same Father, but everyone becomes numberwise in being full. This, Baba explains, is due to the lack of churning power.

Churning is the basis of making the treasures of knowledge my own. To churn is to go deep into each point of knowledge and become experienced in it; it is to become an embodiment of the point. I don’t just repeat the point to myself and deceive myself into believing that I know it but rather I ask myself (1) what is the significance of this point? (2) at what time and in what way must I use this point? (3) how can I use this point to serve others? So when an obstacle comes in the form of a situation or a person, let me not just repeat the point of knowledge but actually apply it. Then, let me check: did I achieve success? that is, was I able to maintain my peace? did I upset anyone? was the situation resolved in a way that was beneficial to all? Maybe I don’t get it right the first few times, maybe I thought of the right point, that is, I pulled out the right weapon but I didn’t use the right method. That’s okay, it’s part of the process of churning. I go back and tweak my understanding and test it again and again until I get it right. This is how I become an embodiment of every point of knowledge. Then, when a similar situation comes, I don’t even have to think of what weapon or how to use it, I automatically know what to do and do it naturally. This is success, this is perfection.

But often, the mistake I make is that I think I know something and so I don’t spend time churning it, that is, I don’t spend time in the laboratory. Then, when the situation comes, because I have not experimented, I fumble. It is said: practice makes perfect. I need to practice constantly and practice over a long period of time. To think: ‘let the situation come and I will be victorious’ is misplaced confidence or arrogance. It deceives me. From each day’s murli, let me choose one point that is special to me and practice with the 3 questions above. While moving along, while performing every action, whether for myself or for service, let there be the practice of churning throughout the day. My hands may be busy with the physical task but the intellect is busy churning the knowledge. Additionally, if I can carve out some time during the day to spend in solitude, that is very good. Let me use it to go into the depths of the clarification of every point, go into its expansion and then stabilize myself in its essence.

But often, I simply recite or repeat the point to myself and then say: ‘this is done, what should I do now?’. It’s the same with spinning the discus of self-realization. I finish spinning the cycle in five minutes and then wonder what I should be thinking about next! To churn is to experience each stage and not just repeat the points: the golden, silver, copper, and iron ages, so many births, this lifespan, this much time, etc. and then it’s over! Spinning the discus of self-realization ought to make me knowledge-full and powerful. And that happens when I actually experience each point of knowledge and know the significance of that point. When I remain busy churning knowledge in this way, I automatically and easily become a conqueror of Maya. If Maya comes and I have to battle to chase her away and there is sometimes victory and sometimes defeat, then that’s not the flying stage that comes with being successful, with being perfect.

The memorial of my stage of perfection in bhakti is the image of Vishnu shown reclining on a Serpent with five heads, in the midst of the ocean. He has the discus in one hand, a lotus in another and is in a state of complete peace and bliss. By becoming a spinner of the discus of self-realization, by churning the ocean of knowledge, I am able to conquer the five vices and rest in comfort whilst living in the world. Churning makes me a conqueror of Maya and frees me from all waste thoughts. Where there is no waste and there are no obstacles, I automatically have a powerful stage, the stage of remaining lost in the love of the One. That, is perfection.

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