Satsang with Sri Swamiji

I do not seek immortality

When I am reborn, it will be as a sannyasin right from my birth. This is my wish. Then when I am asked, ‘Swamiji, what is your age and how long have you been a sannyasin?’ I will answer, “I am thirty-five and I have been a sannyasin for thirty-five years.” Yes, a mother should bear such children and say to them from birth, “You are the apple of my eye. You are my darling. I love you very much. Follow the path of God for you are pure and free from sin.”

Such a child, born once in a hundred years, is free from the taints of the world. He can be the savior, redeemer, teacher, prophet, God-incarnate, junior god or avatara! In fact, you too should pray that you shall be born as a sannyasin and your mother should proclaim, “You are pure; you are enlightened; you are without sin, and you are a sannyasin.” The time of birth is for both the body and the soul. After all, it is useless for a man to seek immortality for the body. Perhaps the Egyptians did this, but I will not.

—Rikhiapeeth, 20 November 1994, first published in Bhakti Yoga Sagar Vol. 1

Fear neither war nor death

No culture, no civilization should be afraid of war or fear death. Only cowards and slaves talk about non-violence. Death is unavoidable. If you die on the battlefront, it brings you glory. You can also die of diabetes, blood pressure or heart disease on a hospital bed, ignobly. The Lord told Arjuna, “You must fight. If you are killed, you will go to heaven. If you are victorious, you will rule over the empire. Fight you must!” Don’t talk about war, but don’t fear war or death either. There is no point in criticizing war. Even if you condemn and criticize war, it will definitely take place. Don’t close your eyes to the inevitable, the turning point of history is war. War changes cultures, war changes civilizations; the entire polarity changes. Don’t be afraid of wars because you cannot stop them. Saints cannot stop them because nature wants wars to happen. It is only after war that many civilizations, religions, cultures and political systems are consigned to the wastepaper basket.

War is not a step backward; war is a step forward. Hundreds and thousands of people die, but death is no loss to humanity. Every death pays its own dividends in time. You are going to die anyway either from blood pressure, TB, heart attack, AIDS or something else. Death is inevitable, so why die in a hospital? Die on a battlefield. If you are victorious, well, enjoy a new society. If you are defeated, you are killed and God will take care of you.

I cannot accept this impotent idea. This is the language of impotent people. The Mahabharata war, the war between Rama and Ravana, and the First and Second World Wars took place because they had to take place. What is so great about death? In fact, what is great about birth either? Insects, mosquitoes, dogs, cats and donkeys breed, and so do humans. Why do you try to avoid that death which is unavoidable? Why do you lament over death? Even great thinkers and philosophers wail over death. Death should not cause grief. Death is the romance of life. One has to take death in one’s stride.

I am especially addressing the Indians, who tend to make a big fuss over death. When a leper dies, it is reported in the newspapers, but what is so special about such a death? If a great spiritual guru dies, then the news deserves to appear in the papers. You must take care of your culture. Make your children valiant like Hanuman.

—Rikhiapeeth, 1 December 1997, first published in Bhakti Yoga Sagar Vol. 5