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‘Young, free and single’.

These three words best describe

the mentality of today’s youth.

They are at a delicate transition

in their lives, expected by society

to be responsible and yet by that

same society trusted with

sponsibilities or allowed to think

for themselves. It is a period

where they have to leave their

childhood dreams and accept the

realities of life. If we can learn to

trust them, to respect their views,

to treat them as the young adults

they are - and at the same time

still love them as we did when

they were children, then may be

they will be able to accept these

realities and take on the task to

improve the world we live in.

If not, they may rebel against

society and in effect, against us.

We can see Swamishri preparing

yesterday’s children to become

tomorrow’s leaders...
    Swamishri With Youth
    Far Away In Body, Close At Heart...

A debate was organised by students of the Akshar Purushottam Youth Hostel in Vallabh Vidhyanagar. The topic of discussion was ‘Shriji Maharaj is ours because...’ After a vigorous debate the judgement was left for Swamishri to decide...
    Question 7

Youths : There are many Satsangi youths in this hostel. What expectations do you have of them?

Swamishri : When Yogi Bapa established this hostel he had many aspirations, so we do not need to have any new ones. His aspirations were that the students become intelligent, honourable and lead pure lives. Also that they go on to spread the knowledge of Akshar Purushottam throughout the world.

Whenever we are entrusted with a Satsang activity we experience tension. You are responsible for the whole Sanstha and its activities, yet you remain so light-hearted. How is this possible?

Swamishri : Simply because we feel that we are not doing anything. God does everything. Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj do everything. But if we think that, ‘I am doing it’ we create more tension. When we take on a job we are not taking on a burden, we are taking up his commands. By taking up his commands, He will protect us. Whether the result be good or bad, if we can realise God to be the all-doer, we will not feel any burden. Whatever the result, it is according to His wishes so we have to endure it.

A devotee may be regular in puja, niyam-dharma, and reading of scriptures but not involved in activities to spread the message of Satsang. How pleased are you with such a devotee?

Swamishri : It depends on how he does Satsang. If he does puja daily, etc., then we are pleased with him. Many devotees don’t have the time to participate in such activities, yet when given an agna to do so they get ready immediately. Just as so many people came forward to do seva and stood up with one voice during the festivals in 1981 and 1985. Then we are pleased with them.

Is it a deficiency if one participates in Satsang activities but is not regular in puja and reading?

Swamishri : It’s a big deficiency! We must all follow agna. It is good that we have met Shriji Maharaj but along with His principles, He has also given us agna. We should have no shortcomings in following agna. A small crack in a dam can lead to it breaking and submerging entire villages. Similarly one who doesn’t follow agna will face unnecessary difficulties in life. And if we make a genuine mistake, we should repent for it by doing penance. But we should be determined to follow agna and obey the Satpurush.

When we are honoured we become inflated, ‘Wow! Look at me!’ How do you feel when you are honoured?

Swamishri : We are not capable of breaking even a papad! The honour belongs to God; we are honoured only because of Him, because we have followed His agna and pleased Him. People see us as His and so they honour us and call us. Otherwise who would ask about us? We have to become an eternal servant and strive to follow Shriji Maharaj’s agna and please the people.

Even though we wish to please the Satpurush, there may come a time when we contemplate leaving Satsang. Does the Satpurush protect us in such situations?

Swamishri : If we are sincere in our desire to please him, he will certainly protect us. There are many examples of this in Satsang. But if we only wish to look good in people's eyes or to earn praise in Satsang, then to break our wish God will not protect us. We should always keep faith in Him.

Many youths are ashamed to do tilak-chandlo. How can they overcome this problem?

Swamishri : When we get married, a chandlo is imprinted on our forehead. Do we say ‘no’ then? Rather we lean forward for it! And we don’t feel ashamed to get onto a horse in the wedding procession, do we? Whereas this is to please God. We should only be ashamed if we do wrong deeds such as gambling, stealing, etc. There is nothing wrong in this. It is a symbol of our Sampradaya. No one is going to suffer if we do tilak-chandlo. Do they lose money? So we should not be concerned whether people like it or not. Our failure to do this is our mental weakness. If people don’t like it when we study hard, will we stop our studies? Do people stop their business, farming, etc.? If they don’t like it, they can go home and go to sleep! If it is a bad thing, then there is something to be worried about. But this is a symbol of God.
Our fathers and grandfathers used to wear dhotis. Today people wear that ‘long thing’ (salwar kameez). Our fathers and grandfathers don’t like it, yet we still wear it with pride. If we are not ashamed to wear that, why should we be ashamed of doing tilak-chandlo. God has given us so much. So what is wrong in remembering God in all our activities? If we do it once, then we’ll find it easier the second time. No one has ever said anything to us. Those few like you who used to criticise us now come forward to meet us. So there is no need to be shy.

(8 August 1986, Vidhyanagar)

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