I had heard for years about a wonderful man in Mumbai that many of my friends would go see. They said that in just a few minutes sitting with him he would totally transform the way they were thinking. They said he held daily satsangs (spiritual discourse meetings) every morning around 8 am with people from all over the world attending and that when I go to Mumbai, I absolutely had to meet him.
I finally had a chance to meet Ramesh in 2003. I remember my phone call with him to set up our first meeting as if it were yesterday. The moment he picked up the phone and spoke I felt a wave of deep love come straight into my heart. I felt like I was talking with an old friend.
When I finally met him at his house he greeted me at the door and again, I felt that same familiar feeling as if I had known him all of my life. The twinkle in his incredibly bright eyes told me that I was in for a great experience.
As I sat with Ramesh it was obvious that every word he spoke was a gift, if I was open to receive it. I hadn't been sitting with him for more than five minutes and already tears were flooding my eyes. Simultaneously this incredible shift was taking place in my brain. Every time he spoke his words seemed to connect to the core of my being and gone was the mental chatter.
"I want to live in the moment so much," I told him.
"If it's in the Divine Plan you will," he said.
For much of his life, Ramesh Balsekar lived a life of commerce in the world. He is married with three children (one of whom died a decade ago). He retired in 1977 as President of the Bank of India at the age of 60.
Following his retirement, he came across a magazine article by Nisargadatta Maharaj and immediately was drawn to the teachings of advaita (non-dualism) as Nisargadatta expressed them. Ramesh began translating for the man who became his teacher, meeting with Nisargadatta regularly. With this guidance, Ramesh realized the state his Master described and after some time found himself reluctantly in the role of teacher.
Today he lives in the heart of Mumbai, India, regularly meeting with students from around the world who seek out his wisdom. Ramesh is a living testament to the fact that enlightenment is not just for those who live in caves, far from the activity of the world.
Janet: What would your advice be to the world to live a more peaceful life?
Ramesh: The world is exactly as it is supposed to be according to the cosmic law, God's will, the cosmic law.
Janet: What would your advice be to the world to live a more peaceful life?
Ramesh: To be able to live a more peaceful life the only understanding one has to have is: Everything is happening according to the cosmic law – it is not an action or a deed done by any individual entity, therefore everything is a happening and I can blame nobody for anything. Everything is happening to somebody or the other – it is not done by any separate entity. Therefore a happening is a happening according to cosmic law. Therefore I can blame nobody for any happening, neither me nor the other.
Therefore having accepted everything as happening according to cosmic law, I do not have to carry the burden of guilt and shame for my actions and I don't have to carry the load of hatred and malice toward the other for his actions. Every action is a happening according to the cosmic law and I can blame nobody. Therefore, I accept the happening as a happening according to the cosmic law of God's will and I do not blame anybody for any happening.
Because I am always free from any guilt and malice from my being, I am always free from any hatred and malice, jealousy and envy towards the other, therefore, my relationship with the other is always harmonious which brings me peace. That I think is the ultimate anybody can want in this life.
Janet: So, I'd like to ask you then, if I have the mindset that everything is as it should be, that's all I'll need in order to have peace and harmony?
Ramesh: Yes, so that you don't blame anybody for anything
Janet: It's not always easy even though it sounds easy to have that mindset, how does one acquire that mindset so it's an all time reality for them?
Ramesh: Well, your question is, "What do I have to do in order to have the total understanding that I am not the doer?"
Ramesh: Let me repeat your question – what do I have to do in order to have the total acceptance that I am not the doer? There is nothing in hell you can do because you are not the doer. It can only happen if it is supposed to happen according to the cosmic law and your destiny.
Janet: So according to the cosmic law and my destiny I will be able to own the knowledge that I am not the doer?
Ramesh: Only if you are supposed to have that knowledge according to the cosmic law, and not otherwise.
Janet: So, I said – my first question was 'how does one realize that they are not the doer', and you said, 'well you don't realize, it just happens to you.'
Janet: OK, what if I accept the fact that it's not happening to me, then there is peace in that as well
Ramesh: There is no peace until you can stick to that acceptance. Until you stick to that acceptance, yes. But if you are not able to stick to that acceptance, then the peace cannot remain.
Janet: And so therefore, and forgive me for my ignorance, but I am just learning with you right now again, is it karma?
Ramesh: No. Karma means more.
Janet: Karma – action reaction?
Ramesh: No – Karma means action. Whose action?
Janet: My action.
Ramesh: And so my whole point is no one can do any karma. Every karma happens according to the cosmic law.
Janet: Why would anyone do anything to advance peace on earth?
Ramesh: No one does anything! Therefore if, according to the cosmic law, peace is to happen in the world, whatever is necessary will happen.
Janet: Just like 9/11?
Ramesh: Just like 9/11!
Janet: Can you talk about that for a minute?
Ramesh: 9/11 as I just told you meant something bad for 5000 people. Anyone who saw the thing on the TV, saw it with horror. So a happening happened that will be known now as 9/11 which was a horror and tragedy for thousands of people. But the same happening, when Osama Bin Laden saw it on the TV, he must have fallen on his knees and thanked Allah for his doing: 'I can only hope that 100 people will die, but now I see 5000 people are dead – Oh, Allah you are great'. So the same happening was horror and calamity for 5000 people but a great rejoicing for that small group who apparently created that happening.
Janet: So my question is, if I'm not the doer, who is doing the doing?
Ramesh: Every happening happens according to the cosmic law of God's will, if you like. Every happening is a happening according to God's will or cosmic law, which ever perspective you prefer.
Janet: What perspective do you prefer?
Ramesh: I prefer both. Ordinary man will prefer God's will. He'll say 'I don't know anything about the cosmic law. But you tell me nothing can happen unless it's God's will, and that I accept'. Whereas, a physicist or a scientist will say 'I don't know anything about God and his will, but if you tell me everything happens according to the cosmic law, a law which affects the entire universe for all eternity, that I am prepared to accept." Choose your perspective. For me it makes no difference.
Janet: So all of these things that people do that they think will bring them more peace, what do you say to that?
Ramesh: They will do it because they are supposed to do it according to the cosmic law of God's will. The problem is that they think they are doing it.
Janet: Do you have any idea why its God's will or Cosmic Law for some to people to suffer and for others to live a life of heaven on earth?
Ramesh: The answer is that the very basis of life is the existence of duality, beginning with Male and Female. The very basis of life and living is duality – the existence of both the interconnected opposites; the polarity of counterparts, beginning with male and female. Not a moment on earth was there a time when only one was present and without the other. Never was a moment when only male and no female, only beauty and no ugliness, only good and no evil – Never. Every moment the basis is duality. Therefore we find healthy baby and handicapped baby, poor and rich, healthy and diseased, beautiful and ugly. Not a moment on earth when both the interconnected opposites of polarity counterparts were not present. That is the very basis of life. And the sage – the man of wisdom – has been able to accept this basic duality of life. Having accepted this basic duality of life, the sage or man of wisdom has accepted that his own being, his own personality, contains a lot of weak points – some plus points and minus points – knowing that he himself contains some minus points, there is humility in the sage, a humility which makes him accept the other also as having some weak points. Therefore humility in the sage has produced tolerance for the other. And humility and tolerance for the other makes his life easy without the burden of hating anybody.
Janet: Would you call yourself a happy man?
Ramesh: I would call myself a man who enjoys peace. My happiness consists of a harmonious relationship with the other, whatever the other, my wife or son, close relative or distant relative, or a neighbor, or a stranger. My relationship with the other is harmonious because I have accepted totally that the other is not capable of doing anything to me. Therefore there is no reason for me to hate him. And since I have no reason to hate anybody, my relationship with the other is always harmonious.
Janet: No matter what they do.
Ramesh: No matter what they seem to be doing
Janet: Because that is seen through the doer's eyes?
Ramesh: Understand me, no one is a doer. Similarly I know that I am not the doer, therefore I don't have to carry the load of shame and guilt for what was supposed to be my actions. Absence of guilt and shame for my actions, absence of hatred and malice for the other, means the presence of peace within myself and a harmonious relationship with the other.
Janet: That is beautiful. Thank you.
Ramesh: If you are praying for something, then you are not praying, you are begging.
Janet: Why do you say that?
Ramesh: What else is it? You pray for something.
Ramesh: You mean can there be a prayer without begging? Yes, a prayer can be that you suddenly realize "I'm not perfect, I don't have all the money in the world. I'm reasonably comfortable in life, not too much." But when I suddenly realize I am so much happier than thousands of people who are suffering, a sense of gratitude arises. And that gratitude is a prayer to God – thank you God for putting me in a position that I am so reasonably comfortable, when there are so many millions of people suffering. That prayer of gratitude arising is not prayer done by anybody or begging for something. That to me is a real prayer. A message of gratitude to God is a real prayer.
Janet: That is so beautiful…. Thank you.
Ramesh: A young lady is walking along the pavement. She suddenly heard the word "Stop!" So she stopped. Then the next moment a huge slab of cement fell in front of her. If she had not stopped she would have been dead. So she was impressed – she was stunned. Proceeding along the pavement, she came to the end of the pavement, then the traffic light for her was a green light Walk. She was about to walk to the other side. Again the voice came and said "Stop" so she stopped. And, although according to the message in the crossing she was supposed to cross, she didn't. And then a drunk driver came and if she had crossed she would have been run over. Now she was really impressed! So she said, 'Who are you?" And the voice said "I am your guardian angel". And she said, "Oh, you're my guardian angel, are you? What the hell were you doing when I got married!"
Janet: Oh, no – that is very good
For more information about Ramesh, go to www.rameshbalsekar.com.