Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bully for Upasaana

A conundrum we all face is to take powerful prasangs from our sanstha and make them relevant to our audience. In Made to Stick parlance - how do we tie our unexpected and simple message into something that will stick. This is compounded when we are using a story (prasang) that everyone in the audience has heard several times before. Now we need to work twice as hard to keep everyone engaged so we have their permission and attention when making our simple statement. A fellow Sabhaologist offers his ideas on how to do this with this weeks syllabus.

It's very unlikely that any of us with start an organization from scratch, build five mandirs with barely any resources, or travel from gaam to gaam in India to spread the Akshar Purushottam Upasana. So how can kishores and kishoris relate to the hardships that Shastriji Maharaj went through?  How can they connect through the harassment he was regularly exposed to?  Will they be able to contextualize what Shastriji Maharaj had to overcome to convert BAPS from an idea into a sanstha?  

One type of difficulty that everyone can relate to is being bullied.  Be it at school for how you look, the tilak chandlo on your forehead as your walking down the street, or anything else, being made fun of for a differing characteristic or belief is an experience that a majority of the population can relate to - and that's essentially what happened to Shastriji Maharaj. The unexpected and simple message is: we can all relate to bullying and this was exactly what Shastriji Maharaj went through.

Here is a video that illustrates the impact of bullying.

But what propelled Shastriji Maharaj to overcome that bullying was his core belief, what he left Vadtal for, what he wanted everyone to learn and weave into the fabric of their life - the Akshar Purushottam Upasana.  It's this core that drove his decisions, decided how he'd react, and inspired some many dedicate themselves to such a powerful guru.  

The prasangs in this week's presentation correspond directly with the thoughts that run through many of our minds when we're bullied: 
  1. Sentiments towards those who bully us:  Usually we'll feel like retaliating against those who ridicule us, but regardless how how Shastriji Maharaj was treated by others, he was willing to suffer anything to spread satsang and didn't feel ill will towards anyone
  2. How we feel when we're bullied:  A fire can burn within us when we're made fun of, but when Shastriji Maharaj was in a building that was physically on fire, his heart didn't burn with rage towards anyone.
  3. Continually remembering our core:  May times we need encouragement if bullied, but even though he was continuously bullied, Shastriji Maharaj remembered his core principles, who he had, and reminded others about their cause to stay firm in their efforts. 
So even though we may never live through the same hardships that Shastriji Maharaj faced, we still look into the eyes of adversity everyday.  When we do face that adversity, just as Shriji Maharaj explains in Gad I-74, it's only during times of hardship will our faith and true colors be tested.  So the next time you're bullied or are challenged by some type of adversity, then remember how Shastriji Maharaj reacted dealing with people who hated and wanted to kill him.  

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