Russia’s Special Destiny of Spiritual and Material Progress
New Delhi, June 4, 2004:
His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh, renowned visionary and spiritual leader of the farm-based interfaith communities in India known as “Gobind Sadan,” has just returned from a three-week visit to Russia in which he met not only with loving devotees but also with business leaders, scientists, and top government officials. To all of them he confirmed that his childhood visions of Russia’s future as the most spiritual country in the world are now beginning to come true, and that it will again become a great economic power on the basis of its tremendous mineral wealth.
When Babaji arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow on May 12, he was given a special Russian greeting with bread, salt, and flowers presented by children in traditional costumes. On May 13, he gave a press conference at the prestigious Dom Journalista (“House of Journalists”) in Moscow, telling a packed audience that Russians will realize their spiritual destiny if they control their minds through meditation and find God inside themselves. He was introduced by Yuriy Ageshin, the Russian President of the International Association for Peace through Culture, the charitable organization that organized the visit of His Holiness. Mr. Ageshin pointed out that when Babaji first visited Russia in 1989, he warned that the Soviet Union would fall apart if economic reforms were pushed too fast, but promised to return when Russia was ready to recognize its true mission. “That means that it is now time for massive changes,” Mr. Ageshin concluded. Before the press conference, Babaji was welcomed by His Excellency Sri Ragu Nath, Ambassador from India to Russia, and Satbir Singh, Cultural Consular of the Indian Embassy in Moscow. The well-known television personality and singer, Andrei Makarevich, who has met Babaji several times, was also present. Later he said, “Babaji is a person who comes close and feels the main energy of the universe. And when you get close to him, you also have the possibility to feel it. Art is impossible without having God inside you and the ability to feel God in the world.”
Babaji greeted many of his Russian admirers on May 14th in a packed hall in a lovely government country resort outside Moscow. In his public talk, translated into Russian by Kavita Andlay of Noida, he explained that the purpose of coming together was not to change anyone’s religion but rather to consider and develop good thoughts and to see the power of God within everyone. He explained, “God is very tender-hearted. He wants everyone to be happy. He does not feel that it is wrong for a person to go to a mosque, a church, a temple, or a gurdwara. No one religion is the best. God has made them all, and as every prophet has explained, He lives in the whole cosmos. Whatever holy place you go to, study love there. If you look through vision, you will see that God’s Light is always falling on the whole world. Some few people take it; most people leave it, not knowing what it is.”
To a rising political leader who came for a private audience after the public session on May 14th, Babaji encouraged faithfulness to the country, explaining, “The country’s destiny lies in developing good people. Russia will definitely become Number 1.”
On May 15th, Baba Virsa Singh spoke to another overflow audience on the subject of meditation. He explained, “Without dharam, no work can be done. Without dharam, there will be social chaos. If a person’s mind is uncontrolled, he can destroy entire countries.” Emphasizing concentration of the mind and cleansing it of negative thoughts, he said, “Meditation means knocking on God’s door. He will surely open it. Why go to the jungles to find Him? He is sitting inside us. When we knock on His door, His Power will come forth within us.”
Boris Grebentshikov, a famous popular singer, came for the meditation session and also spoke privately with Baba Virsa Singh afterward. Babaji described the abuses of religion by priests of all religions and encouraged him to courageously transcend manmade boundaries, speak of dharam, and sing about God’s presence throughout all Creation.
In the evening, Academician Valderia Iman Porokhova presented Babaji with copies of her scholarly Russian translation of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, which have been endorsed by top Muslim officials. She bowed before Babaji, saying, “You are worth bowing to, so that is why I have come.” He blessed her and reminded her to be sure to recite five Namaz every day.
May 16th was devoted to the subject of healing. Before Baba Virsa Singh came, Joginder Kaur of Gobind Sadan USA told of her healing from cancer with Babaji’s support. Babaji spoke of all the prophets as healers. “Some ended diseases; some transformed thoughts. Both are necessary. Some people go to temple, gurdwara, or church for 70 or 80 years but never change. Those are supposed to be places of healing. If the whole world is going to these places, why are anger and fear increasing? Perhaps they’ve been turned into schools of criticism. Now neither we nor society are happy. We must throw out Satan. When you make him your guest, he gives you all his qualities—and they are not good qualities.” By contrast, he said, “God is a great Mother. The child may do wrong, but even then She clasps him to her breast. Let us all climb into Her lap. Why be afraid of that place where there is no high or low? She welcomes everyone, of every caste, creed, and country.”
On the evening of May 17th, a film crew came from the major ORT television channel, with a scientist from Israel who posed a series of philosophical questions to Baba Virsa Singh. Babaji cautioned him, “The prophets come to give life–peace and progress. But now Jews have made themselves authorities, saying, ‘We are Number One.’ Christians say ‘Jesus is Number One.’ Muslims say ‘Muhammad is Number One.’ In our religious places we are taking what our prophets forbade. We are challenging our prophets and misleading the people. According to me, God is straightforward, not a matter of philosophy. What is His language? Love.” At the end, the scientist bowed before Babaji, saying, “I want to thank you. I want to learn so much and I have learned so much from you. I pray that it will be good for all. I’m so thankful that in my life I have met you, a Mahapurakh.” Babaji replied, “I say to God, ‘I’m just Your child. He is very literate. He’s asking questions and now I’m learning and so is he. I’m no authority. When Muslims come I say to Mohammed, ‘You please speak—this isn’t my subject.’ When Christians come, I say the same to Jesus, and when Jews come, I say the same to Moses.”
On May 18, Baba Virsa Singh was presented with the rare and prestigious Pushkin Medal for his work in promoting cultural understanding. The Medal was given to him by the President of the Academy of Russian Language and Literature. Babaji is the first person from India to have been given the Medal. Then a troupe of Russian dancers and musicians entertained Babaji and the Indian delegation with folk singing and dancing with traditional costumes and instruments, while special tea and pastries were served. Afterward, the famous and beloved actress Natalia Gundareva came forward in her wheelchair for Babaji’s blessings. She had been crippled by a stroke two years earlier and had spent the past 5 months in the hospital. Using her one functioning hand, she held Babaji’s hand for a long time, with tears in her eyes. He blessed her with spiritual practices through which the spirit of Jesus would heal her, and within a few days, there was already a noticeable improvement in her, with her ability to move increasing and her despair giving way to happiness. Babaji told the audience as a whole, “The time of darkness and conflict is gone; the time of peace has come. Eliminate fear from your mind. Love has come. You will feel it when you go home. Your country will laugh a lot, and happiness will arise. You have said ‘No God’ for a long time; now you will say, ‘One God.’ Your Father will clasp you to His breast.”
After the programme, many people stayed asking questions. They asked Babaji about methods of meditation such as raising kundalini which have made some people crazy. He said firmly, “Meditation means calling your Mother, your Father. There is nothing else that can be called meditation. Some people have made a business of meditation. But clearly understand that meditation means love—calling your Mother. Let kundalini remain where it is. The 84 yogic asanas will lengthen your life, but a person does them for years and then dies without ever meeting God. Meet Him through love and stay happy.”
Father Sergei, the Russian Orthodox priest from a nearby church, also came to meet Baba Virsa Singh after the programme on May 18th. Babaji asked him, “Why not celebrate the holiday of Moses in the church? Jesus said to turn the other cheek when someone slaps you, and to give your coat to someone who takes your shirt. Where did Jesus say, ‘Bomb them. Keep Me in a fortress’? Jesus did not make any boundaries. People made them. He is in everything. If we shut him in a fortress, what will the oceans do? What will the trees do?”
On May 19th, Baba Virsa Singh was received with full honours by the influential Mayor of Moscow, Yuriy Luzhkov, and his entire cabinet. Mr. Luzhkov said to Babaji, “One of my duties as Mayor is to widen the city’s roads. You are doing the same, except that you are widening people’s minds.”
Baba Virsa Singh was also received by members of Duma, the Russian parliament. He was introduced by Svetlana Smirnova, the Representative from Udmurt Republic and by Tyagunov Alexander Alexandrovich, Chairman of the Deputies’ Group on Relationships with the Parliament of India. Mr. Tyagunov spoke of the increasingly close relationships between India and Russia and said, “We’re very glad that such a great person has come to our country and is sitting in our Parliament.” Babaji told the Duma members, “According to my vision, now is the time that great peace and progress will arise in your country. God will support your good thoughts. Cast out fear and pressure from your minds; you have befriended them too long. Remember, the country does not belong to only one person—the country consists of all of us. For the sake of progress, everyone should work and the law should be strictly followed. Then peace will come, conflicts will end, and the country will again return to its position as a great power. You will become very strong, for Truth is always victorious. You should always fight against cruel oppression. But you’re always fighting against your neighbours. The holy scriptures say to love yourself and love others, but you are reading the scripture of Satan. When you read the holy scriptures, the light will go on and the darkness will leave.”
May 20th is the day celebrated by Orthodox Christians as Jesus’s Ascension Day, when Jesus bestowed spiritual power on his disciples and then returned to God. Babaji gave a long talk on the significance of this occasion, telling how much the people loved Jesus but how the priests of that time were against him and complained about him to the government, leading to his cruel crucifixion. He observed that it has always been the priestly establishments who have opposed the prophets of all religions and who are stirring up conflicts between people of different religions today as well. “Religion is not a matter of boundaries,” he affirmed. “My programme is that whatever is your religion, you should love it more. Jesus does not live in a church or a temple. He is everywhere. He says, ‘I have come to open all the sealed doors. I have come to tell you of the Father who is in the flowers, in the trees, in you.’ Jesus is distressed when people say, ‘He is ours.’ He belongs to the whole world. You have made a habit of living in darkness. Today Jesus is distributing Light to the whole Creation. Receive its healing and go and distribute it to the entire world.”
On May 22nd, scientists from many institutions came for a seminar entitled “Constructive Dialogue between Science and Religion.” They gave speeches about their research for several hours and then their deep questions were compiled and given to Babaji. One of these was, “Will the world ever end?” Babaji replied, “No. It has no end or limit. Those who have searched for the Creator say there are millions of suns and planets and moons. There are fourteen planets with life on them. Scientists who study them will eventually discover that there are people there. They are very progressive, more scientific and peaceful than us, more beautiful than us.”
A farewell gathering was held on May 23rd, in a hall packed with loving well-wishers. Yuriy Ageshin, President of the International Association for Peace through Culture, said to Babaji, “We have all received strength from your visit. We will all remember your teachings—for me, especially your teachings on how to live together lovingly. Whatever difficulties we have will leave and Russia will become very rich and a great spiritual power.” Babaji replied, “Understand that whatever I say, I say from vision. I ask Him who is much greater than the mind. He knows very well what is going on in the cosmos, what will happen, and how peace will arise. The sun and moon may stop, but what He has said will definitely come true. What is happening is very good for your country, and dharam will awaken in the whole world, for people have become tired of making errors. When the taste of meditation comes, other tastes will no longer appeal. These days there is a great need for love and work. Without work, your country cannot progress. God gave you a mind to study good things and support progress, and a body to work hard and eliminate poverty.” The programme concluded on a very happy note with traditional dance and music performances by highly talented children.
The final days of Baba Virsa Singh’s visit were given to private audiences with government and business leaders, to help support progress and peace in the country. The famous singer Iosif Kobzon, leader of the artists’ committee in Duma, came for his blessings and brought many presents, including a large traditional cake. Babaji said to him, “Why is there conflict in the world today? People do not follow what is written in their scriptures. The Bible never said to fight, nor did the Torah, nor did the Holy Qur’an, nor did Guru Granth Sahib. We should thank every one of God’s messengers.” Television producer Olga Babaryka came to tape an interview with Babaji, which will be followed by more filming of his practical work in turning barren wastelands into flourishing farms in India. She asked him, “Why do you carry on farming? This is unusual for a spiritual leader.” He replied simply, “I am the son of a farmer. We were poor. We had to come up from below, by the grace of God, transforming barren lands with which the government could do nothing. I kept sharing everything—the power of God, the power of hard work. I never wanted to ask anyone to give me anything. I always felt that a person of God is one who would undertake development in order to help the people. Thus langar (free kitchen) and recitation of scriptures keep going on, and the people in our communities are working 24 hours a day. Sometimes we feed thousands of people each day with income from our farming and celebrate the holy days of all the prophets on a big scale.”
Babaji continued, “If everyone were to work, no one would become a so-called ‘saint.’ How would he feed hundreds of people every night? Look how many people are sitting idle in holy places. They have great houses, cars, and rich foods, and don’t do any work. What is their relationship to God? Jesus’s dress was very simple, and his sandals were broken. A person who follows Jesus would also be very simple, would be happy sitting under a tree. Sitting idle is not religion. Religion is most loving. Its character is very high. There is no greed. A religious person sees no difference between the king and the king’s driver. There is no high or low There. I always feel that we are all brothers and sisters. As Guru Gobind Singh said, ‘Let all humanity be recognized as one human race.’
People gathered informally around Babaji again on May 30th, celebrated in Russia as Troitsa Day, the Day of the Holy Trinity. They sang and danced and then listened attentively as he explained, “Dharam is very simple and innocent—not philosophical. From a five-old-child to a person 100 years old, everyone can understand the few simple principles: Love, receive healing, see your own faults rather than looking at others’ faults, don’t give others what you don’t want for yourself. Remember that you are modeled after God. We believe that there are 84,00,000 species, of which only human beings have knowledge of all. All other species obey God’s order. But the human being doesn’t. Twenty-four hours a day he goes according to his own ideas. God says, ‘Take My form and go into the world,’ but wherever the human goes, animals flee. God told him to take love, but the human spreads fear. We should work, speak truth, and live so lovingly with others that we don’t hurt anyone.”
Several members of Duma came to the airport to say good-bye as Babaji left. One of them, Svetlana Smirnova, said, “I think Babaji is the Love, and he gives his love to many, many people. I am so happy that I met Babaji, and he gave me the opportunity to see into my soul, and to know myself. I think that Babaji gives the Russian people hope—hope for the future, and hope for themselves. And I believe that everything that Babaji said will be true. I hope and believe that it will be. I want so much that our Russian people will be happy, will be comfortable, because I think our people need it, and they deserve it.”
Mary Pat Fisher
Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion
Gadaipur, New Delhi 110030, India