The Play-Way Method

Col. P. Dayal



Miss Pushpa Anand, addressed by us as ‘Revered Ma,’ is a childhood friend of my wife. I first met her in 1947, in the Kingsway Refugee Camp Delhi. She, along with many of Her colleagues was doing excellent social work. She was already known for Her achievement in sports; She later became the Director of Physical Education in Punjab University. She had won several other prizes in dramatics and in many flower shows. As a young girl, whilst skipping on a galloping horse, She had fallen and injured Her spinal cord badly. Despite this incurable physical handicap, She won championships in badminton and played all strenuous games well.

Twenty years later my wife and I visited Madhuban for the first time in June 1967. We had heard about Ma’s spiritual attainments and in this meeting I bluntly asked what had made Her give up sports and take to spirituality. She pleasantly replied that there was a close link between sports and spirituality. The latter could really be understood and practiced by the ‘play way method’. Elaborating further, She said both were games of love. Both start from “Love – All”. In sports the eye is always on the ball. In spirituality the focusing is on the Self. Her reply left me very thoughtful.

It appears that the seed of enquiry was sown in this first meeting. A few months later, I found myself in a job which involved development of the National Service Scheme and National Sports Organization for university students. Implementation of these two new programs required a great deal of consultation with experienced social workers, teachers and students. I approached Ma to guide me on this project and program. My wife and I started visiting Madhuban on almost all the holidays.

Having been an army officer for twenty six years, I equated spirituality with duty and discipline on a material plane only. But the new contact with Ma gradually revealed to me the meaning and strength of what we actually are and what we are not and how far we have yet to comprehend our inner selves.

Everybody in the Ashram welcomed us most affectionately. We felt honoured to become part and parcel of the Madhuban family in which we are respected as elder members – Tayaji and Jaiji – just because I happen to be one year older than that great doctor and saint, Dr.J.K.Mehta – Papaji of the Ashram and Chairman of the Arpana Trust. I had lost my only sister two years ago. The gap was immediately filled by Miss Sushil Dhiman – known as “Chhote Ma’ – who started sending me the ‘rakhi’. The spontaneous love and affection of all the members in Madhuban is only possible under some great force showing the light. By now, the entire large family of Dayals have become members of the Madhuban family. We have noticed much better understanding within our small families. This was made possible with Ma’s Grace.

Love generated by that Universal Soul has started permeating my hard heartedness. The desire to know myself has been kindled inside me by Ma’s play way method without my reading lengthy discourses, without visiting any temples and with no restrictions on my food or way of living. All that She did was to draw my attention to one thought – “Ma loves us intensely even though She does not like us”.

This thought became the basis of further enquiry to know how to love another person without first liking him. Ma clarified this by saying that the only real link through all human beings is the Universal Soul which is our common life current. Humanity, therefore, is one. All our differences are caused by different environments, different cultures, different personal habits, along with our attachments and complexes. In fact, we are living mostly at the level of likes and dislikes.

All my questions on National Service Scheme were answered from the point of view of generating love. Those who render help and serve with all their resources have to be humble and loving. It was made clear to me that the person who is served may have got some material benefit, but the returns given to the one who serves with humility is much more at both the emotional and intellectual levels. This is the concept of “Daridra Narayan ki Seva”. The one who serves has to have an attitude of mind of a Daridra and acknowledge the recipient as Narayan for having given me an opportunity to serve. The N.S.S. motto – “Not me, but you” was born out of this understanding.

Ma’s method of imparting knowledge is very informal. Questions are asked at all times in the Mandir, at the dining table, in the living room or even when going out with her on drives. Her play way method of making us aware of our unconscious attitude is unique. I will relate one instance of how she cleanses our unconscious of dirt and filth so that we really become good and responsible people outside. Once one of my children misbehaved in Madhuban. Ma gave me such a strongly worded dressing down in the presence of everybody that I was dumbfounded and stunned. I became very quiet and unhappy.

In the evening Ma invited me to the movies. While returning, she tried to draw me out of my depression. The first words that I spoke to her were in real anger accusing her of brainwashing. At that accusation Ma remained silent. There was no communication between us for nearly one month. I will always remain grateful to Chhote Ma for having made me realize that whatever Ma does is always in our interests. As I had built a reputation of being a good and popular man, it was time that Ma showed me my real Self. I sincerely apologized to Ma.

Ma clarified my concepts about myself by explaining that I was building a false image of goodness and was doing harm to myself by trying to pose as superior when in fact I had acted in quite the opposite manner. She proved to me how inadequate my knowledge of Urvashi was. I have yet a long way to go.

Madhuban is a Research Centre for knowing ourselves better by using the Shastras and the lives of the Prophets and Avatars as the measuring rod at all times. Seeing is believing that such a One lives amongst us who is a Universal Soul, who is all Love at all times for all of us. With these few words, I wish to offer my greetings with folded hands on this Fiftieth Birthday of Revered Ma and pray that her guiding light may remain with us for many years to come. Lead Kindly Light…

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