“Master, please tell me how I can conquer lethargy.”
“Do you find it very difficult to get up in the morning and meditate?”
“Yes, Master, I have to admit that it is a problem for me.”
“My child, you know that there is something called fear. Once we have come to the spiritual life, it is of paramount importance to conquer fear. If we don’t conquer fear, then we cannot make any progress. But, on the other hand, sometimes a kind of fear can be of help to us. Let me explain what I mean.
“Before we accepted the spiritual life, we had nothing. Now that we have accepted the spiritual life we have something, but we feel that this thing we may lose at any moment. This feeling is what I am calling fear. Do you understand?”
“Before, when you were a beggar, you worked and amassed some money. But now you are not working, you are just using the money that you have already earned. Naturally, this money may one day be all used up.
“You have to be very alert and conscious. If you don’t get to work by nine o’clock in the morning, your boss has the right to fire you. When you have accepted a spiritual path, you also have a boss and a job. The boss in the inner world is your Inner Pilot and the job He gives you is to pray and meditate. If the Inner Pilot sees that you are not getting up early in the morning to do His Job, that is, to pray and meditate, then He may dispense with that job and take away your inner wealth, which is the aspiration He as given you. When you lose your outer job and no longer get any salary, you are at the mercy of others. And when you don’t have aspiration, you are at the mercy of ignorance and all the hostile forces. Wild ignorance will lord it over you, and then you will be totally ruined. Then you will feel that nobody is a worse beggar than you, that you are helpless and hopeless. Why do you have to become hopeless and useless when once upon a time you were aspiring, running and realising?
“Five or ten years ago you didn’t have this aspiration or inner wealth at all. Now you have it, but if you do not continue to earn it, then you will use it up and your supply will run out. But if you have some fear of losing your inner wealth, you will try your best to keep it. This is not ordinary fear, like the fear that somebody may come and strike you, but rather a feeling that you may lose something that is most precious to you.
“We have come into the world to gain something, but not in the ordinary human way of amassing possessions. We want to increase our inner capacity and potentiality; we want to make progress. If, when you first entered the spiritual life, you were able to get up early in the morning to meditate, but now you can’t, this means that you are regressing. If two years ago you were able to get up at six o’clock, now you should get up at five o’clock. Then a few years later you should get up at four o’clock. This is progress.
“You may wonder how it is possible that a person who could once aspire and run towards the goal can all of a sudden lose his capacity. It is possible just because he has made friends with idleness, with ignorance, with darkness. If you mix with lethargy, an idle fellow who says, ‘I won’t get up’, you won’t get any inspiration from him. Again, if you make friends with sincerity, sincerity will immediately press you onward. Sincerity will create in you an inner urge to get up early in the morning and pray and meditate. But if you are not sincere, then immediately dark forces and ignorance will give you their lethargy.
“The spiritual life is not like the ordinary life. In the ordinary life, if you have come to a particular point and do not want to go further, you can just stay there. But in the spiritual life, if you have come to a point and then do not continue ahead, you cannot remain where you are; ignorance will pull you back. In the ordinary life, if you have come five steps, you can stay there for three months and then, if you want to continue your journey, you can. But in the spiritual life, if after taking five steps you wait for five days, immediately you will be pulled back to your starting point, because ignorance is only one step behind you all the time waiting to grab you. In the spiritual life, my child, you always have to be on the move.
“You were staying with ignorance, but then one day you left while ignorance was sleeping. As soon as ignorance woke up and saw that his friend had left, he started running after you. So all the time he is running, running, running behind you, but he finds it difficult to catch up. However, if you stop to take rest, he will come and grab you and say, ‘Where are you going?’ On the other hand, if you continue running, then you will be able to reach the goal one step ahead of ignorance. And once you touch the effulgence of Light and enter into its flood, ignorance won’t dare to come near you. As soon as he sees the Light, he will be blinded. Then he will go back to his home to see if there are others still sleeping at the same place, and he will make friends with them.
“There is a saying in the Sanskrit scriptures: Charai veti, ‘Move on, move on!’ This was the realisation of our Vedic seers. If you don’t move on, you will be caught by ignorance. So always be alert, cautious and careful, and move on, move on, move on. If you move on, one day you will reach the Goal, where ignorance will not dare to touch you.”
30 July 1974