1. Man and God1Man and God are eternally one. Like God, man is infinite; like man, God is finite. There is no yawning gulf between man and God. Man is the God of Tomorrow; God, the man of Yesterday and Today.
As God is in Heaven, even so He is on earth. He is here, there and everywhere. Each human being has a "God" of his own. There is no human being without a "God". The superb atheist does not believe in God. But fortunately he believes, rather unfortunately he has to believe, in a certain idea, some concept of order. And that very idea, that concept, is nothing but God.
Freedom, an absolute freedom, must be given to each individual soul to discover his own path. Mistakes along the path of spirituality are not at all deplorable. For mistakes are simply lesser truths. We are not proceeding from falsehood to truth. We are proceeding from the least revealed truth to the most revealed truth.
Until we have realised God and have become one with God, we have to call upon Him as Master, Guide, Friend and so on. According to our relationship with Him, our attitude toward Him may vary. This is of no consequence. What is of supreme importance is to feel that we love God as our very own. In our sincere love of God, we shall be inspired spontaneously to worship Him. Here we shall have to know which kind of worship is for us, that is, which kind of worship is in harmony with the development and inclination of our soul.
The realisation of absolute oneness with God is the highest form of worship. The next in the descending line is meditation. Lower is the seat for prayers and invocations. The lowest form of worship is the worship of God with things mundane.
When I think that the flute and the Flutist are two different things, I think of myself as God's servant and Him as my Master. When I feel that the flute has a part of its Master's consciousness, I feel that I am God's child and He is my Father. Finally, when I realise that the flute and the Flutist are but one, the Flutist appears as the Spirit and I as Its creative Force.
Man has to realise God in this body here on earth. India's greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, said:
"If your bonds be not broken, whilst living, what hope of deliverance in death?
It is an empty dream that the soul shall have union with Him because it has passed from the body;
If he is found now, He is found then;
If not, we do go to dwell in the city of Death."
Sisters and brothers, do not sink into the abyss of despair, even if you have at the moment no clear aspiration for God-realisation. You just start on your journey, upward, inward and forward — upward to see God's Dream, inward to possess His Dream, forward to become His Dream. This dream is the dream of absolute Fulfilment.
Countless are those who launch into the path of the inner life only after receiving innumerable blows or after wandering wide in the deserts of life. He is indeed happy and blessed who places his body, mind, heart and soul, like flowers, at the feet of the Lord before the advent of blows. It is true that the teeming clouds of worldliness cover up our yet unlit mind. It is equally true that the volcano of the seeker's concentration and the hydrogen bomb of his meditation can and do destroy the clouds, the age-long mists of Ignorance.
May I say a word to those who are married and have great family responsibilities. To your utter amazement, all such responsibilities will become transformed into golden opportunities the moment you try to see God in your children, the moment you realise that you are serving God in your self-sacrifice. To fulfil the husband, to raise his consciousness into the realm of the Spirit, to found him divinely in the boundless expanse of Matter, the untiring and spontaneous sacrifice of the wife has no substitute. To inundate the wife's soul with the Peace of the Beyond, to beckon her heart to the ever-blazing Sun of Infinity and to transmute her life into Immortality's song, the husband's promise has no substitute.
And those who are single can rest assured that they are singled out to run the fastest along the spiritual path. Inseparable is their aspiration and God's Inspiration.
When we men try to see deep within, when we try to live an inner life, we may encounter difficulties all around. We cry out: "Look, God, now that we have turned toward You, we have to take so many tests!" Finding no way out, we get perturbed. Now why should we do that? We should try to recollect if we were sunk deep in worry and if we had passed already through the valley of the shadow of death before we entered into the spiritual life. It cannot escape our remembrance that we have endured misfortunes in our lives. In the past we craved for worldly objects. Hence restlessness dogged our minds. Despondency proved to be our constant companion. Now we are at least in a better position since we have the capacity to recognise the ferocious tiger of worldliness. Let us take restlessness and weakness as tests. Why should God test us? He does anything but that.
He, being the Merciful, warns us of the imminent danger. Suppose we take the difficulties as tests; then to pass the test, we shall have to pray to God. Merely by thinking of difficulties and dangers we can never pass the examination. To pass a test in school, we have to study hard. Similarly to pass an inner examination, we shall have to cultivate more of sincerity and kindle the flame of aspiration.
During meditation the aspirant has to be very careful. At times the mind wants to indulge in certain worldly and emotional ideas and thoughts. The aspirant must not permit the mind to do so. During meditation everything is intense and, if the aspirant indulges in evil thoughts, the effects become more serious and more dangerous. The aspirant grows weaker the moment the mind becomes a prey to self-indulgent thoughts. It is the very nature of our lower mind to deceive us. But our tears and the mounting flame in our heart will always come to our rescue.
Man and God are one. All men belong to the same Family. We are all one. A genuine seeker must not listen to the absurd arguments of sceptics. They don't have even a pennyworth of spiritual knowledge. They are unaware of the fact that they are unconsciously making a parade of their naked stupidity. They say: "If we all are one, then how is it that when you have a headache, I don't? When my hunger is appeased, how is it that yours is not?" In reply, let us ask them if, when they have a wound in the leg, and, after some time, they are no longer conscious of it, then does it mean that there is no wound? Likewise the universal consciousness is within us all. If we are not conscious of it, that does not mean that it does not exist. I have a body of my own. Do I feel pain in my leg when my head suffers from a headache? No. But if I am aware of the Divine Consciousness which pervades all my body, undoubtedly I shall feel the same pain all over my body. Here the individual soul is my head and the collective soul is my whole body. To feel the entire world as our very own we have first to feel God as our very own.
Good Friday, 8 April 1966. Held at the home of Sri Ghose, 4826 New Utrecht Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.↩