The heart1Dear seekers of the transcendental Truth, dear sisters and brothers of the one transcendental Spirit, this evening I wish to give a talk on the heart. Each individual has a heart and each individual has to know whether he listens to his mind more than to his heart. The message of the heart is altogether different from the message of the mind. Since we are all seekers, we feel the supreme necessity of the heart.
I wish to tell all my friends and my spiritual brothers and sisters here in Philadelphia that inside the heart of each individual seeker rings the liberty bell. The Liberty Bell that we see here in Philadelphia has a large crack and therefore it does not ring properly. But in the inner life our liberty bell is constantly ringing. It is up to each individual to listen to his inner bell every day. This bell has been ringing from time immemorial in each individual soul, inspiring the soul to take part in God’s cosmic Drama and to run fast, faster, fastest toward the destined Goal.
We have a loving heart, an aspiring heart, an inspiring heart, an illumining heart and a fulfilling heart. With our loving heart we welcome the world at large. With our aspiring heart we climb up to the highest pinnacle of divinity. With our inspiring heart we inspire not only the world within us, but also the world without, the world of God’s entire creation. With our illumining heart we illumine our ignorance, darkness, imperfection and bondage. With our fulfilling heart we fulfil God the Dreamer in us, God the Player in us, God the Lover in us and God the Beloved Supreme in us. Also, with our loving heart we can unconditionally surrender ourselves to the Will of God. With our aspiring heart we can grow into the very image of God. With our inspiring heart we can spread the message of God throughout the length and breadth of the world. With our illumining heart we can manifest our inner divinity on the outer plane. And with our fulfilling heart we can fulfil both God the Creator and God the Creation at once. Our fulfilling heart is nothing other than our unconditionally surrendered heart flying with the wings of the Supreme.
When we enter into the spiritual life we come to realise that we also have a soulful heart and a heart of delight. The soulful heart we need at every moment of our spiritual life, our life of aspiration. Without it we cannot make an iota of inner progress. We need the peaceful heart because we have come to realise that when peace is wanting in our life, this life has no abiding satisfaction. Our heart of delight is the very source of our plenitude and infinitude. We came from delight, we live in delight and at the end of our journey’s close into delight we retire.
Ᾱnandādd hy eva khalv imāni bhūtāni jāyante…
How can a beginner in the spiritual life have a soulful heart and a heart of delight? A beginner must make it a point to mix with other seekers in order to cultivate a soulful heart. Let him look into the sky in the evening when the sun starts to set. When the beginner-seeker looks at the sky and becomes deeply absorbed in the setting sun, his soulful heart comes to the fore. If the beginner needs a heart of delight, let him look at the waves of the ocean and allow his inner being to be in tune with the waves of the ocean. And if he needs a fruitful heart, let him concentrate, meditate and contemplate on the very depths of the ocean, the ocean of life.
The heart is intimate to us and most significant in our life. When our physical heart fails, we die, we pass behind the curtain of Eternity. Similarly, in the spiritual life, even while we are living here on earth, we will be living in the world of death when our heart of aspiration fails. Medical science will tell us that the heart is located within the chest on the left side. Some spiritual Masters are of the opinion that the spiritual heart is on the right side and others are of the opinion that it is in the middle. Then again, there are still others who are of the opinion that it is inside the forehead, a little above the eyebrows. Naturally these spiritual Masters are dealing with the spiritual heart and each is right in his own way. Each has discovered the heart according to his inner light and inner wisdom.
When we are told that the heart is between the eyebrows, a little above, at the very outset we are bound to be puzzled and to some extent disturbed. Whether it is on the left side or the right side of the chest may be immaterial to us. But when we are told that the heart is located between the eyebrows, naturally we are thrown into a sea of unrest and confusion. But I wish to say that those who are of the opinion that the heart is located there are perfectly right in their way, for that place is the source of our intuition, of our intuitive light. Heart means light. Wherever we feel the presence of light, without the least possible hesitation we can say that very place is the heart. Heart and light are one and the same thing.
Now we have to know that the heart is not the highest or the most perfect member of our inner family. It is the soul that is the highest and the best. Why? The soul is all light. In the soul there is no darkness. The human heart receives light from the soul and that is why the soul is superior. But the human heart identifies with the soul’s light, whereas the mind finds it extremely difficult to do this and that is why the heart is superior to the mind. Again, the mind is superior to the vital because the mind searches for the truth, for the light — at times consciously, at times unconsciously. The vital right now needs the truth for its own perfection, but it does not care for the highest Truth. The vital cares for the truth only when the truth offers satisfaction in the vital’s own undivine way. But the vital does at least care for the light, whereas the gross physical does not want the light at all. It is ready to remain imperfect and incomplete for millennia.
When we enter into the spiritual life, we discover that there are two significant roads that can lead us toward our destined Goal. One road is the mental road, the road of the mind; the other is the psychic road, the road of the heart. Now both of these roads can take us to our destined Goal. But one road leads us to our Goal more quickly and more safely and that is the road of the heart. When we follow the road of the mind, at any moment doubt can take us away. The world’s information can pull down human aspiration. But the road of the heart is sunlit. When he follows this road, a seeker always feels deep within himself a deer running towards the destined Goal.
There are two ways of approaching the ultimate Reality: one is the way of knowledge and the other is the way of love. Eventually they do reach the same destination. But those who follow the path of the heart become convinced, on their way to self-discovery, that love itself is the supreme Knowledge. Right now, to us, knowledge and love are two different things. The mind supplies us with knowledge and the heart supplies us with love. But the deeper we go, the clearer it becomes to us that love and knowledge are one and the same thing. Furthermore, love is the supreme Knowledge. God is omniscient, He is omnipotent, He is omnipresent. He is everything. He is vaster than the vastest. He embodies Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But when we go deep within we find that these qualities of God do not satisfy us. There is only one aspect of God that satisfies us totally and most convincingly and that aspect is God the Love. When on the strength of our own Love we approach God’s Infinite Love, we are totally satisfied. We will not be satisfied when we see or feel God the All-awesome. Only the Love aspect of God quenches our eternal thirst.
In the spiritual life we see that two hearts can and often do become simultaneously one with each other. One heart is the heart of the seeker or student and the other is the heart of the teacher, the spiritual Master. These two hearts become one, inseparably one. And these hearts are constantly singing one song, the song of self-giving. When a true disciple meets his Master for the first time, his inner and outer promise to the Master is: “I want nothing from you. Although I have come to you so that you can help me in my God-realisation, even if you never grant me God-realisation, my love for you, my devotion to you and my oneness with you will always remain total and unconditional.” So a real seeker uses his heart, the heart of oneness, the heart of self-giving, when he accepts his Master.
The spiritual Master also uses his heart when he accepts the students, the seekers and the disciples who come to him for inner guidance. From his disciples he will get effective help for God-Manifestation on earth. And the disciples will grow into spiritual perfection through their love and devotion for the Highest in their Master, the Inner Pilot, God the Supreme. On the strength of his own self-giving heart the Master tells his disciples, “I have already accepted you, no matter what you do for God. Even if you do not do anything for God, for God’s Manifestation, I shall go on loving you.”
So the disciple’s heart becomes one with the Master's heart and makes the solemn promise: "Whether or not you help me in my God-realisation is up to you, but I shall go on loving the Supreme in you forever.” And the Master also makes a solemn, soulful promise to the disciple: "Whether you care for God-Manifestation or not is up to you, but my love for you and my self-offering to you shall remain unconditional forever.”
Those who are awakened can run the fastest toward the destined Goal. Those who are in the process of awakening may rest assured that the Goal is awaiting them. And those who still cannot get up will not be belittled by those who are in the process of awakening or by those who are already awakened. The spiritual life is not a life of competition. If competition is at all necessary, then each individual should compete with his own weaknesses, imperfections and limitations, with his own bondage and death.
It is said that a pure heart is everything. Now what do we mean by a pure heart? First of all, we must have sanctity and serenity in the heart. But I wish to say that that is not actually enough. A pure heart means a heart that embodies the constantly climbing flame of aspiration. If within the heart there is a constantly mounting inner flame, then that is a heart of purity. If the ever-mounting flame within our heart wants to reach the Highest, then ours is a pure heart. All of us here have that heart to some degree. Since we are here, we are all seekers and the seeker is bound to have the inner flame of aspiration in his heart. Let us try to feed this inner flame through our constant spiritual practice, through our daily prayer, meditation and contemplation. The life of a pure heart is the life of an inner flame rising toward the highest transcendental Goal that resides deep within each of us. Our Goal can never be a far cry. Our Goal is within our reach, provided we constantly look ahead and look deep within and look upward to the highest Height.
We leave the starting point the moment we feel in the inmost recesses of our heart the flames of aspiration. Once we have left the starting point, it is a matter of reaching the Goal. If we practice meditation daily — regularly, faithfully and devotedly — not only do we come closer to our Goal, but the Goal itself runs toward us. Halfway along the path, the Goal and the runner meet to fulfil each other’s needs. By reaching the Goal, the runner fulfils his task, the task of realising the highest possible Truth. And by reaching the runner, the Goal reaches the living breath of the heart’s dedication and surrender, which make the manifestation of the highest Truth not only possible and practicable but also inevitable. The Goal and the runner fulfil themselves as they fulfil their respective roles in the life of aspiration and in the life of manifestation.
AUM 1103. David Rittenhouse Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 January 1974↩