Know thyself1Atmanam viddhi — Know thyself. Each individual has to know himself. He has to know himself as the infinite, eternal and immortal Consciousness. The concept of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality is absolutely foreign to us. Why? The reason is quite simple. We live in the body, rather than in the soul. To us the body is everything. There is nothing and can be nothing beyond the body. The existence of the soul we consider sheer imagination. But I assure you that the soul is not imaginary. It is at once the life and the revelation of the Cosmic Reality. Most of us live in the body, in the earthbound physical consciousness. Our teacher is Darkness; our professor is Ignorance. But if ever we live in the soul, we shall see that our teacher is Vision and our professor is Illumination.
"Life is effort." So says the body. "Life is blessing." So says the soul. The human in man does not want to go beyond morality, society and humanity. The divine in man comes down from divinity into humanity, from unity into multiplicity.
Atmanam viddhi. Know thyself. The seers of the Upanishads not only discovered this Truth Transcendental but offered it to the suffering, crying and striving mankind. In order to know oneself, one has to discover oneself first. What is self discovery? Self-discovery is God-Realisation.
Without Yoga there is no self discovery. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is the Universal Truth. It is the traditional truth of India. It is the most important experience of life. True Yoga and life go together. They cannot be separated. If you try to separate them, you will fail. Yoga and life are as inseparable as the Creator and the Creation.
Is Yoga another name for severe asceticism? Positively not. Is Yoga another name for self-discipline? Decisively yes. Does Yoga demand the rejection of the world and the starvation of the senses? No, never. Does Yoga demand the acceptance of the world and mastery over the senses? Yes, a mighty Yes. Is Yoga for everybody? Yes and no. Yes, because each human soul has come from God and inwardly aspires to return to Him. No, because some people, at their present stage of development, feel they can live without God.
Can learning and reasoning offer man self-realisation? No. Mere book knowledge ends in self deception. Why? Because a man of knowledge feels that he has achieved the infinite wisdom. Unfortunately, he does not know that the real Infinite Wisdom can come only from God, from God-Realisation. Mere mental reasoning ends in self-frustration.
Can dedication and aspiration offer man self-realisation? Yes. Man's dedication is his heart-flower offered at the Feet of God. Man's aspiration is his soul-fruit placed in the Lap of God.
For self-realisation, man needs freedom. God gives him freedom. What is freedom? Freedom is God's sacrifice-power and man's miracle-power. Sri Ramakrishna, the great spiritual Master of India, once remarked, "The wretch who constantly says, 'I am bound, I am bound,' only succeeds in being bound. He who says day and night, 'I am a sinner, I am a sinner,' verily becomes a sinner. One must have such burning faith in God that one can say, 'What? I have repeated God's Name, so how can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more?' "
We must cherish positive thoughts, positive ideas, positive ideals. Only then will our Goal no longer remain a far cry. Each man has to feel, "I am at the Feet of God, my own Master. I am in the Hands of God, my own Creator. I am in the Heart of God, my only Beloved."
"Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." I asked. My Lord bestowed His boundless Compassion on me. I sought. My Lord gave me His infinite Love. I knocked. To my utter surprise, the door was not bolted from inside. My sweet Lord was eagerly expecting my arrival. Lo, I am come!
EL 3. University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 26 August 1968.↩