Desire and aspiration1America's fond child is New York. New York's fond child is New York University. This evening I wish to offer my sincere affection, true admiration and humble dedication to you, O fond children of New York University.
Desire is a wild fire that burns and burns and finally consumes us. Aspiration is a glowing fire that secretly and sacredly uplifts our consciousness and finally liberates us.
Thirst for the Highest is aspiration. Thirst for the lowest is annihilation.
Desire is expectation. No expectation, no frustration. Desire killed, true happiness built. Aspiration is surrender, and surrender is man's conscious oneness with God's Will.
As war brings the commerce of a country to a standstill, even so our tremendous inclination towards the pleasures of ignorance brings all our inner spiritual movements to a standstill.
As things exist at present, our very birth compels us to be far away from God. Why wallow deliberately in the pleasures of the senses and move even farther away from God? Indeed, to satisfy the imagined necessities of our human life and cry for the fulfilment of our earthly pleasures can be nothing but self-torturing evil. But to satisfy God's necessities, real and divine, in us and through us, is self-illumination.
Poor God, unillumined men always take You amiss. They think that You are merciless. Yet when You fulfil their lecherous desires, they think that nobody on earth can surpass You in stupidity.
Now, poor man, look at your most deplorable fate. In the apt words of George Bernard Shaw, "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire; the other is to get it."
Desire means anxiety. This anxiety finds satisfaction only when it is able to fulfil itself through solid attachment. Aspiration means calmness. This calmness finds satisfaction only when it is able to express itself through all-seeing and all-loving detachment. In desire and nowhere else abides human passion. Human passion has a dire foe called judgment, the judgment of the divine dispensation.
In aspiration and nowhere else dwells man's salvation. Man's salvation has an eternal friend called Grace, God's all-fulfilling Grace.
Desire is temptation. Temptation nourished, true happiness starved. Aspiration is the soul's awakening. The soul's awakening is the birth of supernal delight.
A true seeker of the infinite Truth can never gain anything from Oscar Wilde's discovery that "the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it." The seeker has already discovered the truth that it is only through high, higher and highest aspiration that one can get rid of all temptations, seen and unseen, born and yet to be born.
Wilde says something else, and this is quite significant: "I can resist everything except temptation." Needless to say, nobody blames him for that, for temptation is a universal disease. For a man without aspiration, temptation is unmistakably irresistible. But a true seeker feels and knows that he can resist temptation and what he cannot resist is transformation, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire consciousness, in the bosom of the sea of Time. Of course, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire earthly consciousness, is something he never did and never will resist. On the contrary, it is for this transformation that he lives on earth.
Look at the strength of a bubble of desire! It has the power to encage our entire life for its use alone. Look at the strength of an iota of aspiration! It has the power to make us feel that God the Infinite is absolutely ours. And something more: that God's infinite Love, Peace, Joy and Power are for our constant use.
The objects of the senses and man's attachment to them are inseparable. But the moment they see the smile of God, they deny their intimacy. What is more, they become perfect strangers.
Fulfil your body's demands, and you lose your self-control. Fulfil your soul's needs, and you gain your self-control.
Don't embrace vice. In refraining, you will possess something more valuable: self-control. What is self-control? It is the power that tells you that you don't have to run towards your goal. The goal has to come to you, and it shall.
The capital of the outer world is money, which very often changes itself into poisonous honey. The capital of the inner world is aspiration, which eventually transforms itself into self-realisation.
The acme of human desire is represented by Julius Caesar's Veni, vidi, vici — "I came, I saw, I conquered." The pinnacle of divine aspiration was voiced by the Son of God: "Father, let Thy Will be done."
Passion's slave is man. God's child is likewise man. Which do you want to be, God's child or passion's slave? Choose. One selection leads you to utter destruction, the other to immediate salvation. Choose; you are given the golden and unconditional choice. Choose; choose you must. Here and now.
EL 9. New York University, New York, New York, 29 March 1969.↩