Forward!1Dear seekers of the highest Truth, dear sisters and brothers of the spiritual family, as we all know, each state has a motto of its own. To my deepest joy the motto of your state, Wisconsin, is very significant in the spiritual life. Forward. To me, "forward" is not a mere word or an idea, but a secret and sacred key to open God's Door.
Forward. There can be nothing as significant as moving forward in our life of aspiration. The Vedic seers of the hoary past uttered a significant mantra: Charai veti, "Move on, forward!" We shall move forward towards the farthest Beyond. Today we are in the Dream-Boat; tomorrow we shall touch the Reality-Shore. Forward, ever forward.
We are all seekers; we are all in the world of spirituality. To me spirituality is a one-way road that leads us to our destination. Once we start our journey, we may stumble, we may walk slowly, we may march or we may run fast, faster, fastest towards our Goal. There may come a time when we proceed backwards on our way towards the Goal, but this is only a temporary experience. After a while we go forward again.
We do not belong to the past; we belong to the future, the future that grows and glows in the immediacy of today. I tell my students that the past is dust no matter how much we have achieved in the past or what we were in the past. The past has not given us Truth, Light and Bliss in infinite measure. Therefore, we can and must expect these things only from today, or from the future that is looming large in the heart of today.
In the spiritual life we come to realise that we have four good friends: simplicity, sincerity, humility and purity. With the help of these friends, we move forward.
Simplicity-friend wants us to be as simple as possible. It tells us that our mind makes us feel that God is very complex, but actually He is very simple, simplicity itself. Therefore we, too, have to be simple in order to receive and achieve Him.
Sincerity-friend tells us that God is all sincerity. Although we do not know or understand His operation, His way of working in and through us, still God is very sincere. Therefore we, too, must be sincere in order to be God-like.
Humility-friend tells us that God is very humble. Although He is the Highest, the Lord Supreme, His Humility-power and Oneness-power make us feel that if we, too, are humble, one day we will be able to reach the Highest. God is like a tree. When the tree has no fruit, it stands erect and may look proud and haughty. But when the tree is laden with fruit, it bows down. So God, who is always full of inner fruits, bends and bows so that His children can climb up the tree and eat to their heart's content.
Purity-friend tells us that God is all purity. It tells us that our living breath must be purity's flood if we want to hold, cherish and treasure the Presence of God within us.
When we are sincere in our forward journey, we see that our road is very straight. When we are simple, we feel and we see with our inner vision that the road is sunlit. When we are humble, we feel that the road is short and, at the same time, shortened still further by the Grace of God. When we are pure, we see clearly with our inner vision that the ultimate Goal itself is running towards us as we are running towards the Goal. And our meeting place is where the finite unites with the Infinite.
Charai veti! "Move on, forward!" There was a time when we were in the mineral world, but when the necessity came from within, we moved on and entered into the plant world. From the plant world, we moved on into the animal world. From the animal kingdom we entered into the human kingdom. Now it is our inner urge that will lead us to the Divine Kingdom.
In the mineral world, the ruler is Ignorance-Emperor. In the plant world, the ruler is Ignorance-King. In the animal world, the ruler is Ignorance-Commander. In the human world, the ruler is Ignorance-Captain. In the Divine World, the ruler is the Light Supreme of the ever-transcending and ever-fulfilling Beyond.
We move forward on the strength of our outer and inner education. Outer education at times fails to tell us that there is something called inner education. Or it happens that outer education discourages us from entering into inner education. Now, outer education has to offer what it has and inner education has to offer what it has. But it sometimes happens that when we have too much outer education we accumulate too much world-information and not so much knowledge, not to speak of wisdom. At this time we find it difficult to enter into the world of inner education. Again, too much of the intellect, too much of the physical mind surcharged with doubt, fear, anxieties, worries and other discouraging elements, makes it difficult for us to enter into the inner education and make progress.
We need the mind, but only the mind that listens to the heart, for the heart listens to the soul. Otherwise the mind, the vital and the body become unruly members in our spiritual family. So we have to try very hard to stay in the heart, since this heart has to listen to the eldest member of its family, the soul. Similarly, the mind must listen to the heart, the vital must listen to the mind, and the body must listen to the vital. In this way, the spiritual family can grow together and fulfil the message of the Absolute Supreme.
From the inner education we come to realise that Truth and Wisdom-Light are already within us. But sometimes we need help convincing our outer being that we do have within us what we actually seek. In outer education, we feel that the knowledge is somewhere else and we have to search for it and get it. In the inner education the ultimate Knowledge, the Wisdom-Light, is all within us, but somebody has to convince us of this. The inner teacher tells us, "Inside you is the treasure, inside you is the box, but unfortunately you have misplaced the key. It is your treasure and not mine. It is your box and not mine. But I will show you where the treasure is and, if you want me to, I will also help you open the box. Once you open the box, all the treasure will be yours." The inner teacher is like a river. Just follow the river and it will take you to the sea, which is your own Reality, your own Divinity, your own Immortality.
Before we enter into the spiritual life, we are small people. Once we enter into the spiritual life, we are great people. But after we start making real progress in the spiritual life, we become good people. A small man never thinks that he is small. A great man thinks that he is great. A good man thinks that he is neither good nor bad. He sees that he is just an iota of Light, just an iota of Truth, while God is the infinite sea of Light and Truth. When we make real progress, we come to know how small, how insignificant we really are. But again, there comes a time when the finite, the infinitesimal drop, merges into the ocean of Truth, Light and Bliss and becomes the vast ocean itself.
The small man is afraid of moving forward because he feels that the unknowable may destroy him altogether. For him, to step forward is to enter into the unknowable. A great man is reluctant to step forward because he feels that this forward step may take him into something unknown, which may be unfriendly. A good man feels that the unknowable or the unknown is nothing but God veiled. Once we enter the unknowable and the unknown, God becomes unveiled — unveiled Reality, unveiled Divinity. So a good man is never afraid of progress. He knows that right ahead of him is the veiled Reality and, if he approaches this veiled Reality, it will become the unveiled Reality.
We can move forward only when we have confidence. Before we enter into the spiritual life, we have very little confidence, even in ourselves. We do not know or do not care to know that there is someone called God who can inundate us with confidence. But once we enter into the spiritual life, we see that it is God who offers us confidence. That is why we make progress and walk, march, run towards our destined Goal. At every moment God tells us that unless and until we also have divine confidence, we will not be able to make the fastest progress. Only when we have divine confidence can God's Confidence operate most successfully and gloriously in us. And what is our divine confidence? It is the confidence that tells us we came from God, and so cannot mix with ignorance. We cannot swim in the sea of ignorance. No! We have to swim in the sea of Light and Delight.
The forward march, the inward march and the upward march are the same. If we take one step forward, we have to feel that simultaneously we have taken a step inward and a step upward. In our forward step, we see the Body of God. In our inward step, we see the Heart of God. In our upward step, we see the Soul of God. When we have the Body of God, the Heart of God and the Soul of God, at that time we do not need anything else.
We have to move on, move on far, farther, farthest; deep, deeper, deepest; high, higher, highest. Since we are seekers, there is no end to our achievement. We achieve on the strength of inner assurance — our assurance to God and God's assurance to us. God's constant assurance to us is this: "Children, you are all of Me, of My Infinity, Eternity and Immortality." Our assurance to God is this: "Father, we are for You. We are for Your manifestation, Your complete manifestation, Your perfect manifestation here on earth." In this way, when God assures us and we assure God, then our journey towards the highest Height, the deepest Depth and the farthest Beyond reaches its destined Goal; the Dream-Boat touches the Reality-Shore.
FFB 36. Union Cinema, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 14 February 1974.↩