Hope and Life1I wish to give a short talk on one of the mottos of South Carolina. As you all know, South Carolina has two mottos. “Prepared in mind and resources”, is one motto; the other motto is, “While I breathe, I hope.” I wish to say a few words on the second motto, from a spiritual point of view.
Hope is Life. Hope is progress. Each individual life is an Idea of God’s, a Plan of God’s and a dream-fulfilling Reality of God’s. Hope likes the God-idea; Hope loves the God-plan; Hope serves the dream-fulfilling Reality of God.
There are two lives: desire-life and aspiration-life. Desire-life starts with self-enjoyment and ends in self-destruction. Aspiration-life starts with self-enquiry and ends in God-discovery. Today’s life for us is God in preparation, and tomorrow’s life for us will be God in perfect Perfection, God in His Manifestation on earth.
Two lives: human life and divine life. Human life cries to live; divine Life lives to offer. Human life is counted in years; divine Life is measured by progress — illumining and fulfilling progress. Human life always wants to enjoy without learning; Divine Life wants to learn first and then enjoy. Human life does not want to learn and does not learn anything. It is satisfied with what it gets, which is ignorance. It enjoys ignorance to its heart’s content. Divine Life wants to learn, it wants to learn the lessons of Eternity. While learning the lessons of Eternity, divine Life is enjoying the Bliss of Immortality.
Life and hope are inseparable. Life is the body, and hope is the intuitive divinity in us, the divinity that wants to transcend the reality which we presently are. Hope is man’s seeking, hope is man’s inner urge, hope is man’s upward flight into the Beyond.
We are all walking along the road of Eternity. When an unaspiring, ordinary human being walks along this road, he is followed by some of his so-called friends: fear, doubt and anxiety. When these friends reach him they make of him what they themselves are: fearful, doubtful and anxiety-stricken. God is the Goal; He is the Way; He is the eternal Traveller. When God walks along His eternal road towards the ever-transcending Beyond, all the world can follow Him, led by hope. When hope reaches Him, God makes hope His dearest friend, eternal partner and eternal fulfiller of His Dream.
Life and hope entirely depend on inner wisdom. Here on earth we have two types of wisdom: earthly wisdom or earthly knowledge and heavenly wisdom or heavenly knowledge. Here on earth vidya and avidya, knowledge and ignorance, together move, together dance. Thousands of years ago, the Vedic seers offered this message:
Vidyam cavidyam ca yas tad vedobhyam saha
avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyayamrtam asnute
What they call “ignorance” is earthly knowledge, and what they call “knowledge” is heavenly wisdom. With earthly knowledge we try to go beyond the domain of death, and with heavenly wisdom we try to enjoy the Bliss of Immortality.
When we enter into the spiritual life we see and feel at every moment that God is the Doer, God is the Action and God is the Fruit. On the strength of this realisation, we feel we have ample opportunity to reveal our inner divinity. A life on earth is not meant for pleasure; a life on earth is meant for self-offering. Self-offering eventually makes us what God is.
Each day is a golden opportunity for us to bring to the fore a new life, a new dawn. With each day we expedite our earthly progress. We enter into God’s Domain, which is within us, in the inmost recesses of our heart. When we pray and meditate regularly, devotedly and soulfully, we come to realise that life is not only meaningful and fruitful, but is actually God’s manifesting Reality on earth. And we come to understand that hope is the precursor of tomorrow’s all-revealing and all-fulfilling Reality.
Life is the car. Hope is the engine. Aspiration is the fuel. God is the Destination.
FFB 38. Foreign Student Lounge, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, 20 February 1974 — afternoon.↩