Possession and satisfactionDear seekers, dear Australian brothers and sisters, I have been here in Australia for the last twelve days. Tomorrow I shall be leaving Australia for India, where I shall be for two weeks. Then I shall go back to America. During these twelve days I have been blessed unreservedly by the soul of Australia. I have also been blessed by the Australians. Their affection, love, concern, sympathy and feeling of oneness have touched the very depths of my heart.
Geography taught me that Australia is vast, a very vast continent. On my arrival I most sincerely felt that Australia is not only vast, but also one; not only one, but also illumining; not only illumining, but also fulfilling. Vastness, kindness, magnanimity, a sense of responsibility: all these things I have felt right from the beginning in the soul of Australia.
Tomorrow when I leave Australia, I shall leave behind my soulful gratitude, my ever-growing gratitude, for here I have been given ample opportunity to be of devoted service to the sincere and genuine seekers. Nothing gives me more joy, delight and sense of satisfaction than to be of service to sincere seekers.
My students have just sung a song that was composed by me. It is my salutation to the soul of Australia: that is to say, my salutation to the real in you, the divine in you. Now I wish to give a short talk on possession and satisfaction.
Possession and satisfaction are like the North Pole and the South Pole. The sense of possession enters into our earthly existence right from our birth. A child wants to possess his parents. When he grows up, he wants to possess his village. Then he wants to possess his province, his country, the world. Right from the beginning he wants to possess his parents and the other members of his family, but he finds no satisfaction in this. When he grows up, he finds no satisfaction in trying to possess the length and breadth of the world.
Then he decides he wants to change the process. He decides to please his parents, his village, his province, his country, the world at large, on the strength of mutual giving. He will give to them something of his own and he expects something else in return from them. But he finds no abiding satisfaction in this mutual give-and-take, and what he wants is abiding satisfaction. Finally he realises that abiding satisfaction can be received and achieved only if he gives himself unconditionally to his parents, to his village, to his province, to his country, to the world at large. In unconditional self-giving, satisfaction looms large.
Possession is our desire-life. Our desire at every moment wants to possess something more. Each time we possess something more, we become a greater beggar. Although we accumulate, we end up with no real possessions; in the inner world we have become a great beggar. When we walk along the road of renunciation, each time we renounce something we get tremendous joy. But renunciation cannot give us real satisfaction, abiding satisfaction. If we renounce everything — body, vital, mind, heart and soul — how are we going to realise the highest Truth? If we renounce society, if we renounce everyday life, if we renounce our near and dear ones in the name of spirituality, then we cannot achieve pure, lasting, immortal satisfaction. The real answer lies in the transformation of our nature, the perfection of our human limitations, shortcomings, imperfections, bondage and death. Abiding satisfaction comes into existence only when we can transform our sense of possessiveness into self-giving.
The life of possession constantly makes us think at every moment of success, success in life. In order to arrive at the door of success, many times we adopt foul means. Even if we do not adopt foul means, we are always in the world of competition. By competing with others, even by defeating others, the joy and satisfaction that we get cannot last. When we feel that we have become something on the strength of our success, our sincerity tells us that there is someone better than we, someone superior to us. Somebody becomes a great poet, a great sportsman, a great singer; he is bloated with pride. But when he looks around, in the twinkling of an eye he sees that there is somebody who writes far better than he does, somebody who plays sports or sings far better than he. In every walk of life he sees somebody better than himself. So success finally becomes frustration, and frustration is bound to be followed by destruction.
In material possession we find a sense of want, not need. There are many, many things, countless things we do not need, but when we walk along the road of possession, we want these things. Everything we want. But there comes a time when we feel we need something to satisfy our soul's inner cry for God, our inner cry to manifest the divine reality within us. At that time we realise that there is another road we can walk along, and that is the road of progress. On this road at every moment we walk forward. Here we are not competing with others; we are competing with ourselves, with the ignorance we have inside us. Ignorance is another part of our own existence. We are divided into two parts: Ignorance-night and wisdom-light. We and ignorance are running side by side; we have been doing this since time immemorial. But now we are awakened and we are trying to run fast, faster, fastest to reach our destination. When consciously we become one with wisdom-light, we run fast, faster, fastest to our destined goal, which is our ever-transcending Reality, the ever-illumining and fulfilling Beyond. Once we reach our destination, ignorance is defeated. This is the meaning of competition with ourselves.
The seeker gets satisfaction not by exercising his own will but by surrendering his earth-bound will to his Heaven-free will. The seeker is he who has received the message of surrender to a higher force, a more illumining force within himself. By praying and meditating and aspiring, he realises he can grow into his own highest reality. His is not the surrender of the slave to his master. His surrender is founded upon inner wisdom. He realises that he is composed of both the highest reality and the lowest reality. He is not surrendering to another person, to somebody else; rather, his own unlit, unconscious part is surrendering to his most conscious, illumined existence. The finite in him is surrendering to the Infinite in him in order to grow into the transcendental Reality. And in this surrender he finds abiding satisfaction.
The same seeker also discovers something else that gives him ceaseless satisfaction, and this is his gratitude. Each time the seeker offers his soulful gratitude to his Inner Pilot, the Absolute Reality within him, he gets abiding satisfaction. This gratitude-flower he places at the Feet of the Inner Pilot. At that time, God-Satisfaction embraces his heart and God the Satisfaction embraces his entire being.
Napier Lecture Theatre 5
University of Adelaide
12 March 1976