Yesterday, today and tomorrow1Everybody knows about spirituality according to his own aspiration, according to his capacity and according to his receptivity. Since we are all seekers here, we are supposed to know something about spirituality and we do know a considerable amount. As a seeker of the Absolute, the Transcendental Supreme, I wish to share with you my own knowledge of spirituality.
In my view, spirituality means acceptance of life — acceptance of the inner life first and then acceptance of the outer life, the ordinary life. First we have to accept the inner life. Then, from the inner life, we have to discover and bring to the fore the light, peace and bliss from our soul, to inundate our outer life.
In my view, spirituality can never mean the rejection of life or the total negation of life. To me, spirituality means the true acceptance of life. We have to accept life as it is now. But we must not be satisfied with this life, we cannot be satisfied with this life as such. It is our bounden duty to change the face of the world. But how can we do it? We can do it only when we ourselves are changed within and without. When we are transformed, we are in a position to be of service to mankind. When we can live in the soul and not in the gross physical we are ready to offer our dedicated service to aspiring mankind.
According to my humble philosophy, spirituality should never take shelter in the Himalayan caves. Those days of the hoary past are buried in oblivion. Now we have to face the world. If we enter into the Himalayan caves to look for God, then we are deliberately ignoring the possibility of an integral change, the transformation of our physical, vital, mental and psychic life. Here on earth, amidst multifarious activities, we have to realise the Highest, we have to fulfil the transcendental Supreme.
Our spiritual philosophy tells us that today needs a man of action. Today’s man cannot build castles in the air. Today’s man cannot remain unillumined. But who are these men of action? If you say that men of action are only those who are practical, it is true to some extent. But really practical men of action are those who have the divine courage to drink of something vast, infinite, eternal and immortal. Men of action are those who challenge ignorance and are ready to fight against ignorance-night, those who want to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. Yesterday these men of action were all dreamers, but these dreamers were divine dreamers. In their case, dream and reality went together. Dream was the direct vision and reality was the manifestation of this vision. Yesterday’s divine dreamers are today’s men of action, today’s divine warriors. Tomorrow these men have something else to do — tomorrow they have to be the pathfinders and the harbingers of a new dawn, a new light. They have achieved Light; they have grown into Light. Now it is their bounden duty to reveal Light to the world at large. These divine warriors, these men of action, tomorrow have to offer Light to the suffering, bleeding and sinking humanity.
Today we are all seekers. What were we yesterday? Yesterday we were in the world of doubt, teeming doubt. Our mind allowed teeming doubts to enter into us, or our mind cherished teeming doubts and made us feel that doubting others or doubting oneself was the acme of self-discovery. Yesterday we doubted God’s existence, we doubted our friends, our relatives, we doubted ourselves, we doubted everyone.
When we doubt others, in the outer world we may not lose anything. When we doubt God, in the outer world we may not lose anything. But when we doubt ourselves, we lose everything. We lose in the outer world and we lose in the inner world as well. We become veritable beggars. The moment we start doubting ourselves we weaken our possibilities and unconsciously destroy our inner potentialities.
Today we are seeking infinite Truth, infinite Light and infinite Peace. Now where can we get infinite Peace, Light and Truth? Here, inside the spiritual heart. We talk about the Universal Consciousness; we talk about the Transcendental Reality. Where is the Universal Consciousness? Where is the Transcendental Reality? Where is the message of the eternal Beyond? They are not in the physical but in the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart houses the Universal Consciousness, the Transcendental Reality, the message of the eternal, ever-transcending Beyond.
Tomorrow, what will we become? Today we are seekers; tomorrow we have to become divine lovers. In human love we are bound to be frustrated sooner or later, but in divine love we establish our oneness with our Beloved consciously, devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally.
We have to offer to the Supreme in humanity everything that we have achieved on the strength of our today’s aspiration. Offering is our self-revelation. Self-revelation is our self-offering. When we offer our Peace, Light and Bliss, we have to know that we are offering it to our own ignorant, obscure, impure, unillumined part. We are not offering it to somebody else at all. Let us say that the heart is illumined. But we have to know that the feet are also an integral part of our body. The feet, legs, arms, hands, eyes and every other part complete the whole human body. Similarly, we can take the rest of the world as part and parcel of our being, the part that needs illumination. I do not mean to say that the rest of the world is our feet, far from it. I am only saying that a portion of our entire being is unlit or unillumined.
We have two rooms: the heart and the mind. The heart has achieved or received illumination. It is now obligatory on the part of the heart to enter into the mind to illumine it. We have to feel at every moment that the mind-room — which we can call with utmost simplicity, honesty and humility our unillumined part — is ours. We have to claim the mind-room as our very own, and the mind-room also has every right to claim us. It is we who have to offer Light from the heart-room to the mind-room. And from whom have we already received this Light? From the soul, which is the divine representative of the Supreme.
We who are here on earth have come from somewhere else — far, very far away — into the world arena. What did we do, what did we say to the Lord Supreme when we left our Celestial Abode? We made a solemn promise to the Supreme that here on earth we would realise Him most perfectly, and here on earth we would reveal Him, manifest Him and fulfil Him in His own Way. This was our solemn promise to the Supreme, and He was extremely proud of the soulful promise of His divine children.
But now we do not remember our promise. Now we may consciously and deliberately try to deceive the Supreme and go back on our promise because we want to wallow in the pleasures of ignorance. But He knows that our promise was sincere and genuine, and He knows that we shall fulfil our promise to Him either today or tomorrow, either in the near future or in the distant future. He has that Vision. But we have eclipsed our vision by deliberately making friends with ignorance. We are fond of swimming in the sea of ignorance instead of swimming in the Sea of Knowledge and Light.
Once we actually enter into this world we make an inner promise to our soul and to the world at large that we will help mankind, serve mankind and illumine mankind. In silence we consciously make a solemn promise in the inner world that we will offer constant and conscious service to humanity. Like a beggar, the world looks to us to fulfil our promise. The world looks to each individual to fulfil his promise, but we do not do it. That is why the world is suffering, and still caught in the meshes of ignorance.
Is there anything on earth that can help us fulfil our promise to the Supreme and to the world? Yes. It is called experience, divine experience. Experience carries us into the past. It brings the message of the past and tells us how foolish we were yesterday. Yesterday we did not care for sublime realities, we did not care for God-manifestation. But today we do care for God-realisation, God-revelation and God-manifestation. How foolish we were yesterday! Today we are the same person, but now we earnestly pray and meditate for God-realisation, God-revelation and God-manifestation.
Experience tells us something more. The mistakes that we made in the past can easily be rectified by virtue of our inner awakening and self-discovery. A room can remain unlit for years, for centuries, but the moment we bring light into it, it is lit, it is illumined. We can see that our inner room has been unlit for millennia, but that is no reason why it cannot be illumined as soon as possible. We can illumine it and we have to illumine it. How do we do it? We do it on the strength of our inner cry, which we call aspiration. In the outer life, when a child cries, the mother runs immediately to the child. Whatever the child wants and needs the mother brings. Likewise, when we cry inwardly for the highest Truth, Light and Bliss which we desperately need, the Transcendental Supreme runs to us and fulfils us in infinite measure.
MRP 24. Botany Lecture Theatre, University College, London, England, 22 June 1973.↩