Aspiration and spirituality1To start with, I wish to offer my deepest gratitude to the soul of Sweden. Sweden’s soul reminds me of the soul of India. Here I see the simplicity and profundity of heart that I see in India. Also, I see and feel here the eagerness to know something, to do something and to grow into something, which I see and feel in the United States.
Spirituality is a vast subject. If we want to learn this subject in a simple and, at the same time, effective manner, then we must practise yoga. Yoga is a Sanskrit word. It means conscious union with God. We are all seekers here. We are not atheists; for us God exists. But we are not constantly aware of God in our mind or in our day-to-day life. Once a day, perhaps, we become aware of the existence of God, and once a week we may think of God, even though we do believe in His existence. But when we practise yoga, we learn to feel our conscious, constant and inseparable oneness with God, our Inner Pilot.
Spirituality is not something unearthly. It is not something abnormal. It is not something unusual. Spirituality is something normal, natural and most fulfilling. If someone tells you that in order to practise true spirituality and discover the highest Truth, you have to shun society, you have to enter into the Himalayan caves, then I wish to say that this advice is incorrect. Spirituality, real spirituality, tells us to stay here on earth and feel the existence of God in the multifarious activities of our day-to-day life. We have to brave the challenge of the world. We have to fight against the enemies that we have deep within us: fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy and imperfection. If we retreat to the Himalayan caves or to the farthest reaches of the globe, then our nature will remain imperfect. We have to conquer these undivine, hostile forces right here and now — here on earth, in the midst of society.
We practise spirituality precisely because we need it. We don’t do anything on earth if we don’t feel the necessity of it. But when we practise spirituality, we should feel that this need is our first and foremost need. Everything else is secondary. If we water the root of a tree, then the leaves, the branches, the flowers and the fruits will all be well nourished. The root, the source of our life, is God. Spirituality brings us this message.
There are two types of love: human love and divine love. Human love wants to possess something or to be possessed by something. Human love is a song of possession. But in possession there is no satisfaction. On the contrary, in possession frustration looms large. We see that the train of destruction immediately follows frustration.
Divine love is the song of expansion. Unlike human love, which binds and is bound, divine love expands and liberates. It liberates our inner being. Our inner being is like a bird, which is in a cage. Divine love allows the bird to come out of the cage and fly into the infinite Vast. We treasure divine Freedom. We can free ourselves, we can free the world at large, on the strength of our divine inner love.
There comes a time when an aspirant feels that only by loving God, seeing God, feeling God and growing into the Light of God can he be totally satisfied. He can be totally satisfied only when he sees God in everything, in every creature, in every human being.
In the spiritual life we start with aspiration, and aspiration soon takes us to realisation. But even realisation feels that it is not sufficient, and it takes us to revelation. Then revelation feels that it is not complete, and it takes us to manifestation. And what is manifestation? Manifestation is the flowering of our inner Divinity. Divinity we always had, but it was implicit; it was dormant. This Divinity has to come to the fore and be manifested here on earth. And this manifestation is called the perfection of nature, the perfection of our earthly existence.
Yoga means conscious and constant oneness with God. Now, how do we establish this conscious and constant oneness with God? It is through self-giving, self-offering. This self-offering is not to somebody outside ourselves. It is to our own highest Reality. The finite is offering its existence to the Infinite, which is our Inner Pilot. And this can be done only through love, devotion and surrender.
The first message of yoga is self-discovery. We have to discover God in ourselves. Then we have to offer our discovery to the world at large. First we shall get the most delicious fruit, and then we shall share it with others. This will give us real joy. Only when we see that we are able to drink the divine nectar together with the world shall we be really satisfied.
There are three principal ways of practising yoga. If we practise the yoga of the heart, then love, devotion and surrender are of paramount importance. If we practise the yoga of the mind, then knowledge and wisdom are of paramount importance. If we practise the yoga of the body, then dedicated, selfless service to mankind is of paramount importance. Yoga unifies our conscious aspiration and God’s constant Compassion. What is aspiration? Aspiration is our inner mounting cry. What is Compassion? Compassion is God’s all-loving Light and Delight.
We can reach the ultimate Goal no matter which path we follow — the path of the body, the path of the mind or the path of the heart. The Goal is the same. Again, if we sincerely pray and meditate, we will feel that all the three paths go together. When we meditate, we actually offer our purity, our divinity, our reality to the Supreme in mankind; and this is the path of the heart. When we love God and when we devote and surrender ourselves to God in the path of the heart, then we get real inner wisdom, which is the fort of the path of the mind. And when we follow the path of the body, at every moment we feel from deep within an inner urge to love and serve mankind; and in this we find wisdom and a feeling of the heart’s inseparable oneness with mankind. So these three paths lead to the same destination.
In the West, unfortunately Hatha Yoga is the most commonly known yoga. But the physical postures and asanas of Hatha Yoga are only a small help towards the ultimate goal of union with God. The real yoga is the yoga of concentration, meditation and contemplation. When we concentrate on something, we consciously put an end to all extraneous thought-waves. We throw aside all the thoughts that are in our mind, and we want to walk along the path of reality. Then we go on to meditation. When we meditate, we consciously invoke the Infinite. And the Infinite comes to us with boundless Peace, Bliss and Light. Then, when we contemplate, on the strength of our unconditional surrender, we become one with the Supreme Pilot. Here the divine lover becomes one with the Supreme Beloved. They become inseparable. The creation becomes one with the Source. The finite becomes one with the Infinite. When we practise concentration, meditation and contemplation, slowly, steadily and unerringly we bring to the fore our inner wealth and serve mankind, fulfilling the Inner Pilot, the Supreme, within us.
MRP 30. Fabiansalen, ABF Huset, Sveavagen, Stockholm, Sweden, 7 July 1973.↩