How to please GodUniversity of Bridgeport; Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
14 April 1969
How to please God? I can please God by offering Him what I have and what I am. What I have is gratitude. What I am is aspiration. If I want to please Him more, then I must never consider my life a sad failure, but rather a constant experience of His. If I want to please Him most, not only in one but in every aspect of life, then I must feel that, unlike me, He sees my life, inner and outer, as the Song of His own Life-Breath, the Song of His Perfection, growing into His own perfect Perfection Absolute.
Do you know when you hurt God? You hurt God the moment you underestimate your inner capacity. You hurt God the moment you exaggerate your self-imposed outer responsibility. You hurt Him deeply when you cherish the futile idea that God-realisation is not for you. To be sure, your God-realisation is the mightiest affirmation, the greatest certainty at God’s choice Hour.
Unfortunately, there are people in whose lives the very question of pleasing or hurting God does not arise at all. They do not believe God exists. True, they have not seen God, but that does not mean they are qualified to deny His Existence. What about those who have seen Him, felt Him and realised Him, and are fulfilling Him in this world and other worlds? I tell the unbelievers and disbelievers that they are not only mercilessly deceiving themselves in the inner life of divinity, but also unendingly carrying themselves away, far away from the outer life of reality. There are people who deny the existence of God outright. The eager desire of Christ’s disciple Thomas to have proof is found the world over: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Let the message of the Son of God reverberate in the inmost recesses of each human heart, aspiring or unaspiring, inspired or uninspired. Today, faith is the harbinger of reality. Tomorrow, faith and reality will move together. The day after tomorrow, faith and reality will fulfil each other. Faith fulfils reality in its embodiment of reality. Reality fulfils faith by revealing itself through faith.
The feeling of gratitude makes a man truly happy, and God is pleased when a man is truly happy. Dostoevsky declares, “I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.” This may be true when a man swims in the sea of his body’s ignorance. But when a man lives and swims in the sea of his soul’s light, he is all gratitude. He is the constant expression and spontaneous revelation of God the Receiver and God the Achiever.
According to Paul Valéry, “The soul is the wife of the body. They do not have the same kind of pleasure, or at least they seldom enjoy it at the same time.” First of all, the spiritual world has already discovered for certain that the soul is neither masculine nor feminine. It is above and beyond these two dividing zones. Hence, the soul can never be the wife of the body. The Upanishads have taught us that the body is the chariot and the soul is the master of the chariot. Valéry is absolutely right when he says that the body and the soul do not have the same kind of pleasure. We know that the body gets pleasure in ignorance and from ignorance. Slowly, gradually and unerringly we come to realise that the body’s pleasure is ignorance itself. In the case of the soul, instead of using the word ‘pleasure’ we should use the word ‘delight’. The soul feels delight in and from Infinity and Eternity. The soul’s delight is the flowing Infinity; the soul’s delight is the glowing Eternity. When the aspirant’s meditation transforms the desire — pleasure of the body into aspiration-delight, the soul and the body not only will eat the same food, but will eat it at the same time. And their food is Truth. Truth at once awakens the body and pilots the soul.
The other day someone said to me that God is pleased with him all the time, for one secret reason. He then volunteered to tell me his precious secret: “Although I have many things to say against God’s creation, even against God Himself, I just cleverly ignore His world of countless imperfections and mightily flatter Him in silence and in public. That is why God is so pleased with me all the time; and well He ought to be.”
I said to him, “My dear friend, there is a slight difference between you and me. Your sense of imperfection in God’s world is entirely different from mine. You feel that imperfection is something discouraging, disheartening, dirty and finally damaging. I take imperfection as something growing, something that has still to complete its journey. I take imperfection as an unavoidable rung in the ladder of gradual and ultimate perfection. I take imperfection as a significant experience God Himself is having in and through man’s life. And this same God will enjoy perfection, perfect Perfection, in and through each individual in the bosom of Eternity. Now, as regards your flattery of God, God needs no human flattery. You do not have to flatter Him to gain His Love, Concern and Blessing. God neither expects nor demands flattery from you. God is not a beggar. He does not expect anything of you. God is not an autocrat. He does not demand anything from you. What God is, is Love. What God is, is Joy. If you can love yourself soulfully, if you can discover your true inner Joy, then you will see that God has already been pleased with you. Do not try to please God by deceiving Him. We cannot deceive God. Never. We cannot even deceive any human being on earth. At most what we can do and what we in fact do, is deceive ourselves. Emerson is perfectly right when he affirms, ‘It is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself.’ ”
To come back to our original question: how to please God? The easiest and most effective way to please God is by constant and unconditional self-offering. Let us try. We shall, without fail, succeed. Lo, God is standing right in front of us. He is pleased. God is really and truly pleased with us.