The inner povertyFordham University; the Bronx, New York, USA
18 March 1970
You all know what earthly poverty is. But I wish to speak on poverty from the spiritual point of view.
Poverty is a very complicated word. Poverty is not the body's purity. Poverty is not the mind's clarity. Poverty is not the heart's spirituality. Poverty is not the soul's reality. The body's purity is light. The mind's clarity is vastness. The heart's spirituality is height. The soul's reality is delight.
In the physical life, poverty is the absence of conscious effort. In the spiritual life, poverty is the absence of spontaneous surrender to God's Will. Effort in the physical life tells an individual what he can do and ultimately achieve for himself. Surrender in the spiritual life tells the aspirant what God was doing, is doing and will be doing for him.
Poverty is no shame. In the light of perfection, poverty is not a vice — far from it. It is only a limitation. Poverty is not a disease; it is an obstruction. This obstruction can easily be surmounted.
What is poverty, after all? Poverty is misery. What is misery? Emotional misery is the result of the mind's desire. There is also physical misery, which is caused by tensed nerves. When one does not have faith in oneself, that is the beginning of misery. When one loses faith in one's Master, he falls into the damaging breath of misery.
Poverty in our spiritual life does not mean want of money or material wealth. Poverty in our spiritual life means the absence of a conscious cry for God. A man is poverty-stricken in the spiritual life only when he cannot afford to spend a fleeting minute for God. If he cannot spend a fleeting minute for God, then he is truly poverty-stricken in the inner world. An aspirant is really rich when he feels that his entire life is for God. He is richer when he sees that his breath is of God.
He is the richest man on earth when he discovers that he and God need each other, love each other and are eternally proud of each other. This discovery he can make only when he lives in the soul. His soul constantly brings reality to the fore from the inmost recesses of his heart and places the reality in front of him. His soul makes him feel that he and God are inseparably one. God needs him to manifest His infinite Possibilities and Capacities on earth, and he needs God to realise the highest Truth of the Beyond.
No man, no aspirant, is or ever can be poor if he lives in the soul. The soul is plenitude, the soul is Infinity. If the aspirant lives in the soul, he is all aspiration, he is all realisation, he is all perfection.
The aspirant's life is inundated with light. Light in his body is his beauty. Light in his vital is his capacity. Light in his mind is his glory. Light in his heart is his victory.