The philosophy, religion, spirituality and yoga of the UpanishadsUniversity of Massachusetts; Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
1 March 1972
I had decided to give thirteen talks on the Upanishads. Today I will be giving my thirteenth talk on the Upanishads. That means that today we are at the end of the race, the divine race. We are nearing the goal. When we reach the goal, we shall offer our most devoted gratitude to the Inner Pilot.
When we think of the Upanishads, immediately our minds enter into these particular subjects — philosophy, religion, spirituality and Yoga.
The philosophy of the Upanishads is the vastness of the mind.
The religion of the Upanishads is the oneness of the heart.
The spirituality of the Upanishads is the Immortality of the soul.
The Yoga of the Upanishads is the total manifestation of God here on earth.
The vastness of the mind needs God the infinite Consciousness.
The oneness of the heart needs God the supreme and eternal Beloved.
The immortality of the soul needs God the ever-transcending Beyond.
The total manifestation of God needs man's constant inner hunger.
God is Purity in the vastness of the mind.
God is Beauty in the oneness of the heart.
God is Life in the Immortality of the soul.
The philosophy of the Upanishads tells me, "See the Truth."
The religion of the Upanishads tells me, "Feel the Truth."
The spirituality of the Upanishads tells me, "Grow into the Truth."
The Yoga of the Upanishads tells me, "Become the Truth."
God tells me, "You are the Truth."
When I see the Truth, I know what God's Compassion is.
When I feel the Truth, I know what God's Love is.
When I grow into the Truth, I know what God's Concern is.
When I become the Truth, I know what God's selfless Life is, and what His unconditional Duty is.
When I realise that I am the Truth, the full manifestation of Divinity's Light begins.
The Upanishads offer to each aspiring heart countless messages. There are quite a few messages which are at once most significant and most fulfilling. Here is a stupendous message about life and death. Before death and after death, what happens? This is the message of the Upanishads:
Before death, life is a seeker.
After death, the same life becomes a dreamer.
Before death, life struggles and strives for perfection.
After death, the same life rests and enjoys the divine Bliss with the soul.
Before death, life is God's Promise.
After death, life is God's inner Assurance. This Assurance of God's we notice while we fulfil God in our future incarnation.
Life for each individual is an act of inspiration and revelation. Life is an experience; even so, is death. Our human life is God's sacred flame mounting towards the highest Source. Human death, the so-called death, is a secret play of God's Will.
When we study the Upanishads, we start with the concentration of the mind. This concentration of the mind is the most difficult thing that we can ever think of. We know what the mind is, we know what concentration is, but when it is a matter of concentration of the mind, it is extremely difficult to do.
Once some spiritual aspirants went to their Master and said, "Master, we have been meditating for so many years —- for ten long years. How is it that we cannot control our minds?" The Master said, "My children, God-realisation is not so easy. Had it been easy, you would have by this time controlled your minds. God-realisation is extremely difficult —- here is the proof. We consider the mind to be our best instrument. We consider it to be the highest, most developed part in our human life. But look at its helplessness." Then he went on to say, "You are all standing before me. Now if somebody stands up right on the shoulders of one of your spiritual brothers, what will happen? Immediately your brother will be irritated, he will feel disturbed. His prestige will be hurt. He is also a human being. How does someone dare to stand on his shoulders? The same thing happens to the mind. When the mind is agitated by our thoughts —- low, undivine, uncomely thoughts —- it does not allow us to become calm, quiet and serene enough to meditate on God."
The origin of the mind is divine; the mind itself is divine. But unfortunately, the mind that we are using right now is the physical mind, which cannot help us at all in our upward journey. This mind has consciously or unconsciously accepted three undivine friends: fear, doubt and jealousy. I said in the beginning of this talk that the vastness of the mind is the philosophy of the Upanishads. Now, when vastness wants to appear before the physical mind, the physical mind is horror-struck. It is afraid of the vastness. Further, it looks at its own insufficiency, its own limited capacity, and says, "How is it possible? I am so weak; I am so impotent; I am so insignificant. How can the vastness accept me as its very own?" First it is afraid of vastness, then it doubts. It doubts the very existence of vastness. Then, by God's infinite Grace, fear leaves the mind and doubt leaves the mind. Alas, now jealousy comes in. The mind looks around and sees that there is some fulfilment in the vastness, whereas in its own existence there is no fulfilment, there is no joy. Jealousy starts. Fear, doubt, and jealousy —- these three undivine forces —- attack the mind and make it meaningless, helpless and hopeless in our upward journey. When the mind is attacked by fear, doubt and jealousy, something else consciously and deliberately enters and feeds the mind, and that is our ego. With ego starts the beginning of our spiritual end.
We have to go beyond the domain of the physical mind with the help of philosophy, religion, spirituality and Yoga. The seeking mind operates in philosophy. The crying heart operates in religion. The illumining soul operates in spirituality. The fulfilling Goal operates in Yoga.
There are two approaches to the Goal. One approach is through the mind; the other is through the heart. The approach of the mind is not safe; it is not secure. But one eventually can reach the Goal this way. It is not that if you approach God through the mind you will not realise God. You will realise God, but the road is arduous. You may doubt your aspiration, you may doubt God's Compassion for you. Hence, it may take you hundreds, thousands of years to reach the Goal. But the approach through the heart is safe and sure. We can do one of two things: either we can identify ourselves with the subject or the object —- with the Supreme Pilot, the Eternal Beloved —- or we can surrender our existence at every second to the Inner Pilot. Either we have to become totally one with the Will of the Inner Pilot, or we have to surrender totally, unconditionally to the Inner Pilot. When we approach God in either of these ways, His Infinity, Eternity, Divinity and Immortality we feel immediately as our very own.
If we follow the messages of the Upanishads step by step, if we start first with philosophy, then with religion, then with spirituality and finally with Yoga, then God-realisation need not and cannot remain a far cry. God-discovery is our birthright. If we really want to discover God, then we can start right from the beginning: philosophy, religion, spirituality and Yoga. When we fulfil the demands of philosophy, religion, spirituality and Yoga, God fulfils all our demands. Their demands are very simple: aspiration and self-control. Our demands are God's Gifts: Peace, Light, Bliss and Power.
Do we really care for God's Gifts? If we really care for God's Gifts, then God will offer us the capacity to receive His infinite Wealth. In our ordinary life, when we want something from somebody else, that person will not give us the capacity to receive it. He will demand our own capacity. If we have the capacity, if we work for one day, then the boss will give us the salary. But in the spiritual life, God wants to know whether we really want the salary —- Peace, Light and Bliss. If we want them, then He Himself will energise us and be our aspiration and self-control. He will work in and through us. He will work as the seeker within us and, at the same time, He will work as the Pilot for us. He Himself will be both Employer and Employee. If we really want God, God will play at once both the roles. He will be the Giver and the receiver. He will be the seeker and the Fulfiller.