ExperiencePrinceton University; Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Graduate School Commons Room
22 January 1974
Dear seekers, dear spiritual brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on inner experience. In the spiritual life there are few things as important and significant as inner experience. To have an inner experience is to have many millions of spiritual dollars. Inner experience is a seeker's most precious wealth. Since we are all seekers here, what is of paramount importance in our lives is inner experience.
An inner experience is the seeker's conscious awareness of his Immortality.
An inner experience is the seeker's conscious expansion of his Infinity.
An inner experience is the seeker's conscious fulfilment of his Eternity.
There are three things that we have to experience in our inner life, our life of aspiration and dedication. These things are: Light, divine Light; Power, divine Power; and Peace, divine Peace.
Ordinary light will expose us if we do something wrong, but divine Light never exposes us. On the contrary, it illumines us and tries to perfect us.
Human power is the power that urges us to break and destroy, to dominate and crush others. Human power is the power of separativity. But divine Power inspires us to create and build. It is the power of oneness.
Human peace is usually a forced compromise. But divine Peace is our fulfilment in the perfection-song of the Universal Consciousness, the all-pervading Consciousness that abides deep within us.
When we experience the divine Light, we feel that the soul-seed within us begins to germinate.
When we experience the divine Power, we see our life-plant growing slowly, steadily, unerringly, convincingly and fruitfully.
When we experience the divine Peace, we see the blossoming of the perfection-flower of our life-plant.
When we have the soul's need for inner experience, we grow into true seekers. But before we feel the necessity for inner experience, we are all ordinary human beings. For an ordinary human being, what is necessary is progress. And this comes through outer experience.
An outer experience is the insecurity of our human heart.
An outer experience is the obscurity of our human mind.
An outer experience is the immaturity of our human vital.
An outer experience is the impurity of our human body.
A human being at times represents his own divine qualities and at times represents his human qualities. At times, unfortunately, he even represents the animal qualities that still remain within him.
Destruction-night is the animal experience.
Aspiration-height is the human experience.
Perfection-light is the divine experience.
In our spiritual life, there is something infinitely more important than experience and that is called realisation. When we have an experience of the highest magnitude, we feel that we are touching or are about to touch God the Tree. But when we have the highest realisation, we feel that we are not only touching the God-Tree but also climbing up the Tree and reaching the highest bough, where we then enjoy the nectar-fruits.
An experience of God can be denied and rejected by the doubting mind, but the realisation of God far transcends the domain of doubt and the judgement of the mind. It goes far beyond the jurisdiction of the human mind. Realisation has the power to remain constantly in tune with the highest Source, so the human mind cannot disturb its poise, confidence and certainty.
Man's inner experience of God makes man aware of the possibility of God-becoming. That is to say, when man has an iota of God-experience, he begins to feel that sooner or later he will be able to grow into the very Image of God. God's experience in man makes God feel that the perfection of His Manifestation-Light on earth is not only possible and practicable, but also inevitable. In man, God is a dream. This experience both man and God achieve. In God, man is a reality. This experience man and God simultaneously receive.
With God, man smiles. He smiles the smile of perfection, transcendental Perfection. With man, God cries. He cries the cry that has been inside the human heart from time immemorial.
God's Compassion-experience and man's liberation-experience are inseparable. When God's Compassion descends, the meshes of ignorance dissolve and man's liberation dawns.
When we have an inner experience, we spontaneously learn something higher, something deeper, something more soulful and more fruitful than any ordinary human learning. One inner experience will teach us how to run towards the Goal, how to discover our higher and deeper Reality. Another inner experience will teach us how to unlearn everything that has caught our mind in the outer world—everything undivine, unillumined, unaspiring, unfulfilled. The things that are fulfilling, we shall learn from our ever-evolving experience; the things that are discouraging and destructive we shall unlearn. Every day, on the strength of our inner experience, we have the opportunity to learn the higher Truth and unlearn the many hostile and undivine things that our mind has mistaken for Truth.
When we are in the process of learning and unlearning, there comes a time when we achieve perfection both in our inner life and in our outer life. Today's experience grows into tomorrow's realisation. For a seeker, inner experience is the precursor of God-realisation, which is the most important, most significant experience. Then tomorrow's realisation grows into the perfection of the following day. Experience is the first rung, realisation is the second rung and perfection is the third rung of the cosmic ladder.
Outer experiences we can share with others when we are suffering and also when we are in a cheerful frame of mind. Whether we have something to be proud of or whether we have inner pangs, we can easily share these experiences. But if we share our inner experiences with others, we are just inviting doubt to snatch them away. And once we allow others to inject doubt into our mind and heart, our progress stops. No seeker will be able to go further if he prematurely shares his inner experiences with others. But once a seeker has reached the highest Height or has at least achieved something solid and concrete in his spiritual life, then he can share his experiences with others without the risk of losing the inspiration and illumination of those experiences. Indeed, at that time, his inner experiences will inspire and illumine his friends.
One may have hundreds and thousands of experiences during his life of aspiration. But two or three major experiences are more than enough for a seeker to realise the Highest, the Absolute. Now, we have to be careful about our inner experiences; we have to know whether these deeper experiences are real or not. When a seeker gets an experience, he has to go deep within in order to get a still higher and deeper experience so that he can know the true meaning of his previous experience. Or, if he has a spiritual Master, the Master can tell him the true meaning of his experience.
Let us start our journey with aspiration. If we have sincere aspiration, we are bound to have inner experiences, and then our realisation cannot remain a far cry. And once realisation dawns, perfect Perfection is bound to blossom in our life of aspiration on earth. We have to aspire to bring down the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. The Kingdom of Heaven automatically descends to earth when we grow into perfection, when we dive into the Heart of the highest Absolute Supreme.