Greatness and goodnessUniversity of Oxford; Oxford, England
St. Cross Building
19 June 1976
I wish to give a very short talk on greatness and goodness. Here we are in Oxford. Oxford is a place of greatness and goodness. Oxford, I bow to your greatness and I bow to your goodness. Your greatness is divinely meaningful and your goodness is supremely soulful. Anything that is great in England is to be found here in microcosm. Greatness and goodness combined are what Oxford is.
Students who want to cultivate mental knowledge of the highest degree come here from all over the world to achieve greatness. Then they go back to their respective countries to offer the knowledge-light that they have achieved here. This knowledge-light that they spread is goodness.
To have greatness is to have faith in oneself—in one's physical, in one's vital, in one's mind and in one's heart. If one has a strong body, he has faith in his physical strength. If one has a dynamic vital, then he has implicit faith in his vital. If one is blessed with a brilliant mind, then he has faith in his mind. And if one is blessed with a pure and unalloyed heart, then he has tremendous faith in his heart.
Goodness is faith only in God, in Truth, in Light. When one becomes part and parcel of Truth, then one takes the side of Truth and Light. And when one is always for God, this is nothing but goodness. Goodness always has faith in God, Truth and Light.
Greatness is a universally acknowledged fact. Goodness is also a universally acknowledged fact. But it is something more. It is universally loved reality. Greatness we observe in our outer life. Goodness we observe in our inner life. With our human eyes, we observe greatness around us, all over the world. With our divine heart, we feel goodness within us and within others.
God is great because He has created this world. This is a fact that we have been taught by our parents, by our friends, by the world body. God is also good, kind, compassionate. He is our Source within us; He is for us, eternally for us. He wants to liberate us, He wants to illumine us, He wants to grant us realisation, satisfaction and fulfilment. He is the Author of all good. This is God the Goodness. God the Creator is Greatness and God the Lover of His Creation is Goodness. We love God not because He is supremely great, but because He is universally, transcendentally good. Greatness astonishes us. Goodness illumines us and liberates us from the shackles of bondage.
Greatness we can express in an animal way when we quarrel, fight and try to destroy one another. When we stay together in a family and love one another, then greatness is expressed in a human way. When we try to elevate one another and help one another reach the highest heights, at that time greatness is expressed in a divine way. Finally, greatness is expressed in the supreme way when we tell the world that God the Eternal Reality is also eternally good; He is the Source. He is waiting for us, Him to please in His own Way. Here we reach greatness, supreme greatness, on the strength of our conscious and constant surrender to God's Will.
Usually our human mind craves greatness, whereas our divine heart longs for goodness. Sometimes we notice a yawning gulf between the mind and the heart, between the goal that the mind wants to reach and the goal that the heart wants to reach. The mind tries to see its goal by separating one reality from another. Everything it wants to see in an infinitesimal measure, whereas the heart wants to see the goal, the reality, as a unit, one and inseparable. The mind and the heart approach reality in different ways, but they cannot always remain separated. They have to be unified in order to achieve the highest truth. There are two kinds of mind: the physical mind and the illumined mind. The physical mind is bound by the physical world. It wants to lord it over the world. It wants to stay at least an inch above others so that it can dominate others. Consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, it gets tremendous joy from its sense of separativity. The illumined mind is totally different. It longs for vastness within and without. It wants nothing but vastness and, inside vastness, it wants to grow and glow.
The human heart, which is very near the vital centre, is quite often insecure. It does not want to house others inside it. It feels that when others want to take shelter in it, they may break the vessel. It feels it is too small. Therefore, the human heart is quite often insecure, timid. And just because it is quite near the vital, unconsciously or consciously, like a magnet it pulls impurity from the undisciplined vital. But there is also the spiritual heart. This heart is always united with the soul; it has established its oneness with the soul. The soul, which is the direct representative of the Lord Supreme, has light in boundless measure. And the spiritual heart has a free access to the soul. Therefore, it can easily bring down the soul's light into its system.
The oneness of the spiritual heart and the vastness of the illumined mind must be brought together. Oneness we can establish with another individual or with some tiny object. But if we have vastness along with the oneness, if we can establish our oneness with God's vast Creation, then we become perfect. Likewise, vastness without oneness is of no avail. God's Creation is very vast, but if we fail to establish our oneness with this vastness, then vastness remains a barren desert. In order to become perfect, we have to create within us vastness and oneness, and we have to grow into both vastness and oneness.
There are two worlds. One is the world of desire; the other is the world of aspiration. When we remain in the desire-world, greatness looms large. But when we remain in the aspiration-world, goodness looms large. Just because we are seekers, we are consciously trying to come out of the domain of the desire-world and establish our abode in the aspiration-world.
The desire to know the world and the desire to know oneself are totally different things. When we want to know the world around us, without caring for our oneness with the world, unconsciously we are aiming at greatness. And this greatness, without fail, separates us from the world. But when we want to know ourselves implicitly, what we realise is that we are part and parcel of the whole, of the integral reality. Even if we start with the desire-world and try to become great, no harm. It is far better than remaining in the world of lethargy and somnolence. But there shall come a time when we see that our greatness has not given us an iota of satisfaction; for inside greatness what we see is frustration. There comes a time when our greatness is challenged. An individual feels that he is a great singer. But sooner or later his pride is smashed when he sees that another singer is far better than he. Then what does he do? He resorts to goodness.
Goodness is not in competing with the world around us; it only offers the message of self-transcendence. If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with ourselves. If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is only our own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to transcend ourselves. In the desire-world there is comparison and competition. But in the aspiration- world, we do not want to make others feel that we are superior. No. When we feel that we have an iota of light, we aspire to have abundant light, infinite Light. Only by virtue of our constant aspiration do we transcend our own capacities. We feel that the more we increase our capacity and the more we utilise our capacity to please the Inner Pilot in His own Way, the sooner we become His perfect instruments.