Desire and aspiration1Yoga is a Sanskrit word. It means union, conscious union with the Highest, conscious union with the Absolute.
Spirituality is a vast subject. Yoga teaches us how to study this subject. Yoga also teaches us how to have a free access to God, the Absolute.
We are all one, inseparably one with God. But our oneness is an unconscious oneness. If we follow Yoga, if we practise spirituality, then our oneness with God becomes conscious. More than that, it becomes constantly and inseparably conscious.
Two things govern the world, only two things: desire and aspiration. Desire is for those who want to live an ordinary life, practically the life of an animal; and aspiration is for those who would like to live the life of the Cosmic Gods. The life of desire is immediately followed by destruction. The life of aspiration is followed by revelation, and revelation is followed by manifestation — manifestation of our Divinity, manifestation of the Inner Pilot and manifestation of the Absolute, fully and completely here on earth.
Some people are satisfied with what they have and what they are. What they have is material wealth and what they are is desire. They have desire, but their desires are fulfilled to a great extent and they are satisfied. For these people aspiration is nowhere to be found. They are lifeless, static beings. Those who suffer from frustration and dissatisfaction in the life of desire at least feel that desire is not giving them abiding satisfaction. They want to have something more, to achieve something or grow into something that will give them real satisfaction. In time, these people will feel that the life of desire and material prosperity is not the answer.
There are various reasons why people enter into the spiritual life or want to practise Yoga. Some people enter into the spiritual life because the world has disappointed them or deserted them and they are filled with bitter disgust for the world. They feel that spirituality is the only answer.
Some people enter into the spiritual life because they see that suffering is omnipresent. Suffering is within, suffering is without, suffering is in their families, suffering is in themselves, suffering is in the world at large. They know that suffering is not the answer. Something else — peace, light and inner delight — is the answer. And they feel that they can get these only from the spiritual life.
Some people have come to know that the root of suffering is desire. Because people consciously or unconsciously cherish teeming desires, they are compelled to suffer. When their desires are not fulfilled, they suffer from frustration; when their desires are fulfilled still they suffer, for they thought that the fulfilment of their desires would have been infinitely more meaningful and satisfying.
Some people have gone a step further and have come to realise that desire is not the real culprit. It is ignorance that is the real culprit. We wallow in the pleasures of ignorance, and ignorance compels us to desire at every moment. Our inner sky is overcast with clouds, and these clouds are ignorance. We can illumine this inner sky through our constant inner cry, the cry that we hear ceaselessly inside the very depths of our heart, in the inmost recesses of our being. When we cry inwardly, in our inner being we feel that there is a climbing flame. This flame goes high, higher, highest and touches the acme of perfection. This conscious inner cry has a special name, and that name is aspiration.
This inner cry will carry us into the world of infinite Beauty, infinite Delight, infinite Perfection. These worlds are for the people who enter into the spiritual life. They are blessed. They know the Truth. They know that material prosperity cannot give them immortal Life, immortal Light and Delight. It is impossible. Only the inner life, the life of aspiration and dedication, can give them this immortal Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure.
Of course, it does not matter why you enter into the spiritual life — whether suffering or frustration or any other factors have compelled you. Once you have accepted the spiritual life soulfully and devotedly, that is enough. Your readiness and eagerness on the spiritual path is the only important thing.
In the spiritual life there should not be any kind of calculation or intellectual approach, but only self-giving to the Inner Pilot. The approach has to stem from the inner being directly, and should not go through the mind or the intellect. This does not mean that you will totally discard and disregard the mind. But the mind that you are using right now is the physical, earth-bound mind. Its capacity is very limited; but in spite of that it constantly judges you and others. The mind is always eager to suspect others. It feels that suspicion is the greatest wisdom. It feels that its doubting capacity is the greatest achievement. If the mind suspects or doubts, then it feels that it is doing something very great and significant. Naturally, very often you see that its judgements are totally wrong, because the mind’s judgements are based on its preconceived ideas and prejudices. But the heart is all love, all oneness, all spontaneity.
Stand in front of the ocean of spirituality and use the mind. It will say that the ocean is very cold and its waves are dangerous and ferocious. Doubt will tell you that the waves will drown you. But the heart will see the ocean, not as an ocean of destruction, but as an ocean of Illumination, an ocean of Perfection and Fulfilment. It will feel that if you jump into this ocean, you will be jumping into the sea of Reality, and that sooner or later you will become the Reality itself.
Some people are badly frightened by the ocean of spirituality. They feel that there will be no escape for them and that the ocean of spirituality will drown them. Just because they do not care for the ocean of Reality, they are now swimming in the ocean of ignorance. We can be in only one place: either in ignorance-night or in Wisdom-Light. Ignorance-night is right in front of us and, at the same time, Wisdom-Light is deep within us. It is we who have to make the choice. If we accept Wisdom-Light, then our life is bound to be transformed, illumined and perfected. But if we accept ignorance-night, then our life will be devoured and destroyed by ignorance.
If we really want to walk along the path of spirituality, then constantly we will be inspired from deep within to follow the path of Light, and to grow into the Light slowly, steadily and unerringly. Then, at the end of our journey’s close, we will see the Inner Pilot, our Supreme Beloved, garlanding us with His Transcendental Joy and Divine Pride.
OEH University of Aberdeen; Aberdeen, Scotland, Marischal College, 18 June 1973.↩