Obedience: a supreme virtueObedience is a forced life: this is the realisation of an ordinary human being. Obedience is the surrender of an inferior man to a superior man: this is the realisation of an ordinary, unaspiring person. But the obedience that I wish to talk about is the inner obedience. Inner obedience is the conscious recognition of one's higher life, higher reality, higher existence.
Inner obedience is a supreme virtue. Inner obedience is the achievement of one's true knowledge. When we obey the higher principles, higher laws, we love. When we love, we become. And when we become, we come to realise that we eternally are the Eternal Now.
A child obeys his parents. While obeying, he walks along the path of truth, light and bliss. In the spiritual life we are all children; we are eternally children. We listen to the inner Voice, the Inner Pilot, who is guiding our destiny, who is moulding and shaping us in His own way. When we go deep within, we feel that we are an exact prototype of His existence.
We obey our Inner Pilot not because He is all-powerful, not out of fear that He will punish us. We obey Him because He is all Love. He is our Love-power, and our life needs Love-power. Our existence wants to be one with the infinite Love. We are a streak of light that enters into the vast sun. We offer our individuality and personality to our highest Source and then we become the song of universality. Our individual consciousness is very limited; the personal consciousness that we embody is very limited. So our individual life, our personal life, we offer to something more illumined, something vaster. Our limited life, our limited consciousness, becomes universal and the universal becomes the unlimited, the Infinite One. From the finite we go to the infinite and from the infinite we go to the Transcendental Absolute.
Obedience and self-discipline in the spiritual life go together. They are inseparable. When we discipline our lives, we feel that we are no longer in the animal kingdom. We are in the human kingdom. And in the human kingdom we are aspiring for the divine kingdom. The divine kingdom is bound to dawn, and it is we who will give birth to the divine kingdom here on earth, on the strength of our aspiration.
Self-discipline leads us to self-discovery and self-discovery is God-discovery. God-discovery is followed by God-revelation and God-revelation is followed by God-manifestation. Finally, God-manifestation is followed by God-perfection and God-satisfaction.
Obedience is responsibility. When we look at responsibility with our unlit, human consciousness, it is a heavy load, an unbearable burden that we have to shoulder. But when we follow the spiritual life, we see that the more responsibility we have, the more the divine in us, the Supreme in us, will take our responsibility. The more responsibility we have, the more we are helping to fulfil the earth-consciousness. Responsibility is a supreme opportunity to grow into the Reality. Responsibility is an immediate necessity for our soul, for the ideal in us, the real in us, the ever-transcending Reality in us. In the Garden of God's Heart, a beautiful rose blossoms each time we obey our Inner Pilot. Each time we obey our Inner Pilot, deep within we experience the celestial fragrance of this rose.
A seeker tries always to obey his inner Voice. But very often a wrong voice will create unimaginable problems for the seeker. How will the seeker differentiate the real from the unreal, the right from the wrong? A sincere seeker will be able to distinguish a wrong voice if he notices that the voice wants him to get satisfaction from its message in a specific way, with specific results. If the voice makes him feel that satisfaction will come only if victory dawns, if success comes, then he knows it is a wrong voice. When defeat looms large at the end of his action, and the seeker is doomed to disappointment, then he has to know it was a wrong voice. The right voice, the divine Voice, will only inspire the seeker to right actions. The right voice does not care for results as such.
"You have the right to action but not to the fruits thereof." This is the message of the Bhagavad-Gita. The fruits of action we come to know either in the form of success or in the form of failure. But neither success nor failure is our ultimate aim. Our aim is progress. Today's success will pale into insignificance tomorrow. A child's success comes when he learns how to crawl. Then he learns how to stand and walk a few steps; he feels that it is a tremendous success. And when he learns how to walk properly, once again he is bloated with pride. Each time the child advances, his previous success seems insignificant; there is no satisfaction in it.
But when we take the path of progress, we get tremendous satisfaction. A seed germinates into a tiny plant; it then becomes a sapling. Gradually it grows until finally it becomes a huge banyan tree. At that time it embodies millions and millions of leaves. If we take life as a song of gradual progress, then life is constant satisfaction. But if we see it in terms of success and failure, then immediately our patience will be exercised. Today we don't get one kind of success; tomorrow we try to get another kind of success. And we try to achieve this success by hook or by crook, using any means-foul or fair-because all we want is something to satisfy our immediate need. But our immediate need is not our eternal need. Our eternal need is for progress. Progress itself is a continuous and continued nourishment of the eternal need. Obedience is self-giving, the offering of our unlit consciousness to our illumined consciousness. Let us take the unlit in us as our feet; and let us call the illumined consciousness in us our head. The feet and the head have to establish an inseparable oneness. Here it is not a question of obedience; it is necessity. When an individual wants to run very fast, he needs tremendous concentration-power from his mind and his heart. The mind and heart will come to help the feet. So heart, mind and feet are all running towards one goal. That is conscious expansion of our existence. When one part of the being needs special attention, another part comes to its rescue; and together they reach the goal.
When we do not obey the inner light, there is a specific place where we reside. It is called the mind-room. Here it is all hesitation. The mind-room is full of hesitation. If the seeker roams in the mind-room, he sees a tiger in front of him, a lion behind him and mad elephants all around him. So he feels great hesitation. And when he hesitates, he shakes hands, either consciously or unconsciously, with the prince of doom: ignorance. Why does hesitation occur? Because the seeker has not offered his inner existence the nourishment that it needs. He does not pray to God as his very own, as his Highest. But when he realises that the Reality in him is in God's Dream-Boat, when he realises that he is bound to cross to the Golden Shore, then there can be no hesitation. It is all divine assurance, divine certainty.
When a sincere seeker becomes an obedient child of God, he feels that it is his inner necessity and outer necessity that have compelled him to cry for God and become inseparably one with God's infinite Light, Peace and Bliss. He also feels that it is God's Necessity that constantly has need of his obedience. He acquires inner obedience because his human feelings are transformed into the divine life. He has developed the hunger for God-realisation; and God Himself has developed the hunger for His own Manifestation. Through whom? Through His devoted, surrendered instrument.
Necessity is founded upon mutual sincerity. The son has to make a solemn promise to his Father that to realise Him, to manifest Him, he will come into the world-arena again and again. His Father also makes a solemn promise that He will liberate and illumine His son and make him realise that he is another God.
The sincere and obedient seeker feels that the desire-life is dangerous. It is constantly destroying his possibilities, his potentialities. He also feels that the aspiration-life is constantly, consciously taking him away from the desire-life. The aspiration-life is the thing that is leading him to the realisation-life. So the aspiration-life is full of certainty, provided we are sincere. The desire-life and the aspiration-life are both struggling for their own survival. They both have the necessity to strive for something. Our aspiration-life cares for Light, Light in infinite measure. Our desire-life cares for materialism, especially material wealth, earthly achievement, earthly prosperity. But only the aspiration-life, which is the life of God, which is the life of our true inner self, can give us satisfaction.
The aspiration-life is the life of inner obedience. When we outwardly obey God, even out of fear, we gain something. But when we inwardly and outwardly offer our obedience to our Inner Pilot, our fastest progress is made. Our first experience is loving God. Our second experience is devoting ourselves to God. And our third experience is, "Let Thy Will be done." Let me be in Heaven or let me be in hell; let me be wherever God wants to keep me. My gift, my gift to Him, the ever-compassionate Father, is, "Let Thy Will be done." This is the crown of divine obedience.