Some people have countless experiences before they realise God. Again, others have very, very few — perhaps twenty or thirty experiences. In one way, people who get hundreds of experiences can be proud of their experiences. But God decides who will have hundreds of experiences before God-realisation, and who will get only ten or twelve experiences. In both cases it entirely depends on God’s Will. We cannot say that the one who had few experiences had the shortest road. No! The road is the same, but God did not want one individual to have to eat so much on the way. During a 26-mile marathon, some people drink perhaps four or five times, but poor me! God alone knows, countless times I drink! Yet the destination is the same. Some drink after each mile, while others drink every five or six miles. We are drinking water at various stations, but our destination is the same. When you get many experiences, it is like drinking water at every water station.

Everything depends on God’s Will for the seeker. God knows who needs more experiences and who needs fewer experiences to arrive at the goal. The only important thing is that, if you have a very high experience, you should always keep that experience in mind. When your consciousness descends, when you are suffering from physical, vital, mental, emotional and other kinds of problems, at that time think of your highest experience. That particular experience will be your saviour.

Swami Vivekananda received so many higher than the highest experiences before he realised God. At times, he forgot his experiences, but when he remembered them, he used to imagine, imagine, imagine that on such and such a day at the foot of a particular tree he had the highest experience. Then, on the strength of his imagination, he used to get back that highest experience. Staying in the same place for a few hours, he would make his imagination as real as the experience itself. First he forgot the experience that he had had ten years earlier. Then he remembered the experience, but he wanted to go back to his previous height to achieve the experience once again, and he definitely went there. First he climbed up to a certain height. Then he stayed there, at that particular height. There he made his experience absolutely as real as it had been five or ten years before.

At times you may be doomed to disappointment. Let us say that everything is going wrong. Your consciousness has absolutely touched the abysmal abyss. Just remember that five or ten years ago you had the highest experience. Now use all your imagination to go back to the height of that experience. Then make the experience as living, as real, as possible. Your imagination is not false! Swami Vivekananda did that very thing. Just go to your highest height of ten or fifteen years ago and imagine one particular experience. You do not need ten experiences; take one experience as your highest. Then, when your consciousness is at the lowest point, you will be able to go back to your highest. You can say to yourself, “I was there,” and then you can return to that height.

Like that, imagine, and then go up, up, up to reach your highest. I always say that imagination has a reality of its own. It has its own world. It is not a false experience; it is real. You need a ladder to climb up, and that ladder is your imagination. When you first climbed to that height, you needed a ladder. That ladder you have thrown away, but you can bring back another ladder, which is imagination. Then you can go up once again.