Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, today I shall give a short talk on miracles. A miracle is something unusual, something unimaginable. If a man walks on water, then he performs a great miracle. If a man flies in the sky, then he performs a great miracle. If a man can destroy a whole country, then he performs a miracle.
A boat sails on water, an aeroplane flies in the sky and a hydrogen bomb can destroy a country. Who has built the boat, who has built the plane and who has made the bomb? Man! Without a man's consent, the boat cannot sail; without a man's will, a plane cannot fly; without a man's conscious approval, the bomb cannot drop. A human being is necessary to sail the boat, to fly the plane and to destroy the country. Poor man! Unfortunately, he has totally forgotten that he is the creator of these things.
Who is superior, the creator or the creation? Undoubtedly, the creator! If the creator does not want the boat to sail, the boat cannot sail on its own. If the creator does not want the plane to fly, the plane cannot fly on its own. If the creator does not want the bomb to drop, the bomb cannot drop on its own. We are compelled to run after miracles just because we forget the undeniable fact that we are the miracle-creators.
Here we are all seekers, seekers of the infinite Truth and Light. What can be a greater miracle than when a finite human being cries to the Infinite for Peace, Light and Bliss? The finite wants to house the Infinite. The earth-bound consciousness wants to be transformed into the Heaven-free consciousness. The infinite Spirit wants to reveal itself in and through the finite body. Are these not miracles of the highest order? Can there be any greater miracle achieved by a human being than God-realisation? God-realisation means one's conscious awareness of a living God. God-realisation means one's embodiment of infinite Peace, Light and Bliss here in an earthly body. A beginning seeker feels that the greatest miracle on earth is God-realisation. But when he becomes advanced or when he realises God, he comes to know that God-realisation is something absolutely normal — more normal than our day-to-day habits of working, eating, sleeping and playing.
God is the cosmic Tree. A tree has branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. A tree without branches, leaves, flowers and fruits is no tree at all. By the example of the tree we can learn that God needs us and we need God. The tree needs leaves, flowers and fruits; and the leaves, flowers and fruits need the source, which is the tree. The vast sea cannot become a sea without countless drops of water. The sea needs the existence of countless drops of water, and the drops need the existence of the sea. We need God as tiny drops need the ocean, and God needs us as the ocean needs the drops. We need God for our highest realisation and God needs us for His supreme manifestation here on earth. When we are aware of the Supreme's need, God-realisation is no miracle. But when we are not aware of it, for weaklings like us to think of God-realisation, and for God the Infinite to manifest Himself in and through a tiny, finite body, seems like the Supreme Miracle. On the physical plane, indeed, it is a miracle. But on the inner plane it is not a miracle because God and man are interdependent.
If we want to acquire miraculous power, we can concentrate on certain spiritual centres in the body. We first start concentrating on the base of the spine. Then we move two inches higher for the second centre. The navel is the level for the third centre; then the heart, the throat, the forehead and finally, the crown of the head. These centres are not in the gross physical body; they are located inside our subtle body. If they were in the physical body, by this time the doctors would have discovered them. Unfortunately, they are not for medical science to discover, but only for the seeker to discover through his inner cry.
The question at this point is whether or not these miraculous powers can be of any help to our God-realisation. The answer is definitely not. The great spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna one day said to his dearest disciple, Vivekananda, "My son, I have practised so much meditation. I have achieved many miraculous powers, and I want to give them all to you. You know that I do not care for these things. I want to lead a most simple life; I want to wear the most simple clothes and eat the most simple food. Since you are my dearest disciple, let me give these powers to you."
Vivekananda said, "Please tell me one thing first. Will these occult powers help me in any way to realise God?"
"Oh, no! Occult powers can never help you in God-realisation."
Vivekananda said, "Then I do not want them. I want only God."
Here we see the aspiration of a really sincere seeker. Because of his sincere aspiration, Vivekananda did realise God. If a less sincere seeker had been offered this gift by his Master, he would have immediately tried to grab the occult powers from his Master. But a sincere seeker knows that God must come first. Another spiritual Master of the highest order, Sri Krishna, told his dearest disciple, Arjuna, that if one cares for occult power, then he is millions of miles away from his inner existence, the divine existence.
The creator is superior to his creation. These occult powers, miraculous powers, come from God; they cannot come from anywhere else. If there is a mango tree in front of me, if I want to eat a mango, I can. But if I eat a mango without permission from the owner of the tree, then I take a risk. I may be scolded and insulted. But if I take permission from the owner first, then I may eat as much as I want.
The goal is very far. If we do not start walking along the way, then how are we going to reach it? There are many roads that lead to our goal. On one road we find occult powers or miraculous powers. They are like beautiful trees and flowers in a garden alongside the road that is leading to our destination. If we walk along this particular road, we may be tempted to enter into the garden. We may eat some fruits and enjoy ourselves there for a long time; we may forget that we even have a goal to reach. We enjoy the garden to such an extent that we just stay there, or we may go back home with the idea that we shall return to enjoy the garden every day. Then we totally forget about our destination. So this garden of occult powers is a garden of temptation.
There is another road we can also follow. If we walk along this road we find that there is no garden, no park, no trees, nothing to distract us. There is only the road with the golden goal at the end. If we walk along this road steadily, then we will unmistakably reach our destination. This is the advantage of the plain road. When we walk along the road that does not offer us the temptation of occult power, there is every possibility that we will reach our goal much sooner.
What is miracle-power, after all? Miracle-power is something I can do that you cannot do. If something can be done by both of us, then it is no longer a miracle. Here on earth when a thing is extremely difficult to do, when it is next to impossible, it is like a miracle. I will tell you an incident. A little boy of five came to my house with his elder brother. I told him I could spell his name properly. I spelled his name properly and he was wonder-struck. How was it possible for me to correctly spell his name? It was beyond his imagination! He himself did not know how to spell his name, but I knew how. To him it was a miracle because he could not do it. But to his elder brother and to me, it was no miracle at all. It was a most ordinary, everyday matter.
A child studies in the kindergarten and his elder brother studies at the university. When the child sees his elder brother studying big, big books on so many different subjects, when he sees him reading, writing and committing things to memory, to the child this is nothing but a miracle. But in fifteen years or so this very child will easily be able to do the same. He will study big books and go to the university and read and write like his elder brother. Right now he does not know that he himself will soon have the same capacity, and just because he does not know, he thinks his elder brother is performing a miracle.
Here we are all seekers. Some of us are half-sincere; some of us are fully sincere. Others are only curious to know what is going on. In the spiritual life we tell people that curiosity is not spirituality; but it can become half-sincerity and half-sincerity can become spirituality. It is better to start with a little than not to start at all. Today you are nothing but a curious seeker. But if you continue, tomorrow you can become a half-sincere seeker and the following day you can become a fully sincere seeker.
Even as we need a teacher to help us in our studies at school, so also do we need a spiritual teacher to help us in our inner studies. I happen to be the spiritual teacher of a small group of disciples. I wish to say that I am also a performer of miracles. Not what I do, not what I say, but what I am inwardly is the most important thing. The real miracle is my meditation. This is the miracle that you people cannot yet perform, but which you will definitely be able to perform one day if you aspire sincerely and devotedly.
The great spiritual Masters like the Christ, Sri Krishna and the Buddha performed a great many miracles in the outer world. But a far greater miracle was their very presence on earth. Outwardly, the Christ performed about forty-five supreme miracles, but in his inner life he performed millions and millions of miracles which were not recorded and which can never be recorded, except in the Heart of the Supreme. A far greater miracle than any of his outer miracles was his physical presence on earth, and the greatest miracle of all was his immortal Consciousness that guided and uplifted the earth-consciousness. The same thing is true of all real spiritual Masters from all countries.
We are all seekers. Just because we all have some inner cry for God, for Truth, for Light, for Bliss, we are here. If we did not have this inner cry, we would have gone out to a movie or to a party or somewhere else. But to those who have not come, to those who know that we are here listening to a spiritual talk or inwardly praying to God and meditating on God, it is nothing short of a miracle, because they do not dare to do what we are doing here. Not only do they not dare, but they cannot dare; so undoubtedly it is a miracle for them.
We do not need miracles. We do not need occult powers. What we need is God's Compassion. In God's Compassion alone abides our God-realisation. God-realisation is our birthright. If we want to acquire occult or miraculous powers, we easily can. If we feel that we don't need them or don't care for them, then we don't have to take them ever. We have to know that God-realisation is something that everybody has to have. No one can escape it. If we don't want God-realisation now, it is only a matter of time until we do. If we do not want God right now, God will not allow us to remain unrealised forever. Someday we will want Him; nay, we will need Him badly. At that time God-realisation, the supreme miracle, will be ours.
University of Zurich
July 5, 1974