AUM — Vol. 5, No. 9, 27 Apr. 1970
AUMMan is Infinity’s Heart.
Man is Eternity’s Breath.
Man is Immortality’s Life.
The inner voice1
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
— Howard Arnold Walter"
To be true, pure, strong and brave what we need is the Inner Voice. Our Inner Voice is the Truth-Power within. Our outer voice is the money-power without. Man is not pure enough to see the Truth-Power operating in his outer world of desires and demands. Man is not fortunate enough to see the money-power operating in his inner world of aspirations and needs. The Truth-Power used for humanity, the money-power used for divinity can and will change the face of the world. Truth-Power will awaken and illumine the slumbering and unlit humanity. The money-power will serve and fulfil the yet unfulfilled divinity on earth.
The Inner Voice is the heart’s Wealth. When an aspirant uses this Wealth, it soulfully smiles. When an unbeliever and disbeliever of God attempts to use this Wealth, it gets mercilessly suffocated.
The Inner Voice tells us to help the world only in accordance with God’s express Will. If help is rendered otherwise, it’s bound to turn into dire calamity later on. He is not only divinely liberal but supremely blessed whose help to another is God-inspired and God-ordained.
To give a thing requested on second thought is to give once. To give a thing for the asking is to give twice. To give a thing unsought is to give thrice. To give a thing when God wants is to give one’s own body and the soul along with the thing for good.
We shall never hear the Song of the Inner Voice if we make friends consciously or unconsciously with anxiety. What is anxiety? Anxiety is the destructive breath of life’s poverty.
There can be no greater choice and higher prize than to listen to the Inner Voice. If we willfully do not listen to the Inner Voice, our false gains will lead us to an inevitable loss. And if we do listen soulfully to the Inner Voice, true gains will not only protect us from imminent loss but will surprisingly hasten our realisation of the Transcendental Truth.
An aspirant must realise that the Inner Voice is not a gift, but an achievement. The more soulfully he strives for it, the sooner he unmistakably owns it.
Sincerity tells man that he should be mighty proud that he has the all-discerning Inner Voice. Humility tells man that he should be supremely proud that the wrong-shunning, the right-performing and the good-fulfilling Inner Voice has him.
The Inner Voice is at once man’s untiring guide and true friend. If a man goes deep within, the Inner Voice will tell him what to do. If he goes deeper, the Inner Voice will give him the capacity. If he goes still deeper, the Inner Voice will convince him that he is doing the right thing in the right way.
There is a word, very sweet, pure and familiar to us. This word is conscience. Conscience is another name for the Inner Voice. Divinely inspired are the utterances of Shakespeare: “I feel within me a peace above all earthly anxieties, a still and quiet conscience.”
Conscience has two places to live: in the heart of truth and in the mouth of falsehood. When Conscience strikes us once, we must think that it is showing us its unconditional love. When it strikes us twice, we must feel that it is showing us its unreserved concern. When it strikes us thrice, we must realise that it is offering us its boundless compassion to prevent us from diving deep into the sea of Ignorance.
Rousseau says something quite striking:
Conscience and passion need not contradict each other if man aspires to offer his heart’s light to his passion and his heart’s surrender to his conscience. In this way man can easily transcend this apparently irreconcilable contradiction. Once man has transcended all contradiction, he can powerfully sing with Whitman:
If you want to be a good man, then contradict yourself when sincerity demands. If you want to be a great man, then don’t contradict yourself even when necessity demands.
Fear asks, is it safe? Doubt asks, is it true? Conscience asks, if not God who else? What else?
The Inner Voice is the Temple in us. The Inner Voice is the Deity in us. The Inner Voice is the divine Duty in us. The Inner Voice is the supreme Necessity in us.
God has commanded the Inner Voice to be the friend of the aspiring souls and the judge of the unaspiring souls.
The Inner Voice is not only constant constancy, but perfect perfection.
AUM 548. This talk was given at Syracuse University, New York on 1 October 1969↩
The Bhagavad-Gita — Chapter II: KnowledgeThis chapter is entitled Sankhya-Yoga (The Yoga of Knowledge). Arjuna’s arguments against war were very plausible to our human understanding. Sri Krishna read Arjuna’s heart. Confusion ran riot across Arjuna’s mind. The unmanly sentiment in his Kshatriya blood he took as his love for mankind. But Arjuna was never wanting in sincerity. His mouth spoke what his heart felt. Unfortunately his sincerity unconsciously housed ignorance. Krishna wanted to illumine Arjuna. “O, Arjuna, in your speech you are a philosopher, in your action, you are not. A true philosopher mourns neither for the living nor for the dead. But Arjuna, you are sorrowing and grieving. Tell me, why do you mourn the prospective death of these men? You existed, I existed, they too. We all shall cease not to exist.”
We have just mentioned Arjuna's philosophy. Truth to tell, we too would have fared the same at that juncture. Real philosophy is truly difficult to study, more difficult to learn and most difficult to live.
The Sanskrit word for philosophy is darshan, meaning to “to see, to vision”. Sri Ramakrishna’s significant remark runs: “In the past, people used to have visions, (darshan); now people study Darshan (philosophy)!”
Equally significant is the message of the Old Testament: “Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
Arjuna, for the first time, came to learn from Sri Krishna that his human belief concerning life and death was not founded on truth. He felt that he was distracted by illusions. He prayed to Sri Krishna for enlightenment. “I am your humble disciple. Teach me, tell me what is best for me.” For the first time, the word disciple sprang from Arjuna’s lips.
Until then, Sri Krishna had been his friend and comrade. The disciple learned: “The Reality that pervades the universe is the Life immortal. The body is perishable, the soul, the real in man, or the real man, is deathless, immortal. The soul neither kills nor is killed. Beyond birth and death, constant and eternal is the soul. The knower of this truth neither slays nor causes slaughter.”
Arjuna had to fight the battle of life and not the so-called Battle of Kurukshetra. Strength he had. Wisdom he needed. The twilit consciousness of the physical mind he had. He needed the sun-bright consciousness of the soul’s divinity.
Sri Krishna used the terms Birth, Life and Death.
Birth is the passing of the soul from a lower to a higher body in the process of evolution, in the course of the soul’s journey of reincarnation. The Sankhya system affirms the absolute identity of cause and effect. Cause is the effect silently and secretly involved and effect is the cause actively and openly evolved. Evolution, according to the Sankhya philosophy, can never come into existence from nothing, from zero. The appearance of is can be only from the existence of was. Let us fill our minds with the immortal utterance of Wordsworth from Intimations of Immortality:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God who is our home."
Here the poet carries us into the mystery of the soul’s eternal journey and reminds us of the perennial Source.
What is life? It is the soul’s only opportunity to manifest and fulfil the Divine here on earth. When life begins its journey, infinity shakes hands with it. When the journey is half done, eternity shakes hands with it. When life’s journey is complete, immortality shakes hands with it. Life lives the life of perfection when it lives in spirituality. When life lives in spirituality, the breath of God, it stands far above the commands of morality and the demands of duty.
God says to the human life, “Arise, awake, aspire! Yours is the goal.” The human life says to God: “Wait, I am resting. I am sleeping. I am dreaming.” Suddenly life feels ashamed of its conduct. Crying, it says, “Father, I am coming.” Throbbing, it says, “Father, I am come.” Smiling, it says, “Father, I have come.”
Life, the problem, can be solved by the soul, the solution, but for that, one has first to be awakened from within.
He who lives the inner life knows that death is truly his resting-room. To him, Death is anything but extinction. It is a meaningful departure. When our consciousness is divinely transformed, the necessity of death will not arise at all. To transform life, we need Peace, Light, Bliss and Power. We cry for these divine qualities. They cry for our aspiration. They are equally anxious to grant us everlasting life. But until our body, vital, mind and heart and the soul aspire together, the divine power, light, bliss and peace cannot possess us.
The body has death, but not the soul. The body sleeps, the soul flies. The soul-stirring words on death and the soul on this chapter of the Gita, let us recollect. “Even as man discards old clothes for the new ones, so the dweller in the body, the soul, leaving aside the worn-out bodies, enters into new bodies. The soul migrates from body to body. Weapons cannot cleave it, nor fire consume it, nor water drench it, nor the wind dry.” This is the soul and this is what is meant by the existence of the soul. Now we shall be well advised to observe the existence of death, if there is any, in the momentous words of Sri Aurobindo, the Founder of the Integral Yoga. “Death,” he exclaims, “has no separate existence by itself, it is only a result of the principle of decay in the body and that principle is there already — it is part of the physical nature. At the same time it is not inevitable; if one could have the necessary consciousness and force, decay and death is not inevitable.”
What we call death is nothing short of ignorance. We can solve the problem of death only when we know what life is. Life is eternal. It existed before birth and it will exist after death. Life also exists between birth and death. It is beyond birth and death. Life is infinite. Life is immortal. A seeker of the Infinite Truth cannot subscribe to Schopenhauer’s statement: “To desire immortality is to desire the eternal perpetuation of a great mistake.” There is no shadow of doubt that it is the ceaseless seeker in man who is Immortality’s life, for his very existence indicates the Supreme’s Vision that illumines the universe and the Supreme’s Reality that fulfils creation.
Arjuna the disciple further learnt: “Do your duty. Do not waver. Be not faint-hearted. You are a Kshatriya. There can be no greater invitation than that of a righteous war for a Kshatriya.”
A Kshatriya’s (warrior) duty can never be the duty of an ascetic. Neither an ascetic should perform the duty of a Kshatriya. Also a Kshatriya must not follow the path of a world-renouncer. Imitation is not for a seeker. “Imitation is suicide,” so do we learn from Emerson.
A warrior’s duty is to fight, fight for the establishment of truth. ‘In his victory, the entire earth becomes his, in his death, him welcome the gates of paradise.’
Sri Krishna unveiled the path of Sankhya (knowledge) to Arjuna: “Arjuna, take them as one, victory and defeat, joy and sorrow, gain and loss. Care not for them. Fight! Fighting thus no sin will you incur.”
The Teacher revealed the path of knowledge (Sankhya). Now he wanted to teach the student the path of action (Yoga). Arjuna surprisingly learnt that this path, the path of action, the second path, is fruitful and also it will bring him deliverance. The truth sublime is: “Action is your birthright, not the outcome, not the fruits thereof. Let not the fruit of action be your object, nor you be attached to inaction. Be active and dynamic, seek not any reward.” We can simultaneously kindle the flame of our consciousness with the lore of the Isha Upanishad: “Action cleaves not to a man.”
We have already used the term yoga. What is yoga? “Equanimity,” says Sri Krishna, “is yoga.” He also says: “Yoga is skilful wisdom in action.”
Arjuna’s inner progress is striking. He now feels the necessity to free himself from the desire-life. Sri Krishna teaches him how he can totally detach himself from the bondage-life of the senses as a tortoise successfully withdraws its limbs from all directions. Sense-withdrawal, or withdrawal from the sense objects, by no means indicates the end of man’s journey. ‘Mere withdrawal cannot put an end to desire’s birth. Desire disappears only when the Supreme appears. In His Presence the desire-life loses its existence. Not before.’
This second chapter throws considerable light on Sankhya (knowledge) and yoga (action). Sankhya and yoga are never at daggers’ drawn. One is detached meditative knowledge and the other is dedicated and selfless action. They have the self-same Goal. They just follow two different paths to arrive at the Goal.
To come back to the sense-life. Sense-life is not be discontinued. Sense-life is to be lived in the Divine for the Divine. It is an inner withdrawal and not the outer withdrawal; that is imperative. The animal in man has to surrender to the Divine in man for its total transformation. The life of animal pleasure must lose its living and burning breath in the all-fulfilling life of divine Bliss.
Katha Upanishad declares the rungs of the ever-climbing Ladder.
Higher than the objects of sense is the mind,
Higher than the mind is the intellect,
Higher than the intellect is the Self,
Higher than the Self is the Unmanifest,
Higher than the Unmanifest is the Supreme personified,
Highest is this Supreme, the Goal Ultimate.”"
We have seen what happens when we go up. Let us observe what happens when we muse on the sense-objects. The Gita tells: “Dwelling on sense-objects gives birth to attachment, attachment gives birth to desire. Desire (unfulfilled) brings into existence the life of anger. From anger delusion springs up, from delusion the confusion of memory. In the confusion of memory, the reasoning wisdom is lost. When wisdom nowhere, destruction within, without, below, above.”
The dance of destruction is over. Let us pine for salvation. The disciplined, self-controlled aspirant alone will be blessed by the flood of peace. Finally, the aspirant will be embraced by Salvation, the inner Illumination.
The blossoms of the heart
If it is all trueBeauty tells me that I am ugly.
Purity tells me that I am impure.
Sincerity tells me that I am insincere.
I ask my sweet Lord if it is all true.
My Lord says, “How can you be ugly, My child, when My own Light is your body? How can you be impure, My child, when My Divinity is your heart’s birthright? How can you be insincere, My child, when I, Myself, use your soul to speak through your mouth?”
WhenWhen Peace once sang
My world became my
When Love once sang
My world became my
When Truth once sang
My world became my