Eastern light for the Western mind
Spirituality: What it is and what it is not1Spirituality is man’s boundless freedom in his life-boat: the freedom of his life-journey, the freedom from his life-pangs and the freedom beyond his life-achievements.
In spirituality is man’s farthest Vision. In spirituality is man’s nearest reality. God has Compassion. Man has aspiration. Spirituality is the consciousness-light that unites man’s aspiration and God’s Compassion. Spirituality tells man that he is God veiled and that God is man revealed.
Spirituality is not an escape from the world of reality. Spirituality tells us what the true reality is and how we can discover it here on earth. Spirituality is not the denial of life, but the purest acceptance of life. Life is to be accepted unreservedly. Life is to be realised soulfully. Life is to be transformed totally. Life is to be lived eternally.
Spirituality is not the song of ignorance. It is the mother of concentration, meditation and realisation. Concentration takes me dynamically to God. Meditation silently brings God to me. Realisation neither takes me to God nor brings God to me. Realisation reveals to me that God is the Bluebird of Infinity’s Reality and I am the Golden Wings of Divinity’s Truth.
Spirituality has taught me the difference between my speech and my silence, between my mind and my heart. In speech I try to become. In silence I am. When I open my mouth, God closes my heart. When I close my mouth, God opens my heart. My mind says, “God needs me.” My heart says, “I need God.” My mind wants to possess God’s Creation while negating it. My heart wants to embrace God’s Creation while serving it. My mind says it does not know whether it thinks of God or of itself. At times my mind feels that since it does not think of God, neither does God think of it. My heart sees and feels that God thinks of it even if it does not care to think of God.
Spirituality has told me secretly what my supreme necessity is and how I can have it. What is my supreme necessity? God’s Blessing. How can I have it? By simply borrowing it from God’s Bank.
How can I pay off my debt? Easily! Just by borrowing once again from God’s Bank. But I must borrow wisdom and nothing else. Wisdom possessed, debt nullified. Verily, this wisdom is the breath of spirituality.
I am God’s experiment. He has given me my name: Science. I am God’s experience. He has given me my name: Spirituality. I am God’s Realisation. He has given me my name: Oneness — Oneness within, Oneness without.
God is my Reality.
Heaven is my Immortality.
Earth is my Divinity.
On earth I grow.
With Heaven I become.
In God I am.
EL 1. University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, 10 January 1968.↩
Fear of the inner life1Strange is this world of ours. Stranger is our human understanding. Strangest is our fear of the inner life.
Most of us do not know what the inner life is. What is the inner life? It is the life that lives to grow and grows to live. It grows in the unhorizoned vision of the soul. It lives in the sublimest plenitude of the soul. This inner life always acts in accordance with the transforming and fulfilling light of the soul. If you do not know your soul, then in the world of divine wisdom you will be accused of dire ignorance. When you know your soul, in no time you become acquainted with God.
Please do not be forgetful of your great promise to God. Before you came into the world, before you donned the human cloak, you told God, your sweet Lord, with all the sincerity at your command, that you would participate in His divine lila (Drama). He said to you, “My child, fulfil Me and fulfil yourself at the same time on earth.” You were divinely thrilled; your joy knew no bounds. You said, “Father, I shall. May my soulful promise be worthy of Your compassionate Command.”
As ill-luck would have it, you have now totally forgotten your promise. Here on earth you want to fulfil not God, but yourself. Your unlit mind prompts you to betray God. And you do it. You feel that God’s fulfilment must come only through your fulfilment. If it does not work out that way, you are not prepared to sacrifice one iota of your life-breath to fulfil God here on earth. Your divine promise sheds bitter tears of failure. Needless to say, to try to fulfil yourself before you have fulfilled God is to put the cart before the horse. It is the height of absurdity.
Perhaps by now you have come to learn what has made you fail in your most sincere promise to God. It is your fear. If I ask you how many enemies you have, you will jump up and say, “Quite a few.” But I have to say you are mistaken. You have just one enemy and that is all, even though, to your wide surprise, it seems like a host in itself. That single enemy of yours is fear, your unconsciously cherished fear.
You are afraid of the inner life. You feel that the moment you launch into the inner life you are lost, completely lost, like a babe in the woods. You may also think that in accepting the inner life, you are building castles in the air. Finally, you may feel that to accept the inner life is to throw your most precious life into the roaring mouth of a lion who will completely devour you and your outer life.
You have countless sweet dreams. You want to transform them into reality. All your dreams want to enjoy the world. You want to offer your momentous might to the world at large; but you feel that if you embark on the inner life, you will be deprived of all these invaluable achievements. So now it is time for fear to make its appearance, and naturally you start shying away from the inner life. Fear starts torturing you. It tries to limit and bind you.
Unfortunately, your life yields to this deplorable mistake. But if once, only once, with the help of your all-energising meditation, you could carry your long-cherished fear into the inner world, you would see that fear loses its very existence there. In the twinkling of an eye, it becomes one with the dynamic strength of your inner life.
If you want to truly possess the outer world, you have to possess the inner world first. Not the other way around. If you want to truly enjoy the outer world, you must enjoy the inner world first. Not vice versa. If your heart pines to serve humanity, you have to serve the inner divinity first. Infallible is this truth.
EL 2. University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, 12 January 1968.↩
Know thyself1Atmanam viddhi — Know thyself. Each individual has to know himself. He has to know himself as the infinite, eternal and immortal Consciousness. The concept of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality is absolutely foreign to us. Why? The reason is quite simple. We live in the body, rather than in the soul. To us the body is everything. There is nothing and can be nothing beyond the body. The existence of the soul we consider sheer imagination. But I assure you that the soul is not imaginary. It is at once the life and the revelation of the Cosmic Reality. Most of us live in the body, in the earthbound physical consciousness. Our teacher is Darkness; our professor is Ignorance. But if ever we live in the soul, we shall see that our teacher is Vision and our professor is Illumination.
“Life is effort.” So says the body. “Life is blessing.” So says the soul. The human in man does not want to go beyond morality, society and humanity. The divine in man comes down from divinity into humanity, from unity into multiplicity.
Atmanam viddhi. Know thyself. The seers of the Upanishads not only discovered this Truth Transcendental but offered it to the suffering, crying and striving mankind. In order to know oneself, one has to discover oneself first. What is self discovery? Self-discovery is God-Realisation.
Without Yoga there is no self discovery. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is the Universal Truth. It is the traditional truth of India. It is the most important experience of life. True Yoga and life go together. They cannot be separated. If you try to separate them, you will fail. Yoga and life are as inseparable as the Creator and the Creation.
Is Yoga another name for severe asceticism? Positively not. Is Yoga another name for self-discipline? Decisively yes. Does Yoga demand the rejection of the world and the starvation of the senses? No, never. Does Yoga demand the acceptance of the world and mastery over the senses? Yes, a mighty Yes. Is Yoga for everybody? Yes and no. Yes, because each human soul has come from God and inwardly aspires to return to Him. No, because some people, at their present stage of development, feel they can live without God.
Can learning and reasoning offer man self-realisation? No. Mere book knowledge ends in self deception. Why? Because a man of knowledge feels that he has achieved the infinite wisdom. Unfortunately, he does not know that the real Infinite Wisdom can come only from God, from God-Realisation. Mere mental reasoning ends in self-frustration.
Can dedication and aspiration offer man self-realisation? Yes. Man’s dedication is his heart-flower offered at the Feet of God. Man’s aspiration is his soul-fruit placed in the Lap of God.
For self-realisation, man needs freedom. God gives him freedom. What is freedom? Freedom is God’s sacrifice-power and man’s miracle-power. Sri Ramakrishna, the great spiritual Master of India, once remarked, “The wretch who constantly says, ‘I am bound, I am bound,’ only succeeds in being bound. He who says day and night, ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner,’ verily becomes a sinner. One must have such burning faith in God that one can say, ‘What? I have repeated God’s Name, so how can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more?’ ”
We must cherish positive thoughts, positive ideas, positive ideals. Only then will our Goal no longer remain a far cry. Each man has to feel, “I am at the Feet of God, my own Master. I am in the Hands of God, my own Creator. I am in the Heart of God, my only Beloved.”
“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” I asked. My Lord bestowed His boundless Compassion on me. I sought. My Lord gave me His infinite Love. I knocked. To my utter surprise, the door was not bolted from inside. My sweet Lord was eagerly expecting my arrival. Lo, I am come!
EL 3. University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 26 August 1968.↩
The meaning of life1Life is God’s Transcendental Blessing to His Creation. What is more important than God’s Blessing? God’s Concern. What is more important than God’s Concern? The absolute Fulfilment of God’s Will.
Life is man’s experience of wisdom and faith. Wisdom without faith is the bondage of futility. Faith without wisdom is the smile of stupidity. Faith and wisdom can go together. Faith awakens us to see the Truth. Wisdom helps us to live the Truth.
The outer world is a play of conflict between the fleeting and destructive thoughts of man’s mind and the constructive and lasting will of man’s soul. The inner world is a play of harmony between the mind’s surrender and the soul’s acceptance.
Life is will. There is only one will that mediates between God and man. That will is at once the descending cry of concern and compassion and the ascending cry of love and helplessness.
Life is man’s conscious attempt to see God face to face.
First try. Then cry. If necessary.
First give. Then take. If necessary.
First run. Then stop. If necessary.
First be the doer. Then be the talker. If necessary.
Thought, human thought, rules the world. But mere thinking is of no avail.
When I think, God is my frustration.
When I cry, God is my consolation.
When I try, God is my salvation.
When I will, God is my illumination.
We must love God first if we really love life, for God is not only the Source but the very Breath of life. Love of God costs nothing, absolutely nothing, but is worth much. Our mind knows this truth. Our heart practises this truth. Our soul embodies this truth.
The ultimate aim of the human life is liberation. Liberation is the choice of man and the Grace of God. Liberation is man’s total freedom and God’s constant responsibility.
You cry because you have no plans to make your life meaningful and successful. He cries because all his plans have come to a lame conclusion. I cry because I do not want to have any plans. What I want is to be seated all the time at the Feet of the Supreme, who is at once the Vision and the Reality.
My life has three doctors: Dr Love, Dr Devotion and Dr Surrender. Dr Love cures my mind’s narrowness. Dr Devotion cures my heart’s impurity. Dr Surrender cures my life’s ignorance.
My life has three Gods: God the Existence, God the Consciousness and God the Bliss. God the Existence eternally lives in me. God the Consciousness constantly grows in me. God the Bliss immortally lives with me.
EL 4. Inter-American University, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 17 October 1968.↩
Man and his goal1My dear friends, you are fortunate, you are special. A significant branch of the State University helps you to specialise here in horticulture and agriculture. Soon you are going to be at home in the science of plant life and soil cultivation. In a broader and purer sense, you are making a solemn promise to the world at large that you wish to be true children of Nature and Mother Earth.
I am sure you all know that it was an Indian scientist, Sir JC Bose, who discovered life in plants. He was born in Bengal. I am proud that I was born in the same province.
Your genuine love of nature enables and entitles you to receive special love, concern, favour and blessings from the Universe, the Universal Life and the Universal Mother.
A man said to the universe, “Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe, “the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.”
Though it may be true for others, this striking pronouncement of Stephen Crane’s does not apply to you in the least. I wish to tell you that the Universe, the Universal Life and the Universal Mother will proudly bless your devoted heads and dedicated hearts, for you love Nature, you adore Nature. What is Nature? Nature is God the Mother. In His masculine aspect, God is Transcendental. In His feminine aspect, God is Universal. Let us invoke the presence of God the Universal Mother before we enter into “Man and his Goal.”
[A three-minute meditation follows.]
Man’s false goal is human love. Human love sadly fails. Man’s false goal is physical beauty. Physical beauty is only skin deep. Man’s false goal is money and material wealth. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Man’s real goal is Truth. Truth awakens him from his ignorance-sleep. Man’s real goal is Peace. Peace feeds him, his life inner and outer. Man’s real goal is Bliss. Bliss immortalises him, his life-breath.
Self-realisation: this is what man needs from God. Love: this is what God needs from man. Faith: this is what God always has in man. But, alas, man has yet to develop faith in himself and faith in God.
Man unfalteringly says, “If I had time, I would love God. If I had time, I would worship God. If I had time, I would even cry for God.”
But poor God has time. He has time to forgive man’s unending stupidity. He has time to bless man’s shameless mind and grant him all his real necessities. He has time even to cry for man’s still unborn sincerity.
Man and God. Try to realise God. Both God and man will say to you, “Wonderful, go ahead.” Try to explain God. Man will immediately tell you, “Stop. Don’t belittle God, don’t torture God.” God will voice forth, “Stop. For My sake at least, don’t deceive men, don’t deceive My children.”
Let us not try to explain God. If we do that, our ignorance will be exposed. Let all of us strive to realise God. For that, what we need is meditation. Let us meditate, meditate on God.
Man has to walk far, very far. He has to reach the Shores of the Golden Beyond. Slowly, steadily and unerringly he has to walk. But he must walk forward, not backward. Lincoln welcomes man, his fellow traveller, to sing with him,
We believe in evolution. Man is not going back to the animal kingdom. Man is proceeding towards the Kingdom of Heaven, which perpetually breathes, grows and glows in the inmost recesses of his heart.
Friends, you are cultivating knowledge. We all do it. Each human being must own a bumper crop of knowledge.
Somebody said, “A college degree is often the receipt a young man gets for bills his father paid.”
I will be bold enough to say that I reject this eyeless idea outright. Your parents want you to learn how to swim in the sea of knowledge. Your professors, who are expert swimmers in the sea of knowledge, teach you successfully and gloriously how to swim. I deeply admire your zealous sincerity and your professors’ enormous capacity. But, alas, knowledge, book knowledge, is not enough. You all know it. I have not discovered something new or fantastic. Far from it. I am just reminding you of the soulful fact that there is another sea. This Sea is the Sea of Divine Light, Peace, Bliss and Power. This Sea gives you realisation and liberation. You will have the realisation of your conscious and indivisible oneness with God. You will have liberation from your bondage of millennia. This Sea gives you Fulfilment Infinite. Something more: this Sea makes you feel in a perfectly convincing manner that you are truly and unmistakably the God of tomorrow.
Who says that man is sleeping? This is not true. Man woke up with his teeming desires, but he was shamefully early. He discovered that God was not ready and would never be ready to receive him.
Man woke up with his flaming aspiration, but he was unpardonably late. Yet God was eager to receive him, embrace him and finally place him on His own Transcendental Throne.
EL 5. State University of New York, College at Farmingdale, Farmingdale, New York, 11 December 1968.↩
How to live in two worlds1If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
— Emily Dickinson
My dear sisters:
I have come here to serve you. Serve I must. If I can serve even one amongst you in her endeavour towards self-discovery, I shall not have lived in vain. Nay, my life on earth will have found its purposeful meaning. You have every right to be proud of being devoted students at this college unparallelled in the United States. And today God presents me with a matchless opportunity to discover in you an aspiring heart.
Sarah Lawrence College is for women, as we all know. I wish to say a few words about Hindu women. I come from India, and I am sure you know by this time that I am a Hindu. A Hindu woman is the living embodiment of sanctity, devotion and faith. Purity is the hyphen between her life and her deeds. Intellectual education she does not care for. Her heart cries for the inner education, the education of the soul. This is no hyperbole. Her life of spontaneous and unending sacrifice is the soul of the Hindu race. In the hoary past, it was a Hindu woman, Maitreyi, who said to her husband, Yagnyavalkya, the peerless sage of the Upanishads, that nothing would satisfy her save Immortality.
When she said Immortality, she did not mean the prolongation of her physical existence for millions of years. She meant that she wanted to have the immortal consciousness, the consciousness of Immortality, within and without.
On behalf of women all over the world, Maitreyi’s soul tells us what a woman wants.
There are two worlds: one is the world of Truth, the other is the world of Falsehood. What will decide when Truth and Falsehood disagree? Acceptance, their mutual acceptance. Truth will accept Falsehood to transform the life of Falsehood. Falsehood will accept Truth to manifest the breath of Truth.
Two worlds: one is known as Acceptance, the other as Rejection. I accept. I accept with my deepest gratitude what God has for me: Illumination. I reject with adamantine determination what the world has for me: Frustration.
Two worlds: Condition and Situation. Condition says, “God gives when you give.” Situation says, “You are helpless. God alone can give and does give.”
Unlike others, my God has two names: Delight and Compassion. In the inner world, I call Him by the name Delight. In the outer world, I call Him by the name Compassion. My God has two souls. The soul that He has in the inner world embodies His Dream. The soul that He has in the outer world reveals His Reality. My God has two bodies. His outer body is my Inspiration. His inner body is my Emancipation.
Heaven and hell represent two worlds in our consciousness. Heaven surprises hell with its boundless Joy. Hell surprises Heaven with its ceaseless cry. Heaven says to hell, “I know how to dance and I can teach you if you want.” Hell says to Heaven, “Wonderful, you know how to dance and you are ready to teach me how to dance. But I wish to tell you that I know how to break my legs and I can break your legs too, if I want to.”
Science and Spirituality are two different worlds. Science wants to shorten distances. Spirituality wants to unite distances. For me neither is enough. My vision wants to divinise and transform distance.
East and West: two worlds. We must unite them.
The awakened consciousness of man is visibly tending towards the Divine. This is a most hopeful streak of light amidst the surrounding obscurities of today. This is a moment, not merely of joining hands, but of joining minds, hearts and souls. Across all physical and mental barriers between East and West, high above national standards and individual standards, will fly the supreme banner of Divine Oneness. The outer world is a world of reasoning mind. The inner world is a world of experience. The outer world finds it hard to believe in the existence of God. But in the inner world the existence of God always looms large. Sri Aurobindo said,
Can we live in two worlds? Certainly we can. If we have spontaneous inspiration we can successfully live in the outer world and achieve our outer goals. If we have soulful aspiration we can live in the inner world and achieve our inner Goal. The outer world is the body. The inner world is the soul.
If we stay in the body, then we constantly have to abide by the dictates of the soul so that the body, instead of being a blind tool of fate, becomes a perfect channel for the Supreme, for His divine Manifestation in the physical. And if we want to live in the soul, to experience infinite Light, Peace and Bliss, then we must not neglect the body, we must not destroy the body, for it is inside the body that the soul abides on earth.
EL 6. Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, 14 January 1969.↩
Duty Supreme1The poet sang:
I slept and dreamed that life was Beauty.
I woke and found that life was Duty.
Duty and Beauty are like the North Pole and the South Pole.
What is Beauty? Beauty is the oneness of the finite and the Infinite. Beauty is the expression of the Infinite through man the finite. Beauty is man’s embodiment of God, the Infinite. In the material world, in the physical world, it is through Beauty that God reveals Himself.
The Beauty of the soul is Beauty unparallelled in the physical world. This Beauty inspires the outer world and fulfils the inner world. This Beauty makes us one with God’s Soul, the Light Infinite. This Beauty makes us one with God’s Body, the Universe. When we live in the world of aspiration, we come to realise that the transcendental Duty and the universal Beauty are the perfect expressions of one and the same Reality.
Duty. In our day-to-day life, duty is something unpleasant, demanding and discouraging. When we are reminded of our duty, we lose all our inner, spontaneous joy. We feel miserable. We feel that we could have used our life-energy for a better purpose. Only a man devoid of common sense can say he does not know what his duty is. Each man knows his duty well, too well. It is up to him whether or not to perform it.
Today I am supposed to speak on Duty Supreme. An aspirant’s is the life that has to perform the Duty Supreme. His first and foremost Duty is to realise God. There can be no other Duty except this Duty, God-Realisation, in his life here on earth. An aspirant, when he saw the light of day, was inspired by God Himself with this message:
Realise Me on earth.
Reveal Me on earth.
Fulfil Me on earth.
Time is fleeting. Time does not wait for us. We shall have to be wise. We can utilise each moment for a divine purpose. We can utilise each moment in performing our soulful Duty.
Duty is painful, tedious and monotonous simply because we do it with our ego, pride and vanity. Duty is pleasant, encouraging and inspiring when we do it for God’s sake. What we need is to change our attitude towards Duty. If we work for the sake of God, then there is no Duty. All is Joy. All is Beauty. Each action has to be performed and offered at the Feet of God. Duty for God’s sake is the Duty Supreme. No right have we to undertake any other duty before we work out our own spiritual salvation. Did God not entrust us with this wonderful task at the time of our very birth? The Supreme Duty is to constantly strive for God-Realisation. Time is short, but our souls’ mission on earth is lofty. How can we waste time? Why should we spend time in the pleasures of the senses?
Now, we often say that we are under no obligation to others because we have not accepted anything from them. They have not given us anything. True, we are under no obligation, but there is a word called expectation. I may not have taken anything from you, but that does not mean that you cannot expect anything from me. At times your expectation may be legitimate. Expect you certainly can; but there is one thing that you cannot do. You cannot claim. You can expect, and it is up to me to give you what you want; but claim you must not. Only God can claim. God and God alone can claim from me my entire life. Each individual has to feel that God has the absolute right to claim him forever here on earth and there in heaven.
Love your family much. This is your great duty. Love mankind more. This is your greater duty. Love God most. This is your greatest duty, the Duty Supreme.
There are two things: one is remembrance, the other is forgetfulness. All of us know that it is our duty to collect our salary. Indeed, it is our duty. And we always remember it. But there is another duty. We have to work. That duty we forget. In order to get our salary, we have to work. Somehow we manage to forget this. In the spiritual world also, there is a duty. This duty is to enjoy the fruit of God-Realisation. We all know it and we are extremely eager to perform this duty. But unfortunately we forget the other duty: meditation. One duty is to enjoy the fruits; the other duty is to acquire the fruits.
But we are clever enough to cry for the fruits of realisation long before we have entered into the field of meditation. No meditation, no realisation. Without meditation, God-Realisation is nothing but self-deception.
An aspirant has a most significant duty, and that duty is to have perfect faith in his divine possibilities. If he has faith in himself and faith in the living Guru, then he can easily perform the Supreme Duty, the duty of Self-discovery, God-Realisation.
EL 7. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, 24 March 1969.↩
God and myself1Good evening. Sisters and brothers, let us know that good morning is God’s morning, and good evening is God’s evening. Good day is man’s day, and good night is man’s night. God’s morning and evening say to man, “We do nothing but think of you.” Man’s day and night say to God, “We can do nothing but pray to you.”
God and myself. God is my Father. God is my Mother. This is what I know. Also, I always know what to do.
When I say I know what to do, I am afraid you will misunderstand me. There is every possibility that you will doubt my sincerity.
Let me try to defend myself. Let me tell you my inmost secret: “I know what to do, precisely because God does it for me.” You may then ask me why God does everything for me and not for you. If such is the case, God is unmistakably partial. To be sure, God is not partial. He is anything but that.
I know what to do, for God does it for me. I know that I do nothing and can do nothing. God is the Doer. God is the Action. God is the Fruit thereof. My life is an Eternal Experience of God.
Unfortunately there is a slight difference between your approach to God and my approach to God. Do you remember what the Son of God said to humanity? He said, “I and my Father are one.” I believe in the Son of God. I try to live this truth. I also believe in our Vedic seers of the hoary past. They said, “Brahmasmi" — "I am the Brahman. I am the One without a second.” I also have implicit faith in Sri Krishna’s teaching, which I have learned from his Gita, the Song Transcendental: “A man is made by his faith. Whatever his faith is, so is he.”
I know that God can be seen. I know that God can be felt. I know that God can be realised. I know that each human being, with no exception, will grow into God’s Transcendental Vision and His Reality Absolute.
You are apt to cherish a few striking ideas in the inmost recesses of your heart. First of all, you get joy in telling the world that there is no God. There can be no such thing as God. Even when you feel that there is a God, you tell your near and dear ones that God is for them and for others, but not for you. With all the ignorance at your command, you proclaim that God does not care for you. You feel that God is terribly angry with you, for ten years ago you told a fatal lie, or deceived someone in the street. Poor God, as if He has nothing else to do than to get angry with you and punish you mercilessly.
Believe it or not, I tell you that God has many, many significant things to do with your life. To you, your life is nothing, a perfect zero. To God, your life is everything — to be precise, His everything. You are His unparallelled Pride. You are His only Dream. You are His only Reality. With you He sings the Song of Immortality. In you He sees the embodiment of His Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. For you, only for you, He exists through Eternity. He moulds you. He shapes you. He guides you. He transforms you into His very Image, His Life of the ever-transcending Beyond.
Dear students, dear professors, dear sisters and brothers, you are now in the same boat as I. Together let us sing: “I know what to do, for God does it for me.”
Let me sing one more song. And I do hope that you all will learn it soon. This song tells me what to say and what to aspire for:
Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.
EL 8. Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, 16 March 1969.↩
Desire and aspiration1America’s fond child is New York. New York’s fond child is New York University. This evening I wish to offer my sincere affection, true admiration and humble dedication to you, O fond children of New York University.
Desire is a wild fire that burns and burns and finally consumes us. Aspiration is a glowing fire that secretly and sacredly uplifts our consciousness and finally liberates us.
Thirst for the Highest is aspiration. Thirst for the lowest is annihilation.
Desire is expectation. No expectation, no frustration. Desire killed, true happiness built. Aspiration is surrender, and surrender is man’s conscious oneness with God’s Will.
As war brings the commerce of a country to a standstill, even so our tremendous inclination towards the pleasures of ignorance brings all our inner spiritual movements to a standstill.
As things exist at present, our very birth compels us to be far away from God. Why wallow deliberately in the pleasures of the senses and move even farther away from God? Indeed, to satisfy the imagined necessities of our human life and cry for the fulfilment of our earthly pleasures can be nothing but self-torturing evil. But to satisfy God’s necessities, real and divine, in us and through us, is self-illumination.
Poor God, unillumined men always take You amiss. They think that You are merciless. Yet when You fulfil their lecherous desires, they think that nobody on earth can surpass You in stupidity.
Now, poor man, look at your most deplorable fate. In the apt words of George Bernard Shaw, “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.”
Desire means anxiety. This anxiety finds satisfaction only when it is able to fulfil itself through solid attachment. Aspiration means calmness. This calmness finds satisfaction only when it is able to express itself through all-seeing and all-loving detachment. In desire and nowhere else abides human passion. Human passion has a dire foe called judgment, the judgment of the divine dispensation.
In aspiration and nowhere else dwells man’s salvation. Man’s salvation has an eternal friend called Grace, God’s all-fulfilling Grace.
Desire is temptation. Temptation nourished, true happiness starved. Aspiration is the soul’s awakening. The soul’s awakening is the birth of supernal delight.
A true seeker of the infinite Truth can never gain anything from Oscar Wilde’s discovery that “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” The seeker has already discovered the truth that it is only through high, higher and highest aspiration that one can get rid of all temptations, seen and unseen, born and yet to be born.
Wilde says something else, and this is quite significant: “I can resist everything except temptation.” Needless to say, nobody blames him for that, for temptation is a universal disease. For a man without aspiration, temptation is unmistakably irresistible. But a true seeker feels and knows that he can resist temptation and what he cannot resist is transformation, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire consciousness, in the bosom of the sea of Time. Of course, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire earthly consciousness, is something he never did and never will resist. On the contrary, it is for this transformation that he lives on earth.
Look at the strength of a bubble of desire! It has the power to encage our entire life for its use alone. Look at the strength of an iota of aspiration! It has the power to make us feel that God the Infinite is absolutely ours. And something more: that God’s infinite Love, Peace, Joy and Power are for our constant use.
The objects of the senses and man’s attachment to them are inseparable. But the moment they see the smile of God, they deny their intimacy. What is more, they become perfect strangers.
Fulfil your body’s demands, and you lose your self-control. Fulfil your soul’s needs, and you gain your self-control.
Don’t embrace vice. In refraining, you will possess something more valuable: self-control. What is self-control? It is the power that tells you that you don’t have to run towards your goal. The goal has to come to you, and it shall.
The capital of the outer world is money, which very often changes itself into poisonous honey. The capital of the inner world is aspiration, which eventually transforms itself into self-realisation.
The acme of human desire is represented by Julius Caesar’s Veni, vidi, vici — "I came, I saw, I conquered.” The pinnacle of divine aspiration was voiced by the Son of God: “Father, let Thy Will be done.”
Passion’s slave is man. God’s child is likewise man. Which do you want to be, God’s child or passion’s slave? Choose. One selection leads you to utter destruction, the other to immediate salvation. Choose; you are given the golden and unconditional choice. Choose; choose you must. Here and now.
EL 9. New York University, New York, New York, 29 March 1969.↩
How to please God1How to please God? I can please God by offering Him what I have and what I am. What I have is gratitude. What I am is aspiration. If I want to please Him more, then I must never consider my life a sad failure, but rather a constant experience of His. If I want to please Him most, not only in one but in every aspect of life, then I must feel that, unlike me, He sees my life, inner and outer, as the Song of His own Life-Breath, the Song of His Perfection, growing into His own perfect Perfection Absolute.
Do you know when you hurt God? You hurt God the moment you underestimate your inner capacity. You hurt God the moment you exaggerate your self-imposed outer responsibility. You hurt Him deeply when you cherish the futile idea that God-Realisation is not for you. To be sure, your God-Realisation is the mightiest affirmation, the greatest certainty at God’s choice Hour.
Unfortunately there are people in whose lives the very question of pleasing or hurting God does not arise at all. They do not believe God exists. True, they have not seen God, but that does not mean they are qualified to deny His existence. What about those who have seen Him, felt Him and realised Him, and are fulfilling Him in this world and other worlds? I tell the unbelievers and disbelievers that they are not only mercilessly deceiving themselves in the inner life of divinity, but also unendingly carrying themselves away, far away from the outer life of reality. There are people who deny the existence of God outright. The eager desire of Christ’s disciple Thomas to have proof is found the world over: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Let the message of the Son of God reverberate in the inmost recesses of each human heart, aspiring or unaspiring, inspired or uninspired. Today, faith is the harbinger of reality. Tomorrow, faith and reality will move together. The day after tomorrow, faith and reality will fulfil each other. Faith fulfils reality in its embodiment of reality. Reality fulfils faith by revealing itself through faith.
The feeling of gratitude makes a man truly happy, and God is pleased when a man is truly happy. Dostoevsky declares, “I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.” This may be true when a man swims in the sea of his body’s ignorance. But when a man lives and swims in the sea of his soul’s light, he is all gratitude. He is the constant expression and spontaneous revelation of God the Receiver and God the Achiever.
According to Paul Valéry, “the soul is the wife of the body. They do not have the same kind of pleasure, or at least they seldom enjoy it at the same time.” First of all, the spiritual world has already discovered for certain that the soul is neither masculine nor feminine. It is above and beyond these two dividing zones. Hence the soul can never be the wife of the body. The Upanishads have taught us that the body is the chariot and the soul is the master of the chariot. Valéry is absolutely right when he says that the body and the soul do not have the same kind of pleasure. We know that the body gets pleasure in ignorance and from ignorance. Slowly, gradually and unerringly we come to realise that the body’s pleasure is ignorance itself. In the case of the soul, instead of using the word “pleasure” we should use the word “delight”. The soul feels delight in and from Infinity and Eternity. The soul’s delight is the flowing Infinity; the soul’s delight is the glowing Eternity. When the aspirant’s meditation transforms the desire-pleasure of the body into aspiration-delight, the soul and the body not only will eat the same food, but will eat it at the same time. And their food is Truth. Truth at once awakens the body and pilots the soul.
The other day somebody said to me that God is pleased with him all the time, for one secret reason. He then volunteered to tell me his precious secret: “Although I have many things to say against God’s creation, even against God Himself, I just cleverly ignore His world of countless imperfections and mightily flatter Him in silence and in public. That is why God is so pleased with me all the time; and well He ought to be.”
I said to him, “My dear friend, there is a slight difference between you and me. Your sense of imperfection in God’s world is entirely different from mine. You feel that imperfection is something discouraging, disheartening, dirty and finally damaging. I take imperfection as something growing, something that has still to complete its journey. I take imperfection as an unavoidable rung in the ladder of gradual and ultimate perfection. I take imperfection as a significant experience God Himself is having in and through man’s life. And this same God will enjoy perfection, perfect Perfection, in and through each individual in the bosom of Eternity. Now, as regards your flattery of God, God needs no human flattery. You don’t have to flatter Him to gain His Love, Concern and Blessing. God neither expects nor demands flattery from you. God is not a beggar. He does not expect anything of you. God is not an autocrat. He does not demand anything from you. What God is, is Love. What God is, is Joy. If you can love yourself soulfully, if you can discover your true inner Joy, then you will see that God has already been pleased with you. Don’t try to please God by deceiving Him. We can’t deceive God. Never. We can’t even deceive any human being on earth. At most what we can do and what we in fact do, is to deceive ourselves. Emerson is perfectly right when he affirms, ‘It is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself.’ ”
To come back to our original question: how to please God? The easiest and most effective way to please God is by constant and unconditional self-offering. Let us try. We shall, without fail, succeed. Lo, God is standing right in front of us. He is pleased. God is really and truly pleased with us.
EL 10. University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 14 April 1969.↩
The secret of inner peace1Dear sisters and brothers, I shall show you how to acquire, here and now, inner peace. My help is not advice. Mine is not the way to advise people what to do or what not to do. It is true that everyone is unselfish and liberal when it comes to giving advice and, unfortunately, I am no exception. Yet I fully agree with Chesterfield, who says, “Advice is seldom welcome and those who need it the most, like it the least.”
This world of ours has everything except one thing: peace. Everybody wants and needs peace, whether he be a child or an octogenarian. But the idea of peace is not the same for each individual. It sadly differs. A child’s idea of peace is to beat a drum. Beating a drum brings him joy, and this joy is his peace. An old man’s idea of peace is to sit quietly with his eyes and ears closed, so that he can escape the fond embrace of the ugly and restless world. The general in Eisenhower spoke on peace: “We are going to have peace, even if we have to fight for it.”
The indomitable Napoleon voiced forth, “What a mess we are in now: peace has been declared.” The Son of God taught us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Somebody has very aptly said, “The more we strive for peace on earth, the more it seems that the dove of peace is a bird of paradise.”
To be sure, peace is not the sole monopoly of heaven. Our earth is extremely fertile. Here on earth we can grow peace in measureless measure.
I am supposed to speak on the inner peace. I wish to confine my talk to the spiritual seeker in each of you. A genuine seeker after peace must needs be a seeker after love. Love has another name: sacrifice. When sacrifice is pure, love is sure. When love is divine, in sacrifice there can be no “mine”, no “thine”. Love is the secret of oneness. Sacrifice is the strength of oneness. Self-love is self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is self-annihilation. Love of God is the seeker’s greatest opportunity to realise God.
We sacrifice our precious time to make money. We sacrifice our hard-earned money to fight against time. In order to have something from the outer world, we have to sacrifice something of our own. Similarly, in the inner world we offer our aspiration in return for God-Realisation. The flame of our aspiration is kindled by God Himself. The fruit of our realisation, too, we get from God directly. God is the Inspirer in us. God is the Eternal Giver. God is the Eternal Receiver in us. God uses aspiration to take us to Himself. God uses realisation to bring Himself to us. God is sacrifice when we live in the world of aspiration. God is sacrifice when we live in the realm of realisation. But God says that there is no such thing as sacrifice. There is only one thing here on earth and there in heaven, and that thing is called oneness: the fulfilment in oneness and the fulfilment of oneness.
There are four kinds of seekers: lamentable, incapable, promising and fulfilling. The lamentable and the incapable have to be patient; they have to wait for the Hour of God. The promising and the fulfilling are already singing and dancing in the Hour of God. They are constantly meditating on God. This is their inner life of realisation. They are soulfully and spontaneously acting for God. This is their outer life of revelation.
To come back to the secret of inner peace, our questioning and doubting mind is always wanting in peace. Our loving and dedicated heart is always flooded with inner peace. If our mind has all the questions, then our heart has all the answers. The answers are perfect precisely because they come straight from the soul, which sees the Truth and lives in the Truth. And Truth, Truth alone, is the Goal of Goals.
If you want to have the inner peace, then you must follow the path of spirituality. Spirituality is the answer. There are three ages of man: under-age, over-age and average. To the under-age, spirituality is hocus-pocus. To the over-age, spirituality is something dry, uncertain and obscure. And to the average, spirituality is self-oblivion, self-negation and self-annihilation.
But a true seeker will say that spirituality is something normal, natural, spontaneous, fertile, clear, luminous, divinely self-conscious, self-affirmative and self-creating. If you have a spiritual teacher to help and guide you, then you are very lucky. Listen to him always, until you breathe your last. If you stop taking advice from him, then yours will be the loss and not his. Even in the ordinary human life one needs a teacher, a mentor. There is considerable truth in what Churchill says: “In those days he was wiser than he is now — he used, frequently, to take my advice.”
If you don’t have a spiritual Master and if you don’t care for one, then at every moment please listen to the dictates of your soul in absolute silence. Peace you want and need. To have peace, you must have free access to your soul. To have free access to your soul, you must have inner silence. To have inner silence, you need aspiration. To have aspiration, you need God’s Grace. To have God’s Grace, you must feel that you are God’s and God’s alone, always!
We are now in Connecticut. The motto of Connecticut is supremely significant. My heart of devotion and my soul of love are singing the matchless motto of Connecticut: Qui Transtulit Sustinet — "He who transplanted sustains.” God transplanted truth to earth, and He sustains this truth with love. In the combination of the two lies the secret of inner peace.
EL 11. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, 19 April 1969.↩
The quintessence of mysticism1There are three principal paths that lead to God-Realisation: the path of Selfless Service, the path of Love and Devotion and the path of Knowledge and Wisdom. Raja Yoga (Mysticism) is a significant aspect of the Yoga of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga). The Knowledge Supreme is something infinitely more than mere philosophical knowledge. Mysticism is experience, the direct and intimate experience of Truth. After covering a great distance in the path of knowledge, philosophy gets tired and takes rest. Mysticism begins when and where philosophy ends. The seers, after having personally experienced the knowledge of Truth, revealed it to the world at large.
The seers sing:
Him I have known, the Being Supreme,
Refulgent, luminous as the Sun beyond darkness,
Far beyond the embrace of devouring gloom.
The seers teach us that the Transcendental Reality and the All-Embodying Existence are one and the same.
A mystic takes unity and diversity as one. Further, he sees unity in diversity. He tells the world that the One and the Many are one. The One is Many in its universal form. The Many are One in their transcendental form. In our spiritual life, we come across two significant words: occultism and mysticism. Occultism is secrecy and cries for secrecy. It wants to house everything in top secrecy. Mysticism is not like that. Mysticism is ready to offer its achievement, transcendental Knowledge, to all who cry for it.
The difference between a philosopher and a mystic lies in the fact that a philosopher, with the greatest difficulty, sees from a distance, and rather imperfectly, the body of Truth, whereas a mystic enters into the very soul of Truth at his sweet will and can live there as long as he wants. And, also, he is permitted by the Supreme to bring to the fore the vast wealth of the soul and share it with the seekers of Truth. Mysticism affirms that the Knowledge of the Divine is universal.
Let us for a moment enter into the lore of the supernal mystery of the Vak in the Vedas. Vak is The Word. Vak at once embodies and reveals the Truth. In its embodiment of Truth, it receives creative inspiration in infinite measure from the Supreme. In its revelation of Truth, it offers to mankind the Supreme, the Liberator Supreme. Vak is the connecting link between two worlds: the world that has not yet realised and fulfilled itself and the world that has already realised and is fulfilling itself.
Mysticism has a language of its own. Its name is Intuition. In it, no mind or mental analysis can ever exist. A mystic sits on the wings of the Intuition-Bird and flies to the Ultimate Real. Intuition reveals the perfect oneness of the Transcendental Vision and Absolute Reality. A mystic is sincere enough to tell the Truth. He says that it is next to impossible for him to interpret his inner experience. No word or thought can do justice to his experience. At this point the Vedic seer cries out, “What shall I speak, what verily shall I think?” The poor mind and senses are no longer alive, having collapsed in their race toward the Unknown. Not for them the Ultimate Mystery of the Universe. Not for them the Knowledge of the Beyond. Mysticism emphasizes the unity of all souls in the Universal Soul. When we look at the Universe, we see it as the scene of conflict between good and evil, darkness and light, ignorance and knowledge. Needless to say, this struggle commenced long before the appearance of man and still continues. The light works in and through the aspiring soul; the darkness works in and through the unaspiring soul. The real transformation of human nature comes not through an austere, ascetic life or a complete withdrawal from the world, but through a gradual and total Illumination of life. And for that, one needs aspiration. Aspiration, and aspiration alone, is the precursor of this Illumination.
A mystical experience is the aspirant’s inner certitude of Truth. This certitude rests on revelation. Revelation is inner authority. Inner authority is final. And who has this authority? Not he who is a victim of merciless logic, but he who has had the experience and who has now grown into the experience itself. Logic is the reasoning and reasoned truth, which is the pride of the finite. Mysticism is the revealing and revealed Truth, which is the pride of the Infinite. If we believe in mysticism, then we must realise that the Ultimate Truth is not only above reason, but contrary to reason. If we believe something through reason, we enter onto the life-torturing path of plurality, the unconscious plurality of separateness. But when we believe something through our inner, mystic faith, we enter onto the life-giving and life-fulfilling path of unity’s Transcendental Reality.
Martin Luther vehemently distrusted the effectiveness of reason. Nor did he have any faith in ritual or in mere work as a means to salvation. In his mysticism, we see the smiling and convincing face of faith. Faith alone can bring about salvation. Faith alone has the key to salvation.
Existence and essence live together. They are one. In the thirteenth century, Meister Johannes Eckhart dynamically asserted this view. We have to realise that essence is singularly manifest in the divine qualities of the human soul, whereas existence is gloriously manifest in the human qualities of the divine soul. The end of the journey for the human soul is complete union with God. The end of the journey for the divine soul is the absolute manifestation of God.
Mysticism tells us that God-Realisation can be attained not by the practice of ideas, but by the constant feeling of oneness with Truth. An idea, at best, indicates the passive aspect of the sense-world because a mental formation is directly or indirectly caught by the sense-world. But the feeling of oneness with Truth easily transcends the sense-world and indicates and ascertains the active and dynamic aspect of life’s evolving process in the flowing stream of Eternity.
A mystic tells the world that God’s Body is Wisdom and God’s Soul is Love. A worldly man feels that his body and his physical activities fashion his soul. A mystic smilingly says that it is the soul that moulds the body and transforms it into the unlimited consciousness-light of the soul.
According to Santayana, “Mysticism is not a religion, but a religious disease.” Santayana is perfectly right when he says that mysticism is not a religion. In my opinion, mysticism is the highest aspiration that religion embodies. But as for “religious disease”, I can never agree with Santayana in his profound realisation.
I want to say with all the spiritual confidence at my command that mysticism serves as a panacea; not only for those who cry to see their Beloved God’s Face, but also for those who are afraid of seeing God’s Face in His Omniscience and His Omnipotence; and even for those who are at once mercilessly and unpardonably unbelievers and disbelievers in the very existence of God.
EL 12. American University, Washington, DC, 21 April 1969.↩
Action and liberation1George Washington, first to embody America’s hope,
First in inspiration, first in confidence, first in war,
First in victory,
First in conquering the heart of his Nation,
First to envisage a federation of states,
Single, powerful, united, whole.
A spiritual person has found his work. His work is selfless service. His work is dedicated action. Indeed, he has no need of any other blessedness. His action is the divine acceptance of earthly existence. And for this he needs a perfect body, a strong mind, a soulful heart and a supremely inspired life of inner receptivity and outer capacity.
Action is entering into the battlefield of life. Action is conquering life’s untold miseries and teeming limitations. Action is transforming life’s devouring imperfection into glowing perfection. Action is something infinitely deeper and higher than the mere survival of physical existence. Action is the secret supreme, which enables us to enter into the Life Eternal.
He who has not consciously accepted the spiritual life may consider action a necessary evil and the mother of bitter frustration. But to a spiritual person, action is a divine blessing. It is the matchless victory over bondage and ignorance. It is at once God’s soulful Vision in heaven and God’s fruitful Mission on earth. God says that a man of divine action is the ideal hero. This ideal hero divine manifests God here on earth. To him, God-Realisation is not enough. His is the heart that cries for God’s all-fulfilling Manifestation.
An unaspiring person dies and his role is over. An aspiring person dies and his role just begins. A spiritual Master leaves his body, and his mission starts bearing fruit.
Man is blind. He does not know what to do. When he wants to do something, he does not know how to go about it; and so, instead of getting joy from work, he immediately enters into difficulty.
TH Huxley pointedly remarks, “A man’s worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes.” But if a man listens to the dictates of his soul and is able to do what his soul wants him to do, then his life will be transformed into golden opportunities and the greatest success will knock at his heart’s door.
There is a saying that “the thumb takes the responsibility; the index finger, the initiative.” Similarly man’s aspiration takes the initiative, but it is God’s Concern that takes the responsibility.
And someone has said, “The idealist walks on tiptoe, the materialist on his heels.” Similarly, the divine hero worker walks on the fire of self-illumination; the worker undivine, unaspiring and uninspired, who is full of ego, vanity and pride, walks on the fire of self-destruction.
According to some people, human life is just a cruel, meaningless and hopeless four-letter word: work. I wish to say they are mistaken. They like work; what they hate is the sense of labour, the burden of labour. Labour and favour perfectly rhyme. After all, whose favour is it? God’s favour. Indeed, he is God’s chosen child, and he alone is God’s favourite, who works to please God. And in pleasing God, he realises and fulfils himself. Then he tells the world that human life is a divinely meaningful three-letter word: joy.
Liberation. Liberation speaks: “We are not nature’s slaves.” Liberation teaches. It teaches us that our every heartbeat offers us a unique opportunity to achieve liberation. Liberation sings within us: “Arise, awake. Yours is the ideal Goal, the Goal of Goals.”
Liberation is man’s practical wisdom. Liberation is not a compromise with the world. Liberation is the end of man’s competition with nature’s temptation. Liberation elevates the earth-consciousness into the skies of the Beyond.
Which is more difficult: to cry for liberation; or, after having been liberated, to cry for the illumination and transformation of the ignorance-loving, darkness-embracing world? Undoubtedly, the latter.
The poor liberated man: strange indeed is his fate. He constantly thinks of those who hardly ever think of him. When he stands before the world, the world acts like either a frightened child or a hostile child. A liberated man tells the world that God is not only knowable, but more than knowable. He also tells the world that it is easier to know God than to know the world, because when he wants to know the world he has to know it through God and from God.
Sri Krishna is Illumination Incarnate. The Buddha is Liberation Incarnate. The Christ is Salvation Incarnate.
The world is offering its Darkness to Sri Krishna. The world is offering its Suffering to the Buddha. The world is offering its Sin to the Christ.
The fallen consciousness of the world is flying toward the Highest Beyond to be touched by Christ, the Saviour. The broken consciousness of the world is diving into the Deepest Beyond to be embraced by Buddha, the Liberator. The molten consciousness of the world is marching toward the Farthest Beyond to be blessed by Krishna, the Illuminator.
EL 13. George Washington University, Washington, DC, 22 April 1969.↩
The supreme secret of meditation1Meditation is man’s thirst for the Infinite Real, Eternal Real and Absolute Real. The secret of meditation is to achieve conscious and constant oneness with God. The secret supreme of meditation is to feel God as one’s very own, and finally to realise God for God’s sake, Him to reveal and Him to fulfil.
Meditation has to be practised spontaneously, soulfully and correctly. If it is not, dark doubt will blight your mind and utter frustration will steal into your heart. And you will probably find your whole existence thrown into the depths of a yawning chasm.
For meditation you need inspiration. Scriptures can supply you with inspiration. To buy a spiritual book takes ten seconds. To read that book takes a few hours. To absorb that book takes a few years. And to live the truths thereof may take not only a whole lifetime, but a few incarnations.
For meditation you need aspiration. The presence, physical or spiritual, of a spiritual teacher can awaken your sleeping aspiration. He can easily and will gladly do it for you. Aspiration: this is precisely what you need in order to reach your journey’s goal. You don’t have to worry about your realisation. Your aspiration will take care of it.
Meditation nourishes your self-discipline. Self-discipline strengthens your meditation. Meditation purifies your heart. And in a pure heart alone looms large the Godward march of human life. One may know what proper meditation is. One may even practise it, since that is what the divine nature in man needs. But the result or fulfilment of meditation transcends all human understanding, for it is measureless, limitless, infinite.
Meditation tells you only one thing: God is. Meditation reveals to you only one truth: yours is the vision of God.
To my extreme sorrow, some of you in the West have grave misconceptions about meditation. You feel that the acme of meditation is fortune-telling or miracle-mongering. Fortune-telling does not rhyme with meditation. Miracle-mongering does not rhyme with meditation, either. But realisation perfectly rhymes with meditation. Liberation soulfully rhymes with meditation. Do you really want to realise God? Do you really want God’s Infinite Light, Peace and Bliss? If so, you should keep millions and millions of miles away from fortune-tellers and miracle-mongers. If you think that they inspire you, then you are mistaken. Go deep within and you will discover that they have just aroused your idle, eyeless and fruitless curiosity. Curiosity is not spirituality. And secretly and consciously the fortune-tellers and miracle-mongers have offered you something more: temptation. Temptation is the harbinger of destruction. It is here that the divine mission of your life — unsuccessful, unfulfilled — comes to an end. Let us be on the alert. I urge you not to confuse your heart’s genuine meditation with fortune-telling and miracle-mongering. Don’t waste your time. Your time is precious. Your meditation is priceless. Your achievement shall be the treasure of timeless Eternity, measureless Infinity and deathless Immortality. Don’t wait. All things come to him who waits, except the realisation that today embodies and the liberation that now reveals.
Meditation is our soul’s cry for our life’s perfect perfection. Perfection has not yet dawned on earth, but one day it will. Perfection is the ideal of human life. To quote Swami Vivekananda: “None of us has yet seen an ideal human being, and yet we are told to believe in him. None of us has yet seen an ideally perfect man, and yet without that ideal we cannot progress.”
Meditation alone can give birth to perfection. Meditation carries us beyond the frustration of the senses, beyond the limitation of the reasoning mind. And, finally, meditation can present us with the breath of perfection.
The ultimate aim of meditation is to realise the Supreme. The Katha Upanishad has a spiritual message to offer to the world. This message is an inner message.
Higher than the senses are the objects of the senses.
Higher than the objects of the senses is the mind.
Higher than the mind is the intellect.
Higher than the intellect is the Great Self.
Higher than the Great Self is the Unmanifest.
Higher than the Unmanifest is the Person.
Higher than the Person there is nothing at all.
That is the goal. That is the highest course.
Indeed, the Person is the Supreme Himself. On the strength of our highest and deepest meditation we unfailingly gain free access to the Supreme.
At the beginning of our spiritual journey, we feel that meditation is self-effort and perspiration. At the end of our journey’s close, we realise that meditation is God’s Grace, His Compassion Infinite.
The price is never right. Before realisation, it is too high. After realisation, it is too low.
EL 14. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 23 April 1969.↩
The Secret Supreme1The Secret Supreme is the Supreme Himself. He can be seen. He can be felt. He can be realised. When He is seen, He is Existence. When He is felt, He is Consciousness. When He is realised, He is Delight. In His embodiment of Existence, He is Eternal. In His revelation of Consciousness, He is Infinite. In His manifestation of Delight, He is Immortal. His Vision Transcendental and His Reality Absolute are man’s future achievements. Man’s expanding love, crying devotion and glowing surrender are God’s future possessions.
God is at once finite and Infinite. He is in space. He can be measured. He must be measured. He is beyond space. He is measureless. He is boundless. He is Infinite. Smaller than the point of a needle is He. Larger than the seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds combined is He. In His Heart is Earth’s Suffering. In His Soul is Heaven’s Joy. Secretly He tells Earth, “My child, I am yours. I am at your service. Use Me. Lo, you and I are fulfilled.” Openly He tells heaven, “My child, you are Mine. You are at My service. Bend your head and go and give My Vision’s Light and Reality’s Height to your brother Earth, younger in wisdom, older in patience.”
The Secret Supreme is the Knowledge Supreme. This Knowledge is the song of liberation. This Knowledge is the dance of revelation. This Knowledge is the silence of perfection. When a man is liberated, he sits at the Feet of God. When a man reveals the highest Truth, he plays in the Heart of God. When a man is perfectly perfect, God will shake hands with him. Rest assured, one day God will send that perfect son of His into the world.
The world tells you a frightening secret: God is austere, God is demanding, God is stern. I tell you an illumining secret: God is reachable, God is lovable, God is enjoyable. When your mind is calm, God is reachable. When your heart is pure, God is lovable. When your soul is sure, God is enjoyable.
For God’s sake, do not be afraid of Him. He not only enjoys but appreciates your jokes. Your innocent jokes delight Him. The Vedic seer is now singing in you, through you and for you: “If, O God, Thou wert I, and I were Thee, Thy prayers should have their due fulfilment here and now.”
And for your own sake, for your own joy and pride, you can sing along with the Vedic seers: “O God, Thee I shall not sell for the highest price, not for a thousand, not for ten thousand, not for an amount measureless, O my Lord Supreme of Infinity’s Plenitude.”
Self-realisation is the Secret Supreme. Right now we are in both ignorance and knowledge. The Isha Upanishad teaches us that ignorance and knowledge should be pursued together. Through ignorance, we must conquer death. Through knowledge, we must obtain Immortality. Here ignorance means ritualistic actions, actions done for the sake of fruits. And knowledge means the deepest meditation that makes man consciously one with God; action done to fulfil God here on earth, there in heaven; truth for truth’s sake.
The world tells me that human birth is the worst possible curse. I tell the world that human birth is the best possible opportunity. India’s peerless Avatar [direct descendant of God] Sri Krishna has something more to tell the world. He says, “Blessed is the human birth; even the dwellers in heaven desire this birth, for God-Realisation is attained only by human beings here on earth.”
Dear North Dakotans, dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, I have come to you to speak on the Secret Supreme. I wish to spring a surprise on you. With my soulful joy and in all sincerity, I wish to tell you that your own state and your own university have secretly and most open-heartedly taught me the Supreme Secret. The dedicated motto of the state of North-Dakota has taught me the Supreme Secret: “Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable.” The aspiring motto of the University of North Dakota has taught me the Supreme Secret: “Light and Law.” With your kind permission I wish to say a few words on these two divine mottoes. To start with the State motto, liberty means responsibility. Whose responsibility? God’s responsibility. When a man is liberated from the meshes of ignorance, God acts in him proudly, God acts through him unreservedly, God acts for him unconditionally.
Lord Halifax once aptly remarked, “If none were to have liberty but those who understand what it is, there would not be many free men in the world.”
We shall all have liberty, both inner and outer. The inner liberty is the highest realisation of the absolute Truth. The outer liberty is the most successful manifestation of Divinity’s perfect Perfection on earth.
Union, man’s union with God: God is consciously and fully aware of it. Before long he too will be consciously and fully aware of this union. In man’s union with God, we see man the soulful gratitude. In God’s union with man, we see God the Compassion-Flood.
Now and forever: once liberty has given birth to man’s union with God, or man’s union with God has given birth to his liberty, man’s life starts living forever in the Eternal Now.
One and inseparable: liberty and union are inseparable because they have to enlighten each other. Now and forever are inseparable because they have to feed each other. Man and God are inseparable because they have to fulfil each other.
It is time for us to dive into the life-growing and soul-fulfilling sea of the university motto: Lux et Lex, [Light and Law].
Light is not a theoretical knowledge, but a practical wisdom. Law, the Divine Law, is not a command, but an experience. Man’s inspiration expands through the bliss of Light. Man’s aspiration ascends through the peace of Law. The spiritual Light has an inner glow that illumines the outer life. The unspiritual light has an outer glare that obscures the inner life. When an aspirant lives in Light, he is the doer. When an aspirant lives in the Divine Law, he is the knower. The difference between an ordinary man and an aspirant is this: an ordinary man wants to be defended by the law, although he himself will not care for or follow the law, whereas an aspirant will soulfully, unreservedly and unconditionally defend the law. Law is truth. We have to know how to use the truth in our daily activities.
A truth that is told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
— William Blake
This is true, absolutely true. We must always tell the truth with divine intent. Our truth must be flooded with love, concern and oneness. Our truth must illumine and not blind. Our truth must liberate and not bind. Finally, I wish to say with regard to the university motto that Light is the weight of the universal Soul, and Law is the height of the transcendental Soul.
The Secret Supreme. If you want to realise the Secret Supreme, you have to meditate. You have to know how to meditate. And for that you need a spiritual teacher. Until you have a teacher of your own, you have to meditate all alone. During your meditation, do not be afraid of anything. Fear is something you can and must give up. God’s constant Love is something you can and must have. Your fear kills God’s Love. Your aspiration for God-Realisation and your surrender to God’s Will kill all your fear, born and yet to be born. Harbour divine confidence in the inmost recesses of your heart. Confidence is the secret of success. Hope is the secret of attempts. Doubt is poison. Doubt destroys your life of aspiration sooner than immediately. During your meditation, do not fight against evil thoughts. If you constantly fight against evil thoughts, you will, to your great surprise, only strengthen them. But if you open yourself to divine thoughts, evil thoughts will have no need for you. They will be terribly jealous of your divine thoughts and in no time will leave you. During your meditation, try to cultivate divine Love. Try to love humanity soulfully. You may say, “How can I love others when I do not know how to love myself?” I will tell you how you can love yourself. You can love yourself most successfully just by loving God unreservedly. You may ask, “How can I love God when I do not know what Love is?” I will tell you what Love is. Love is the transforming power in our human nature. Love transforms our life of stark bondage into the life of mightiest freedom. Love cries for Life. Love fights for Life. And, finally, Love grows into the Life Eternal.
The Secret Supreme is God-Realisation, nothing more and nothing less. Yesterday my ignorance unconsciously offered me to God. Today my knowledge consciously offers God to me. In my unconscious awareness of God, neither God nor I am fulfilled. In my conscious oneness with God, both God and I are fully fulfilled.
EL 15. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, 6 May 1969.↩
Mysticism1Study mysticism if you want to. It will give your heart joy, your mind inspiration and your life a true, fulfilling and soulful assurance. But do not try to define it. Do not try to interpret it. If you try to define mysticism, you are bound to fail. If you try to interpret mysticism, you will most deplorably fail.
We get experiences: from science, scientific discoveries; from history, historical revelations; from philosophy, philosophical data; from religion, religious doctrines. In these experiences, we see the presence of subject and object, essence and existence, vision and reality. But a mystic experience, which is immediate oneness, transcends all such distinctions. This experience is the constant oneness with the Beyond, the ever-transcending Beyond that always remains ineffable. Mysticism, poor mysticism! When it is oversimplified and underestimated, it comes down from its original sphere and stands beside religion. But even here if a person is sincere, he will realise that his highest religious experience is nothing more than an uncertain, obscure and faint perception of Truth; whereas, no matter what kind of mystical experience he has, he will feel the intensity, immensity and certainty of Truth.
We have also to learn that religious ecstasy and mystical ecstasy do not play the same role in our inner life. Religious ecstasy deals mostly with the human in us. This ecstasy is confined to the body-consciousness, the disciplined or undisciplined vital, the illumined or unillumined mind, the pure or impure heart. But the mystical ecstasy transports us at once into the Beyond, where we are embraced by the eternal Life, fed by the all-nourishing Light and blessed by the transcendental Truth.
Primitive religion offered ecstasy to the vital in the physical mind and in the desiring heart. Mysticism fully advanced is now offering its ecstasy in infinite measure to the liberated souls and in abundant measure to the souls who are on the verge of liberation.
Poor Hinduism. Whenever and wherever mysticism is looked down upon, Hinduism is considered the main culprit. There are many sophisticated Westerners who not only fail to understand the lofty Hindu mysticism, but badly misunderstand it. To them I want to say that Hindu mysticism is not, as they think, self-hypnotism or self-deception, but rather soulful oneness with Immortality’s Life, Infinity’s Heart and Eternity’s Breath. To know Hinduism well, one has to practise Yoga, usually under the direct guidance of a spiritual adept.
Mysticism in Buddhism has been considerably inspired and influenced by Hindu mysticism. Hence, far from being diametrically opposed, the two traditions practically come to realise the same Truth. Nirvana transcends pain and pleasure, birth and death. The blessedness of Nirvana is the highest mystic oneness with the Liberator. A Hindu mystic, on the strength of his self-realisation, also becomes one with the Absolute and is freed forever from the snares of pleasure and pain, birth and death.
The Sufi mysticism of Islam expresses itself in the strongest intoxication of the inner vital and in the truth-laden symbolic love between bride and bridegroom. This kind of mysticism perhaps brings one considerably closer to the actual possibility of experiencing oneness with the One. Yet it also wants to tell us that the Allah of the Koran demands a strict self discipline and a self-controlled life. According to its adherents, this mysticism eventually leads to free access to Him, which is a very rare achievement.
The glowing mysticism of Judaism is the Kabbalah. This mystic lore is founded on the occult interpretation of the Bible and it has been successfully handed down as an esoteric doctrine to the initiated.
Christianity owes its mystical urge not to Judaism, but to the Greek world. Some scholars are of the opinion that the New Testament is wanting in mystical experience. I find it difficult to agree with them. I wish to say that the New Testament is replete with mystical experiences. What they are actually missing in the New Testament, because of their inability to enter into the depth of its messages, is the key that opens the mystical door that leads to union with God.
In Spain, Teresa of Avila offered to the world something profoundly mystical. Her mystical experience is the most successful culmination of the divine marriage between the aspiring soul and the liberating Christ, and it is here that man’s helpless crying will and God’s omnipotent all-fulfilling Will embrace each other.
Mysticism is not the sole monopoly of Hinduism. Christianity and other religions also discovered the Wealth of mysticism.
EL 16. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 7 May 1969.↩
The Inner Voice1I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
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 us. 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 and the money-power used for divinity can and will change the face of the world. Truth-Power will awaken and illumine slumbering and unlit humanity. 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 in God attempts to use this wealth, it is 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 is 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 on second thought a thing requested 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 it to be given is to give the thing for good, along with one’s own body and soul.
We shall never hear the Song of the Inner Voice if we consciously or unconsciously make friends with anxiety. What is anxiety? Anxiety is the destructive breath of life’s poverty.
There can be no greater choice or higher prize than to listen to the Inner Voice. If we wilfully refuse to listen to the Inner Voice, our false gains will lead us to an inevitable loss. And if we listen soulfully to the Inner Voice, our true gains will not only protect us from imminent destruction 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 he should be truly proud that he has the all-discerning Inner Voice. Humility tells man 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 his 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 that is very sweet, pure and familiar to us. This word is conscience. Conscience is another name for the Inner Voice. Divinely inspired is the utterance of Shakespeare: “I feel within me a peace above all earthly anxieties, a still and quiet conscience.”
Conscience can live in two places: 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 is the voice of the soul, as passion is the voice of the body. No wonder they often contradict each other.”
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, he can easily transcend this apparently irreconcilable contradiction. Once man has transcended all contradiction, he can powerfully sing with Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
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 within us. The Inner Voice is the Deity within us. The Inner Voice is the divine Duty within us. The Inner Voice is the supreme Necessity within us.
God has commanded the Inner Voice to be the friend of aspiring souls and the judge of unaspiring souls.
The Inner Voice is not only constant constancy, but also perfect perfection.
EL 17. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 1 October 1969 — 10:00 am.↩
Not power, but oneness1Man has countless desires. When his desires are not fulfilled, he curses himself; he feels that he is a failure, hopeless and helpless. He wants to prove his existence on earth with the fruits of his desires. He thinks that by fulfilling his desires he will be able to prove himself superior to others. Yet, alas! he fails, he has failed and he shall fail. But God comes to him and says, “My child, you have not failed. You are not hopeless. You are not helpless. How can you be hopeless? I am growing in you with My ever-luminous and ever-fulfilling Dream. How can you be helpless? I am inside you as Infinite Power.”
Then man tries to discover something else in order to prove his superiority. He tries to exercise his power violently, aggressively. He wants to derive joy from his superiority. He wants to prove to the world that he is important. In order to prove his eminence he adopts any means, and his conscience does not bother him. God, out of His Infinite Bounty, again comes to him and says, “This is a wrong choice. You cannot prove to the world that you are matchless, unique. What you actually crave from your superiority is joy, boundless joy. But this boundless joy will never be yours unless you know the secret of secrets. And that secret is your indivisible oneness with each human being on earth.”
Then God continues. He says that He is Strong, He is Happy, He is Fulfilled just because He is totally one with each human being, with the entire universe. Only when one is totally united with the rest of the world can he truly be happy. And this happiness makes a man the unparallelled soul on earth. It is not power that makes us superior or makes us feel that we are priceless; it is our matchless oneness with God. Others do not need us because we have power. No, others badly need our soul’s oneness. And this soul’s oneness has to be brought into the oneness of the physical, the vital and the mind in an illumined and transformed way. We are great, we are greater, we are greatest only when we consciously feel our oneness with the entire world. And God is eager; He is sincerely eager to prove to the entire world that His aspiring, dedicated, devoted children are truly His Boundless Pride. We do not need to prove what we have and what we are. God is eager to prove to the world what His aspiring children, His dedicated, devoted, surrendered children have and are.
God will fulfil His task in us, through us, for us. Let us also try to fulfil our task. Let us try to have the conscious feeling of our indivisible oneness with each human being here on earth and there in heaven.
What Abraham Lincoln says about power is undeniably correct: “Nearly all men can stand adversity; but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
And to those who are trying to feel oneness with the entire world, Winston Churchill has something to say: “It is no use saying, ‘we are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”
Our heart’s sincerity never fails. Our soul’s concern never fails. Our God’s Compassion never fails. When our heart is soulful, our soul is fruitful, our God is meaningful.
EL 18. State University of New York, College at Oswego, Oswego, New York, 1 October 1969 — 3:00 pm.↩
Individuality and personality1Human individuality is a self-torturing personality. Divine individuality is a self-discovering personality.
Man does not have to lose his individuality and personality. Man has to feel and realise his all-pervading divine individuality and all-serving divine personality. When we speak of individuality, we immediately see that it is composed of pride, vanity, desires, frustrations, fear, anxieties, worries and so forth. This kind of individuality can be observed in our ordinary day-to-day life. But there is another kind of individuality, which we call the divine individuality. Divine individuality is totally different from the individuality of pride, vanity, ego, earthbound desires, limited achievements and limited fulfilment. Divine individuality is a direct expression of the Divine in us.
God is One. At the same time, He is Many. He is One in His highest Transcendental Consciousness. He is Many here on earth in the field of manifestation. At the Highest, He is Unity. Here on earth, He is Multiplicity. God is the Lotus, and He has many, many petals, each representing an individual aspect of Himself. He is manifesting Himself in infinite ways and in infinite forms.
When we speak of human personality, we immediately think of something coming from our physical consciousness or the physical body. A man, with his inborn capacities, tendencies and talents and all his characteristics, forms a kind of personality. When a man stands in front of me, his personality spreads like water flowing onto a flat surface. When we think of a person or a thing, immediately our own individuality enters into the personality of that person or thing. Right now I am here with you at Berkeley, the august university. But if my mind carries me to someone in India, my own individuality immediately becomes one with the person there. I have entered into the person who is now in India, and I can use his personality on the strength of my union with him. I have not lost my individuality. I feel that my individuality has been transformed into an all-pervading and all-serving personality. The moment I think of anybody, my consciousness enters into him and pervades him. When my consciousness takes me into a person, I become part and parcel of him. Then I expand my consciousness there. When my consciousness expands, his consciousness also expands. We always serve the moment we consciously enter into something other than ourselves.
In our true Self we are all one. But in our outer self, we are many. Among the “many”, we see that one is serving the other; and the “other” may not take an active or even a conscious part in the process. For example, I am giving a talk here. You may feel that I am serving you with my knowledge and my spiritual light, but I wish to tell you that you are also serving the Supreme in me through your communion with me and your understanding and appreciation of my offering to you. This is what we call the all-serving personality. The moment we stand before a person, even if he does not take an active or dynamic part in the interchange, our very presence constitutes an important part of the consciousness of that person. An ordinary person does not understand the language of a flower, but when he stands in front of a flower, what actually happens? He appreciates its beauty, and the beauty of the flower appreciates his consciousness. There is mutual appreciation, mutual love, mutual service.
I am serving you with all that I am and all that I have. You are serving me by becoming totally one with my consciousness. That is true service. In this kind of service we do not lose our individuality. My individuality remains inside you, and your individuality remains inside me. It is the extension of our personality in the form of this widened individuality which the Supreme expresses in infinite ways. Although a tiny drop of water can be taken as an individual drop, when it merges into the infinite ocean it does not lose its so-called individuality. On the contrary, its individuality is expanded into an infinite expanse of ocean. When we look at the ocean, we see the ocean as an immense being, a huge personality that has inside it billions and billions of living beings. It is a living being itself. By merging into the ocean, the drop becomes as great as the ocean. Similarly, when we enter with our individuality into our divine personality, we see that our individuality is transformed into the infinitely vast and all-pervading personality of the Divine.
EL 19. University of California, Berkeley, California, 16 October 1969.↩
The sunlit path1In the spiritual life, the name of the sunlit path is Devotion. This path is definitely the short-cut to God-Realisation. It is true that God and His Mysteries are beyond the comprehension of speech and intellect. But it is equally true that God is easily accessible through devotion.
A true devotee gets great joy when he feels, “All this am I.”
He gets greater joy when he feels, “All this art Thou.”
He gets the greatest joy when he feels, “Thou art the Master; I am only the instrument.”
He who follows the Path of Knowledge says to God, “Father, I want You.”
He who follows the Path of Devotion says to God, “Father, I need You.”
The former says to God, “Father, I own You.”
The latter says to God, “Father, You own me.”
A real devotee is a true lover of God. Impossibility has no meaning and can never have any meaning in his life.
As in other paths, in the sunlit path the devotee learns that it does not matter how long he prays and meditates, but how he prays and meditates. If he prays and meditates upon the Divine sincerely and unreservedly, then he prays and meditates ten times at once.
When an aspirant starts his journey along the sunlit path, he says to God, “Father, give me.”
At his journey’s close he says, “Father, receive me.”
We all know that the abode of gratitude is the heart. Strangely enough, gratitude often manages to hide from its abode. But in the sunlit path soulful gratitude is always visible, looming large in the aspirant’s heart.
Self-love mars the fertile soil of aspiration and renders it sterile. But devotion toward God kindles the mounting flame of aspiration, creating a new world for the aspirant in God, and a new world for God in the aspirant.
Devotion is blessedness itself. This blessedness is the self-dedicating love turned toward God, seeking to serve Him constantly and unconditionally so that He can be fulfilled both in heaven and on earth.
There are countless people on earth who not only claim to pray, but actually do pray. How is it that they get practically no result from their prayers? The answer is simple and clear. Their prayer is not snow-white. A snow-white prayer is the fount of a self-generating energy, a self-transforming light and a self-fulfilling delight.
Like everyone else, a devoted aspirant has needs. But his needs and God’s Love and Compassion are always seen together. A real devotee has come to realise that he loves God not to fulfil his human desires but to fulfil God in God’s own Way. For an unaspiring person, life is punishment, pure torture. For an aspiring soul, each moment in life is an opportunity for self-illumination and God-fulfilment. In the sunlit path of devotion, the aspirant knows that just as he is hungry for God’s Infinite Compassion, even so is God hungry for his constant feeling of conscious oneness with Him.
When the body is dirty, soap is necessary to clean it. When the mind is impure, tears of repentance are necessary to purify it. When the heart is impure, the need for devotion is paramount. The heart’s impurity is the most dangerous disease in the spiritual life. Devotion is the only medicine. Devotion is the only cure.
The Brahman is by nature indivisible, a complete whole. But through maya, its self-limiting force, it has broken itself into infinite pieces. The aspirant’s all-surrendering devotion can easily make him whole again, divinely complete and supremely One.
EL 20. University of California, Santa Cruz, California, 17 October 1969.↩
Self-Knowledge1Let us try to know ourselves. Let us try to observe what we truly are. Very often we feel that we are insignificant creatures. We have nowhere to go, nothing to achieve and nothing to give. This is what we feel in our day-to-day existence. But what we truly are is totally different from what we feel. We are all God’s children. At each moment, God is pouring into us something divine and something truthful. He expects much from us, but nothing beyond our capacity. He knows what we can consciously offer to Him. Right now, we feel that we are weak, unimportant, useless. But in God’s eyes, we are divine, we are fruitful, we are Infinite.
We are constantly making mistakes. The root of our mistakes is our body, the physical. We feel that there is nothing beyond the physical and, at the same time, that there is nothing in the physical. It is here that we are making a most deplorable mistake. If we go beyond our body, beyond our physical consciousness, we see Infinite Peace, Infinite Joy, Infinite Bliss and Power all eagerly waiting for us.
Then if we go deep within, deep inside our body, we see and feel the soul. This soul is the messenger of God on earth. If we can be in tune with the constant, spontaneous music of the soul, our lives will be free from suffering, misery, frustration, fear and worry. Our lives will be a constant success, a constant achievement and a constant fulfilment, a fulfilment that can and will be both inner and outer.
So either we have to go deep inside the body, into the inmost recesses of our heart, or we have to go beyond the body, beyond the physical sheath, beyond the physical consciousness. We have to discover our true Self, either today or tomorrow or the day after. Mere preaching will not do; book study will not do. If we at all preach the Truth, the gospel, the spiritual philosophy, then we must preach what we live and practise what we want to be. We have to practise what we want to be, and, if we preach, we must preach only what we live.
God’s Vision is man and man’s reality is God. Man can deny God. His ignorance can make him feel that there is no God and no need for God. But God’s Compassion can never deny the existence of man. God is made of Compassion, Infinite Compassion. Man is made of ignorance. Whenever I say “man”, I mean the human mind, the human body. For man is in reality the descendant of God. To realise God is man’s birthright. Divinity is his heritage. But man is tired, man is frustrated, man wants to live in darkness. Man is very often satisfied with his limitations. So what can God do? If there is no sincere seeking, no striving, no aspiration, God has to lower Himself into this unlit, ignorant human being.
Man needs God, but he denies it. God needs man, and He is proud to tell the world of His need. Man certainly wants to get everything from God, but he wants to give God no credit for His infinite Grace and Compassion. But God openly shows His pride in human achievement. If we are aspiring, we will in no time see and feel the truth of this. God is constantly proud of our achievement, our aspiration, our existence.
So I wish to tell all of you not to cherish the idea that God has failed His Creation, that God has been a failure. These ideas are completely wrong. God has not failed. It is we who constantly feel that God and God’s Creation are two totally different things. We think, “God is in heaven and we are on earth. God does not care for us. Or if He does care for us, He has no strength to correct, rectify or perfect His Creation.” This is a wrong conception of the Truth. What do we know about God’s Perfection, God’s Vision, God’s Reality, God’s Consciousness? With our human eyes, what do we seek? Perfection, achievement, success. To God’s Eyes, these things look totally different. Man’s success and God’s success are not necessarily the same. God’s success is experience, and that experience can take the form of either success or failure. He gives us these two kinds of experience.
When we live in the soul, we feel that our soul has all responsibility for us. When we live in the body, we see that our body is nothing but stupidity. So if we live in the soul, we shall have the spontaneous experience of fulfilment. But if we live in the body, we shall have the spontaneous experience of frustration and misery. Our success and our failure have very little to do with God’s Wisdom, God’s Experience and God’s Operation in the physical world. He is our success, He is our failure, He is the doer and He is the action. If we can see God’s presence in each action, and then see the action itself as God, and later the result — success or failure — as God, and finally the Doer Himself as God, then all our problems are over. We can claim ourselves to be God’s Pride. We are truly God’s highest Pride and Vision if we know the secret of living here on earth and there in heaven.
EL 21. University of San Carlos, Cebu City, The Philippines, 30 October 1969.↩
God, Truth and Love1Because I love mankind, God loves me. Because I love God, Truth loves me. Because I love Truth, I really and truly love myself.
Why should God love me? I just said that God loves me because I love mankind. There is another reason, too. God loves me because I love His entire Creation. I know and feel that God can never be separated from His Creation. Creator and Creation are one, inseparable. When we appreciate the Creation, the Creator is pleased and satisfied. When we ourselves create something, produce something, build something, people notice our achievement and appreciate it deeply. We are pleased because it is we who have done it. Similarly, the universe is God’s Creation. When we love the universe, we simultaneously love God the Creator and God the Creation; and both the Creator and the Creation will be pleased with us.
Because I love God, Truth loves me. Truth has no existence without God. God is the very breath of Truth. Truth and God are one, indivisible. On the one hand, Truth is another name for God. On the other hand, Truth cannot exist without God, whereas God can at each moment transcend Truth — earthly truth and heavenly truth, earthbound truth and heavenward truth. Even His own Transcendental Truth God can transcend at His own sweet Will. Although we can safely say that God and Truth are one, God alone has the power to transcend all truths, even the Truth itself. That is why Truth without God is helpless. But when we love God, Truth loves us because Truth is immediately fed by our aspiring soul. Inside God is the existence of Truth. In our very appreciation of God, Truth is fed and nourished. And Truth rightly feels that its unique message to the world can be spread only when we truly love its Possessor, God.
Because I love Truth, I love myself. A human being is the expression of Truth. He is not the expression of ignorance, falsehood, darkness and death. No, he is the embodiment, realisation and expression of truth — the lesser truth, the higher Truth and the Highest Truth. Each moment the divine Truth is transcending its boundaries in us. We see it, feel it and realise it when we live the inner life, the life of the soul. Because I love the Truth, I really and truly love myself. My existence and Truth are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin, which is the inner being or soul, the representative of the Supreme here on earth.
I love myself. What do I love about myself? Not my body. If I love my body for the sake of my body, tomorrow I shall be frustrated because there are millions and billions of human beings on earth who are more beautiful than I am. Naturally I will feel miserable. If I love my physical mind for the sake of my mind, tomorrow I shall see millions and billions of mental giants right in front of me, and my mental capacity will fade into insignificance. If I love my vital dynamism for the sake of my vital dynamism, then I shall see that there are millions and billions of people who are simply inundated with striking dynamism. Similarly, if I love anything else of my own, for its own sake, I am bound to be frustrated. I shall defeat my very divine purpose. But if I love myself just because God is expressing Himself through this body, vital, mind and heart, then I see that I am unique and peerless in the whole history of the universe, because no other Chinmoy is going to be created by God with the same capacities, same understanding, same experiences. Each individual can love himself just because he is a direct channel of the Divine. God wants to express Himself in each individual in a unique way. When we become consciously and fully one with God, we not only fulfil Him but we also fulfil ourselves. When I say that I really and truly love myself because I love Truth, it means that I consciously feel that Truth is constantly breathing in me, with me and for me.
My very breath on earth is the living reality of Truth. I love and adore myself at every moment — not because of my sound body, dynamic vital, refined mind and pure heart, but because God is inside me, God is utilising me, God is fulfilling Himself in me and through me. This is the sole reason why my body, vital, mind and heart are loved by me and must be loved by me. Each individual has to be surcharged with this supreme Truth. He should consciously feel that his life on earth is the outer manifestation of the Supreme’s inner Breath.
Supreme, I am Thy Glowing Grace.
I am Thy Golden Plow.
I am Thy Vision's Kite.
EL 22. Southwestern University, Cebu City, The Philippines, 31 October 1969.↩
The body's reality and the soul's reality1Today the body is here; tomorrow it is somewhere else. Today the body is suffering; tomorrow the body is enjoying. Today the body is doomed to disappointment; tomorrow the body is surcharged with inspiration and aspiration. The body is constantly seeing and feeling itself in different shapes and forms, feeling that it has no permanent reality.
Despite being real, the body feels that it is unreal. It always tries to discover reality in something else, in someone else or someplace else. The body, being unconscious, feels that it lacks the Truth, the Reality and the Plenitude. It always feels that it is a beggar. According to the body, Reality is something static. And feeling that it is nowhere near the eternal Reality, the body seeks it somewhere else where it is permanent.
Let us take the example of a beautiful girl. Everyone knows that she is extremely beautiful. Beauty is a reality in her. But she is not satisfied with her beauty. She feels that someone else is more beautiful than she, perhaps even someone whom others consider ugly. No matter how many times her dearest ones tell her, “You are the beauty. Nobody is as beautiful as you are,” she is not satisfied. This is the case, not only with physical beauty, but wherever reality exists in the physical realm.
The physical is not and cannot be satisfied with its own possessions. It feels that others have the truth, light, beauty and bliss whereas it does not. The very nature of the physical is to feel that it is the eternal beggar. It wants something from somewhere else, either from human beings or from heaven. There is always a sense of dissatisfaction in the physical. The physical is naturally the seat of dissatisfaction.
The case of the soul is not like that, however. The soul constantly feels that it has everything from God in infinitesimal measure and that it has the potentiality to house Infinity. It is satisfied with its reality. The soul is satisfied because it knows what it has and what it can grow into.
The soul now exists in the field of manifestation. It knows that it has the capacity to unveil the Infinite, either today or tomorrow. It is satisfied with what it has right now; and it is also satisfied with what it will have, what it will do and what it will reveal in the Infinite, for the Infinite. The very nature of the soul is to remain satisfied. It lives in divine satisfaction. Very often the body gets joy and still remains unsatisfied. But the soul lives in constant joy, for it sees the Eternal Reality.
The soul is aware of the truth that Reality is both static and dynamic. The soul is satisfied when it sees the Reality in its highest, in its deepest, in its all-pervading consciousness. The body never sees Reality from all angles, never sees Reality in its ultimate sense, the way it must be seen, felt and realised.
The body wants to feel Reality in its own way — that is, by separating it into infinitesimal pieces and seeing it bit by bit. But the soul wants to see Reality in all its phases, in all its activities both dynamic and static, in all earthly incidents and heavenly experiences. The soul does not limit Reality. It sees Reality in its infinity, it feels Reality as the infinite expression of the Absolute and it always tries to identify with Reality in its infinite ways of expression and realisation. Although the body is trying to get the highest Reality, which is both static and dynamic, it can never look at or feel the Reality unless it surrenders totally and unreservedly to the wisdom of the soul.
The ordinary human body is imperfection incarnate. This imperfection can be transformed into perfection only when the body voluntarily offers itself to the soul’s ever-growing Light, Wisdom and Bliss. A day is bound to dawn when the body will make this offering. Then the body and the soul will run together to fulfil the Supreme’s Mission — the mission of nature’s transformation, the mission of the revelation, manifestation and fulfilment of the highest Truth here on earth.
EL 23. Siliman University, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 1 November 1969.↩
Sincerity, purity and surety1Let us be sincere. The Supreme will bless us.
Let us be pure. The Supreme will love us.
Let us be sure of our Goal. The Supreme will embrace us.
“Let us be sincere. The Supreme will bless us.” An aspirant has to be sincere, not only in his inner life but also in his outer life, until he breathes his last. Sincerity is the fertile ground in the aspirant’s heart. His sincerity is God’s matchless Smile. His sincerity is God’s peerless Pride.
Sincerity can be developed. It can be developed like a muscle. There are some people who are naturally sincere, and others who are naturally insincere. Those who are sincere from the dawn of their lives are blessed. But those who are insincere from their very birth need not and must not curse themselves. They can be sincere if they want to. The moment they truly want to be sincere, God in His Infinite Compassion will help them. With His deepest Joy, Pride and Concern He will help them.
Spirituality needs and demands sincerity from the beginning to the end. Spirituality and sincerity can never be separated. If one really cares for the spiritual life, if one feels that spirituality is the only answer, then I wish to say that sincerity is the key that opens the door of spirituality. There is no other key; there can be no other key.
“Let us be pure. The Supreme will love us.” If there is no purity in the aspirant’s inner or outer life, then the aspirant is no better than an animal. Without purity he cannot retain any of the spiritual gifts he receives. Everything will disappear and everything will disappoint the seeker if he is wanting in purity. But if he is flooded with purity, the divine qualities will all eventually enter into him. They will sing in him, dance in him and make him the happiest person on earth. And by making him happy, these divine qualities will find their own true fulfilment.
Purity in the physical is of paramount importance. This does not mean that we have to bathe ten times a day. No, purity is not that. Purity does demand that you have a clean body, but true physical purity lies inside the heart. You have to establish an inner shrine within your heart. This shrine is the constant remembrance of the Supreme Pilot inside you. When you constantly and spontaneously think of the Supreme Pilot seated inside you, in the inmost recesses of your heart, you will realise that this is the _highest_ purity. If purity is lacking in the physical, complete success, the full manifestation of God, cannot be accomplished. You may get partial spiritual success, but even this partial success in life will disappoint you badly if purity is not established in your nature. You have to establish purity in the physical, in the vital, in the mind — everywhere in the outer nature. Then whatever you do, whatever you are, whatever you possess will be filled with purity. Purity is not something weak or negative; it is something soulful and dynamic. It is something that is fed constantly by the infinite Energy and the indomitable, adamantine Will of the Supreme.
The very utterance of the word “purity” can help to change the aspirant’s outer life as well as his inner life. Repeat the word “purity” one hundred and eight times daily, placing your right hand on your navel as you say it. Then you will see that abundant purity will enter into you and flow through you. When you are pure, you will see the world with a different eye. You will see purity dawning fast in the world. You will see beauty blooming fast in the world. You will see perfection growing fast in the world.
Sweet, sweeter, sweetest is purity. When you see purity inside you, you are pure. When you feel purity inside and around you, you are purer. When you become purity within and without, you are purest. You actually kill your inner being when you lead an impure life. But when you lead a pure life, you expedite the journey of your soul. Your soul and your outer life get their greatest opportunity when purity is totally established in your life.
“Let us be sure of our Goal. The Supreme will embrace us.” The difference between an ordinary man and an aspirant is that an ordinary man has no goal whereas an aspirant does. An ordinary man is satisfied with what he has, or considers the idea of entering into the Beyond as beyond his imagination, or feels that there is no Beyond. He is caught by what he sees around him. An aspirant, however, feels and believes that this world of ours is not the final goal. He feels that there must be a goal somewhere, and he knows that either this goal will come to him or he will have to go to it. The goal may be God-Realisation or it may be something else. If it is God-Realisation and if his aspiration is sincere, he should know that this goal is something absolutely important and sacred. It is not a plaything.
An aspirant has to be sure of his goal. He may want God or some attribute of God. Some aspirants cry to God for Power, for Love, for Peace. They do not cry to God for God Himself. They do not want God in His Infinity and Eternity. They want only a portion of Him. They are satisfied if they can get Peace from God, or Light, or Love. When they receive what they cry for, they end their soul’s journey. But there are some aspirants who do not want anything from God except God Himself. They feel that if they get God, they get everything. They are like hungry children in a garden where there is a tree laden with the most delicious mangoes. They know that if they can please the owner of the tree they will get all the mangoes on the tree. Here God is the owner of the tree and at the same time He is the tree. When we please Him, He satisfies our hunger for the infinite Light, Peace and Bliss. If the aspirants are wise, they know that the moment they please God they get everything from Him.
On the strength of his sincere aspiration, a true seeker says, “O God, if You feel that I should have Your Vision, if You feel that You want to fulfil Yourself in me and through me, if You feel that You can utilise me as Your instrument, I am at Your service. If You want me to stand before You, I shall come and stand. If You want to stand before me, I shall be equally happy. If You do not want either, but want somebody else to stand before You, I shall still be happy.” This is what we call surrender. This is the ultimate surrender.
An aspirant has to know his goal. If his goal is God-Realisation, he can start with that in mind. But the Ultimate Goal is unconditional surrender to God’s Will. When God sees that His child, His most devoted child, has made this unconditional surrender — not for a second, not for a day or a year, but for a whole lifetime, for all incarnations to come, for all eternity — then alone God embraces His dearest, His sweetest, His most devoted child. And when that embrace takes place, man changes into God Himself.
We are all, without exception, given the opportunity to fulfil God here on earth. If we try, we are bound to succeed. We _can_ fulfil God, and in fulfilling Him we shall see that we are already fulfilled.
EL 24. Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, 4 March 1970 — 4:00 pm.↩
Self-control1In the spiritual life, the most important, significant and fruitful thing is self-control. No self-control, no self-realisation. In the dictionary we come across hundreds of thousands of words. Of all these words, self-control is the most difficult one to practise. How can we have self-control? If we want to have self-control, we have to surrender ourselves to the Source. This Source is Light; this Source is God.
A child wants to have many things, many useless, harmful things. But the mother knows that if she gives the child these things he will be ruined. And just because the mother and the child are one, the mother herself will also be ruined. So the mother does not fulfil the child’s countless unlit, destructive desires. Similarly, the body is a child. If we fulfil the wants and demands of the body, then in the long run our life will be ruined.
Now, why does the body not listen to us? The answer is very simple. We do not listen to our soul. If we listened to our soul, the body also would listen to us. We know that the body has a superior, which is the vital. The vital’s superior is the mind, the mind’s superior is the heart and the heart’s superior is the soul. The soul’s superior is God. The soul listens to the Inner Pilot, God, all the time. The heart very often listens to the dictates of the soul — very often, but not always. The mind practically never listens to the heart. The vital does not listen to the mind, and the body certainly does not listen to the vital. The actual problem starts with the mind, in the mind.
How can we inspire the body, the vital, the mind and the heart to enter into better and more fulfilling light? We have to know at this point that if we find fault with the body, vital, mind and heart, we can never change and transform them. But if we appreciate them, saying that they have the capacity to play a significant role in God's cosmic Drama, that they are as important as the soul for the full manifestation of God on earth, then we can transform them. If we do not condemn the body, vital, mind and heart — on the contrary, if we tell them that they can be the chosen instruments of God, that God needs them for His divine lila [game] on earth — then eventually we can transform them. The unruly members of our family will before long feel the importance of their respective roles in the fulfilment of God's manifestation on earth. They can and will be unified and united for the fulfilment of a single Goal.
Self-control. In self-control we need simplicity, sincerity and humility. Simplicity has to feed self-control. Sincerity has to feed self-control. Humility has to feed self-control. We can say that the breakfast of self-control is simplicity, the lunch of self-control is sincerity and the dinner of self-control is humility. Unfortunately, we are living in an age when self-control is not appreciated. It has become an object of ridicule. A man is trying hard for self-mastery. His friends, neighbours, relatives and acquaintances all mock at him. They find no reality in his sincere attempt to master his life. They think that the way they are living their lives is more worthwhile. The man who is trying to control his life is a fool, according to them. But who is the fool — he who wants to conquer himself or he who is constantly a victim of fear, doubt, worry and anxiety? Needless to say, he who wants to conquer himself is not only the wisest man but the greatest divine hero. The Commander-in-Chief of the cosmic gods, the divine warrior Kumar, son of Lord Shiva, fights against hostile forces, asuric forces and ignorance in the battlefield of life. He fights to establish here on earth, in the immediacy of today, the Kingdom of Heaven. Earlier I said that people mock when a man tries to control himself. At times we see that even spiritual Masters are ridiculed and mercilessly condemned by society. Even a spiritual figure whose heart is snow-white, whose heart is purity itself, whose life has no sting of impurity, whose very breath is the flood of purity — even he falls victim to the criticisms of the ignorant world.
This reminds me of a Zen story. There was a Zen Master who was very pure, very illumined. Near the place where he lived there happened to be a food store. The owner of the food store had a beautiful unmarried daughter. One day she was found with child. Her parents flew into a rage. They wanted to know the father, but she would not give them the name. After repeated scolding and harassment, she gave up and told them it was the Zen Master. The parents believed her. When the child was born they ran to the Zen Master, scolding him with foul tongue, and they left the infant with him. The Zen Master said, "Is that so." This was his only comment.
He accepted the child. He started nourishing and taking care of the child. By this time his reputation had come to an end, and he was an object of mockery. Days ran into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. But there is something called conscience in our human life, and the young girl was tortured by her conscience. One day she finally disclosed to her parents the name of the child’s real father, a man who worked in a fish market. The parents again flew into a rage. At the same time, sorrow and humiliation tortured the household. They came running to the spiritual Master, begged his pardon, narrated the whole story and then took the child back. His only comment: “Is that so.”
Here I wish to say that in your spiritual life all of you are trying to conquer your lower vital. Either today or tomorrow, in the nearest future or in the most distant future, you are bound to conquer the lower vital. But in the process of your self-transformation, if people do not understand you or care for your pure life, please pay no heed to their criticism. If they do not appreciate your sincerity, your effort or your success in controlling your lower vital nature, no harm. But if you want them to appreciate and admire your attempt, then you are unnecessarily bringing into your life not only their criticism and disbelief, but doubt and temptation as well. Each human being unconsciously embodies criticism, disbelief, doubt and temptation. On the one hand, you are trying to transcend yourself on the strength of your aspiration; on the other hand, you are bringing other people's temptation into your life, and with that temptation you are unconsciously trying to feed your lower nature. So I want you to try to be sincere to yourself. Let the world find fault with you. Let the world bark at you. Your sincerity is your safeguard. Your spiritual discipline will lead you to your destined Goal. Who is the king? Not he who governs a country, but he who has conquered himself. Everybody has the capacity and opportunity to become a king if he wants to. God has given him ample opportunity and boundless capacity to be the king not only of the length and breadth of this world, but of the entire universe.
EL 25. Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, 4 March 1970 — 8:00 pm.↩
Science and spirituality1Man’s scientific and spiritual achievements are the conscious inspiration-light and aspiration-might of the Divine’s urge towards two goals: the realisation of the body’s countless necessities and infinite capacities, and the manifestation of the soul’s transcendental vision of the Beyond here on earth, in the heart and immediacy of today.
Science is that precious thing on earth which is pushed forward by a glowing imagination and pulled forward by its own growing experience. Spirituality is that precious thing on earth which is carried within by fulfilling aspiration and later brought to the fore, where it can become consciously one with God the Field of Experience, God the Experience and God the Experiencer.
Within our living memory, we have seen science advancing very fast, while human happiness has been receding at an alarming rate. Today’s world is seeing a flickering candle flame of spirituality, but tomorrow’s world will be flooded with the light of spirituality, destined and decreed.
Science right now deals mostly with the material world. What is the material world, after all? It is the world that does not believe in the possibility and inevitability of a divine life. Spirituality right now deals mostly with the inner world. What is the inner world? The inner world is the world that says that the possibility of a divine life on earth is undoubtedly unreal today, but tomorrow it will be possible, the day after it will be practicable and just the day after that it will be inevitable.
Science has the capacity to show mankind the full development of the mental life. Spirituality has the capacity to show mankind the possibility and inevitability of the life beyond the mind, the supramental life.
The outer progress and world-discovery swiftly follow the fruitful imagination in the world of science. The inner progress and self-discovery gladly follow the soulful aspiration in the life of the world within, the world of spirituality.
Science and modern life are simply indispensable to each other. The modern life is the eye; science is the power of vision. Spirituality, and the future life of mankind will be indispensable to each other. The future life of mankind will be the fully awakened consciousness, and spirituality will be its guiding and fulfilling soul.
Science itself has become an art, and this art must now stand alongside all other arts. No art can ever have its fullest expression in the modern world without the aid of science. Spirituality is the supreme art of our nature-transformation. God the Supreme Artist uses spirituality to divinely reveal to the world man's embodied divine Reality and transcendental Truth.
To fulfil his practical needs, man bitterly cries to science. To fulfil his personal inner needs, man helplessly cries to spirituality.
The sombre despair of ruthless destruction and the matchless ecstasy of the outer, human fulfilment have a common friend: science. The most hopeful certainly of a new and pure creation and the life-energising, life-nourishing, life-transforming and life-fulfilling delight of the inner and divine fulfilment have a common friend: spirituality.
Science and spirituality must be united. They need each other. Without the one, the other is incomplete, almost meaningless. Together they are not only supremely complete but also divinely meaningful. Science is the Body of God. Spirituality is the Soul of God. Science is also God the Body. Spirituality is also God the Soul. God the Body needs God the Soul to realise Himself, His Individuality. God the Soul needs God the Body to fulfil Himself, His Personality.
God's Soul and God the Soul say to God in silence, "We loved You before and we shall love You ever."
God's Body and God the Body voice forth, "God, we love You now and this love of ours will forever last."
In the world of Night and Fight, Science says to Spirituality: "You fool! You are a perfect nuisance!"
In the world of Night and Fight, Spirituality says to Science, "You rascal! It is beneath my dignity to speak to a dead stone!"
In the world of Light and Delight, Science says to Spirituality: "Brother, I need your Wisdom."
In the world of Light and Delight, Spirituality says to Science, "Sister, I need your capacity."
EL 26. Hunter College, New York, New York, 6 March 1970.↩
Sincerity and spirituality1Sincerity and spirituality are of paramount importance in our day-to-day life. Human life can be successful only when it is founded on a one-pointed confirmation of Truth in life's multiplicity.
For a God-lover, sincerity is an oasis in the desert of life. It is extremely difficult to be totally sincere, but we need sincerity in the physical, in the vital, in the mental. What is sincerity, after all? Sincerity is the dynamic horse deep inside us, and the rider of this horse is our psychic being.
Thomas Carlyle says, "Try to make yourself honest. If you become honest, then rest assured there will be one rascal less in the world." This is absolutely true. If we can be honest, totally honest, then our lives will have their proper meaning and significance.
Now, what is spirituality? Spirituality is man’s inner urge to run towards the Farthest, to fly towards the Highest and to dive into the Innermost.
An unaspiring man will criticise the imperfections and limitations of others although he lacks the inclination, the willingness and the capacity to perfect his own imperfections and limitations. But a man of spirituality is sincere. Not only does he not criticise the imperfections of others, but also he is fully aware of his own shortcomings and he tries to correct them. In addition, he sees the world’s imperfections as his very own and tries to perfect them by perfecting his own nature.
Sincerity wants to see the Light. Spirituality shows sincerity what the Light is, where the Light is and how the Light can be seen.
An ordinary person loves the body infinitely more than he loves the soul. A spiritual person loves the soul infinitely more than he loves the body. Why? He knows that his body will last only fifty, sixty, seventy or eighty years, and then he will have to give it up. Each time he reincarnates he is donning a different body, but he has the same soul throughout all his lives. He knows that the soul is the conscious representative of the Supreme, revealing and manifesting in each incarnation the embodied Truth on earth. That is why a spiritual person loves the soul much more than he loves the body.
But an advanced seeker of the infinite Truth will give equal importance to the soul and the body. He knows that he needs the soul in order to enter into the Highest, the Ultimate, the Transcendental Beyond. But he also needs the body in order to manifest the Truth that he achieves in the highest plane of consciousness. He needs the physical in order to manifest the divinity within him. It is here on earth, in and through the body, that he can fulfil God’s Vision and God’s Reality.
The body we need; the soul we need. The body cries for light, more light, abundant light. The soul cries for God’s manifestation, His total manifestation, and for perfect perfection here on earth.
As the world needs a sincere man, even so God needs a spiritual man. Without a sincere man, the world will be weak. Without a spiritual man, God will remain unfulfilled on earth. Sincerity is God’s Heart; spirituality is God’s Breath. When we offer our human sincerity to God, God becomes All-Love. When we offer our limited spiritual cry to God, God becomes All-Joy, All-Pride.
With his inner light, a spiritual man can easily succeed here in the material world. This light is his soul-power. This power is not destructive, but constructive. When a spiritual man deals with the outer world, he has no need to fear anybody or anything on earth. His soul-power will always come to the fore to help him establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
A sincere man is of paramount importance on earth. But his sincerity cannot take him very far. He may be sincere to his friends, to his family and to the world at large; but if he does not have the inner cry, he will not be able to enter into Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. No doubt he is far superior to an ordinary, insincere man. But if he does not feel the conscious need to aspire, if he does not feel the necessity of growing into the Light of the Beyond, if he does not have the inner urge, then for him the Transcendental Goal will always remain a far cry. His aim is only limited perfection, limited joy and limited achievement.
A spiritual person has an inner hunger. This hunger is constant. This hunger is for the Unlimited, for Infinity itself. His dissatisfaction is not the dissatisfaction an ordinary person feels when he does not get what he wants. When a spiritual man is dissatisfied with the world, he is dissatisfied precisely because he feels that the wealth of the world has no real value. He wants Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, and these he will get only from his aspiration. In order to have aspiration, he needs God’s infinite Compassion; and he wishes always to bask in the sunshine of God’s boundless Grace.
Again, a spiritual person does not look down on a sincere person. He feels that this sincere person is his younger brother. He who has sincerity today has every possibility of entering into the world of spirituality tomorrow.
Sincerity and spirituality should go together. If one has sincerity only, God-Realisation will dawn on him in the distant future. But if one has spirituality along with sincerity, then he is destined to realise God very soon. With sincerity's help, slowly and steadily we can go to God. With spirituality's help, we can bring God to us quickly, convincingly and triumphantly.
EL 27. Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey, 11 March 1970 — 11:00 am.↩
Willpower and victory's crown1
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.
— From the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad"
Willpower. What is willpower? Willpower is man's conscious inner urge to enter into the very heart of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. To live a devoted life is to be a conscious child of God's Will. In the life of aspiration two things are of paramount importance: will-power and prayer.
Prayer is feminine. Willpower is masculine. But both prayer and willpower are most effective, and both can bring about the same result.
Willpower is an ever-progressive and self-manifesting reality in the universe. At times we mortals find it difficult to separate our willing from our wishing. We want to achieve our goal with determined personal efforts, supported and guided by God's loving Grace. Whenever we will to achieve something, we pay the price; whereas when we wish to achieve something, very often we do not pay the price: we just wish. Here there is no effort, no conscious effort; and so we can hardly expect any success.
Human willpower and divine Willpower. Human willpower is like a rope of sand. At any moment it can break. Divine Willpower is the aspiring humanity within us evolving into the all-fulfilling Beyond.
Victory's crown. Where is the greatest victory? The greatest victory lies in self-discovery. Atmanam viddhi: Know thyself. There can be no greater victory than to know oneself. To conquer a nation is a human victory. This victory is limited. When Caesar said, Veni, vidi, vici — "I came, I saw, I conquered" — he was referring to a human victory. Again, when the Son of God says, "Father, let Thy Will bei done," here human aspiration has entered into the infinite Wisdom-Light of the Supreme. The real victory is achieved only when one has established a conscious, inseparable oneness with one's Inner Pilot.
God's Smile is man's victory's crown. And eternal aspiration is the pride of eternal victory. No aspiration, no realisation. No realisation, no revelation. No revelation, no manifestation of the divine Truth on earth.
You want to live on earth because you have countless desires. You feel there are many things on earth you have to accomplish. But these desires need not be fulfilled, cannot be fulfilled and will not be fulfilled without God.
When you try to discover yourself, when you want to know what you truly are, God's infinite Bounty dawns on you. With your self-discovery, you can reveal God's Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence here on earth. It is here on earth and nowhere else that God-Realisation and God-Manifestation can and will take place.
In order to be surcharged with willpower we need concentration, meditation and contemplation. We have to know how to concentrate. When our concentration is perfect, we then must enter into meditation. When our meditation is perfect, we have to enter into contemplation.
How can we learn how to concentrate? Just by reading books? No, impossible. Books will give us inspiration, nothing more. In order to learn the secret of concentration, one has to go to a spiritual Teacher. You have to come to the university to learn, to cultivate knowledge. Similarly, the inner knowledge also has to be learned from someone. True, the treasure is within you. But somebody has to show you where your treasure is and where your key lies. You come to school to learn, and for each subject you have a different teacher. But in the spiritual life there is only one subject, and that subject is self-realisation. And one real Teacher is more than enough to teach you, guide you, illumine you and fulfil you.
Meditation. Meditation also has to be taught, especially in the beginning. At your journey's dawn, meditation has to be taught. Now you are coming to the university. But when you get your degree you don't continue coming. When you yourself have realised God, or when you are far advanced in your meditation, you do not need a Teacher. But only then, not before.
Then comes contemplation, which is the last rung of the spiritual ladder. You can contemplate on the personal God or the impersonal God. It is always easier, safer and more fulfilling to go to the personal God first and to go to the impersonal God through Him.
Will-power and victory's crown. The spiritual life needs only one thing: aspiration. It is our heart's constant aspiration that gives birth to will-power and victory's crown.
Let us all aspire. Ours is the aspiring soul, ours is the fulfilling Goal — here and now, in the immediacy of today.
EL 28. State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, 11 March 1970 — 8:00 pm.↩
The inner poverty1You all know what earthly poverty is. But I wish to speak on poverty from the spiritual point of view.
Poverty is a very complicated word. Poverty is not the body’s purity. Poverty is not the mind’s clarity. Poverty is not the heart’s spirituality. Poverty is not the soul’s reality. The body’s purity is light. The mind’s clarity is vastness. The heart’s spirituality is height. The soul’s reality is delight.
In the physical life, poverty is the absence of conscious effort. In the spiritual life, poverty is the absence of spontaneous surrender to God’s Will. Effort in the physical life tells an individual what he can do and ultimately achieve for himself. Surrender in the spiritual life tells the aspirant what God was doing, is doing and will be doing for him.
Poverty is no shame. In the light of perfection, poverty is not a vice — far from it. It is only a limitation. Poverty is not a disease; it is an obstruction. This obstruction can easily be surmounted.
What is poverty, after all? Poverty is misery. What is misery? Emotional misery is the result of the mind’s desire. There is also physical misery, which is caused by tensed nerves. When one does not have faith in oneself, that is the beginning of misery. When one loses faith in one’s Master, he falls within the damaging breath of misery.
Poverty in our spiritual life does not mean want of money or material wealth. Poverty in our spiritual life means the absence of a conscious cry for God. A man is poverty-stricken in the spiritual life only when he cannot afford to spend a fleeting minute for God. If he cannot spend a fleeting minute for God, then he is truly poverty-stricken in the inner world. An aspirant is really rich when he feels his entire life is for God. He is richer when he sees his breath is of God. He is the richest man on earth when he discovers that he and God need each other, love each other and are eternally proud of each other. This discovery he can make only when he lives in the soul. His soul constantly brings reality to the fore from the inmost recesses of his heart and places the reality in front of him. His soul makes him feel that he and God are inseparably one. God needs him to manifest His infinite possibilities and capacities on earth, and he needs God to realise the highest Truth of the Beyond.
No man, no aspirant is or ever can be poor if he lives in the soul. The soul is plenitude, the soul is infinity. If the aspirant lives in the soul, he is all aspiration, he is all realisation, he is all perfection.
The aspirant’s life is inundated with light. Light in his body is his beauty. Light in his vital is his capacity. Light in his mind is his glory. Light in his heart is his victory.
EL 29. Fordham University, Bronx, New York, 18 March 1970.↩
The consciousness of the body1I wish to give a very short talk on the consciousness of the body. To start with, I wish to cite a few words from Sanskrit: Sannyasa koru karma sadhana. It means: "We have to practise the inner life, spiritual discipline, here inside the body. Here inside the body we have to live the life of the spirit."
Confusion is the order of the day. Even now we see what can happen. We were supposed to give a talk in a different hall; now we are compelled to be here. Everything seems to have gone wrong. So, when we live in the body, it is often all confusion. When we are in the soul, it is all illumination. The body is right now unlit, undeveloped, and at the same time it remains unprogressive. That is why confusion is running riot.
We must never offer attachment to the physical body. At the same time, we must never offer our contempt to the physical body. If we are attached to the body, then we are immediately caught by the fetters of ignorance, and we will be lost in the mire of bondage. Again, if we offer contempt to the body, the physical consciousness, we will never be fully and totally fulfilled here on earth. It is here, on earth, that we have to realise the Truth, fulfil the Truth and manifest the Truth.
When the hour strikes, that is to say, when the soul rings the inner bell within us, the physical consciousness immediately thinks it is time for its enjoyment. The vital thinks it is time to show its capacity in breaking or destroying the creation. Its aggressive or, at best, its dynamic capacity, wants to assert itself boldly and show the creation what it can do: how completely, how cleverly, how confidently it can change the plan, the plan that was envisioned in God’s Will. The mind thinks that this is the time to doubt God’s creation and at the same time to doubt the Creator, to doubt His very existence on earth. The heart feels, when the bell is rung by the soul, “Now is the time for me to cry, cry for Light, Peace, Bliss and inner Power; the power that fulfils and not destroys, the power of inseparable oneness with God’s creation, with God’s entire universe.”
When the physical consciousness tries to see the Truth, it usually sees the Truth with tremendous fear. Fearfully and tremulously it sees the Truth. When the vital tries to approach the Truth, it wants to see the Truth by force, by hook or by crook, ruthlessly, without patience. When the mind wants to see the Truth, it sees with the eye of suspicion, doubt, inner turmoil, anxiety and worry. And when the heart wants to see the Truth, it very often sees with joy, delight and soulful prayer.
The body. As an individual, I pride myself on this physical body. What I have and what I am — it is all my body. The body is the only thing I have to show to the world at large. When I feel that my body is the only thing that I am, then I am nowhere near my realisation, not to speak of my revelation. If the body is the only thing that I can call my very own, then temptation, sense-pleasure, frustration, destruction also belong to me.
If I can say that the soul is my own, if I become one, inseparably one, with the existence of my soul, then only will I see the purpose of my life, the aim of my life, why I have come here, what necessity God has in me and what work He will do through me here on earth. When I live on earth, I live not because others are living here. Many people live on earth. I live on earth precisely because I have a special aim, a mission on earth. Each individual has to feel that he or she has something special to offer; and this message has to come directly from the soul and enter into the physical consciousness.
As an individual, unlit individual, I boast, I brag. I say, “I have tremendous strength.” But look. When an insignificant ant bites me, I am unnerved, I am irritated. When a South Indian mosquito bites me, immediately I become a raving lunatic. A mere mosquito has disturbed my inner poise. I have the strength to destroy hundreds and thousands of mosquitos. But when I am stung by one mosquito, I am totally lost. One mosquito has robbed my body of all its poise and inner strength. I am conquered by a little mosquito or an ant. Why? Precisely because I live in the body.
If I live in the soul, if my consciousness becomes totally one with the soul which is the source of Light and Delight, then mosquitos can bite, ants can bite; the whole world, like a venomous snake, can bite, I will remain unperturbed. I will remain in the sea of silence and tranquillity.
The body, the vital, the mind usually fight with one another. They quarrel, they fight, they never listen to one another. But when the soul asks them to do something, immediately they become one and they unanimously reject the offer, the soul’s divine offer. If the soul wants to offer them light, inner light, individually or collectively, the body, the vital and the mind become, at that very moment, inseparable. In collusion they reject the soul’s light. In the field of spirituality, they negate their own inner possibilities through their ignorance.
Atmanam rathinam viddhi shariram rathameva tu. In the Katha Upanishad, one of India's loftiest and best-known Upanishads, we come to learn that the soul is the master, and the body is the chariot, and the intellect, or should we say the reasoning capacity, is the charioteer, and the mind is the reins. Now, we need a chariot, we need a charioteer, we need a master of the chariot. Of course, we need a horse, the dynamic energy of the being, but we also need the reins to control that horse, and the reins are represented by the mind. All these we need in order to complete and fulfil our journey.
If we do not enter into the spiritual life, if we do not pay attention to the inner life, then the body is bound to act like a mad elephant, trampling down everything around us. This very body, however, really wants to respect its superiors, say the heart or the soul. This body wants to be the perfect instrument. It is only its conscious oneness with something higher that can make the body feel what it really stands for, how much inner capacity it can exercise in the outer world of manifestation. But either we give undue importance to the body or we give no importance at all to the body. Here we commit a deplorable Himalayan mistake. When we use the body for the sake of enjoyment, sense-pleasure, only to covet, to enjoy, we are misusing the body. We are giving no importance to the soul. At this point we can well think of the great spiritual Master named Maharishi Ramana, a great Yogi. “Why do you pay so much attention to the body? Take it as a banana leaf. Eat your meal, which is placed on the banana leaf, and then after you have eaten, just throw away the banana leaf. It has played its part.” Again, if we observe the Truth from another angle, we see that if we just throw the body away and pay no attention to it, we do feel that we are not involved in it, but at the same time if we discard the body as a banana leaf, seeing it only as a covering for the soul, then how can the manifestation take place here on earth?
The highest Truth can be realised only here on earth. God-discovery and Self-realisation can take place only here on earth. The soul is inside the body. Now it is the light of the soul that has to come to the fore and illumine my obscure, unlit, undivine consciousness. Once my outer consciousness is illumined, then only there is no difference between the inner and the outer. Now there is a yawning gulf between my inner realisation and illumination and my outer manifestation. Unless and until the inner realisation and the outer life's manifestation go together, we remain incomplete. So let us take the body as the field of manifestation and the soul as the realisation. First we have to realise; then we have to manifest. If we have not realised the Truth, what will there be to manifest? And again, if we have realised something and we cannot manifest it, the Truth is incomplete.
Each seeker, each aspirant, already knows that there are two types of consciousness: finite and infinite. Right now the body possesses, or you can say, represents the finite consciousness. And the inner Divinity, or shall we say the soul, represents the infinite consciousness. It is here in the finite that the Infinite has to play its role. What we see without is the song of the finite. And what we become and grow into will be the Song of Infinity.
Now, either the finite has to enter into the Infinite, or the Infinite has to enter into the finite. Which is the easier: the father comes to the baby or the baby comes to the father? Undoubtedly, it is the father who can come to the baby far more easily, because he has the capacity. But when does the father come to the child? Only when the child cries, cries to be near the father.
In conclusion I wish to quote just a line from India's greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore. He sang, " Simar majhe nashibo …"
EL 30. City College of New York, New York, New York, 20 March 1970.↩
Consciousness1Consciousness is our real teacher, our dear friend and our sure slave. As a slave, consciousness carries our teeming ignorance to God. As a friend, consciousness tells us what the supreme Knowledge is. As a teacher, consciousness reveals to us the undeniable truth that today's imperfect and unfulfilled man is tomorrow's perfect and fulfilled God.
Consciousness sings. It sings the song of universal Oneness. Consciousness plays. It plays the game of cosmic Manifestation. Consciousness dances. It dances with God's fulfilling Vision within and God's fulfilled Reality without. Consciousness acts. It acts through man's crying, climbing and surrendering aspiration, and God's descending, protecting and illumining Compassion.
When consciousness is all activity, it bows to God the Mother, its Source. When consciousness is all silence, it bows to God the Father, its Source. From the Mother, it gets the mightiest Power to make the supreme sacrifice for the unconscious earth. From the Father, it gets the highest Light to illumine the unlit earth. Consciousness itself is at once Light and Power. As Light, it identifies with the pure inspiration and deep aspiration of our inner world. As Power, it exercises its divine sovereignty over the darkest bondage and the wildest ignorance of our outer world.
The consciousness that the unaspiring body uses is called the hopeful consciousness. The consciousness that the unyielding vital uses is known as the hurtful consciousness. The consciousness that the uncompromising mind uses is called the doubtful consciousness. The consciousness that the uncovering heart uses is called the truthful consciousness. The consciousness that the unlimited soul uses is called the fruitful consciousness.
"O Mother Absolute of Existence-Consciousness-Delight!" This triple consciousness is the longest length, farthest breadth and deepest depth. The longest length is Infinity. The farthest breadth is Eternity. The deepest depth is Immortality. When consciousness lives in Existence, humanity devotedly receives what Divinity soulfully offers. When consciousness lives inside its own domain, humanity and Divinity lovingly yet surprisingly share each other's experience. When consciousness lives in Delight, humanity is realised and transformed and Divinity is manifested and fulfilled.
Blind is he who does not see the Consciousness-light. Deaf is he who does not obey the Consciousness-right. Poor is he who cannot eat the Consciousness-fruit. Foolish is he who denies the existence of the Consciousness-sea.
EL 31. The New School for Social Research, New York, New York, 7 April 1970.↩
The inner freedom1The outer freedom is to see what we should. The inner freedom is to be what we must. What we should see is the golden face of Truth. What we must be is the flowing Life of God’s Vision and the glowing Breath of God’s Reality.
The mother of freedom is Light. The father of freedom is Truth. The wife of freedom is Peace. The son of freedom is Courage. The daughter of freedom is Faith.
Freedom rings where Light shines. Freedom rings when Truth sings. Freedom rings if Peace expands. Freedom rings because Courage demands. Freedom rings, hence Faith blossoms.
Somebody said, “When there’s more freedom for mankind, the women will have it.” This deplorable statement fails to breathe in the inner world. In the inner world, woman and man have equal freedom to cherish the mind’s inspiration, the heart’s aspiration and the soul’s realisation. Furthermore, inspiration is woman; aspiration is man; and realisation is man and woman both.
We fight for the outer freedom. We cry for the inner freedom. With the outer freedom, we see and rule the four corners of the globe. With the inner freedom, we see the Soul and become the Goal of the entire universe.
True freedom does not lie in speaking ill of the world, or in speaking ill of an individual or individuals. Again, true freedom does not lie in merely appreciating and admiring the world or humanity at large. True freedom lies only in our inseparable oneness with the world’s inner cry and its outer smile. The world’s inner cry is God the Realisation. The world’s outer smile is God the Manifestation.
Freedom is expressive. This is what the body tells me. Freedom is explosive. This is what the vital tells me. Freedom is expensive. This is what the mind tells me. Freedom is illumining. This is what the heart tells me. Freedom is fulfilling. This is what the soul tells me.
My outer freedom is my self-imposed and self-aggrandised obligation. My inner freedom is the birthright of my eternal aspiration and my endless realisation.
Now the paramount question is whether or not my inner freedom and my outer freedom can run abreast. Certainly they can. Certainly they must. My inner freedom knows what it has and what it is: realisation. My outer freedom must know what it wants and what it needs: transformation.
When the freedom of my life without is soulfully and unreservedly transformed, it immediately becomes the mightiest might and the highest pride of the freedom of my life within.
My outer freedom is my life-boat. My inner freedom is my life-sea. My God is my Pilot Supreme. Today I am my journey’s searching and crying soul. Tomorrow I shall be my journey’s illumining and fulfilling goal.
My soul of freedom is my God’s compassionate and constant necessity. My goal of freedom is my God’s smiling and dancing transcendental assurance everlastingly fulfilled.
EL 32. Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut, 8 April 1970.↩
Earthbound time and timeless time1Time: earthbound time and timeless time. When I look upward, I earn time. When I look forward, I utilise time. When I look inward, I save time. When I look backward, I waste time.
How do I use my time? I use my time serving sincere seekers. When do I use my time? I use my time when God commands my service and man, the aspirant, needs my light. There are only two things: time and life. Time is for life and life is of time. In life, we see God. In time, through time, we become consciously one with God.
Einstein, the world-renowned scientist, said something most striking: “When we sit with a nice girl for two hours, we think it is only for a minute. When we sit on a hot stove for a minute, we think it is for two hours. And that is relativity.”
In the spiritual world we come across a similar experience. When we go to a real spiritual Master and drink deep of his divine Peace, Light and Bliss for two hours, we feel we have been with him for only a fleeting minute. And when we sit on the stove of wild ignorance for just a fleeting second, we feel it is for an endless hour. This is spirituality, an eager aspirant’s reality.
Bacon also said something striking: “To choose time is to save time.” This is a most significant statement. Now, why do we choose time and how can we choose time? We can choose time by loving time. How can we love time? We can love time by meditating constantly on our life’s promise to God. What is our life’s promise to God? The promise is that God’s Light Divine will grow and glow in human life.
What happens when we save time? Opportunity knocks at the door of Possibility, and Possibility knocks at the door of Inevitability. Possibility says to Opportunity while opening the door, “My child, you are wise.” Inevitability says to Possibility while opening the door, “My child, you are no longer your searching soul. Today you have become your fulfilling Goal.”
"I am the mighty world-devouring Time." This message is from the Bhagavad-Gita, the Song Celestial sung by Lord Krishna. Now, we have to know what is actually devoured and destroyed — ignorance, limitation, bondage, imperfection and death. Sri Krishna has already told the human aspirant, Arjuna, why He has appeared on earth: "Whenever righteousness declines and unrighteousness prevails, I embody Myself, O Arjuna. To protect the good, to destroy the wicked and to establish dharma [the code of life], I come into being from age to age."
In our day-to-day human experience we very often feel that time destroys us. Herbert Spencer, on behalf of suffering humanity, says, “Time is that which man always tries to kill, but which ends in killing him.” We try to kill time. But what actually happens is that time ultimately kills us, devours us. Our hopes are dashed, our desires are frustrated. When founded on insincerity, doubt, worries and anxieties, our aspiration unfortunately fails to bear fruit.
Earthbound time and timeless time. In our day-to-day life we use earthbound time. This time measures all our activities and can itself be measured — one hour, two hours, three hours. Again, one hour is divided into sixty minutes, one minute into sixty seconds. We can break earthbound time into pieces. We can pick the time; we can be on time. Early in the morning, at six o’clock, we will get up. At eight o’clock we shall be in the office. At eleven o’clock at night we will go to bed. Time is registering our life-activities.
But timeless time is totally different. It is like a river flowing into the sea, merging into the sea and finally becoming one with the sea. On the strength of its oneness, it becomes the boundless vast. Here the finite enters into the Infinite and loses itself. What happens when the Infinite plays its role in the finite?
“O Infinite, in the heart of the finite You are playing Your own melodies. In me is Your Revelation and Manifestation. Therefore ecstasy within, ecstasy without.” India’s greatest poet, Tagore, sang this.
Earthbound time. The body uses this time. The physical consciousness uses this time. The physical mind uses this time. We can use or misuse this time. But once we use or misuse it, this time is exhausted. We cannot get it back.
The soul uses boundless time. Infinity looms large in this time. And if we are consciously one with the soul, we can use the boundless time, the eternal time. We also can misuse it if we want to. But fortunately our soul will not permit us to misuse this time. And even if we do misuse it, the time still remains boundless, eternal.
In our earthbound time we observe one thing: today we have a headache, tomorrow time cures it. Today we suffer from some ailments, tomorrow we are cured. Time comes to our rescue. Similarly, our soul sees a disease in the earth-atmosphere. The soul itself has no disease, for it is beyond disease, beyond death. But in the earth-atmosphere the soul sees the most fatal disease of all, ignorance: ignorance within, ignorance without. The soul wants to put an end to this ignorance. That is, the soul feels that each human being can swim across the sea of ignorance and finally dive into the sea of the soul’s infinite plenitude. The hour has to strike. When it does, it is up to us how we utilise this hour.
The Lord Buddha, teaching his disciples, was reading something from a sacred book. After a while he said, “The evening has set in,” and closed the book. Immediately his disciples realised that it was time for them to meditate, so they entered into meditation. On that particular day two newcomers, a thief and a woman of ill repute, had attended Lord Buddha’s discourse. The thief immediately decided that it was time for him to go and commit a theft. So he left the place. The woman of ill fame realised that it was time for her to go home and wait for her friends. And this she did. At the same hour a seeker of the infinite Truth enters into meditation, a thief does what he thinks best for him and a woman of ill repute does what she feels best for her.
In our spiritual life also, when the hour strikes, three different types of seekers play three different roles. There are lamentable seekers, able seekers and admirable seekers. Lamentable seekers are those who come to a spiritual Master out of curiosity, because they see that thousands of other seekers are flocking towards him. They have countless problems, and they feel that the moment they come to a spiritual Master all their problems will be solved: family problems, financial problems and other kinds of problems.
The able seekers have faith in themselves and faith in God, fifty per cent each. They feel that God is pleased with them, and showers His choice blessings on them just because they meditate. They feel that their realisation is due in part to their personal effort and in part to God’s Grace, and they are happy when they finally reach their Goal.
The admirable seekers feel that their realisation has taken place precisely because God has showered infinite Grace on them. They feel it is God’s Grace that has enabled them to realise the highest Truth. Their prayer is, “O God, fulfil Yourself in and through us. If You want us to remain unrealised, unknown and imperfect, we are fully prepared. If You want us to realise the highest Truth, to enter into Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, then we are also prepared to do this. Our only prayer is to please You, to fulfil You, the way You want to be pleased and fulfilled. We reject all personal choice. It is Your Choice that we want in our life. We have one aim, one goal: to fulfil You in Your own Way, at Your own Golden Hour.”
EL 33. Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York, 10 April 1970.↩
The song of ego1My ego needs.
My soul has.
My ego tries.
My soul does.
My ego knows the problem that is.
My soul becomes the answer that is.
I am not alone.
Within my unlit self:
My ego, my naked death.
I am not alone.
Within my snow-white heart:
My soul, and my Spirit's Flame.
Ego is the thief of thieves. Not to speak of ordinary experiences, even realisations are afraid of this intruder.
To feel the absence of ego is as difficult as to see God’s constant presence in oneself.
Ego helps bondage grow. Bondage, in return, helps ego flourish or run amuck.
Self-pity, self-indulgence and egoistic emotional cries are but one shortcoming with different names.
O small ego, O big ego, don’t worry. Both of you have God’s Compassion at your disposal. As there is no difference between a rill and a river when they run into the sea, neither is there a difference between an ordinary man and an important man when they dive into the Sea of God’s Compassion.
Ego is diversity in unfulfilling action. Surrender is unity in fulfilled action, fulfilled manifestation and fulfilled perfection.
Self-advertisement cannot even touch the feet of God-Realisation. God-Realisation cannot lower itself even to touch the head of self-advertisement.
To think oneself always great is to believe that toil and skill are unnecessary.
No doubt, man is infinitely superior to a wild beast. But he always drinks two bottles of poison: one bottle is ego and the other is doubt. Until he has done away with these two bottles, man is no more than a higher animal.
To strive to do something unique is undoubtedly good, but it is better to know whether that unique thing is what God wants you to do.
The difference between God and man is this: man is the determining I. God is the determined We.
Happy is he who has overcome all selfishness. Blessed is he who sees God emerging from the sea of his ego.
The moment we remove the mirror of self-flattery from our eyes and hold up before us the mirror of Truth, we see a half-animal jumping within and without us.
With your unlit and wild ego do not destroy yourself. Suicide is the worst possible barrier to the goal of self-realisation. If you destroy yourself, instead of starting your next life where you have left off in this one, you will have to go back to a much earlier point.
There is one defeat that brings us a greater triumph than even victory does. What is that defeat? The defeat of our ego by our soul.
EL 34. Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, 15 April 1970.↩
Immortality1He who does not aspire thinks that immortality is an impossibility. He who aspires feels that immortality is a sure possibility. He who has realised God knows that immortality is an absolute reality.
“ ‘Impossible!’ That is not good French,” says Napoleon.
“ ‘Impossible!’ That is not good self-discovery.” This is what I say.
Today’s self-discovery is tomorrow’s immortality.
It is good to be immortal, but it is infinitely better to be divine. Socrates said something quite memorable: “All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are both immortal and divine.”
If divinity looms large inside immortality, then only can reality be all-embracing, all-sustaining and all-fulfilling.
The outer life is humanity. The inner life is immortality. The life around is reality. The life above is divinity. The life below is obscurity.
When divinity descends into humanity, the soul of humanity becomes hopeful. When divinity descends into immortality, the soul of immortality becomes meaningful. When divinity enters into reality, the soul of reality becomes fruitful. When divinity enters into obscurity, the soul of obscurity becomes prayerful.
God inspires man with His immortal Inspiration. Man realises God with his immortal self-consecration. God meditates on man for his immortal perfection. Man meditates on God for His immortal Manifestation.
To copy others is an act of stupidity. To copy oneself is an act of absurdity. To imitate God is to imitate Immortality. When we imitate God, our life of imagination ends and our life of realisation dawns.
How can we imitate God when we do not know who God is? God is the Man Divine, supremely inspiring there in heaven and supremely sacrificing here on earth.
What is immortality? Immortality is the consciousness divine that eternally grows and endlessly flows. While growing, it reaches God the Transcendental; while flowing, it reaches God the Universal.
The body says, “Life is but pressure.” The vital says, “Life is but pleasure.” The mind says, “Life is the homeland of ideas.” The heart says, “Life is the homeland of ideals.” The soul says, “Life is the homeland of experiences.” God says, “Life is the homeland of immortality.”
Mother Earth symbolises human aspiration. Hence it is a woman in the Upanishads, Maitreyi, who teaches humanity the highest aspiration towards God: “Of what use to me are things that do not make me immortal?”
Let us be inseparably one with Maitreyi and feel that mortality’s binding consciousness is bound to be flooded with the boundless consciousness of immortality.
O aspiring man, go deep within. Listen to God whisper, “My child, you are good. Therefore I have made you My Infinity’s Heart. My child, you are nice. Therefore I have made you My Eternity’s Breath. My child, you are great. Therefore I have made you My Immortality’s Life.”
EL 35. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, 24 April 1970 — 2:00 pm.↩
Intuition1Intuition is a push and a pull. It is an inner push and an outer pull. The push comes from our aspiration. The pull comes from God’s Illumination.
When God invites an aspirant to dine with Him, it is the aspirant’s intuition that immediately accepts the invitation. The mind is fond of investigation and invention. The heart is fond of aspiration and unification. Intuition is fond of illumination and supramentalisation. Intuition tells us in a flash what God looks like. Realisation in a twinkling tells us who God is. Intuition, like an arrow, flies towards the Goal. Realisation, like an expert dancer, eternally dances in the heart of the Goal.
Intuition is the creation above the mind. Intuition is the freedom beyond the mind. Intuition is the evolution of consciousness-light outside the boundaries of the physical mind.
Again, there is an infinitely inferior form of intuition in the body, the vital, the mind and the heart. The intuition in the body is practically blind. In the vital, it is powerfully obscure; in the mind, surprisingly uncertain; in the heart, deplorably helpless.
The difference between intuition and will-power is this: intuition sees the truth; will-power wants to become the truth. Intuition has the ability to shorten the road that leads to the highest illumination. Will-power has the ability to bathe in the sea of illumination.
Imagination is not intuition. Inspiration is not intuition. Aspiration is not intuition. But when intuition presents imagination with the truth, imagination successfully expands the truth. When intuition presents inspiration with the truth, inspiration soulfully embraces the truth. When intuition presents aspiration with the truth, aspiration devotedly devours the truth.
Intuition is the golden link between Vision and Reality. Vision needs intuition to carry its all-transforming message to humanity. Reality needs intuition to carry its all-surrendering message to divinity.
EL 36. University of Maine, Orono, Maine, 24 April 1970 — 9:00 pm.↩
Aspiration: The inner flame1God had a glowing Dream. The name of that Dream was Aspiration. Man has a climbing cry. The name of this cry is also aspiration. God was originally One. With His Aspiration, God wanted to become Many. He wanted to divinely enjoy and supremely fulfil Himself in and through an infinite number of forms.
Man is many. With his aspiration, man the dividing and divided consciousness, man the obscure mind, man the unfulfilled being wants to become one with the world-consciousness, the world-life and the world-soul. He unmistakably and soulfully feels that this is the secret and sacred way to feel the deepest Depth of Reality and the highest Height of Truth.
Aspiration, the inner flame. Unlike other flames, this flame does not burn anything. It purifies, illumines and transforms our life. When purification takes place in our lower nature, we hope to see the Face of God. When illumination dawns in our outer nature, we feel that God is near and dear, that He is all-pervading and all-loving. When our nature, the lower and outer, grows into the Transformation-Flame, we shall realise the truth that God Himself is the inmost Pilot, brightest Journey and highest Goal.
Some people are under the impression that desire and aspiration are the same thing. Unfortunately or, rather, fortunately that is not true. They are two totally different things. The difference between desire and aspiration is very simple and clear. Desire wants to bind and devour the world. Aspiration wishes to free and feed the world. Desire is the outgoing energy. Aspiration is the inflowing light. Desire says to man, “Possess everything. You will be happy.” Poor man, when he wants to possess just one single thing, he sees that he has already been mercilessly caught and possessed by everything in God’s Creation. Aspiration says to man, “Realise only one thing, and that thing is God. You will be happy.” Fortunate and blessed man, on his way upward and inward, long before he sees God, he feels sublime peace in his inner life and radiating joy in his outer life. He feels that the realisation of the Supreme Beyond can no longer remain a far cry.
Aspiration has, not one, but three genuine friends: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday offered its Inspiration-Flight to aspiration. Today offers its Dedication-Might to aspiration. Tomorrow will offer its Realisation-Delight to aspiration.
Aspiration is our inner urge to transcend both the experience and the realisation already achieved. This is absolutely necessary because God the Infinite constantly transcends His own Infinity, God the Eternal constantly transcends His own Eternity and God the Immortal constantly transcends His own Immortality.
The childhood of aspiration wants to realise the Supreme in an earthly and individual way. The adolescence of aspiration wants to realise the Supreme in a divine and glorious way. The adulthood of aspiration wants to realise the Supreme in the Supreme’s own Way.
Aspiration is realisation. Aspiration is revelation. Aspiration is manifestation. Aspiration is realisation if and when the aspirant needs God-Realisation and God-Realisation alone. Aspiration is revelation if and when the aspirant feels that God-Revelation is absolutely for God’s sake. Aspiration is manifestation if and when the aspirant feels that God-Manifestation is his birthright.
EL 37. Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, 27 April 1970.↩
Reality1There are three realities: God, Soul and Life. God is the Transcendental Reality. Soul is the Inmost Reality. Life is the Universal Reality. God reveals the soul; the soul reveals life. God the Reality lives in His creative Will. Soul the Reality lives in its sustaining Will. Life the Reality lives in its fulfilling Will.
Again, God’s Realisation embodies His creative Will. His Concern shelters the soul’s sustaining Will. His Compassion feeds the life’s fulfilling Will.
Reality is the constant and dynamic process of our inner evolution. The Reality of the past is growing. The Reality of the present is soaring. The Reality of the future will be glowing.
Real Reality is not an escape from life. It is the acceptance of life, the expression of life and the interpretation of life. When we accept life, we become divine warriors. When we express life, we become conscious representatives of God. When we interpret life, we become God’s eternal pride.
Reality is at once the expansion of our human consciousness and the essence of our divine consciousness. Human consciousness shakes hands with possibility and ability. Divine consciousness embraces faith and surrender. The flowering of human consciousness is Realisation. The flowering of divine consciousness is Manifestation. The human consciousness thought that God was unknowable. Now it feels that God is merely unknown. Soon it will realise that God is unmistakably and unreservedly knowable. The divine consciousness knows that there was nothing, there is nothing and there can be nothing other than God.
Faith is the simple, direct, effective and complete form of Reality. Doubt is the complex, indirect, ineffective and incomplete form of Reality. Faith is God-comprehension. Faith is God-description. Doubt is Truth-detention. Doubt is life-suffocation.
Reality's unity is God's existence.
Reality's multiplicity is God's experience.
Reality's singularity is God the Eternal Lover.
Reality's plurality is God the Eternal Love.
Reality's Time-age is Eternity.
Reality's Experience-age is Infinity.
Reality's Realisation-age is Immortality.
EL 38. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 28 April 1970.↩
Self-control: Self-offering to God1Self-control does not mean self-torture. Neither does it mean austerity. Unfortunately, in the West, self-control has been misunderstood. People think that the austere, arduous life practised by some Indian aspirants of the past stands as the ideal of self-control. But that kind of austere life, torturing and punishing the body, is not real self-control. It is self-mortification. It leads us to abysmal destruction in the heart of ignorance. If somebody wants to realise God by fasting for days and months, then he will be embraced by death, not by God. A normal, natural life — the middle path — is what God demands from us. The Buddha taught us to follow the middle path, not to go to extremes. We have to be very firmly planted on earth. The root of the tree is under the ground, not elsewhere. The root is under the ground, and the branches are looking up towards the highest. So self-control is within and self-manifestation is without. Self-control leads us to self-illumination. Today’s self-control will be tomorrow’s self-transcendence.
For self-mastery, self-control is of paramount importance. Self-control takes time. It cannot be achieved overnight. Through self-introspection, self-examination and proper meditation, one achieves self-control.
I wish to tell about an incident in the life of Socrates. Once Socrates and a host of his admirers went to see a palmist. The palmist read Socrates’ hand and said, “What a bad person you are, ugly and full of lower vital problems. Your life is full of corruption.” Socrates’ admirers were thunderstruck. They wanted to strike the palmist. What gall he had to say such things about Socrates, who was truly a pious man, a saint. But Socrates said, “Wait, let us ask him if he has said everything.” Then the palmist continued, “No, I have something more to say. This man has all these undivine qualities, without doubt, but they are all under his control. He has not shown any of them. They are all under control.”
Before one gets illumination, he may be attacked by all the undivine forces of the lower vital. But he can easily place them at his feet. Socrates did it. Any aspirant can easily conquer these wrong forces after a while. Countless times he may be attacked by vital impulses. Each time he can play the man. He can manfully, boldly, courageously place his feet on the heads of these dark forces. The golden day will come when illumination dawns on life, and then everything will be transformed. Emotional problems will be transformed, becoming the dynamic strength of the divine for the divine to use. But until then the aspirant has to fight hard.
Ramakrishna used the phrase “Master of everything, slave of sex.” Ramakrishna, the great spiritual giant, saw what was actually happening in the world. Now the same story is being repeated in the world today. Ramakrishna tells a story about a man who had been hunting for a job for a long time. Nobody would offer the poor man a job. Finally he went to the manager of a small factory, for he had been told that this manager had a broad heart and would give him a job. But the manager said there was no vacancy. A few days later he asked again; still no vacancy. The poor man kept going back, and each time he was rejected. One day he told one of his friends how the manager had been constantly turning him away without a job. His friend said, “You are a fool. Why do you go to him? Today go to his mistress, and tomorrow you will get the job.” The manager was a very wealthy and important man, but he had this weakness. So the poor man went to the mistress and cried out, “Mother, I have a big family and they are starving. Save me, save me. Please tell the manager to give me a job.” She replied, “Don’t worry, my child, tomorrow I shall settle it.” On the following day the manager said to his English boss, “Here is a man who has great ability. In everything he will bring much credit to our factory.” Shortly afterwards the man was offered a high post there.
This is Ramakrishna’s story. It is still applicable today. The world-atmosphere has not yet changed. But it is bound to be changed. Who will do it? It is we, the aspirants; we, the seekers of the infinite Light. God has given us this matchless, unique task. And we have to accept and fulfil it here on earth.
In the outer world one can be a slave only to one master, but in the inner world one is bound to be a slave to many masters. These masters are doubt, fear, anxiety, temptation, frustration, imperfection, limitation, bondage and death. Self-control can be achieved only if we stop deceiving ourselves. We are apt to say that the world is deserting us in and out of season. But if we are sincere and we go deep within, then we come to see, feel and realise that it is we who started this game of deception. We came from God. We could have continued our game in infinite Light. We could have retired at our journey’s close in the same infinite Light. But we entered into ignorance and became enamoured of it. We loved ignorance and it loved us. Finally, we started eating greedily the fruits of ignorance. The result has been self-destruction. It is we who have opened the door of deception within us. When the forces of ignorance see that the door is wide open, they enter into us, into the innermost recesses of our heart. How can we pull them out and push them aside? We can do it through aspiration, through our inner mounting flame. This flame will kindle the unlit forces in us, awaken the slumbering beings in us and inundate our life with the Light of the Golden Beyond. Aspiration is the answer.
Spiritual sickness is an impurity in our heart, and this sickness has only one medicine, devotion: devotion to the cause, devotion to the goal, devotion to the Inner Pilot.
Self-control. Self-control means self-giving to God. Let us play our part. Let us give what we have. God will play His part. He will give us what He has. What we have is teeming ignorance. What He has is infinite Light. Let us trade.
EL 39. York University, Toronto, Canada, 7 October 1970.↩
Attachment and detachment1Attachment is my teacher:
"God lives in a cave,"
Detachment is my teacher:
"God lives in a Palace,"
Attachment demands my body's breath,
The life of the howling finite.
Detachment offers my soul's promise,
The Light of the Beckoning Beyond.
Attachment is the root of desire; ignorance is the root of attachment. In this world we are attached to the body, the mind, the vital and the heart. Why? Because we want to possess. Unfortunately, we forget that there is nothing on earth we can possess forever. No, not even for a long time. Take the body, for example. No matter how much attention we give it, this body lasts for only fifty, sixty or seventy years, and then it dies. We cannot possess even our own body forever. There is nothing on earth that we can possess forever if we are in the physical and crying for the fulfilment of the physical. But if we live in the soul, then we are living in the Eternal and for the Eternal.
India’s great philosopher Shankaracharya said, “Who is your wife, who is your son? This world is very peculiar. Brothers, think of the One who is eternally yours.” This is the message of detachment. If you are attached to the physical person — the wife, the husband, the son, the friend — then you are only binding yourself and the other. But if you see the object of adoration inside the wife, inside the husband, inside the son, then divine knowledge can dawn in you.
Lord Buddha left his beautiful wife and his little child when they were asleep. Before departing he said, “I loved you. I still love you. But I have to love the entire world also. Only if I can love the entire world will my love for you be complete.” His human attachment had to surrender to the Divine Love in him. While they were leaving the kingdom, Buddha’s charioteer asked him a significant question: “Are you not mean? How is it that you are leaving behind your wife who has been so affectionate to you? You are her treasure; you are her peerless wealth.” The Buddha said, “You are mistaken. My wife’s affection was binding me, and my affection was binding her. Now I am entering into the world at large where there is no one to bind me, and where I will not bind anyone. I am going to free myself and others.”
At the root of all attachment is ignorance. Is ignorance invincible? The philosopher Aldous Huxley once said, “Ignorance is vincible. We don’t want to know something; that is why we don’t know it.” He is absolutely right. Ignorance is not something permanent and unchangeable. We can enter into the very breath of ignorance and transform it into wisdom and knowledge. But instead, we deny the existence of the ignorance inside us. This is a mistake. We have to accept the fact that right now we are full of ignorance. That does not mean that we have no light within us. Deep inside there is a little light, but we have to bring this light to the fore and make it grow in order to realise our own highest Truth.
A real philosopher is one who is detached. He alone can have the vision of Truth. Once he has this vision, he can easily be indifferent to success and failure, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain. His detachment does not mean that he will not help the world or receive help from it. It means he will not be bound to those he is helping or to those who are helping him. If we are attached, we are frustrated; but if we are detached, we are fulfilled. If we can feel that it is God who is operating in us and through us, as well as in and through the world, then we can be truly free.
It is said that before marriage a man is a woman’s aspiration and after marriage he is a woman’s exasperation. But what is the woman aspiring for? She is aspiring for the fulfilment of desire. When the object of desire is attained, disappointment and frustration reign. When we fulfil any desire of ours, we will find that we are not eating the delicious fruit that we expected, but rather some destructive, poisonous fruit.
In India there is a proverb that whoever has eaten the Delhi _ka laddu_ (sweet cake of Delhi) feels disgusted, and whoever has not yet eaten it feels denied. That is always the case with desire fulfilled and desire unfulfilled. Fulfilment may follow desire, but it will not be the fulfilment that energises you and gives you greater inner strength to do the right things. On the contrary, it will only destroy what little aspiration you already have.
Attachment does not diminish with age. Only through aspiration can we conquer attachment. In order to be free from attachment, we have to go through several stages. We have to study the scriptures and religious and spiritual books. We have to associate with spiritual aspirants who have studied these books and are now crying for the real light, or with those who have already gotten some light, insignificant or considerable, in their life of aspiration. We have to see and feel that in the ordinary world all around us is temptation, that at any moment we may fall victim to it, and that we must valiantly fight against it. We have to take our minds away from the physical consciousness and bodily demands. We have to enter into the world of expanded consciousness. We have to feel the necessity of attaining the divine Goal. We have to follow the guidance of our Inner Pilot, who is God, either in the form of a God-realised spiritual Master or in His own unembodied Form.
To love those who love us is to do the right thing.
To love those who do not love us is to do the nice thing.
To love God who always loves us is to do the wise thing.
When we do the right thing, we are free.
When we do the nice thing, we are safe.
When we do the wise thing, we are fulfilled.
EL 40. University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 7 October 1970.↩
Perfection1Perfection is what I have inherited from God in my inner life. Transformation is what I have inherited from God in my outer life.
What is perfection? Perfection is realisation. Perfection is manifestation. Perfection in the inner world means realisation. Perfection in the outer world means manifestation. A seeker is a fusion of individuality and personality. When a seeker carries his selfless individuality into the highest Vision of Reality and offers his all-loving personality to the Absolute Beyond, he achieves perfection in the world of Infinity’s Eternity.
Some people say that perfection exists neither in heaven nor on earth. I cannot see eye to eye with them. Perfection does exist both in heaven and on earth. The very cry of earth is perfection. The very smile of heaven is perfection. Earth’s soulful cry and heaven’s glowing smile must go together. Then only will satisfaction dawn on God’s Face. God can have satisfaction only when earth’s cry and heaven’s smile run together. When earth cries we must not think that earth is inferior to heaven, and when heaven smiles we must not think that heaven is superior to earth. No, it is not so. It is God, the growing man, who cries in and through earth to realise all that he can eventually be. And it is again God, the fulfilled man, who smiles in and through heaven in realising what he already is.
Perfection is an impossibility: this is what today tells us. But tomorrow will tell us that perfection is an inevitability. There is always some time lapse between the planting of a seed and the harvest. In the spiritual life, the seed is aspiration and the harvest is realisation. Without aspiration, realisation can never dawn. What is aspiration? Is it something that we already have, or is it something we are going to have? It is both. If we say that we have aspiration, we are right because we do think of God and meditate on God at times. If we say that we do not yet have aspiration but are someday going to have it, we are also right, because our love for God is neither spontaneous nor constant. When we sit at the feet of Eternity, we realise that aspiration is bound to be followed by realisation. And after we have made friends with eternal time, we come to understand that realisation was always there, hidden in our aspiration.
Perfection means living, spontaneous, constant oneness with the Inner Pilot. If we have a free access to the inner life, then perfection is our very soul and at the same time our only Goal. Now, why is it that we are still imperfect? We are imperfect precisely because we do not consciously cry for perfection in ourselves. We demand, or at least expect, infinitely more perfection in others than in ourselves. He and she are imperfect and I am trying to perfect them, we say. But is it not absurd on my part to criticise and try to perfect others when I myself am imperfect? In this we make a Himalayan blunder. If we are sincere enough, we will realise that we spend too much time thinking of others. It is good to think of others, but not with our criticising, jealous, unlit mind. If we think of others with our soul’s light, our soul’s oneness, then automatically we are running towards perfection.
Let us think of perfecting ourselves, and while thinking of ourselves let us include the entire universe, or embody the entire universe in ourselves. Then we do not have to think of each individual on earth, for all are inside us. When I meditate, my entire body meditates with me. I do not have to think of my internal organs; they are inside me, meditating and aspiring with me. Similarly, during your concentration, meditation and contemplation, if you can feel that the entire universe is within you and that you are running towards your Goal, then the universe in totality will run with you.
We are all aspirants, seekers of the Infinite Truth, Light and Bliss. If we do not achieve perfection in our inner and outer life, who else can achieve perfection? It is we, the seekers of the Infinite, who have to embody, realise, reveal and manifest perfection. At every moment of our earthly existence, in fleeting time and in eternal Time, we have to embody the message of perfection. If we feel that the eternal Time is somewhere else and that only the fleeting time is at our disposal, we are mistaken. If we live in the body, we are making friends with fleeting time. If we live in the soul, we are making friends with eternal time. Since we are in the body, let us try to bring down the highest perfection from above into the body. If we can live in the soul even while in the body, let us reveal our already achieved perfection to the world at large.
My imperfect gift to God is yesterday, yesterday’s experience. God’s perfect gift to me is today, today’s realisation.
EL 41. University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada, 8 October 1970.↩
Inspiration, aspiration and realisation1What do we mean when we say inspiration, aspiration and realisation? Inspiration is the beginning of our spiritual journey; aspiration is the middle of our spiritual journey; and realisation is the end of our spiritual journey. When we are inspired, we wish to see the Face of God. When we aspire, we eventually come to see the Face of God. When we realise, we grow into the very Image of God.
Arise, awake! This path is arduous. So we learn from the wise, and we have to follow in the footsteps of the wise. The path of spirituality is not a bed of roses. But neither is it a chimerical mist. The Golden Shores of the Beyond are not a mere promise. The crown of human aspiration is bound to be fulfilled on the Golden Shores of the Beyond.
Arise, awake! Here we must not stop. We have to walk, march, run, dive and fly. The moment we arise from our slumber, we see and feel the need for God in our human life, in our outer and inner life. When we wake up we see that not only do we need God, but God also needs us. Why? We need God to realise our highest, the ultimate transcendental Height. God needs us for His Self-Manifestation here on earth, His Manifestation in us and through us. When we walk along the path of spirituality, we see that God is already inside us. When we march, we see God marching beside us. When we run, we see that God is running in and through us. When we dive deep within, we see the peerless treasure waiting for us. When we fly, we see that we are flying in the welkin of the infinite Peace, Light and Bliss of the Beyond.
In the spiritual life everybody wants to realise God. But when it is a matter of aspiration, dedication, renunciation and surrender to the Will of the Inner Pilot, very few people are prepared to undergo the spiritual discipline. Everybody wants to realise God overnight; everybody wants to become the highest possible preceptor or Guru without going through the spiritual discipline of inspiration and aspiration.
It is like this. A seeker comes to a spiritual institution. The head of the institution asks him, “What do you want?” The seeker says, “I want to join your spiritual institution. Please give me some work.” The head of the institution says, “There are only two kinds of work available here. Either you have to play the role of the disciple, or you have to play the role of the Guru or Master. You have to listen to the Guru, or you have to be the Guru and make others listen to you.” The seeker immediately says, “Please, I want to play the role of the Guru.” This is what actually happens in our spiritual life. Very often, when a seeker comes to the Master, he unconsciously thinks that he can also be a Master overnight. But I wish to say that it is not possible to become a spiritual giant or to achieve self-discovery or to realise God overnight. It takes time. Here most of you are students. You know how many years it takes to get your Master’s degree — fifteen or twenty years. To acquire spiritual knowledge also demands many years of study. This study has to be undertaken before one becomes a spiritual Master.
We are all living in a world of duality, multiplicity and variety. When we want to elevate our consciousness to the Highest and try to aspire, desire, the thief, robs us. He takes away our psychic aspiration, our pure devotion towards God, our surrendering will which we offer to the Almighty Will. The Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” What do we learn from this lofty message? We learn that the life of desire has to give way to the life of aspiration. If the life of aspiration does not come to the fore, then a new life can never dawn. The Kingdom of God can be established only when we kindle the flame of aspiration deep within us.
Every day we are facing the ideal and the real. Our ideal is God, but the reality that we are facing is something totally different: ignorance. We are caught in the meshes of ignorance. The ideal and the real must go together. God is the Ideal; God is also the Real. We make solemn promises every day. We say that our ideal is to raise our consciousness to the Highest, our ideal is to achieve perfect Perfection. But when we face the real within us and without, we see that we are imperfection incarnate. Why? Because we are wanting in aspiration. We are wallowing in the pleasures of desires. Naturally, aspiration cannot play a proper role in us.
There are two Sanskrit words, abhyasa and tyaga. Abhyasa means practise and tyaga means renunciation. Every day we have to practise the inner life. When we practise meditation for fifteen minutes, God practises Compassion. We offer Him our heart's soulful cry, and in His own Way He offers us His boundless, infinite Compassion. This is what we and God both practise. Now, renunciation. What are we going to renounce? The world? Society? Humanity? No! We are going to renounce our imperfections, bondage and death. When we go deep within, we see that we do not actually renounce these negative qualities of ours. Rather, we transform them. If imperfection looms large and important in our life, then we try to perfect our imperfection with our conscious awareness of Light. If we notice bondage within us, then we try to transform our bondage into freedom. If death is constantly knocking at our door, which it always is, we try to transform our death into Immortality.
Earlier, I spoke about the need for aspiration to realise God. But inspiration is also necessary. Why do we need inspiration? Can we not immediately achieve realisation without first going through inspiration? Let us take an example. An artist creates a painting. If he is not inspired, his creation will have no meaning, or significance. It will be a mechanical creation; it will be wanting in life. I wish to say that on the strength of his inspiration, the artist gives life to a portrait. When people see and appreciate the portrait, their appreciation takes the form of an offering of their own life. The portrait gets new life from the admirers. And when a spiritual person looks at the picture, he offers it divine life. So first we see the artist’s creation, then we see the admirers’ creation and finally we see the Master’s creation, which offers divine life to the picture.
When a man walks along the path of spirituality, his inspiration is the awakening life that he offers to himself. When he aspires, his aspiration is the illumining life that he offers to himself. And when he becomes a realised person, he offers the Life Divine, the Life of Immortality, to his awakened and illumined life.
What is realisation? When we use the term “realisation” in our spiritual life, people are very often confused. They feel that a realised person is totally different from an ordinary person, that he behaves in a very unusual way. But I wish to say that a realised person need not and should not behave in an unusual way. What has he realised? The ultimate Truth in God. And who is God? God is someone or something absolutely natural.
When a man realises the highest Truth, he tries to offer the highest Truth to humanity at large. Most often unrealised people or unspiritual people think that a realised person, if he is truly realised, has to perform miracles at every moment. Miracles and God-Realisation need not and should not go together. When you stand in front of a spiritual Master, what you expect to see and what you do see is Peace, Light, Bliss and divine Power. Now, where does he hold this power? Not in his arms or legs, or in his head, but deep inside the inmost recesses of his heart. Enter into him and you are bound to feel infinite Peace, infinite Light and infinite Bliss. But if you expect something else from a realised soul, if you come to a spiritual Master thinking that because he has realised the highest he can fulfil your teeming desires, make you a multimillionaire in the twinkling of an eye, you are totally mistaken. These are the kinds of things he does not do. If it is the Will of the Supreme, the Master can easily make someone a multimillionaire overnight. He can bring down material prosperity in abundant measure, but this is not the Will of the Supreme. What you can expect from a Master and from a Master’s realisation is Peace, Light and Bliss.
EL 42. McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 9 October 1970.↩