Philosopher-thinkers: The power-towers of the mind and Poet-seers: the fragrance-hours of the heart in the West
IntroductionMany souls came, many souls are coming and many souls will come into the world for the illumination of the mind and the transformation of life founded upon a oneness-world-dream.
In this book I have soulfully ventured to write about my hero-poets and hero-philosophers who are the supremely choice citizens of Immortality.
Part I — The Classics
HomerO peerless poet, a wild mystery has veiled
Thy deathless life.
Too little of Truth of thee
Our mind captures from hystory's drowsy core.
Thy vast adventure tales 'Iliad', 'Odyssey',
Are blazing flames of warrior-suns.
Although stone blind, thou wert the light of Greece.
Ever she breathes in thy sea of enormous pride.
SocratesAlthough thy pen was silent, mute,
A sea of knowledge dire
In thee the world of yore had seized.
Thy voice was Spirit's fire.
All wealth and ease of the world sublime
Thy deeds were apt to disdain.
Therefore thy spouse, Xantippe,
Was tortured by a ceaseless pain.
Many a foe of giant cloud
Against thy knowledge stood.
But gloom saw its doom in thee,
With thee thy high manhood.
PlatoPlato, a man of noble birth and deeds —
Socrates conquered his life.
The words of his guide highly ever he preached.
His brain, a naked knife.
Through him his youth revealed an athlete great.
To him utterly owes
Philosophy and the budding minds of today.
Fearless, ever he glows.
The deathless day that brought his soul on earth
Appeared in secret again,
To close his diamond eyes and bind the world
With sombre ceaseless pain.
AristotleO Aristotle, O mind's vastness of your day,
Your youth was reckless and wild.
But your brain never exiled
The thought that clasped the myriad knowledge-ray.
Yours was the student Alexander the Great.
The mighty culture Greek
Slowly began to leak
With you, Aristotle; and now reigns a huge regret.
VirgilVirgil, the giant poet
Of blessed Rome,
His poems pined to see
'Aeneid', his great soulful gift,
Declared his name.
With victory's deathless flame
He plays his game.
Part II — The Europeans
DanteO Dante Alghieri,
O poet of knowledge vast,
In the bosom of ceaseless time
'The Divine Comedy' must last.
Beatrice, the only fount
Of your inspiration-light.
The exile of fourteen years
Had failed to blight your might.
And bold and gold were you;
Politics high and stark,
Poetry matchless, free
In you alone we mark.
Part III — The British
certainty dare not come to unveil
His life genuine.
The Man universal abides in mystery's
But the huge oblivion sadly fails to fell
The ocean-pride of English souls ever
In him we see.
MiltonCompelled by a dragon-fate,
You failed to see the face of ecstasy.
The want of sight and wives
Had planted in you a venom-tree.
But 'Paradise Lost' of yours
Will never be lost with history's fleeting flow.
Our world treasures your boon,
And yours was the life that suffered a giant blow.
William Blake1William Blake, English poet. Imagination he had; vision he had. Needless to say, he had these two supernal qualities in abundant measure. To him, imagination was reality's all-illumining beauty and vision was beauty's all-fulfilling reality. To him, imagination was a true man and vision was a true and perfection-inspiring man.
Insane he was — so thought some of his contemporaries, even some of his own friends. But he was not insane. Unfortunately, his reality-worlds most people were not and are not wont to see. Most people have no access to these worlds. An inner cry is needed, a true love of the unknown is needed and a brave heart is needed to go beyond the fact-world, beyond the reality-world already seen and already acquired.
Blake's immortal poem "The Tyger" is humanity's invaluable treasure.
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Here we see that ignorance-energy, which threatens to devour the entire world, finally discovers its transformation-salvation in the realisation of the absolute One. This absolute One embodies both ignorance-energy and knowledge-energy and, at the same time, far transcends them both.
The soul's soulful originality was Blake's gift to mankind. Blake the art-painting-lover and the thought-progress-lover was the puissant and incessant flow of originality-creativity.
Blake's friend and disciple, Samuel Palmer, realised him and made it easy for the world to realise him. Blake was a man without a mask: his aim single, his path straightforward, his words few. So he was free, noble and happy. Something more: Blake was humanity's challenge to go beyond the achievements of the earth-bound life and divinity's challenge to grow and glow in the ever-transcending Beyond's reality-existence.
Blake's life-boat sailed between the soul-essence-purity and the body-substance-impurity. Indeed, this experience each human life encounters. Then there comes a time when the unlit and undivine part in us cheerfully and devotedly surrenders to the lit and divine part in us. Here surrender means conscious awareness, inseparable oneness. In the realisation of its inseparable oneness with the divine, the undivine in us receives illumination, satisfaction and perfection.
In his lifetime Blake was obscure; recognition was a stranger to him. Now, a century after his departure from the world-scene, the world has discovered and recognised in him a world-lover who brought the message of transformation — the transformation of hell-torture into Heaven-rapture and the transformation of the body's ignorance-sea into the soul's wisdom-sky.
On November 28, over two hundred years ago, Blake was born; but his soul is still aspiring, still illumining the world and still trying to manifest the divinity that it embodies for earth-awakening, earth-illumination and earth-fulfilment. The poet has the vision of tomorrow; the artist has the vision of tomorrow; the scientist, the singer and the musician all have the vision of tomorrow. All the human beings who are awakened and who are more than ready to contribute something of their own, their very own, to the world at large are really blessed souls and the invaluable, immortal treasures of Mother Earth.
PTPT 9. United Nations, New York, 28 November 1975↩
ShelleyO life filled with romance,
O man flooded with poetry-light,
Thy volcano-will devoured
Thy critics' python-night.
Thy "Ode to the Skylark"
And "Prometheus Unbound",
"Adonais", tearful Adonais,
On all brain-fields shall be found.
While sailing thy boat lost thee,
A sad story, indeed.
But thy pen's heights and depths
Remained, the world to feed.
Keats"A thing of beauty is a joy forever" —
A son of this earth unveiled this lore divine.
O lover of beauty, thy "Endymion"
And "Hyperion" peerless ever shall shine.
Thy wonder-arbour was born from five
Swift years — a recorded gift to mankind.
Although death snatched away thy life so hie,
The world keeps taut the demand of thy mind.
Keats' “Endymion” is, no doubt, a grand success with its wonderful vividness and splendid felicity. But his “Hyperion” was, according to many critics, a sad failure. However, one cannot say that Hyperion has no magnificence at all. As ill-luck would have it, when this epic was brought to light, the poet was savagely criticised even by his bosom friends. As a result, his health broke down and the long-threatening consumption grew more formidable. He was ultimately compelled to pay his debt to nature. It will be no exaggeration to say that lack of indomitable zeal was in the main responsible for snatching away one of the wonder-poets of the world. Poor earth could not cherish his presence even for thirty fleeting years.
Thomas Carlyle1Carlyle. The colossal pride of his country he was. A thinker he was. A philosopher he was. An historian he was. Most of his life-experiences were founded upon his inner awakening and inner illumination. He stirred quite powerfully and significantly not only the Scottish consciousness and the British consciousness, but also the entire European consciousness.
According to his philosophy, materialism and the machine-world cannot and will not illumine and fulfil mankind. It is the message of the spirit that can and will transform the face of mankind. In unmistakable terms he declared that only the life-disciplined and ideal heroes can steer humanity's boat to the shores of satisfaction-fulfilment.
Something more: in Carlyle's philosophy, all human beings are in essence one, because they are of the same Source. But if one individual is more awakened and more illumined than the others, naturally he has to lead and guide the rest. Carlyle maintained that this individual has to play the role of a pioneer. He himself was one of the pioneer world-thinkers and world-transformers. Dauntless he was. Nothing could cow him. He hoisted high his lofty banner of life-awakening and life-illumining reality.
He spoke in clear and emphatic terms with regard to the inner resource, and it was here that he was badly misunderstood. His critics saw in him an unbearable autocrat and not an apostle of a new dawn. To his admirers' sorrow, impatience and irritation plagued his mind. Nevertheless, he made his mighty contribution to the world's life-code. Specially his work for the world of German literature and for the French revolution made him a most significant member of the human family. His enthusiasm for German life in his early years added considerably to the German contribution to the world community. And his book on the French revolution is an immortal book. There he offers a most significant idea: an inner guidance, an unseen hand, guides and shapes the destiny of mankind. In all human actions, in all activities, in all worldly, earthly affairs there is a spirit that moves, guides and shapes the world-destiny; there is an inner purpose for outer action.
His father wanted him to be a priest. But he became something else: a world-teacher. In fact, his father's desire was fulfilled in an infinitely wider and more profound way. Had he become a priest, perhaps only a few Scottish religion-lovers and truth-seekers would have received his light. But by becoming an illumining thinker and writer, an historian and finally a philosopher-saint in the purest sense of the term, he offered to this world of ours his world of light, abundant light. Thus, he has become the property of the world and he belongs to the world-treasure.
Yesterday was Carlyle's birthday. For a moment let us offer to his soul our gratitude-heart for what he has done to create a better world, a better mankind.
PTPT 12. United Nations, New York, 5 December 1975↩
Part IV — The Americans
Ralph Waldo Emerson1A thinker in the sublimest sense of the term is Emerson. His philosophy touches the core of all earthly problems. "Ends," said he, "pre-exist in the means." Hence what matters is to cherish our highest aspirations in all sincerity and determination and rest assured in the faith that these will realise themselves.
He came of poor parents, but had an indomitable will and an utter self-reliance. Strangely enough, he was taught from within to be cheerful in the face of poverty. His father, William Emerson, a clergyman, passed away when Waldo was a boy of eight. Soon afterwards, the family was thrown into extreme poverty. It came to such a pass that Emerson and his elder brother had to share a single overcoat to help them through the terrible winter. Obviously one of them had to stay indoors while the other was out — and who but the younger of the two was the unfortunate one? Waldo missed the attractions, affections and amusements of the outside world; but at the same time this isolation gave him an opportunity to plunge into the sea of knowledge. Voraciously he studied. Plato's Dialogues and Pascal's Thoughts inspired all his moments. Later, impelled from within, he welcomed Spinoza and Montaigne along with his previous masters.
He had many antagonists. Hypocrisy and superstition were the worst of them. He fought and fought them, but success remained a far cry. He had also numerous friends. Truth and sincerity topped their ranks.
America, the fairest land of freedom, opportunity and progress, inspired in Emerson the thought that his countrymen should utilise all her divine gifts to strive for the most divine aims of life. Indeed, America will gain her true stature when she lives up to her philosopher-son's towering aspirations.
Emerson's love for the American student stemmed from his topmost aspiration:
In other words, he expected the American student to be a useful unit not only of the American nation but of the world-family in the making.
"The things taught in the schools and colleges," Emerson strongly felt, "are not an education, but the means of education." For a student to be furnished with "the means" is to have thrown upon him the responsibility for continuing to educate himself until at last the finite and the Infinite within and without him are unified into an expanded personality.
No doubt philanthropy and charity have much to their credit. But most people are unconscious of the great limitations of these two virtues. Being a genuine lover of Truth, Emerson made bold to say: "Philanthropies and charities have a certain air of quackery." Truly few, perhaps none, have imprinted on the tablets of their hearts the great teaching of the Bible:
For Emerson, poetry and philosophy were no mere intellectual embellishments. Philosophy was a dynamic factor in the shaping of his life. He was a true man of vision, and he used philosophy to sustain his vision and poetry to express it. His life was a happy blend of sublime dreams and creative gestures. He knew no compromise with his ingrained truth: "When he [the poet] sings, the world listens with the assurance that now a secret of God is to be spoken." Does this not conform to the Indian definition of the poet as seer? Needless to say, Emerson's high idealism lifted him far above his age.
On 11 March 1829, Emerson was awarded the post of Minister of the Second (Unitarian) Church in Boston. Even his worst enemy could not deny his remarkable gift of speech-making. But he later had to sever himself from the church as he failed to be at one with his congregation regarding his method of teaching. He simply left the church without attacking anyone. It was advisable, he thought, that his congregation should have another pastor according to their choice. But one of the reactionaries could not help saying, "We are sorry for Mr. Emerson, but it certainly seems as if he is going to hell." Neither are we to forget the immediate retort made by a true seeker: "It does indeed look so. But I am sure of one thing — if Emerson goes to hell, he will so change its climate that it will become a popular resort for all the good souls of Heaven."
Emerson's love of God was too deep for form and convention. That was perhaps why he left his ministry in the Unitarian Church of Boston. People below his level of culture must be pitied. It is quite natural that they should have taken him amiss. Emerson seems to have sailed "strange seas of thought, alone," with deep self-knowledge. Emerson's truth, "To be great is to be misunderstood," finds its exquisite parallel in Sri Aurobindo, the greatest Seer of India:
Whoever is too great must lonely live,
Adored he walks in mighty solitude;
Vain is his labour to create his kins,
His only comrade is the Strength within.
Happily, two great contemporaries, Lincoln and Emerson, offer an historic example of mutual appreciation. During the ever-memorable Civil War in America, it was Emerson's inspiration that offered "the best and the bravest words." He fully supported President Lincoln in his mighty undertaking, and addressed him as "the Protector of American Freedom." Neither could the President remain silent. He honoured the seer in Emerson with his warm appreciation: "The Prophet of American Faith."
"The Prophet of American Faith." Yes, but more truly a Prophet of Universal Faith, a seer visualising the future in the living present:
PTPT 13. Written in Pondicherry, India and published in Mother India, 1963↩
Walt Whitman1Whitman is nature. Whitman is vastness. Whitman is all inspiration. Solid and subtle, he is the body and soul of poetry that peers into Truth. His Leaves of Grass reveals the depth of his insight and the wideness of his outlook. His determined and forceful personality shines through these poems, which he called "New World Sons, and an Epic of Democracy."
When the wind and storm of today bring in the golden Tomorrow, Whitman will shine forth, haloed in a new glory on the new horizon. His poems and his nation's consciousness are inseparable. A man's poems must always be an absolute reflection of his character and personality. And Whitman is no exception.
Saint Beuve's definition of the greatest poet applies most justifiably to Whitman:
The greatest poet is not he who has done the best; it is he who suggests the most; he, not all of whose meaning is at first obvious, and who leaves you much to desire, to explain, to study, much to complete in your turn.
Let us see and feel Whitman in his "Song of Myself":
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Who but the poet of Tomorrow could look across space and time into their very core? Again:
All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon...
William Cowper said, "Wisdom is humble that it knows no more."
Whitman says of wisdom:
Here is the test of wisdom,
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools,
Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it to another not having it,
Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content,
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things,
And the excellence of things;
Something there is in the float of the sight of things
that provokes it out of the soul.
Do we not hear in this the Voice of the Infinite and the Eternal? Whitman's one foot is, as it were, firmly fixed on earth, the other in Heaven.
At another place he sings:
It comes from its embower'd garden and looks pleasantly on itself and encloses the world..."
Man and woman: different entities?
I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man...
Could the picture of oneness be better painted?
Speaking of oneness and human sympathy, Carlyle affirmed, "Of a truth, men are mystically united: a mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one."
Says Whitman: "And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral, drest in his shroud…"
Emerson and Whitman are twin-souls of the Truth: Emerson, soft, sweet and luminous; and Whitman, dynamically fronting the Reality which is manifesting to an ever-increasing extent. Fellow-pilgrims on their way to the Home of God, the culmination of today's world, they march in stupendous glory.
Whitman's vision of the oneness of everything and in everything compels him to reveal:
O my soul! if I realize you I have satisfaction,
Animals and vegetables! if I realize you I have satisfaction,
Laws of the earth and air! if I realize you I have satisfaction.
And what could be more divinely prophetic and significantly true than this:
The true son of God shall absolutely fuse them."
Born ahead of his time, Whitman pointed to his nation and to the world the Path of Tomorrow. And, by the Grace of the Supreme, the dawn-rays of Tomorrow have already become visible, however faintly, on today's horizon.
PTPT 14. Written in Pondicherry, India, 1962↩
Emily Dickinson1December 10th was the birthday of Emily Dickinson, the unparalleled American woman poet and the universally celebrated world poet. Emily and her family formed an inseparable and unique reality. Her family's need was all to her. Her family saw in her reality's intensity, which is a portion of her future-building, illumining divinity's fulfilling touch in the heart of humanity.
Emily's heart carried her physical consciousness and her vital consciousness to her soul's world. Her soul, in a sublime yet subtle manner, carried three other members — the body, vital and heart — to the soul's own source, Immortality-Land. When they returned, the body, vital and heart were convinced of the reality of this divine Immortality-Land.
Just because the mind was not invited to take the trip either by Emily or by her soul, heart, vital or body, her mind violently refused to believe in the authenticity of Emily's illumining, fulfilling and immortalising experiences. The mind stood adamant between the finite and the Infinite, between the body and vital and the heart and soul, between the consciously known world and the unconsciously known world. And what is worse, at times the mind was so successful in convincing her, that her previously intoxicating reality-world became nothing more than a visionary hallucination-conception-world in her human life. This formidable and blightful doubt resulted in an indulgence of self-mockery, truth-mockery and world-mockery in her life. Naturally, therefore, her heart's illumination-sky could not grant her the boon of a free access to her inner vastness and her outer plenitude.
Emily learned very little from her association with her outer life. But she learned much from her inner association with her world-seclusion. Indeed, the outer world was an experience devoid of integral reality to her. Therefore, what she knew of earth and thought of earth could not become an encouraging, sustaining, inspiring, illumining and fulfilling experience leading to her own existence-reality.
Emily's love of God and her love of nature made her inwardly beautiful. All her life Emily lived the life of an introvert. A self-imposed seclusion-life she embraced. God's Compassion-Beauty was her reward. In God's Compassion-Beauty, her world and those who wanted to live in her world became preparation-instruments for the transformation and perfection of the frustration-experiences of life.
Her aspiration was not only in seclusion, but seclusion itself became her aspiration. Inside seclusion-aspiration she did get a few striking glimpses of the inner illumination-sun. Life's buffets gave her two or three times intolerable frustration-experiences, which commanded her to dive deep, deeper within to discover the wealth of the inner life.
Obscurity was her name when she was on earth. Only seven poems were published while Mother Earth nourished her. But when Father Heaven started nourishing her, earth lovingly acknowledged Emily's great achievement and felt considerable pride in her soul-stirring gifts to mankind.
About eighteen hundred flower-poems formed her entire garland. Some of the petals of the flowers offered by her were childish beauty, while others were childlike duty and still others the mature wisdom of a Christian saint. It was her realisation that the Unknown and the Beyond always remain an uncertain and unknown reality. Just because she felt that it would remain unknown forever, the real Reality-Source could not quench her thirst-reality and satisfy her.
Some disproportionately foul critic found in her nothing but a lunatic of the superlative degree. If so, why? Is not this world of ours responsible for not being able to give her the heart's satisfaction which she so richly deserved? Is not the other world responsible for not granting her the life-perfection which she so desperately needed? Her heart-experience says to earth, "Earth, I understand your dilemma. You want and, at the same time, you do not want a transformation-face; a transformation-face, according to you, either is not real or may not satisfy you at all. Therefore, your inner cry is not intense enough, it is not genuine or abiding."
Earth says to the poet, "You are right, you are right. You are more than right. I wish to tell you that what I have is not satisfying me and what I may get is not satisfying me at all. But I do feel that if, in God's creation, satisfaction never dawns, then God will have to remain incomplete. To cherish the idea that God is or will remain incomplete leaves my own existence-reality incomplete for all Eternity. Question I have; answer I do not have. But I am sure my patience-life will be inundated by answer-light in the bosom of Eternity's choice hour."
To Heaven, the poet's life-experience says, "Heaven, if you are really soulful, then you must please me powerfully, too. And if you are really powerful, then you cannot endure a yawning gulf between your own ecstasy-reality and my depression, frustration and destruction-reality. True reality exists in self-expansion founded on illumination-distribution."
Heaven says to her soul, "O seeker-poet, you have to dive infinitely deeper. I am not exactly what you have seen of me. I am not in the least what you think of me. I am far beyond your desire-discovery-aspiration. Within your aspiration-discovery-realisation, you will find me, my universality's oneness."
PTPT 15. United Nations, New York, 12 December 1975↩
Robert Frost1The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I would like to say a few words on these immortal lines by Robert Frost. These soulful lines come directly from the inmost recesses of the poet. The woods, from the spiritual point of view, in the inner life, signify aspiration. The spiritual significance of a lovely, dark wood is intense aspiration. What is aspiration? Aspiration is the mounting flame deep within us that leads us to the Highest Absolute. And when we say intense aspiration, we have to feel that the intensity of aspiration is something that will lead us faster to our destined Goal and at the same time, it will bring our destination closer. When intensity looms large in our aspiration, realisation can no longer remain a far cry. Nay, realisation will soon be within our easy reach.
The poet further says, "And miles to go before I sleep." Here aspiration is the journey's dawn, and realisation is the journey's close. When we launch into the inner path, we come to realise that the destined Goal is far, very far. The poet unmistakably and soulfully tells us that the Goal of the Beyond is extremely far. And once he reaches the Goal, he will be able to sleep.
Now, from the ordinary human point of view, this statement is absolutely correct. We enjoy the fruit of our realisation only when we reach our destination. But from the strict spiritual point of view, we notice something else. Here realisation is something that constantly transcends itself. Today's aspiration transforms itself into tomorrow's realisation. Again, tomorrow's realisation is the pathfinder of a higher and deeper Goal. There is no end to our realisation. God is eternal. Our journey is eternal, and the road that we are marching on is also eternal. We are eternal, divine soldiers marching towards the Beyond that is constantly transcending its own boundary.
PTPT 16. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 3 April 1970↩
Part V — Pearls of wisdom from the West — soulful commentaries
What is a friend? The beauty and fragrance of interdependence.
My mind obeys God from fear. My heart obeys God from love. I obey God from my inseparable oneness-discovery.
Or of frustration and palsy of the spirit.
The firm conviction of the United Nations is the confident flight of sublime thought and the glowing depth of its knowledge-light.
— St. Augustine"
Belief is the complete liberty of the mind. Belief is the full independence of the heart.
— St. Augustine"
St. Augustine, my heart believes in you implicitly. Therefore, I am so happy that I shall never lose my parents.
7.Saint Augustine has blessed us with a profound message: "Love, and then do what thou wilt."
Our mind thinks that this is absolutely true. Our heart feels that this is undeniably true. But unfortunately, in our day-to-day life, we are not able to practise it. That is to say, we do not know what love is. We do not know why we love something or someone. Finally, we do not know how to love.
— Marcus Aurelius"
The universe is God's creation
And man's realisation.
The universe is God's Compassion
And man's emancipation.
The universe is God's Concentration
And man's transformation.
The universe is God's Meditation
And man's revelation.
The universe is God's Contemplation
And man's manifestation.
The poet in me tells me that the universe
The singer in me tells me that the universe
The philosopher in me tells me that the universe
The yogi in me tells me that the universe
The God-lover in me tells me that the universe
My poet sees the truth.
My singer feels the truth.
My philosopher achieves the truth.
My yogi realises the truth.
My God-lover becomes the truth.
9.The higher worlds are within us and not without. When we concentrate, when we meditate, when we contemplate, we enter into these higher worlds. When we concentrate dynamically, we near the door of these higher worlds. When we meditate soulfully, we enter into the room divine. When we contemplate unreservedly and unconditionally, we reach God's Throne.
Since we aspire to enter into the higher worlds, we pray to the cosmic gods. We feel that the cosmic gods will come to our aid and help us enter the higher worlds.
Here at this point I would like to invoke the soul of Marcus Aurelius:
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? Our 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."
A spiritual man not only finds opportunities, but also constantly creates more and more opportunities. His opportunity is composed of his inspiration-light and his aspiration-height. With his opportunities he realises God, he serves God, and he fulfils God.
And a body self-dedicated to the Divine's work is a lovely Palace for the soul.
And self-subordination to the Self makes a perfect man.
No knowledge is knowledge that does not reveal the Source of all knowledge. And knowledge will fulfil itself when the world takes all knowledge, including that of the Most High, for its province.
— Arnold Bennett"
I venture to say that if I can be in charge of myself, then God will put me in charge of the universe, His Universe.
16."Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."
Love so beautifully idealised can be materialised if it springs from its highest Source and has no link with anything inferior here below.
17."I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow."
Wrath is a weakness worth getting over. Again, it cannot disturb the inner equilibrium, which is worth everything.
18."A truth that is told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent."
This is true, absolutely true. We must always tell the truth with a divine intent. Our truth must be flooded with love, concern and oneness. Our truth must illumine and not bind.
Where is the marriage Of Heaven and Hell?
The marriage of Heaven and Hell Is in the mind's dry desert And in the heart's loving nest.
True, absolutely true. Also, something more to add: God is God-appointment, God is God-enlightenment and God is God-fulfilment.
— Marguerite Blessington"
And love in India is self-dedication.
22.Mr. Heinrich Böll, West Germany's 1972 Nobel Laureate in literature, declared:
I asked my God two small questions:
What is the meaning of chance?
What do Americans want to be?
"My son, you are a God-lover.
For a God-lover there is no such thing as chance.
My dictionary does not house that particular word.
What you and I call Grace, others call chance.
"My son, here is My answer to your second question:
Americans want to be perfect slaves
To their freedom."
Father, what do You mean?
I do not understand Your answer.
Please be a little more explicit.
"What I mean is this:
Americans are not profitably,
Consciously and unreservedly
Using their freedom-soul
To reach the acme of their Freedom-Goal."
— Heinrich Böll"
Since I have the same problem,
Although in an infinitesimal measure,
I sought my God's advice.
"My son, to Me, your bed
Is your perfect desk.
To Me, your car is your perfect desk.
To Me, a jet plane is your perfect desk.
Inspiration is in your heart.
Aspiration is in your soul.
Revelation is in your eyes.
Manifestation is in your hands."
What Bouvée says is undeniably true. Our body's food is the product of the earth: fruits and vegetables and so forth. But our soul's food is music. Undoubtedly it is so. Even our physical nature at times intensely craves and desperately needs music.
So fettered fast we are.
— Robert Browning"
Man is bound to the finite, but he cannot be bound by the finite. Man has surrendered himself to time and space, but neither time nor space has compelled him to surrender. Man tries to possess the beauty of the finite. He thinks that if he can bind himself to the finite, he will be able to possess its beauty. Alas, instead of possessing, he has been possessed. Time and space have lured him. He thought he would be able to possess them with his surrender. They gladly accepted his surrender. But he has been possessed by them mercilessly.
Best to forget.
Better than best is to remain unaffected by the shocks of the world.
He who doubts most fractures all his limbs most.
The torture of that inward hell!
To nurse an inward hell and escape the penalty is to ask for too much.
All the greater glory to the Source which has given the fame!
Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and a tear.
Each man is a miracle. Each individual is an epic. As ill-luck would have it, we have neither time nor curiosity to see the miracle or go through the epic. We know man is not what he seems. He is something more than his present appearance and achievements. We may say that man is that very thing which must be surpassed.
Lovingly and devotedly, something to add: man the God was made of streaming tears; God the man was made of blossoming smiles.
A spiritual person has found his work. 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.
Had we been able to share this lofty truth of Cicero's, there would not have existed the giant wall of misunderstanding between England and India. The arrow of England is matter. The arrow of India is spirit. The victory of either can never be the true fulfilment of human birth. Both the arrows must be united to pierce the veil of ignorance. Lo, the victory of victories, the fulfilment of fulfilments, is at our disposal.
34.The sole function of Art is to discover beauty within and without. And Art is in itself a self-expression of the different levels of Consciousness.
The mysterious slogan "Art for Art's sake" expressed by Victor Cousin is, however, only partially true. To quote Sri Aurobindo: "Art for Art's sake certainly — Art as a perfect form of and discovery of Beauty; but also Art for the soul's sake, the spirit's sake and the expression of all that the soul, the spirit, wants to seize through the medium of Beauty."
If we are sincere seekers of the ultimate Truth, then our journey begins with surrender to our parents, who are our well-wishers, our nearest and dearest ones. When we surrender our existence to them, we get joy in abundant measure. Then, when we walk along the path of spirituality, at every moment we try to listen to the dictates of our inner being. The more we listen to our inner being, the greater is our joy, and the higher our fulfilment. And then, when our term is over, when we have to enter into another world for a short rest, if we consciously surrender to God's Will, ours will be the supreme joy, the glory supreme.
36.Many writers have seen the signature of God all-where in nature. Perhaps I am also one of those. Did not the immortal Dante sing in his Divine Comedy:
‘The struggle for existence.’"
The warrior in me whispers:
"I struggle to exist.
I exist for God."
God taught me secretly how to struggle.
God teaches me openly
How to exist.
God shall teach me unreservedly
How to live.
I think, therefore I am —
My mind has discovered this truth.
I pray, therefore I am —
My heart has discovered this truth.
I was, therefore I am —
My soul has discovered this truth.
I shall be, therefore I am —
My life has discovered this truth.
We think. If we offer our 'thinking' to God, this very act of offering our thought will ultimately make us one with God the Thought. An ordinary man feels that he thinks just because he lives. But Descartes holds an altogether different view: "I think, therefore I am." This "I am" is not only the fruit of creation, but also the breath of creation.
My mind says:
"I think of myself constantly.
Therefore, I am."
My heart says:
"My Lord loves me at every moment.
Therefore, I am."
39.The paramount question is whether God is within us all the time, whether He comes into our heart for long periods as a guest, or whether He just comes and goes. With a deep sense of gratitude, let me call upon the immortal soul of Emily Dickinson, whose spiritual inspiration impels a seeker to know what God the Infinite precisely is. She says:
"The Infinite a sudden Guest
Has been assumed to be —
But how can that stupendous come
Which never went away?"
40."If 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
If I can serve even one amongst you in his or her endeavour towards self-discovery, I shall not have lived in vain. Nay, my life on earth will have found its purposeful meaning.
41.If we can discover a true, divine thought, then in no time God will ask or compel time to be on our side. Nothing save time can help us feel the breath of Truth and touch the Feet of God. We can own Eternity's Time if we truly want to. Sweet and meaningful are the words of Austin Dobson: "Time goes, you say! Ah no! Time stays, we go."
42.Like the sun during an eclipse, the light of many world-illumining individuals is covered by criticism, ridicule and even hostility. Ingratitude is the order of the day. Let us cry ditto to the words of the immortal Russian novelist Dostoevsky, who wrote in his Notes from the Underground:
‘All for one, one for all.’"
The lover in me whispers:
"All for one
In the world of my devotion-height,
In the world of my surrender-sea.
One for all
In the world of my Love-light,
In the world of my Perfection-sky."
44."Life seems to be divided into two periods: in the first we indulge, in the second we preach."
— Will Durant
This is what we are apt to observe in the outer life. Strangely enough, we can divide the inner life, too, into two periods: in the first we aspire, in the second we inspire.
‘I never think of the future.
It comes soon enough.’"
The sincere observer in me whispers:
"What is the future
If not my morning smiles
Fading into my evening cries?
What is the future
If not my morning cries
Growing into my evening smiles?"
Anatole France comes one step ahead and makes bold to say: "To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything."
Verily, Tagore, the Master-poet of modern India, was the emblem of an all-fulfilling imagination.
47.It is a sorrowful fact that if an individual stands noticeably higher than the rest of mankind and contributes immeasurably to the betterment of the world, he receives not garlands but arrows as his fate. Speaking from bitter personal experience, the peerless Einstein lamented,
— George Eliot"
From the spiritual point of view, what do we learn from this soulful message? We come to learn that we have been victims to teeming desires and here is the result: we are still earth-bound. We are bound by the fetters of ignorance; we are caught. We want to possess the world. To our widest surprise and sorrow, we are already caught; we are already possessed.
Oh, that our education system could live up to this minimum!
And what is needed to have ideas worked out through those brains and arms is a one-pointed will which is affirmation itself and an eternal stranger to negation.
This is true. A really great man has not to depend on outer opportunities. He has abundant faith in his inner capacity. However, to say that a great man never complains of want of opportunity is an ideal affirmation of the state of consciousness for all great men. How I wish that all great men realise this truth and live this truth.
Verily, the whole of Bengal, as ill luck would have it, misunderstood Rabindranath Tagore until he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
But Santiniketan is an imperishable shadow of Rabindranath, the unique. "Santiniketan is India." This high tribute was paid to Tagore not by an insignificant human being, but by the Father of the Nation, Gandhi-ji. And our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, went to the length of saying that "he who has not visited Santiniketan has not seen India."
54.America's most illumined philosopher-thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, justifies biography as an invaluable asset to humanity's forward march:
Fortunately, the disciples of all Masters have the same universal experience.
56.Imitation is not for a seeker. "Imitation is suicide," so do we learn from Emerson.
Who is that somebody, if not an extension, a true extension, of my unaware self-reality?
58.We know that there is something which we call God. We know that there is something which we call the soul. In his immortal essay entitled "Circles," the great American philosopher Emerson writes:
We can definitely say that this centre is man's soul.
Alas, pleasant living is all that the world cares for, and not the qualities associated with difficult living: hard work, discipline and self-control.
— La Fontaine"
Poor me, in my case, Heaven is dying to help me, but my stupidity is preventing me from accepting Heaven's help.
— La Fontaine"
Indeed, to God the needy in all human beings, with no exception.
— Anatole France"
But in the case of the United Nations, it is totally otherwise. The United Nations thinks profoundly and acts selflessly.
On behalf of women all over the world, Maitreyi's soul tells us what a woman wants. She 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.
64.Dear Robert Frost,
To you I immensely owe. You are my only correspondence-Guru, And you shall remain so Forever and forever. You have freed me and enlightened me From the correspondence-world.
I humbly repeat your message sublime:
Simply because I don't write to you."
65."Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by.
And that has made all the difference."
— Robert Frost
Is the gratitude-heart-road.
We deceive ourselves.
May the world realise this truth!
Infinite is the thirst for the Infinite.
The immortal Indian scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose, sees eye-to-eye with the mighty poet and takes us one step farther:
We may read into this noble truth the upward march of the human soul from its prison-house of ignorance to its Home of Freedom, Light and Knowledge; and its downward march to the here-below with the riches gained in the upper sphere, which march makes the two ends meet and become one.
I woke — and found that life was duty.
— Ellen S. Hooper"
Life's duty, performed with a spontaneous flow of self-offering to humanity under the express guidance of the inner being, can alone transform life into beauty, the Heavenly beauty of the world within and the earthly beauty of the world without.
May I add,
Poets, the first God-Beauty-lovers
— Victor Hugo"
In the realm of spirituality, this truth was fully manifested in the life of Swami Vivekananda. His was the heart that pined to realise the lofty Truth, and he did it. But about his actions, we can say that they were democratic; that is, his actions were for the good of humanity at large.
— Aldous Huxley"
In the spiritual world, next to meditation is music, the breath of music. Meditation is silence, energising and fulfilling. Silence is the eloquent expression of the inexpressible.
— Aldous Huxley"
What Huxley has said 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.
— T.H. Huxley"
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.
— William James"
Now, what is something that outlasts life? Before I answer this question, I wish to add something to it. My final question is: What is that something that outlasts life for the longest period of time? We have seen that man's inner hunger for the highest Truth outlasts life. But there is only one thing that outlasts life for the longest period of time, and that thing is called sacrifice. Sacrifice is by far the best of all immortal treasures on earth and in Heaven.
— William James"
Yes, and why worth living? Because life was given to man to manifest the divine Reality in its every aspect.
Overlook a great deal.
Improve a little.
— Pope John XXIII"
See everything as God's creation.
Overlook as often as you can the faults of others.
Improve your faith a little more in the God-aspiration and God-dedication of humanity.
— Samuel Johnson"
I am glad that I need God in everything and for everything.
80.Inside each human being there is a poet. I fully concur with Joubert:
We must have a subtle poetic touch of our own to appreciate and admire poetry.
Poetry and truth are inextricably linked. The Sanskrit word for poet is kavi. Kavi means "he who envisions." What does he envision? He envisions the truth in its seed-form. Once more I wish to invoke Joubert. His sublime realisation is:
81.The poet-bird in Keats, divinely intoxicated, flies in front of me, before my ken:
"Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: — Do I wake or sleep?"
The music-bird is within us to stay, to give us love. The music-bird is without us to fly, to give us joy.
82."To Sorrow I bade good-morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind;
But cheerly, cheerly, She loves me dearly:
She is so constant to me, and so kind."
Sorrow helps us immensely. It is apt to humble our pride. It chastens us. It opens our hearts to magnanimity and sympathy. To check our innumerable errors and make us watch ourselves and put us on the road to perfection, sorrow must necessarily exist in the world.
Because our great origin is both Truth and Beauty.
Because it is the reflection of the All-Beautiful.
85."Father, a poet-brother of mine said something very beautiful."
"What has he said?"
"He said, 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.'"
"Wonderful. Now, son, I am going to tell you something more beautiful: a thing of beauty is the mother and father of Divinity's Light and Reality's Height."
86.Keats' address to Art, "Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time," is but half-truth. Art is the child of Silence, no doubt, but it transcends Time.
A man of faith is also a man of divine humility. The farther he advances spiritually on the strength of his faith, the deeper he grows into the supreme humility.
and never the twain shall meet.
This famous statement was proved false when Vivekananda, with the flood of Sri Ramakrishna's inspiration, gloriously united the East and the West with his unique message on religion.
Tagore, too, utterly denied this statement. His fruitful life was a mission of interpreting the East to the West; he wanted nothing more, nothing less than a flood of peace between the two hemispheres.
As long as the red Earth rolls.
He never wasted a leaf or a tree.
Do you think He would squander souls?
Again and again we shall have to come back into the world. We have to work for God here on earth. There is no escape. We have to realise the Highest here on earth. We have to fulfil the Highest on earth. God will not allow us to waste or squander the potentialities and possibilities of the soul.
Scotch for sermons,
American for conversation.
— Stephen Leacock"
I use English to betray my roaring stupidity.
I use English to ignore my doubtful capacity.
I use English to reveal my soulful divinity.
I use English to manifest God's glowing Authenticity.
Adversity reminds men of their crying heart-beauty and, at the same time, of their smiling soul-fragrance.
How very true! And this recognition posits the question of the greater sources of Knowledge such as the Supermind.
Hence says the Seer-Poet:
— Sri Aurobindo, Savitri"
94."Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!"
Rather, life, the great gift of God, is a splendid field for self-realisation.
For will in us is overruled by fate.
This is true only when our fate is determined by the ego's extremely limited dictates. This deplorable fate of ours undergoes a radical transformation — stark bondage is transformed into boundless freedom — when we, with our ever-mounting aspiration-flame, live in the soul's unlimited and all-powerful will.
As morning shows the day.
The more we can make a child happy, the more we can expect good of him. It is but a child's cheerful face that can frighten away the teeming ills of the world.
That is the sign of a great spirit perverted.
Doing or suffering.
Weakness is an implied denial of one's true self.
And wherefrom does weakness spring? It springs from man's self-chosen separation from his true Self, the divine Reality within him.
We know that neither man nor God is at fault. Voltaire helps us to assert the existence of God in a unique manner:
and I cannot dream
That this watch exists and has
101.When we look at the world with our inner eye, the world is beautiful. This beauty is the reflection of our own divinity. God the Beautiful has our aspiring heart as His eternal Throne. We, the seekers of the Supreme, can never see eye-to-eye with Nietzsche's proud philosophy. He utters: "The world is beautiful, but has a disease called man."
On the contrary, we can say in unmistakable terms that the world is beautiful because it has been illumined by a supernal beauty called man.
— Boris Pasternak"
Is this not the depth of the Russian soul that is speaking through her beloved son?
103.If we want to live in the universe — the spiritual universe or the real universe — we have to know that we must abide by the laws of the universe.
What are the laws of the universe? Love and serve.
Love humanity. Serve Divinity.
We have to love the humanity in Divinity. We have to serve the Divinity in humanity.
At this point we can recollect the message of Plato, who said, "Through obedience we learn to command." If we obey the laws of the universe, then we can command ignorance and govern death.
Our lower self is the formidable wall of separation from our higher or divine Self. This wall pulled down, man becomes his true Self.
The simile implies that our consciousness is hardly a whit better than that of the dumb oyster. But true it is that man's frail body can pinion his mighty soul!
When our physical consciousness lives in the doubting, suspecting and unaspiring mind, this great utterance of Plato's is, to some extent, undeniable. But if our awakened consciousness lives in the illumining soul, love is nectar, the very breath of Immortality.
No sincere seeker of the highest Truth, the ultimate Truth, will be denied the higher worlds.
In order to enter into the higher worlds, what we need is sincerity, what we need is purity, what we need is peace, what we need is delight.
Sincerity: Inner beauty's other name is sincerity.
Purity: The name of God's first child is purity.
Peace: Peace is unity's sovereignty and multiplicity's divinity.
Delight: Delight is the name of God's permanent Home.
Only when another devil
Is needed in hell."
"A seeker is born
Only when another God
Is needed on earth."
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.
— Bertrand Russell"
A question mark cannot be applicable to our life of desire and aspiration. Human life is faith in earthly education. Divine life is education in Heavenly faith. Human truth is faith in supreme realisation. Divine Truth is realisation in absolute faith.
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.
The Upanishadic seers felt no necessity to go to any spiritual centre, no necessity to go to a temple, no necessity to hear a talk or a sermon or even to study books. God was their only outer book, and God was their only inner teacher. God-realisation was their only necessity, and God-manifestation was their only reality.
The great man is really the one who conquers that emptiness, filling it with the dynamic Truth of existence. His will to live is his will to fulfil the why of his existence.
114.Life is eternal. It existed before birth and it will exist after death. Life also exists between birth and death. It is beyond birth and death. Life is infinite. Life is immortal. A seeker of the infinite Truth cannot subscribe to Schopenhauer's statement: "To desire Immortality is to desire the eternal perpetuation of a great mistake."
There is no shadow of doubt that it is the ceaseless seeker in man who is Immortality's life, for his very existence indicates the Supreme's Vision that illumines the universe and the Supreme's Reality that fulfils the creation.
115.When we live in the gross and unaspiring physical, each hour is a deplorable loss, a dangerous sickness and a fatal failure. At this point, the message of Seneca demands our attention: "The hour which gives us life begins to take it away."
True in a limited context, never an absolute truth.
And silence can tell even more than brevity.
118.Poor God, unillumined men always take You amiss. They think that You are merciless. Yet when You fulfil their 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.
119.George Bernard Shaw has warned us, "Beware of the man whose God is in the skies." But our God is everywhere. He is not only in Heaven, He is also here on earth. He is with us, He is within us and He is for us. We do not have to enter the highest regions of consciousness to see God: our inner cry will bring to the fore our inner divinity, which is nothing other than God.
The Shelleys of the future will hear sweetest songs inspired by all-blissful thoughts.
121."The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow."
Our Shelleys of the New Age will be singing of the transformation of the sphere of our sorrow into the sphere of our Delight!
122.Socrates, the grandfather of philosophy, once said, "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance." I am most humbly and devotedly trying to follow in his inimitable footsteps.
Truth to tell, when our humility becomes its genuine self, it becomes an open vessel for the gifts of the Omniscient.
This lofty utterance serves equally well in the life of Rabindranath Tagore, for he is not a Bengali, nor an Indian, but a universal man.
124.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 he has not shown any of them. They are all under his control."
— Herbert Spencer"
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.
— Herbert Spencer"
Spencer referred to the struggle to survive in the material life. But how to be the fittest in the spiritual life? By making oneself a conscious instrument of God's Vision and Will.
The creation, as a manifestation of the Omnipresence, can nowhere have a vacuum.
Man transformed will be a divinised Godhead.
When I cry for God the Creator, He comes to me as God the creation as well. He fulfils Himself as the One in the many.
All atheists are incomplete God-preparations, and all incomplete God-preparations are atheists.
— Philip Sydney"
When we follow the spiritual life, when we walk along the path of spirituality, one word constantly looms large and important, and that word is 'sacrifice'. We have to sacrifice our very existence for others — what we have and what we are. What we have is willingness and what we are is cheerfulness.
132.The human breath has an inner cry for Immortality. It knows and feels that death is not and cannot be the ultimate answer. The real poet in Tennyson inspires us to sing,
"No life that breathes with human breath
Has ever truly longed for death."
Needless to say, a true aspirant in his inner life does not long for death. He does not cry for Immortality either. What he needs and cries for is conscious, unreserved and unconditional surrender to the Will of the Supreme. To fulfil the Supreme's Will supreme is his heart's only cry.
Because my heart is pure.
Let us look forward to the New World that is manifesting in the old — to the New World that will be full of Sir Galahads but with their hearts absolutely true to none and nothing else than the Divine and His Influence.
Than never to have loved at all.
True, perhaps, on the human plane. But true love is Love divine that knows no loss. True love enlarges the giver and brings him closer to God, even if he loses the object of his love.
135."A life of nothing's nothing worth,
From that first nothing ere his birth,
To that last nothing under the earth."
But let us sing just the opposite with regard to the life of India's immortal poet Rabindranath Tagore:
"A life of fulness's fulness worth,
From that first fulness ere his birth,
To that last fulness beyond earth."
136.For he who is depressed or afflicted, life is a bed of thorns. He has realised this truth and cries for life's transformation. He wants to possess a bed of roses. Pain is his painful possession. He can successfully sing with Francis Thompson:
"Nothing begins, and nothing ends,
That is not paid with moan;
For we are born in other's pain,
And perish in our own."
137.The Vedas are universal, hence, the West can claim them as well as the East. The great American philosopher Thoreau said something most significant about the Vedas:
Undoubtedly they do.
Rome was not built in a day.
I have been telling this all along
To my impatient son,
Rome was not built in a day.
I have been telling this constantly
To my despondent daughter,
Rome was not built in a day.
I have been telling this year after year
To my doubting friend,
Rome was not built in a day.
I have been telling this tirelessly
To my mocking enemy,
An architect who shapes his own life hangs not on his pedigree. His descendants will number their ancestors and count their lineage from him, the seed.
Hence the necessity of more and more revealing books — books that can reveal the yet-unknown truths of man and nations.
Nature is a flow of harmony that infallibly unites the within and the without, the what and the what is to come. No insincerity or blunder is to be found between Nature's action and Nature's law.
Voltaire, O mighty controversy-confusion-mind, your mind's Himalayan bravery and your life's weakness-slavery shall forever remain inseparable.
God did exist before, but we did not have the vision-eye to see Him. God does exist now, but we do not have the aspiration-heart to feel Him.
When I give I give myself.
— Walt Whitman"
My heart of dedication echoes and re-echoes with Whitman's throbbing utterance. At the same time, I wish to add something more. I give lectures. I give lectures not because I have something special to offer to humanity, but because I wish to expand my mind's horizon, my heart's love and my body's service so that I can totally become one with God's Divinity in humanity. Once I have done it, once I have become one with God's Divinity in humanity, I shall have to make no effort to offer myself to God's children, for I become consciously one with them. We then sing the song of God's unity in His multiplicity.
145."Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
— Walt Whitman
If you want to be a good man, then contradict yourself when sincerity demands. If you want to be a great man, then do not contradict yourself, even when necessity demands.
146.By no means should we neglect the body. The body is the temple. The soul is the Deity therein. Have we not learnt from Vedanta that it is in the physical that the spiritual disciplines have to be practised?
Lo and behold, Walt Whitman is powerfully knocking at our heart's door: "If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred."
in the sky are for religion's sake.
— Walt Whitman"
The true seer-eye of the poet foresaw the possibility that is now on the point of realising itself.
— Walt Whitman"
I celebrate myself.
Not because I am perfect,
But because I admire
I celebrate myself.
Not because I have satisfied God,
But because I am nearing
149.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.
— Oscar Wilde"
All Indians procrastinate too long.
I suppose it is something
In our climate.
All Englishmen think too much.
I suppose it is something
In their climate.
All Canadians follow too far.
I suppose it is something
In their climate.
O American friend of mine,
I wish to hear you lecture.
O Indian friend of mine,
Let us not sleep anymore.
O English friend of mine,
I am sure you know
There is something far beyond thinking.
O Canadian friend of mine,
Your own goal
Is infinitely more beautiful
Than the goal of others.
151.Time houses Truth. Sri Krishna tells the Truth, the Truth eternal, about Himself. Here we can recollect the significant words of Virginia Woolf, "If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people." Conversely, if you know the spiritual truth about yourself, you must needs know the truth about others.
Find little to perceive.
And it may well be added: Minds that have little to perceive have nothing to confer.
The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul.
As a portion of the Infinite, the soul can have depth, height and breadth without measure, but tumult can never belong to the soul. It is a play of the inferior vital.
154."The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours."
This world of ours is too much.
Heaven is also too much.
Where to go?
No place in God's entire creation.
The only place to be happy
Is in the sweet dream-world,
Not in the hard reality-world.
155.Evolution can never come into existence from nothing, from zero. The appearance of 'is' can only be from the existence of 'was'. Let us fill our minds with the immortal utterance of Wordsworth from "Intimations of Immortality":
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home."
Here the poet carries us into the mystery of the soul's eternal journey and reminds us of the perennial Source.
Transcendental poetry1Poetry that springs from a devout heart leads kindred hearts to the ever-sweet One and makes of them a Republic with Him for President. No other divine faculty perhaps has a greater power of transcendence over limits to the illimitable. In the bright days that are dawning upon the earth well may we look for the leaven of transcendental poetry to uplift the whole human mass.
Instead of trying to replace one desire for a better one, it is worthwhile to attempt a transcending desire, so that in a trance one may intuit Him who hears one's heart's call and is ever ready to lend one His helping Hand.
When men worship God in the hope of getting their miseries removed, they may meet with frustration and are apt to lose their faith in God.
The gods are ever ready to help us, but when we demand of them something quite absurd, and in our human weakness we refuse to undergo the troubles and tribulations that are necessary for our development, we may lose the chance of the descent of their grace.
The poet has the divine faith, the inner intuition that the existence of the One Supreme Divine has hardly anything to do with the commonly sought spiritual experience side-by-side with common miseries.
In order to write a poem, the poet must transport himself to the sphere of the Muse and lose himself there. He has to be like a flame that burns away everything but itself.
PTPT 147. Written in Pondicherry, India, 1962↩