Does meditation encourage us to escape from reality?1Meditation is self-perfection. If we have the message of perfection deep within, we cannot neglect anything within or without. If we have doubt within us, we have to transform this doubt into certainty. If we have insecurity within us, we have to transform this insecurity into security. Anything undivine within us must be transformed into something divine. If our eyes see well but our arms and legs are very weak, then we are not perfect. We have to strengthen all our limbs and organs and make ourselves integrally perfect.
Some people are afraid of meditation; they feel that it is something strange or abnormal. They feel that since everyone does not meditate, that means meditation is something unnatural or useless. But we have to know that just because many people are not doing something, it does not mean that the thing is wrong. Numbers have no value; what matters is our awareness of Truth, Light, Divinity, Infinity, Eternity and Immortality within us.
Just the other day an amusing incident took place in front of my house. A neighbour came up to me in a very friendly way and said, “I saw a light in your room at around five o’clock this morning. Usually I don’t get up at that time, but today I had to visit a friend. What were you doing at that hour?” I said to him, “I was meditating. As a matter of fact, I get up every morning at two o’clock to meditate.” As soon as I said that, he immediately became disturbed. “Meditation! What is that?” he said. “I don’t understand all that. I don’t care for it! I don’t need it!” And then he quickly left. He was quite upset when he heard that I had been meditating. The very word made him shudder. But if I had told him I was reading some interesting novel or doing something else, then our conversation would have continued for a long time.
In this world there are many, many people who, like my neighbour, are afraid of meditation. They feel that meditation is something that will take them away from the reality-world. For them the only reality is the desire-world. If desire goes away, then they have nothing to cling to, nothing to possess and claim as their very own. If they are not playing the game of temptation and becoming victims to temptation, if they are not wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, then they feel that there is no life in what they are doing. For them, life is conscious participation in ignorance, but they call it knowledge, experience, enjoyment.
Meditation does not encourage us to escape from reality. Who escapes? He who has done something wrong or he who does not claim reality as his very own. Our divine Father has two homes: one is in Heaven one is here on earth. In our Heaven-home we enjoy divine rest, and in our earth-home we work and accomplish our multifarious tasks. We have as much right to stay in one home as in the other. When we are in our earth-home, if we act like a stranger and feel that we have come to a place which does not belong to us, then naturally we will want to escape. But why should we have to escape from our own home? Even if we quarrel and fight with the members of our family, still we remain in our home and do not go elsewhere, because that home belongs to us.
In the ordinary life, there are some people who are fond of watching baseball, volleyball, basketball and other sports, but they do not want to participate. They feel that if they participate they may not do well or they may be injured, but they do enjoy seeing others play. There are also people who both appreciate sports and participate in them. These people feel that they can feed their cheerfulness and enthusiasm, bring cosmic energy into their system and, at the same time, discard all their undivine qualities by participating. In the spiritual life also, there are seekers who want to enjoy the cosmic game from a distance, but do not want to participate actively in this game. They want to enter into the Himalayan caves or go off to some secluded place to meditate. From the strict spiritual point of view, they are not liberated. They are afraid that if they mix with the world they will lose everything or will not be able to make any progress. But real spirituality is for those who are brave divine soldiers. Thousands of years ago, the Upanishadic seers and the Vedic seers declared: Nayam atma balahinena labhya: “This soul cannot be won by the weakling.” Only the strong can and will realise the soul.
Also, we have to know that the world is not our only enemy. Even if we enter into the Himalayan caves, we still have to deal with the mind. When we go off by ourselves, the mind plays its role most powerfully. All the world’s activities enter into our mind and prevent us from meditating. The mind will start thinking of friends, enemies and various incidents that occurred in our life. So who is the real enemy? We thought our enemy was someone or something outside of us which was disturbing our meditation. But even when we isolate ourselves, we still have to face the mind with all its undivine qualities, and we find that our real enemy is inside us. If we do not conquer the mind and discipline it here amidst the teeming activities of life, there is no guarantee that we will be free from earthly disturbances when we withdraw from the world.
India’s greatest poet, Tagore, once made up his mind to go to a lonely forest to compose some songs. He said to himself, “Here I have so much to do, and so many people are constantly bothering me. Yet in spite of this I have written quite a few most significant poems. Now, if I enter into the forest, where I will be all alone, I will be able to write a great many most beautiful poems, many more than I write usually.” But after a fortnight in the forest he came back with very little to show for his time, for his mind had been constantly thinking of Shantiniketan, his school, and of his students, his friends and his relatives. He could hardly write at all.
What is reality? Reality is something divine. Reality and divinity are synonymous, and divinity and immortality are synonymous. If something is divine, then it has an immortal life. Here on earth we are crying to be immortal. If we can live on earth for five minutes more, we try to stay. It is very easy for us to say we are not afraid of death, but when we are hurt or when some calamity has taken place, immediately we are afraid that we will die. But those who follow the spiritual life try to conquer death — not in order to live for two hundred, three hundred or four hundred years, but in order to have time to accomplish quite a few significant things for Mother Earth.
While in the soul’s world, before entering into a physical body, each person’s soul consciously, devotedly and unconditionally makes a solemn promise to the Supreme that here on earth it will manifest its divinity in boundless measure. But in order for the soul that is inside the physical to manifest the Supreme on earth, time is necessary. We have to pray, we have to meditate, we have to discipline our life for a long time, and only then will we achieve something significant and fulfil our promise to the Almighty Supreme.
If we are able to meditate for only ten years and gain only an iota of Peace, Light and Bliss, with this insignificant quantity of Peace, Light and Bliss, what will we be able to offer to mankind? But if we continue to pray and meditate most soulfully for many years, one day our inner being will be inundated with these divine qualities, and then we will be able to share them abundantly with all and sundry. We accept earth as reality, as divine Reality. With our naked eyes we see tremendous aggression, hostility, brutality and other undivine things on earth, but with our inner heart we can feel that this is not the ultimate aim of God. On the contrary, the Vision of God is Peace, Light and Bliss.
We have to know that the creator is always superior to the creation. It is human beings who have created atom bombs and hydrogen bombs. In these people the human brain has reached a high level of development. If the soul’s will can now come to the fore and operate in the brain, it will ask the person who has created the atom bomb what he really wants. Immediately his vital will say he wants to conquer. But his soul will reply, “You will not get any satisfaction if you conquer by force, for you will conquer only the body of the world and not the soul. And if you do not conquer the soul, then you have conquered nothing. If you really want to establish your victory permanently, then use your other power, your soul-power, your love-power, your heart-power.”
Reality means the acceptance of life. Reality can never be found in destruction or in lording it over others. Reality is to be found in equality. Reality is in the sense of inseparable oneness. Does meditation encourage us to escape from reality? No! On the contrary, meditation inspires us to accept God’s creation as an unmistakable reality that still awaits transformation and perfection. When the earth-consciousness is transformed, and our body-consciousness is transformed, only then can we be true receptacles of the infinite Truth and infinite Light.
Earth and each individual on earth must co-operate; otherwise, God’s Peace, Light and Bliss will not be received here. Right now human beings are not able to receive God’s Blessings because there is a constant sense of separation between the earth-consciousness and the individual consciousness. But when the earth-consciousness and the individual consciousness unite, earth will play the role of a home and the human being will play the role of the dweller in the home. What is the use of having a home if there is no dweller? And again, what is the use of having a dweller if there is no home for him to live in? The earth-home and the individual beings are complementary. When we as individuals are ready to live in our earth-home and when earth is fully ready to receive us and welcome us as members of its family, then God’s choicest Blessings are bound to shower on our devoted heads and on earth’s devoted heart.
THN 24. Conference Room 14, 7 June 1974.↩