The journey's start, the journey's close1AUM
The journey’s start and the journey’s close. Human aspiration is the journey’s start. Divine manifestation is the journey’s close. Birthless is the journey’s birth, and endless is the journey’s end.
We came; we shall return. We came from the Supreme Being. To the Supreme Being we shall return. We embody the earth-consciousness and the Heaven-consciousness. The earth-consciousness inspires us to meditate on the transcendental Truth and realise the transcendental Truth in the soul of Heaven. The Heaven-consciousness inspires us to meditate on love and manifest love in the heart of earth.
We know, we grow, and we become. We know in Heaven. We grow here on earth. We become the transcendental Truth. What we know is Reality. What we grow into is Immortality. What we eventually become is divinity’s Perfection. Reality embodies Immortality and Divinity. Immortality and Divinity manifest Reality.
The Upanishads teach us the significant truth that each individual seeker must have inner peace and outer freedom. It is in inner peace that we can have true outer freedom. From the Upanishads we learn how to discover God, the inner man, and see man, the revealed God. The Upanishads tell us that the dedicated human beings, the surrendered human souls are God’s necessity, and each realised human being is given God’s unreserved infinite capacity.
Here is the secret of the Upanishads: love, serve, and become. Love God’s Life in man, serve God’s Light in man, and become God’s perfect Perfection here on earth.
In two words we can sum up the message of all the Upanishads: aspiration and manifestation. Aspiration is the way, and manifestation is the Goal. Aspiration is the song of the infinite eternal Consciousness abiding within us. Manifestation is the dance of unity’s multiplicity within and without us. Aspiration is the height of our Delight, and manifestation is the light of all-nourishing and all-fulfilling Delight.
Each soul needs involution and evolution. When the soul descends, it is the soul’s involution. When the soul ascends, it is the soul’s evolution. The soul enters into the lowest abyss of inconscience. The soul evolves again into satchidananda — Existence, Consciousness, Bliss — the triple Consciousness.
The soul enters into inconscience. For millions of years it remains there, fast asleep. All of a sudden one day a spark of consciousness from the ever-transcending Beyond opens its eye and then the hour strikes for self-enquiry. “Who am I?” it asks. The answer is tat twam asi, “That thou art.” The soul is thrilled. Then again it falls asleep. Again it enters into self-oblivion. More questions arise after some time: Whose am I? I am of That. Where have I come from? From That. To Whom am I returning? To That. For Whom am I here on earth? For That.
Then the soul is satisfied. The soul now is fully prepared for its journey upward — high, higher, highest. At this moment the soul sees the Self, an exact prototype of the Supreme Being here on earth, and the evolution of the soul starts properly. The soul, from the mineral life enters into the plant life, from the plant to the animal life, from the animal life to the human, and from the human into the divine life. While in the human, the soul brings down Peace, Light, and Bliss from above. First it offers these divine qualities to the heart, then to the mind, then to the vital, then to the gross physical. When illumination takes place, we see it in the heart, we see it in the physical mind, in the vital, and in the gross physical body.
The Upanishads are also called Vedanta. Vedanta means the end of the Vedas, the cream of the Vedas, the essence of the Vedas. It is said that Vedanta is the end of all difference — the point where there can be no difference between the lowest and the highest, between the finite and the Infinite.
Our journey starts with aspiration. What is aspiration? It is the inner cry, inner hunger for the infinite vast. Aspiration has a most sincere friend — concentration. How do we concentrate; where do we concentrate? We concentrate on an object, on a being, on a form, or on the formless. When we concentrate with the help of the mind, we feel that eventually we shall see the vastness of the Truth. When we concentrate with the help of the heart, we feel that one day we shall feel the intimacy with the universal consciousness and God the eternal Beloved. When we concentrate with the help of our soul’s Light, we feel that man is God in His preparation, and God is man in his culmination.
The unaspiring mind is our real problem. The human mind is necessary to some extent. Without it we would remain in the animal domain. But we have to know that the human mind is very limited. The human mind is insufficient. In the human mind there cannot be any abiding Light, Life, or Delight. The human mind tells us that the finite is the finite, the Infinite is the Infinite. There is a yawning gulf between the two. They are like the North Pole and the South Pole. Whatever is Infinite can never be finite, and vice-versa. Infinity, the human mind feels, is unattainable. When something is finite, it is simply impossible for the human mind to feel that that, too, is God. Also, this mind quite often feels that because of His greatness God is aloof and indifferent.
When we meditate in the heart we come to realise that God is infinite and God is omnipotent. If He is infinite, on the strength of His omnipotence He can also be finite. He exists in our multifarious activities; He is everywhere. He includes everything; He excludes nothing. This is what our inner meditation can offer us. Our heart’s meditation also tells us that God is dearer than the dearest and that He is our only Beloved.
Inspiration, aspiration, and realisation — these are the three rungs of the spiritual ladder. When we want to climb from the finite to the Infinite with God’s boundless Bounty, the first rung is inspiration, the second rung is aspiration, and the third rung is realisation, our destined Goal.
To achieve the Highest, we become inspiration, aspiration, and realisation; and to manifest the Highest here on earth, we become Compassion, Concern, and Love. This is how we start our journey; this is how we end our journey. Again, when we become one with the Inner Pilot, inseparably one with the Inner Pilot, there is no beginning, there is no end. His cosmic lila, divine Game, is birthless and endless.
In human realisation, God within us is aspiration and realisation bound by earth-consciousness, bound by earthly time. But in divine Realisation, God is the Beyond, the ever-transcending Beyond. He plays the Game of the ever-transcending Beyond. He Himself is the aspiration of the ever-transcending Beyond, and He Himself is the manifestation of the ever-transcending Beyond. When we consciously know Him, realise Him, become inseparably one with Him, we too play His divine Game, the Game of Infinity, Eternity, and Immortality.
AUM. AUM. AUM.
UPA 8. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 26 January 1972↩