Everyone needs victory. An animal needs victory. A human being needs victory. The gods need victory. But what the true victory is, this we have to learn.

There are two kinds of victory. One is transient, transitory, like a mound of sand. The other is eternal, everlasting. When we gain victory by force, this victory does not last. But when we gain victory as the result of our soul’s oneness with the Supreme and our soul’s delight, this victory lasts for good.

A man who is by nature cowardly wants to conquer fear. If he can conquer fear, he feels that he will become his true self, his fearless, divine self. A poor man wants to be rich; he wants to become a multimillionaire. By amassing money, he feels that he will gain victory over his poverty. A spiritual man wants to conquer ignorance, limitation, bondage and death. By conquering ignorance, he feels that he can become one with Immortality.

In order to achieve victory, we must have patience, we must have endurance and, most important, we must have will-power. If there is no will-power, then it is useless to fight against anything or to try to transform anything. What we need most is will-power. This will-power is the conviction of our soul. That is to say, it is our soul’s will and determination.

The Indian seers used to sing that human beings want to achieve victory over everything and everyone except the members of their own family. A father does not have to win victory over his children; a spiritual Master does not have to win victory over his disciples. Otherwise, in all other fields one wants to achieve victory. But unfortunately, those golden days are no more. Now what do we see? Today parents often compete with their children. They feel jealous that their own children can do wonderful things which they themselves cannot do. In the States, I have seen many families where the parents are competing with the children. In India, however, most often we see that the parents identify themselves with the children. This is the right attitude. The parents should dream all the time of their children. It is their own dream that is going to be transformed into reality in their children. They must feel that their children are the continuity of their own life-energy. So all parents, instead of competing with their children, should encourage and inspire their children to go far, farther, farthest. They should all feel that their children’s achievements are their own achievements. They should never separate themselves from their children’s achievements and goals.

Unfortunately, there are spiritual teachers who practically act the same as ordinary human parents. They do not allow their disciples to go beyond them. They simply push them down. But, to be very honest with you, these teachers are never realised souls of the first order. They are only partially realised. If one is truly spiritually great, he will get the greatest joy if he sees his spiritual children surpassing him. I shall be full of pride the day I see any of you go beyond me. I will have infinitely more joy and pride than the one who is actually surpassing me because, at that very moment, I shall feel that I am breathing his life-breath. In his achievement, I am there. I can never be separated from my disciples’ achievements, realisation and fulfilment.

So, the true spiritual Master, instead of hindering the disciples’ progress, will always come forward to inspire, help, guide, push and pull the disciples to go beyond, beyond, beyond even his own achievements. That is because he has such oneness with his disciples that he feels that their progress is his own progress,

There are many cosmic gods with limited power who try to prevent great aspirants from achieving the highest spiritual height. These gods very often try to keep an advanced seeker from obtaining spiritual perfection. They bring forward innumerable obstacles, temptations and what-not. But the great seeker overcomes these obstacles and marches to his goal. When he reaches his goal, this is the highest victory, the victory of the Real in him. And this victory brings him Immortality.

I wish to tell you a personal experience. Perhaps all of you know that I used to be a good athlete. I used to stand always first in running, sprinting and so forth. Each time, after the race was over, the other competitors on the track used to observe my face. Right after the competition, they used to see a sense of satisfaction and joy dawning on my face; but the next moment they used to see something else in me. I used to enter into the consciousness of the runner who came in last in the competition. My achievement was over, but I used to enter into his failure and become totally one with him, so that I could taste how painful it is to be last in the competition. His sorrows I used to take as my own sorrows. And when I became part and parcel of his existence, of his suffering, only then did I feel that I had achieved the real victory. This identification was far from contempt or pride. It came from love and a feeling of oneness. I used to get infinitely more joy and delight from my identification with the one who stood last than I got from my original success. So I wish to tell all of you here, please try to identify with others in their suffering, in their joy, in their achievement, in their frustration and in their fulfilment. The moment you can identify with somebody else, you will see that you have expanded your mental and psychic horizon. And the more you expand, the greater shall be your joy and fulfilment. What is the greatest duty in human life? Self-conquest, the conquest of one’s own self. That is to say, the conquest of the lowest self, the animal self, in us. We have two selves: the animal self and the divine Self. We have to conquer the animal in us and place this animal consciousness at the feet of the Divine, the Supreme.

Who actually wins the victory when we conquer the animal in ourselves? It is not us, but God the Supreme within us, who wins the victory. There is a significant story in the Upanishads. Once the gods won a victory over the demons and naturally their pride knew no bounds. They thought that they were fully responsible for their victory. They felt that it was their own strength and power that enabled them to defeat the demons. The Absolute Brahman wanted to smash their pride. So he disguised himself as a brahmin, an old man, an invalid, and approached the cosmic gods. They were a bit surprised and they asked him what he wanted. Then he said, “I do not want anything from you. I just wanted to know what you are boasting of.” So they said, “We have just won a victory over the demons with our strength and valour, so we are rejoicing.” The old man said, “Well, just do me a favour. I am leaving a piece of straw right in front of you. I wish one of you could blow it away or do something with it.” So the wind god came and tried to blow away the straw, but the straw did not budge an inch. Then the fire god, Agni, came and tried to burn the straw; but alas, fire could not devour it. Like this, it went on and on.

Finally, Indra, Lord of the gods, came in. When he came, the brahmin disappeared and in his place there was a goddess in a column of light. Indra asked the goddess about the mystery of this brahmin. The goddess said, “It was not a brahmin, it was the Absolute Brahman who wanted to show you the Truth. It was with His strength that you conquered the demons. You people have no power. It was the Brahman Absolute who wanted to humble your pride and teach you that it was not your strength that won the victory, but His strength.

So, whenever we achieve success or attain to some perfection, we must feel that it is the divine power that has enabled us to do so. We need the help, we need the blessings, of the Supreme. The Supreme wants us to be freed from the fetters of our ignorance. The day we are freed from ignorance, His joy will know no bounds. Right now, we have veiled the divinity inside us. With the blessings of the Supreme and the guidance and loving concern of a spiritual teacher, the pilot of our life-boat, we can easily unveil the divinity within us. At the same time, we can swim across the ocean of ignorance and enter into the ocean of Light. When we enter into the ocean of Light, what we see and feel and become is victory. And whose victory is it? It is the Victory of the Supreme.

Each human being is consciously or unconsciously aspiring for the Victory of the Supreme. But he who is consciously trying to achieve that Victory undoubtedly will reach his destined goal sooner. God’s blessings are constantly being showered on us. Our aspiration is a mounting flame that must reach His Feet of Protection. In man’s case, it is all hope. But in God’s case, it is not hope; it is certainty. It is as true as the truth that today precedes tomorrow and tomorrow succeeds today. Forward, children, forward! On to Victory, on to Truth and Glory! Forward, children, forward!

WIW 8. June 23, 1968