Chapter 47: Knowledge and Material Power
SWAMIJI: Even if I explain it, it will not enter the mind, because a fundamental problem will prevent you from understanding it. It will prevent you from even appreciating what I am saying.
How will you remove the fundamental problem? It is the basic defect in thinking, which applies to every human being, barring very rare exceptions. It is that fundamental defect in thinking which has given rise to certain doctrines of psychology called behaviorism, pragmatism, utilitarianism, materialism, etc. You cannot say that they are foolish doctrines, but they are really untenable, for the reason that they are imagining that the mind of a person is subsidiary to the physical body, is an emanation of the body, or a function of the body. This is a fundamental defect in thinking.
If the mind is subsidiary to the body, whatever the mind does is not of any worth – it has no value. Education comes under mental activity; therefore, it will have no value. A person would like to be a wealthy businessman, rather than a highly educated man. The desire is not for education. You will not like to be a educated genius so much as you would like to be wealthy businessman wielding power. Here is the essence of empirical thinking.
Behaviorist psychology says that the mind is an exudation of the body. As fire is emanating from a match stick, to give an example, the mind is exuding from the body, so that the body is the source, the cause, and the mind is the effect. The effect cannot have so much importance as the cause. So, anything that satisfies the affirmation of the physical body, the ego included – what you call egoism, self-respect, are all names for the affirmation of the body – attracts. Physical affirmation includes acquiring wealth and also name and fame. All these are connected with the physical body only, and supersede any mental or intellectual activity under the wrong notion that the mind is an exudation of the body.
Very learned, highly capable, scientific thinkers of the West were not foolish people, highly intellectual and sharp thinkers, but they have come to the conclusion that the mind is subsidiary to the body. The body is the primary thing; the mind is number two.
This is the fundamental defect in human thinking, as such, from which I cannot say any person is exempt. No human being can be free from this wrong way of thinking; therefore, an academy of education is not succeeding in its aims. Education is not attractive; and therefore, an educated person does not receive so much respect as a millionaire magnate. The magnate has greater force than an educated person. This again is a fundamental defect in thinking, which cannot be rectified unless a divine orientation takes place, a tremendous shirshasana of consciousness.
Can anybody believe that mere thinking in the mind is superior to physical existence? Nobody will believe that. Physical existence is more important than merely thinking. What is the good of thinking? This is the reason why meditation also has no effect in the case of many. That meditation which one does becomes useless, because you consider the mind as secondary, and the body as primary. So, in meditation, it is the body that is thinking, rather than anything else!
This is a very serious matter. In meditation, the body starts thinking, rather than something else. Think over this issue. It is the body that is vibrating and thinking, and then you are imagining that you are meditating on God, which is not true. The truth is otherwise; the mind is the cause; the body is the effect. The body has come from the mind; it is not true that the mind has come from the body. This kind of philosophy is wrong, but the body is so strong that it can defy the mind and say, "You keep quiet. I am strong; that is all."
All political activity, all warfare in the world, anything that you see in the world taking place is an activity of the body conditioning the mind. The body is affirming itself. The world does not want a mental genius so much as a physical potentate – call him a king or a minister. Who is greater, a minister, or a learned man? Tell me who is greater. You cannot answer this question. The answer is a tremendous earthquake. The President of the country is great, or the highly qualified genius is great? Who is great? Now the answer will come.
This answer will decide the fate of your academy of education, also. The answer will decide the fate of all educational institutions, and anything that you call learning. So, your heart will not answer this question. It will say, "It is better that I don't say anything." You should not say anything, because it is very dangerous to offer an answer. You are landing on prohibited zones. The earthly calls can defy even a divine aspiration. The world vies with God.
This is why nobody wants to come for the academy. And, nobody is interested in it. So, I have given the final judgment of the Supreme Court as to why knowledge will not succeed, due to the idiocy of man, which is at the root of all things.
So, I have given you the first academy lecture. I spoke from the heart. I am not talking as a mere thinker. My heart is vibrating; it is revolting against this idiocy of worship of power, social appraisal, money, and physical strength. The soul is revolting against the very thought of material superiority. The soul says, "Do you think I have no strength?"
Do you think the Commander-in-Chief is stronger than the soul? Don't you think like that? Tell me, honestly. The Commander-in-Chief is stronger than the soul of man. Is it so, or it is not so? The heart cannot answer this question. It is revolting inside: "What is the matter? You are raising a tremendous turmoil before me." It is afraid to say anything. So, let it go. I won't say anything further.
The strength of the body nobody can imagine. It has such strength that it can defy the soul, and push it underneath; and it has already done it, also. That is why the world is going on like this. The world is going on in the manner it is going, because the soul has been trampled under the foot of bodily weight.
It is not easy to know God, however much you may chant and jump, because the body will say, "I am superior to God. What are you talking?" And even the idea of God is only an emanation from the body only. That is the worst part of it – even the idea of God is an empirical, non-substantial notion says the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. People like Kant have decried the idea that thought is reality. He differs from Hegel; Hegel and Kant are opposites on whether thought is reality, or it is different from reality. If you think something, actually it is there, or you are only imagining something? According to Kant, if you think something, it does not mean that it exists. But Hegel says, if you think, it is there. Why are they talking in two different ways? That is up to you to know – the empirical and metaphysical ways organising the mind. Kant says that even your idea of God does not prove the existence of God. Mere thinking does not bring any object into existence. This means that thought is not reality. In empirical thinking, the object is outside thought. In metaphysical thinking, which is true meditation, thought is identical with the object. Here is the difference between Kant and Hegel, epistemology and metaphysics.
Then, this question also goes to affect the meditation process. If thinking is not reality, meditation has no effect, unless you bring about a Hegelian transformation, which is contrary to Kant's opinion. What Kant says is correct empirically. The thought in your mind is actually a function of the body only. It is a physical vibration that thinks in the form of thought, and imagines that what it thinks is there already; your idea of God is not God Himself. So goes the great Kant.
Unless the idea becomes God, the meditation will not yield its result. So you must find some way where the idea and God do not stand apart. They are to be identical. Thought is being; consciousness is existence. If this is asserted, then meditation will succeed well. If consciousness is not existence, then existence will run away from you, and you will have only consciousness minus existence, which is another way of asserting non – existence.
People will cooperate immediately in going to a club dance, or a moving picture, or a large bhandara, great feast. You will see whether people cooperate here or not. What do you say? The most magnificent feast is going to be given to you. Will you come, or will you say, "I am very busy." There is a wonderful dance in the club tonight. Will you come? Or, will you say that you are very busy? At that time, you will not be busy. If I ask for cooperation in the academy, you plead being busy. You cannot find time to go there, teach or attend the classes.
This physical body has such powers, and it can manifest its strength in so many ways that you will not even know what is happening. You will be in a dreamland under the impression that you are a big, matured person.
Sri Krishna Sharmaji: But can one think something which is not existing?
SWAMIJI: It appears as if it is existing. That is another trick of the mind affirming that it is existing, but it is the body that it is existing. It is the body that is saying, "I am existing," and making you feel that something else is existing; otherwise, materialism would not have succeeded so much in this world. Materialism is the ruling law of today, and do you think that everybody in the world is a fool? But, it looks like that. I asked just now whether a highly qualified, learned man is great, or a Commander-in-Chief is great. Who is great? The President of the country is great, or a master genius is great? That is, whether the mind is great or the body is great?
When a President comes, what do you do? And, when a learned man comes, what do you do? See your difference in behaviour. This is the trick of the body. The body says, "I am great," under any circumstance. Though you theoretically accept that the mind is there, but it is "me" that is operating, says the body. It is the body that is operating as the mind also. So even the learned man is afraid of the Commander-in-Chief. Then, what happened to that learning? Why is the mind afraid of the body? The whole essence is here. The fear of the Commander-in-Chief, or the President, is the fear the mind has for the body. The mind is afraid of the body; and such a mind is meditating on God. What happens?
Sharmaji: Swamiji, if a learned person is afraid of something, it means he is not still learned.
SWAMIJI: This is the mind that we have. It is that kind of mind only that we are endowed with. The real metaphysical mind is not present, and is not operating. Only the sensory mind is working. The empirical, sensory mind is working; the metaphysical mind is not operating. These two subjects, the metaphysical mind and the empirical mind, have been studied in great detail by two great thinkers of the West, Hegel and Kant. Everybody should understand why they are talking in two different ways. Both are equally great; you cannot say who is inferior. Equally great people are teaching two different things. How is it possible? It is necessary to know it, and this knowledge we are trying to instill into your mind in the academy – and people say they are too busy!
Even when a man is about to die, he is afraid of what will happen to his financial deposits. "I have kept deposits and gold chains in so many places. What will happen to these?" "My dear boy, I am going. Where are my deposits?" His prana is going away. What God will he think at that time?
You require mighty grace of God in order to get over these problems. Or, you may say, the mighty grace of a spiritual master, a Guru; otherwise, the devil of this body will not allow you to think correctly.
Birgit: But in meditation, don't the two work together? Doesn't meditation work through sensory perceptions, and watching the breath?
SWAMIJI: The mind is not supposed to work through the sense organs, and in terms of the physical body in meditation; but, unfortunately, the mind is slavish to physical existence, and is conditioned by the operations of the physical body, and is afraid of losing itself. Fear of death is the greatest fear. It is not the death of the mind that you are afraid of. You are afraid of the death of the body. Nobody likes to die. Actually, in death, the mind does not die; it continues. But the body will vanish. The fear of death is nothing but the fear of the loss of one's physical existence. That shows the wrong connection of the mind with the body. The mind is independent of the body, actually. It is not a slave of the body. But in ordinary thinking, we imagine that the mind is an emanation of the body, and so the love of body is much more intense than the love of the mind. Meditation or true knowledge is non-empirical identity of thought and being.