A Sultan asked an astrologer to tell something about his future. The astrologer said: “Your highness will live long to see all your sons dead.” The Sultan was enraged and ordered the astrologer’s arrest and imprisonment. He consulted another astrologer on the same point. This second astrologer said: “Your highness will enjoy a long life and outlive all your family.” The Sultan was highly pleased and gave him rich presents. Both the astrologers knew the truth, but the latter knew the Sultan.
‘God helps those who help themselves.’ But we have to help ourselves in terms of God’s law which requires that we sacrifice ourselves in every one of our acts in such a manner that our acts help in exceeding the lower personality by degrees, and approximating God’s existence.
What you have enjoyed yourself and what you have given over to others in charity or as gift is really yours. Everything else is of doubtful nature and you are merely a protector thereof.
In your dealings with another person, try first to think through the feelings of that person and then try again to overcome the limitations of those feelings by rational methods of approach. This will avoid much of the unnecessary tangles in which social life is caught up every day.
Do not keep anything which you will be afraid of showing to others.
Do not do anything which you would not like others to know.
In spiritual life secrecy has no place except in regard to one’s sadhana (spiritual practice).
“Even this will pass away.” This is a good maxim to remember that our joys and sorrows are not permanent, and that we should always be therefore unattached and hopeful of a better future.
We can judge ourselves as to the spiritual progress we make by the extent to which we are free from seeing defects in others. The wider we grow, the narrower becomes the eye which sees defects in the world.
When we come in conflict with things, we are likely to think that the things are against us. But this would be like imagining that a stone is against us because it is thrown at us by someone. The things and circumstances are only instruments in meting out our dues.
Often, what matters most is not the words that are said but the way in which they are said. People either bore or irritate others with what they regard as wisdom, when it is wrongly uttered or expressed at the wrong moment or told to the wrong person, though the intention behind it may be good. Judgment of circumstances is necessary to bring about the requisite result. Else effort may become a waste or even harmful.
The distance between you and God is the same as the extent of your desire for the world.
Our joys and sorrows are just sensations or experiences and cannot be called either good or bad, even as we cannot say whether the heat of the sun or the coldness of water is good or bad. Goodness and
badness of things are personal evaluations of situations which are themselves impersonal.
Often it so happens that our contemplation on a vice which we feel we have and which we wish to avoid leads us more deeply into it until it is too late to recover from the shock of this knowledge of the fact about us. It is better not to think of a vice, even if we have it, and concern ourselves only with positive virtue and spiritual conduct.
“Love all, but trust a few” is a good policy in social dealings. To trust a few is, of course, not to be suspicious of everyone, but to be vigilant in every case, even when things are entrusted to others for execution or when some situations are involved in other personalities. One should not trust even one’s own self when the senses are in the proximity of their desired objects.
Dirt is matter out of place. Weed is a plant out of place. Nuisance is action out of place. Even those things, acts or words which are normally good and useful become bad, useless and even harmful when they are out of place, time and circumstance. A knowledge of this fact is an essential part of wisdom.
Material amenities and economic needs and the satisfaction of one’s emotional side are permissible only so long as this law and order of this eternal truth of the liberation of the Self in universality of being regulates their fulfilment.
The temptation from the evil one comes, first, in the form of unsettled thinking which makes one immediately forget the Presence of God. This is at once followed by the implementation of the evil move, whether in the shape of passion or anger. When the deed is done and the matter has ended, the remembrance of God might come in, but it rarely appears in the presence of things which we either love or hate.
They say that procrastination is the thief of time, postponing a work which needs to be done immediately. There is no use committing the same mistake again and again and res
olving every day to avoid it, but with no success. Something positive has to be done with strength of will.
Where either the question of self-respect or sex is involved, the spirit of service goes to the winds.
When you have inadvertently done a wrong, switch on the situation, person or thing involved to the Absolute and concentrate on the former as an inseparable part of the latter. The wound shall then be healed and the determination to refrain from repeating the act shall make you stronger than before.
That is wisdom which can reconcile itself with actual life. When the realities of practical life conflict with or stare at the knowledge we possess, it should be remembered that such knowledge is immature and is a mere theory. Moreover, it is not knowledge ‘of’ life that we need; we require knowledge which ‘is’ life, and is inseparable from its daily vexations. We have to view ourselves in a Universal context and then live life, not look upon ourselves as individuals who have to be at war with the world in our everyday life.
Thus did a wise man pray: ‘Give me the will to change what I can, the strength to bear what I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ This is the secret of worldly wisdom, that which decides the nature of one’s success in life.
The vision of God seems to be as far from us even now as it was many years back, and there is no proper yardstick with which the progress made on the path can be measured. There is much difference of opinion as to this matter among wise men, and the wisdom of one does not seem to tally in all details with that of another. Perhaps self-confidence, coupled with goodness and an immense capacity for adjustment, as well as continuous delight, form a good touchstone.