February (from An Introduction to the Philosophy of Yoga)
1. The Absolute is Just Here
God is here, and not in the heavens above. The Absolute is just here, under the very nose of ours. The eternity that we are going to experience, the moksha that we are to realise, is not merely an original Archetype that is removed in space. Again the idea of space comes in, and the notion of time persists in our minds. The Goal is not outside in space, and is not to be reached tomorrow as a future of time experience. All this is difficult indeed for the human intellect to understand. One becomes giddy when thinking about it. But, God loves you more than you love Him, and you are bound to achieve this glorious consummation of life.
2. The Why of a Thing is Studied in Philosophy
The ‘why’ of a thing is studied in philosophy. The ‘how’ of a thing is studied in psychology, and the ‘what’ is the actual daily routine of activity. In our approach to anything, even the smallest item, even the most insignificant so-called addendum to our life, we have to be scientific in our approach. And what is the meaning of being scientific? It is taking the first thing as the first thing, the second thing as the second thing and not mixing up one with the other. You should not start with the second thing while the first thing has been ignored. To be able to conceive the consecutive series of any kind of movement is to be scientific.
3. Have You Time to Think?
There is something which speaks within us in a language of anxiety. Something is not all right, though you have everything in the physical or social sense. You are respectable people in society. You have a financial status of your own; everything is going well but you are not really happy, for a reason which you have not yet found time to go deep into. We are so busy with the enormous flood of the atmospheric conditions outside that we have been prevented from even finding time to think, let alone having the capacity to think. Whether we have a capacity to think correctly or not is a different subject, but have you time to think? Everyone is very busy indeed. Therefore, there is the need to learn the art of finding time to think in the proper way, because your life is nothing but a mental life. If the mental life is ignored, your physical and social life is not going to make you free.
4. Life in Itself is Neither Inward nor Outward
Our life, whether it is inner or outer, consists of a series. It is not a solid substance. Our existence is not like a hard stone which is immovable and motionless. It is a flux, a series of tendencies, movements, enterprises, etc., which get practically bifurcated into the inward and the outward phases. Life in itself is neither inward nor outward. It is everywhere. But for convenience’s sake we make this distinction of being inside and outside, just as we say we are inside the room. But this ‘inside’ idea arises on account of the wall around; if the wall were not to be there, we would not say that we are inside. We are just on the surface of the Earth, but because there is a consciousness of walls on the four sides, there is also a consciousness of an inside and conversely a consciousness of an outside. There is really no such thing as inner life and outer life, just as there is really no inside or outside, unless there is a wall which separates the inside from the outside.
5. We are Nationals of a Psychic World
We are nationals of a psychic world, more properly than the way in which we belong to the physical world of social beings. Our psychic apparatus is a complicated structure, because it has connections with almost everything in the world. It is like a main switchboard. We are not so much detached from things as we appear to be. There is a subterranean relationship between our inner contents and the whole cosmos outside. The moment we begin to enter the realm of yoga practice, we also start operating upon our cosmic relationships. This is something important to remember. At present we believe that we are isolated individuals with no connection whatsoever with others. But meditation is adventure, which opens up a new vista before us and surprises us with our relationships which were not apparent in our waking work-a-day life.
6. We are on a Long Journey
We know that the world is not made up of human beings alone. There are others below us and above us. We are in the middle hanging somewhere on the rope that stretches from the Earth to the heavens. We are on a long journey. We are not stationed in this world as permanent proprietors of properties here. We are not owners of anything. We are in a moving flux, as I said. We are on a perpetual journey onward, and we cannot, as a great master said, step into the same water of the river the next moment, because the next moment we step into different water of the same river. Thus, too, the next moment we are not living the same life. Every moment we are in a new life into which we perpetually enter, and the so-called continuity of our personality which makes us feel that we were yesterday the same thing that we are today, and the hope that we shall be tomorrow exactly what we are today, is due to a limitation of the way in which the mind works, the way in which we get tied up to one set of connotations in this movement.
7. Life is a Continuity
There is a continuity, which is life, of which we are a part, and we are not just X, Y, Z or A, B, C sitting here; it is not like that. If we open our eyes to fact, we will be surprised that we have been living a foolhardy life up to this time, and now the time has come when we have to be serious. Our time is short, and there is so much to learn, and a lot to achieve. Obstacles are too many, and we have no time to wool-gather, sleep or while away our time as if there is eternity before us. We cannot take things lightly. Life is precious. We cannot take it as a joke. Every moment of time is as gold because every moment is nothing but a little loss of this span of our life. Every bell that rings tells us that we have lost one hour. It is not a happy thing. Tenacious has to be our effort at gaining insight into that which we seek.
8. Do not Try to be Big, but be Small
Be humble. Be patient. Do not try to be big, but be small, until you almost become a nothing, which is better for you than to be a large thing in the world, a cynosure of all eyes. There is hope, and so be always confident that you will get what you need. Always remember three things: (1) Be clear as to what you want. (1) Be sure that you will get what you want; do not be hesitant. Assert: “Yes, I am certainly going to get it.” (3) Start with that effort just now. Do not say ‘tomorrow’. “Everything is clear to me now, and I shall start at it.” If these three maxims are before you as your guiding lights, you will succeed always, and with everything.
9. The Search for Reality is the Subject of Philosophy
Properly speaking, the subject of philosophy is concerned with the nature of Truth, or Reality. It is quite obvious that we are not after unrealities, phantoms or things that pass away; we are not in search of these things. We require something substantial, permanent. And what is this? What do we mean by the thing that is permanent, which is the same as what we call the Real? The search for Reality is the subject of philosophy. Then we come to the second issue, the individual nature, the structure of our personality, the nature of our endowments. An analysis of the entire internal structure of ourselves as individuals in search of anything is comprehended under the various branches of psychology and even what we call ‘psychoanalysis. They all are subsumed under this single head of an internal analysis of the individual.
10. Yoga is a Process of Rejoicing
Yoga is a process of rejoicing. It is not a suffering. It is a movement through happiness. From one state of joy, we move to another state of joy. It is not that yoga starts with sorrow, or that it is a kind of prison house into which we are thrown. We have sometimes a feeling that yoga is a torture, a suffering, to the normal life of man. Sadhana means a fear, and indicates an unnatural seriousness. This is so, often because people have created a picture of awe and sternness about yoga, an other-worldliness about it, dissociated from the natural likings of the human being. Our desires are, no doubt, obstacles to yoga. But they are ‘our’ desires; this much we must remember, and they are not somebody’s. So, we have to wean ourselves from these desires gradually and not make it appear that we are peeling our own skin. Such a drastic step should not be taken, and it is not the intention of yoga.
11. The Object of Meditation
The object of meditation is the degree of reality aligned to our state of being. This is a sentence which may appear like an aphorism. We have to meditate only on that which is the exact counterpart of our present level of knowledge and comprehension. There should not be any mistake in the choice of the object. If the object is properly chosen, the mind will spontaneously come under control. The restlessness and the resentment of the mind is due to a wrong choice that is made in the beginning. Often we are too enthusiastic and try to go above our own heads. The mind is not prepared to accept such a sudden revolution which is beyond not only its comprehension but also its present needs or necessities.
12. Everyone Goes with Something Left Incomplete
It looks, many a time, that we have to pass away from this world in despair with everything. If we read the history of the minds of human beings, if there is any such thing as a history of psychology of human nature as such, we will be surprised to observe that it is impossible to pinpoint even one individual who has left this world with genuine satisfaction, save those few who are the salt of the Earth. There has always been a gap, an unfinished something with which the person had to quit. Everyone goes with something left incomplete. It will never be finished. This is the seamy side of things, the unhappy facet of life, which seems to be the outer picture of this world painted before us. But we have also a peculiar solacing and satisfying inner core, which always eludes our grasp. There is something in us, in each one of us, which escapes our notice.
13. We Must Know Who is Our God
Spiritual seekers are certainly after God. This is very well known. But we must know who is our God. God is the fulfilling counterpart of the present state of our evolution. Anything that is capable of making us complete is our God. Anything that allows us to remain partial is not going to satisfy us. That which completes our personality in any manner, in any degree of its expression, is to be considered as our necessity, and teachers like Patanjali, who were great psychologists, have taken note of this important suggestion to be imparted to students. The more internal we go, the greater is the need we will feel for guidance outwardly. One may look all right and not feel the need for any kind of assistance from others. But the internal forces are more difficult to subdue and handle. They are impetuous, uncontrollable. The desires which are of this character have to be sublimated with a great analytical understanding by the study of scriptures, resort to holy company, isolation and self-investigation, and methods of this nature.
14. The World and Ourselves, There is Nothing Else
There are only two things that we see in this world: the world and ourselves. There is nothing else. If we look around, we see the vast world of astronomical phenomena and geographical extension, and we are there as small individuals in this mighty world. What else can we see? “I am here, and the world is there.” The individual and the world are the realities. Perhaps we may say, in a general manner, that we conceive two realities. If this is our concept of what is real, and we are certainly in search of what is real, it would follow from this answer or definition that we are in search of the world, or we are in search of ourselves. Naturally, this should be so, because there are only two things, as we said: We are there, and the world is there. If we are there as a reality, or the world is there as a reality, we are in search of either of these, or both of them. But, actually, we have not found either of these. Though we seem to be in search of the world, the world is not under our possession.
15. The Ishta Devata
The choice of the object of meditation is an important aspect of the very beginning of spiritual life. This choice is the initiation that the disciple receives from the teacher. What is called initiation in the mysteries of the practice of yoga is nothing but the initiation of one’s spiritual being into the technique of tuning oneself to that particular deity, the form of God, or the object which is going to be one’s target at the present moment. This is a secret by itself and the teacher will teach it to the disciple. The object of meditation should satisfy the student; that is why it is called ‘ishta devata’ (loved deity). The ‘ishta’ is that which is desirable, beautiful, attractive, required, that which attracts one’s love and one’s whole being. One pours one’s self into it.
16. Everything is Connected with Everything Else
Everything has a connection with everything else. There is nothing which is not internally related to the Almighty, the Supreme Being. Every atom is so related, and every atom can be a teacher under given conditions. We can touch God through every speck of space, because there is no such thing as a universe outside God. God is in everything that is experienced here as the world, or the universe, pervading and permeating all things, so that one cannot touch anything without touching God in some way. There should not be any misconception that the deities, even the images, the so-called idols that the people worship, are all just nonsense or insignificant nothings; these are necessary prescriptions for the illness of the spirit in the stages of its evolution.
17. There is no Experience without a Consciousness of It
Our life is inseparable from our experience. What we call life is nothing but experience, and this is important to remember. And experience, whatever be the nature of it, is inseparable from a consciousness of that experience. There is no experience without a consciousness of it. We are aware that we are undergoing a process or are in a state of experience. If the awareness is absent, we cannot be said to be in a state of any experience at all. To have no experience is to have no awareness of what is happening. Now, our life being identical with a conscious experience, and our search for reality being observational and experimental in the scientific fashion, we have to find out how the panorama of external nature, as it stands before us from the point of view of science, is connected with our personal life.
18. We are Not the Body
We are not the body, not the senses, not the mind, not the intellect, not anything of the kind. These are all expressions of the higher order of the universe. What remains in us is not a property or a substance or an object but that basic residuum of truth, which is commensurate with the truth of All-Being. When we go deep down into the base of any wave in the ocean, we will find that we are touching something which is everywhere, that which is at the root of all the waves. When we go down into the barest minimum of our personalities, at the root, we touch that which is within everything also, at the same time, and we, then, need not have any difficulty in universal communication. When this end is achieved, one is supposed to become cosmic-conscious, like the wave becoming ocean-conscious because of the entry of itself into the very substance of it.
19. I can Lift my Hand at My Will
The more do we possess reality, the more is the power that we wield. And what is possession? To possess an object, to possess anything for the matter of that, is to be invariably connected with it, in an inseparable manner. We have a power over the limbs of our body. I am giving one example of what power means and what power does not mean. I can lift my hand at my will; there is no difficulty about it. Even if the leg of the elephant is very heavy, the elephant can lift its leg. The elephant can lift its whole body, though even a hundred people cannot lift an elephant. Perhaps, I may not be able to lift your body, but you can lift your body. You may not be able to lift my body, but I can lift my body. What is this mystery? Wherefrom comes this strength by which I can lift my body and walk? The reason is that my consciousness is one with my reality, which is this body; it is not outside.
20. We Cannot Know the Universe Unless We Know Ourselves
We cannot know the universe unless we know ourselves. While this is true, the reverse also is true, at the same time. We cannot know ourselves truly, unless we know the whole universe. The one is the same as the other. Now, how does science lead us to this conclusion? The secret is the discovery of an indivisible continuum of nature, outside which no individual, nothing, can exist. The space-time continuum which scientists speak of today, in the relativity cosmos, is inclusive of yourself and myself and all things. We cannot stand outside it. We are an eddy in this ocean of force which is called the space-time continuum, and so, how can we know it unless we know ourselves, since we are a part of it? Also, it becomes more obvious on account of the fact that to know is to have an awareness of the fact; and awareness is an essentiality of our being. Our being and our consciousness of our being are the same; they are not two different things.
21. Being Cosmically Conscious
The moment we say that we exist, we imply we are conscious that we exist. The existence of things is inseparable from the consciousness of the existence of things. Inasmuch as it has been decided that existence is a continuity, inseparable in its meaning, with no gulf whatsoever, to know the universe would be to have a consciousness of the universe. But in what manner? Not in the form of the consciousness of the world that we have today. I am having the consciousness of a mountain in front of me; that is not the consciousness we are referring to. As consciousness cannot be separated from the existence of things, and inasmuch as the existence of things has been identified with a continuity and a wholeness of process or energy, the revelation would imply a strange conclusion which will startle us beyond our wits. It would imply that to know anything would be the same as to be cosmically conscious.
22. The Whole World is Active
The whole world is active when even a single event takes place at any point in space, just as the whole body is active even if a little thorn is to prick the sole of the foot. It is not a local effect merely; it is the entire body-organism getting energised into the requisite action. The whole world becomes aware of even the wisp of a wind, the fall of a leaf or even the movement of a bird, and this is not merely a gospel that you hear in the New Testament, the sermon of the Buddha, or the Upanishad; it is a scientific fact. This is a great revelation which came to Seers of such profundity as the Upanishads, for instance, where we are awakened to the fact of a cosmic interconnection of things, which sets itself into motion at the time of the occurrence of any event, perception, or whatever it is.
23. Universal Self-Awareness
There is a Universal Self-Awareness at this stage of the satisfaction that arises from consciousness in its essentiality. This joy-experience is sananda samapatti. The Self-Consciousness which is attending upon this joy universal is sasmita samapatti. Here the efforts of the individual do not continue. One need not have to struggle to meditate. There is no effort on the part of a person, because there is no person at all. Individuality is carried by the current of the universe, of God Himself, if we would call it so. One is possessed by a Power that is super-individual. One is no more oneself, and therefore one has no responsibility over oneself. Hence, there is nothing that one can or need do. The very question of ‘doing’ ceases, as the individual is not there as a person.
24. Science becomes Philosophy
When I say, “I am living, because I have a purposive existence, and not merely an aimless motion,” I have to explain what I mean by purposiveness. It is interesting to see how we go from step to step into greater difficulties. What do we mean by a purposive existence? It would mean, at least in outline, the consciousness of an aim in front of oneself. Now, again, we see where we are moving, dangerously. From science, where have we come? To be conscious that there is an aim before us is to be purposive. Life is, again, inseparable from a state of consciousness. And in the end, biology, also, takes us to the same thing on which physics landed us. Somehow we cannot escape the dilemma of it being impossible for us to be without the principle of consciousness, in whatever we do, in whatever direction we move. The basic sciences—astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology—have a common thing to say, finally. In the end they tell us the same thing and by this proclamation of a truth, which is beyond their own jurisdiction, they, as sciences, are exceeding their limits. Science becomes philosophy.
25. All Our Studies Look Like a Blank
There is always a distinction between our laboratory life and our public life. We are scientists in the laboratories but commonplace persons in the shops, in the railway stations, and the bus stands. This is the outcome of our learning in colleges, in universities, in institutions. Wherever we are, we are fed up with this kind of life, and that is why we are trying to find a little time, if it is possible, to think in a different manner. It is easy to study. There are countless schools in the world and the result of all the studies is an upsurge of emotions and feelings in the minds of people, a veritable warfare perpetually threatening to take place, so that it is difficult to say if one person, at least, sleeps soundly in the night, with freedom from all anxiety. We have seen this, and we know this, and we are in the midst of this atmosphere. We are tired of it to the core and we realise that there is a basic error in our way of living and thinking, due to which all our studies look like a blank. These have led us nowhere.
26. The Ultimate Union
This is the ultimate union of the soul with All-Being and this is the final stage, practically, of samapatti, where the river has entered the ocean and does not any more exist as the river. One does not know in the ocean which is Ganga, which is Yamuna, which is Amazon, which is Volga. No one knows what is where. Everything is everywhere at every time in every condition. One becomes the centre of the Being of all things, the heart of everything. One becomes the Immanent Principle of the cosmos. This is God-Experience, in the language of religion. This is the realisation of the Absolute, brahma-sakshatkara. Here the consciousness reverts to Itself and stands on Its own status. It has not become aware of something. It is aware only of Itself.
27. Absolute Independence
Moksha, known also as kaivalya, or Absolute Independence, is not one of the stages of experience. It is all-experience melted into one mass of Being. All that was there earlier will also be found there. It is not that the earlier stages are forgotten and one has gone to some new thing altogether. We may wonder where are all these physical objects, these trees and mountains, these friends and relatives, this wealth and status, all these wonderful and beautiful things in the world. Where are they? Have they been left out somewhere, down below? No, not so is the truth. They have not been left behind. They have been transformed into the ‘reality’ that they are, and they will be seen as they are, and not as they appeared earlier. This is the great solacing message to all Doubting Thomases who imagine that they, perhaps, lose something valuable as they reach God, or attain liberation.
28. Science Cannot Give Us Knowledge
What is knowledge? It is an assimilation of the object into the consciousness. If I assimilate you in my consciousness, I know you, but if you stand outside as a stranger to me, as an object which is totally independent of me, I cannot know you. All knowledge is participation in the content thereof. Participation implies our capacity to enter into the nature of the object, and the capacity in the object to enter into the nature of our being, our knowledge; that is mutual assimilation of the nature of things. If I stand outside you totally and you stand outside me wholly, there would be no concourse between the two. I cannot know you and you cannot know me. This is what has happened to the scientific observations of modern times. If science is an observation of objects, regarding them as objects having nothing to do with the subjects which observe them, then science cannot give us knowledge.
29. Fear is Caused by Duality
To know you physically, chemically and biologically is not to know you, because physically, chemically, and biologically, one would be the same as the other. The same substance is in each person, each thing—the earth, water, fire, air and ether are the components of the physical body of each and every individual in the world, so that to study one body would be equal to studying any other body. Why are there many people and many things, if everything is equal in bodily structure? The scientific observation is tentatively useful for our physical and social life, but it is not real knowledge; by it nothing can be known, not even one atom, truly if it is ‘outside’. This world outside is a fantastic world. It has a tremendous, fearsome significance, for anything that is outside is a source of fear, anxiety and insecurity. There is a great saying in the Upanishad that fear is caused by duality.