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The Background of Thought
by Swami Krishnananda

An element in a well-ordered life is to have a stable background of thought. Most of us suffer due to an absence of this stability in our inner life; we depend mostly on conditions prevailing outside, and we may be said to be living more an outward life than an inward one. The outer conditions of life seem to be determining our personality to such an extent that whatever happens outside seems to have a direct bearing on our personal life. Like the winds that blow in different directions according to the vicissitude of seasons, our personality seems to shift its scene of activity and experience on account of such a precarious dependence on outer circumstances.

We are always in a state of mood, as we call it, either elated or depressed, on account of getting influenced by factors beyond our control. It is something like floating on the surface of the ocean and being tossed up and down, hither and thither by the violent waves, having nothing to say in the matter. This sort of life cannot be regarded as satisfying, because to be entirely in the hands of fate and chance occurrences would be a perpetual dying rather than a real living.

Most of us are in such a helpless condition, as it were, that we have to take into account everything that takes place outside without our having any say in the matter. This is the life of slavery. A slave is one who has no personal say in anything. Whatever he is ordered to do, he has to do, and his life depends not on himself but on something else. Whatever changes may take place in that ‘something else' will also be the corresponding change that takes place in one's own self. This is not a life of freedom, and therefore, it cannot be a life of happiness and peace.

We are unhappy for one reason or the other. Though the cause of the unhappiness may vary from one person to another, the consequence is the same. People may die for various reasons, but the result is that all die. The consequence is uniform: no one is happy, whatever be the cause behind it and whatever be the ultimate reference we make as to the originating factor of it. We cannot be slavish in our conduct of life and at the same time expect to be happy. A slave cannot be happy because slavery is selling oneself out to something other than what one is. We have sold ourselves, as it were, entirely into the hands of factors which we regard as more real than what we are endowed with in our own selves. This is a life of dependence, not a life of independence.

Sarvaṁ paravaśaṁ duḥkhaṁ (Manu 4.160): Whatever is dependent is a source of misery. Whatever be the extent of understanding of this situation of ours, it is not enough to solve the problem in which we have been involved. Our dependence is manifold. So complicated is this dependence that we have not found any time to bestow a thought upon it. People who have been born as slaves regard that slavish life itself as a kind of freedom. They have never enjoyed freedom in their life, never had good health, never heard a good word from people. That has become a normalcy for their life.

Some sort of situation of this character seems to be supervening in our personal lives – one and all, without distinction – so that we have mistaken this life of bondage for a life of freedom. Inasmuch as we have been born into bondage, we have never seen freedom, and do not know what it is. We mistake bondage itself for a sort of freedom and so we try to make the best of it, try to grab a jot of satisfaction or pleasure or happiness from this servitude in which we have been crushed by circumstance.

If we cannot be free, we regard our bondage itself as a kind of freedom. Submission is freedom. We go on submitting ourselves to any kind of thing that takes place, anything that is told and anything that happens, and that submission itself gives us a kind of vicarious satisfaction. This stupidity in which the human mind is involved, and out of which it tries to extract a little happiness, is what traditionally goes by the name of samsara, or earthly entanglement. We are somehow able to get on in life, though we are miserable. Notwithstanding the fact that we have not a ray of hope of achieving ultimate freedom in our life, we try to find some profit out of this subjection to circumstance.

All this is because we have no background in our lives. We are drifting like a straw in a violent wind. A dry leaf that is tossed hither and thither by the gale of wind outside has nothing to say about itself. Wherever we are tossed, we move in that direction. Because we are in this condition, we do not know what will happen to us tomorrow – what change will take place in our own lives tomorrow, or even after a few hours. Because of this difficulty, we are in a perpetual state of anxiety. Anxiety gnaws into our hearts on account of not being certain as to what would be our fate the next moment of our life. I do not necessarily refer to death, which is our very fierce guest that may confront us at any moment; but even not taking into consideration this ultimate difficulty of death, there are other circumstances which are also wholly unpredictable.

We cannot say what tomorrow's political condition will be. We cannot say what the attitude of our friend in regard to us will be tomorrow. We cannot say what would be the state of our health tomorrow. These are all smaller things than death, almost virtually equal to a destruction of our personal independence and freedom. Inasmuch as we are subconsciously in a state of insecurity, we are entirely unhappy in our personality. It is a disturbance that has taken place from within ourselves on account of an unconscious feeling of insecurity, unpredictability, and an unconscious yielding to whatever might happen. A word that is uttered, a behaviour that is confronted, a remark that is made, a little change in the weather – a small thing, a little occurrence or event can completely put us out of gear. Such is the independence that we enjoy in our life.

But the world is the world. The world cannot be other than what the world is. King Canute tried to stop the ocean waves. He ordered the waves to stop: “I am the king, the emperor. Stop, O waves.” But the waves said, “You mind your business. We are waves, and we have our own duty.” Canute's orders were not obeyed by the waves of the ocean, though he was king. Thus, we cannot order the events of life, inasmuch as these events and occurrences seem to be beyond the operation of our capacity or power.

Then what is our fate? We know what has happened to us. As I said, we try to make the best out of the circumstances. There is an old proverb: If you go to a land where people eat snakes, you try to eat the centre of the snake. It means to say, you become better, even there. Don't eat the tail of it. This is what we call somehow or other dragging through life, and it cannot be called living life. Inwardly we are in turmoil. Outwardly we seem to be trying to adjust ourselves to this turmoil, so we are perpetually in a mood of adjustment to conditions and circumstances that are not under our control. Thus, from birth to death it is a life of suffering and subjection to an unpredictable future.

But a yearning of the soul, a longing that is trying to speak in a language other than linguistic, tells us that we have a sort of future which cannot and need not be a total violation of freedom, or a negation of the fulfilment of the longing. This hope is an insignia that has been implanted in us by providence, pointing to our ultimate destiny. A comprehension of this ultimate possible destiny of our life should be the centre of our life and the background of our thoughts, emotions and actions.

Generally, an example of a tortoise is given to tell us how we have to conduct ourselves under pressing conditions of life. The tortoise thrusts its head outside and moves forward in any direction it likes, but whenever there is a sensation of danger or even a slight movement of anything outside, it has a background of its own. It withdraws itself into its shell, and it seems to be safe there. The shell cannot be pierced or attacked. Whenever there is fear of any kind, the child runs back to its mother and sits on her lap. It is safe there because the ultimate protecting factor is taken as the refuge, which is the solution for all anxieties, for all fear, and for all unhappiness.

Have we in our life any such background of thought? If we are tormented because we cannot understand the processes of life outside, what are we supposed to do? Where are we to withdraw ourselves? We have not found such a centre of our life. We have lost our centre; we have been thrown out of the moorings of our life, and therefore, we drift from centre to centre in order to find solace and refuge. As the centre has been lost, we are still moving on the periphery, the circumference, searching for the centre alone.

Now, no man can be said to have fully discovered this centre of life because the proof is in the eating of the pudding, as they say. We have the demonstration of the futility of human effort in the unhappiness of mankind as a whole. You are not happy, I am not happy, and no one is happy, for a common cause – namely, that we have not yet been able to find a centre for our thoughts. If the thought of our mind could find a centre to rest which it can take as stable enough to protect it from all danger, then that would be a source of happiness for the mind and for the thought. But we are still searching. For ages we have been searching, but the centre has not yet been found. How is it that for centuries people search and cannot find it? It is because of a wrong methodology employed in this search, an erroneous procedure that has been adopted, and a misconception that has been entertained in our hearts from the beginning, right from childhood, in regard to the characteristic of this centre.

In India's ancient culture there are two prominent terms which speak a word of wisdom on the entire range of human aspiration and enterprise. Satya and dharma, truth and law – these two terms, which occur originally in the Vedas and in almost all the scriptures of India, tell us what our centre is about, and what also is the possible character or nature of our duty in regard to this satya, or truth. The centre which we are searching for or seeking is what we call satya, truth. The truth of things is the centre of things. Our centre is the truth behind us. Our personality is not our truth. We have, most of us, a put-on personality which is a camouflage that we are masquerading with for the sake of getting on with the uncontrollable laws that operate outside us.

The centre of our own selves is our deepest resource, which can come to our aid when we are almost alone in the world, unbefriended and unsupported. That is our truth; that is our substance. Who will help us when we have no friends anywhere, when we have nothing to eat and nothing to clad ourselves with? When the winds of the world seem to be blowing everywhere, counter to our wishes, when we have lost the very ground under our feet, who will help us? Who will be our support? What will be the anchor for our life at that moment? That is the truth of our nature, which we have not yet discovered because we have been searching for it elsewhere on account of its uncomfortable character.

The truth of our nature is not always very pleasant. The unpleasant nature of truth is unveiled before the senses and our mind; we dread its perception, and even its thought. Would we like to know what we really are? We would not like to know it because if we are opened threadbare and exposed to the world in our utter simplicity and substantiality, we would be quite a different person from what we appear in society.

There is an accretion of psychological growth which we have regarded as our personality and which we hug with great devotion and affection. The social personality, the egoistic personality, the desireful personality, the greed personality, the anger personality, the vindictive personality and many other personalities have grown over us, over the truth of our nature, like moss. When these personalities have grown for years, they become so hardened that the core over which they have grown gets completely submerged. We are only the moss that has grown over, and the inner core has been completely lost sight of.

We dread truth both outwardly and inwardly. Though we say truth triumphs, we are afraid of truth for the reason that the law of truth, the dharma of satya, is not always in conformity with the call of our senses and the desires of our mind. Dharma and satya go together like the light of the sun and the orb of the sun. If the orb of the sun is satya, or truth, the radiance of the sun is dharma, or law. Law is nothing but truth manifesting itself; and truth, if it manifests itself in life, becomes a restraining principle. Dharmaraja is also called Yamaraja. The king of righteousness or justice, who dispenses justice to people, is called Yama in Indian mythological parlance. Yama is one who restrains, controls, subjugates, and sees that people abide by the law. One who sees to it that the law is not violated is Dharmaraja, also known as Yamaraja. The principle behind dharma is that truth should not be violated because dharma and satya, law and truth, are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. We cannot be happy in life when we completely ignore the call of dharma and satya.

We have our own definition of dharma and our own definition of satya, no doubt. We have various degrees of righteousness and truth – the vyavaharika and the pratibasika. The apparent and the practical aspects are what mostly attract our attention. Utility is regarded by us as the test of truth. This is the pragmatic criterion that we generally employ in judging things by collecting evidence, weighing the evidence on a balance, and seeing how far it conforms to accepted major premises in the arguments of justice and law. But people even today have never been able to find out to their fullest satisfaction what this ultimate law or ultimate righteousness is, because that which varies from person to person or from condition to condition cannot be called a perpetual source of dharma.

We make a distinction between what are known as samanya dharma and visesha dharma, the general principle of righteousness and the modified form of it to suit particular instances. We are mostly concerned with particular instances, and have forgotten the principle of law behind it which will operate for all times. We call it the philosophy of law, and not merely the application of it. Its philosophy is a consonance with truth in general, and so long as our mind is in consonance with this ultimate regulative principle, naturally the mind draws sustenance and satisfaction from it.

Dharmo rakṣati rakṣitaḥ (Manu 8.15): When you protect dharma, they say, dharma protects you. When we abide by law, law protects us or takes care of us. This is because it is a call of the centre of life. The righteous conduct is an external demonstration of the inward call of truth with which our actions, thoughts and feelings have to be consonant. Whenever we are tossed by the winds of life, what are we supposed to do? We should withdraw ourselves to this ultimate background. The moment we withdraw ourselves to this background, as we go home after our office work, we are safe from the worries of day-to-day life.

If we are to be happy, we have to find the centre of our being and a background for our thought by detecting or discovering this centre in the place where it is, and not in the place where it would appear to be. Generally, we try to discover this centre in outward circumstances and objects of sense. That is the reason why we are very busy from morning to evening throughout the day and pass our lives in this manner by judging ourselves in terms of objects and outer conditions, thus not discovering a perpetual common denomination of happiness. Though by a difficult adjustment that we make in our conscious life we seem to be satisfied, inwardly we are shaken and feel very miserable. When the wind blows, the branches of the tree shake violently but the root is not shaken; but if an earthquake takes place and there is a complete shaking of the root itself, then the tree will not survive. The outer circumstances may be like shaking leaves, but the inward part of our life should be like a stable root. If we are to be satisfied with ourselves, we should have a centre in ourselves, and not seek it elsewhere under conditions which are not under our control.

To seek this centre, to find this centre, to enter into this centre, has been our perennial effort throughout the day and night, and when it is discovered, it comes like a startling revelation. It rises before us like the bright sun coming from the horizon; and like the mist vanishing before the rising sun, our difficulties vanish before the revelation of this truth. To find the centre in ourselves would be to seek the truth of our nature, which would be ultimately the truth of the nature of all people; and to be in consonance with the nature of this centre in our self is the dharma of our life. Our duty is our dharma, and our duty is in consonance with our real nature.

We have been defining dharma, or duty, by transferring the character of this centre of ourselves to other aspects of our life which are workable and necessary and yet do not exhaust the nature of truth. We have various kinds of duty such as social duty, duty to others, duty to nature, duty to the Creator, and so on, which are extensions of the application of this law of our centre in terms of the nature of our perceptions, cognitions and appreciations in the world, while really it is a consonance of our conduct with our own nature.

We will realise on a careful analysis that the truth or the centre of our life is an indivisible unit, and not a ramified or distracted conglomeration or a composite. We are not divided in our own being. You know very well that you are an undivided centre in yourself. You cannot be divided or cut into parts because even if you are to be divided, your awareness of the division is undivided. You cannot be divided because it is the basic fundamental. If that can be divided, it cannot be the fundamental; there must be something behind it yet. To be in harmony with an indivisible centre or a unit of being would be also to conduct oneself in such a manner that it is not in any way dissonant with the centres of a similar nature also discoverable in other persons and other things. This is a very difficult concept to swallow because the relationship between two centres, two substantialities of two persons between or among themselves, is difficult for the mind to understand inasmuch as the centre of another person or another thing is mistakenly regarded as an object of perception.

Well, it is not so. Just as the centre of your being is not an object of your perception – it is an intuitionally accepted fact in your own nature – so also the centre or the ultimate substance of any person and any thing in the world is such an intuited non-objective something which has to be appreciated by everyone in a manner suitable to its nature.

We find it hard to observe the law of dharma and to proclaim the nature of truth in the world because we cannot appreciate the truth or the centre of other things and other persons, except in an objective manner. When we do not objectify our centre and our substantiality – we regard it as a pure subject which has an intrinsic worth of its own – how is it that we externalise that very same centre and substance in other persons and things? This is the error of thought, a mistake in our thinking. A centre is that particular something which cannot be externalised. The moment it is externalised, it ceases to be a centre. It becomes a radius, a circumference, a periphery, a boundary, an object, and so on.

What we are thinking of now is to find a centre and to appreciate and recognise that centre as it is. That would be the dharma of that centre – the dharma of satya, the righteousness of the law, as they call it. We find this hard because we have been taught to think in terms of sensory operations, activities of the senses, and not intuitively. Truth is intuitive; it is not sensory, it is not psychological, it is not cognitive, it is not perceptional. It is very difficult to understand what intuitive comprehension is. We cannot adequately describe what intuitional comprehension of the centre is because all that is described is of the nature of an object or an externality. The only example of an intuitively comprehended object is our own centre, our own truth, ourselves. We know the substance, the worth, the meaning and the intrinsic value of ourselves intuitively by a supernormal, super-sensory grasp. We never externalise ourselves and judge ourselves as we would judge another person. We do not like to punish ourselves as an object of infliction. We are something indescribable for ourselves, so certain and so sure, so indubitable, the centre of all proof and argument, from which all arguments and proofs proceed, so that it is an accepted fact. Accepted by what? Not by perception, not by logical deduction. It is by a means which is not sensory, not psychological, not intellectual. We do not know our existence by intellectual arguments, logical deductions, sensory perceptions, or memory, etc. We know it by another means altogether, which can best be described as an intuitive grasp.

Now, this is the nature of our centre, and this is the nature of the centre of anything – any object, any person anywhere. If we can appreciate the centre of other persons and things in a similar manner in an intuitive grasp, that would be to abide by the truth of the law, and the law as it is in itself. But this has become an impracticability for us in our life, inasmuch as we never have an intuitive grasp of people, of objects. We have only a sensory perception of things. To us, other people are only sensory objects because they are seen with our eyes, they can be touched, they can be sensed by one of our senses, and they are ‘others'. We define what is not ourselves as ‘others', and this ‘otherness' is what spoils our whole effort in the comprehension of the centre of people.

The centre, may it be remembered again, can never be grasped by observation, experiment or perception. We cannot know or see the truth of another person or thing by opening our eyes, gazing at things, or by logical deductions of any kind, which is why they always remain an outside stranger to our nature; therefore, we have a tug of war with every person and every object in the world. We are at war with things because they are outside. Who invades our realm? Only an outsider, a stranger. People in the world, things outside, have become strangers because we have been treating them as sensory objects right from the beginning. What a pity! We regard a human being as a sense object. We regard an object outside as a content of our senses and our mental operation, quite different from the manner in which we try to appreciate our own self. Do we regard ourselves as an object of perception and a sensory content? Nothing of the kind. And do we accept that other people are like us? Yes. But why do we regard them as sense objects? Helpless – we are helpless, and this helplessness has put us into a helpless condition of dependency in factors beyond our control.

The law of the world is the law of the intuitive comprehension of Reality. It is not the law of sensory perception that operates. The law of nature is quite different from what we see as operating through our senses. The fundamental law of nature is unknown to us because just as we are a centre intuitively comprehended, nature in its totality is also an object of intuitive grasp.

This bifurcation of nature outside, an object outside, and ourselves as subjects has created this difficulty of samsaric existence. This is the war between the Devas and the Asuras which we read about in the Devi Mahatmya every day – the battle between the virtuous and the vicious, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. This is the fight between the subject and the object, consciousness and matter, purusha and prakriti, yin and yang – whatever we may call it. So many terms are used, but they are all one and the same thing finally: the battle perpetually waged between the inward and the outward, the spiritual and the material, the intuitive and the sensory, the Devi and the Asura, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. All these are the perpetual occurrences in the day-to-day existence of things, all on account of a single dichotomy that has been created in our nature by sensory life and intuitive life.

As long as we are drifting in the world of sensory existence, we cannot be happy, as the Kauravas were not happy despite all their mighty army. We have a large expanse of the world, like the huge army of Duryodhana, but it is only a quantitative expansion without a qualitative vitality in them. That vitality has been lost because the substance, the value in things, is the intuitive centre in things, which is completely lost sight of on account of our weddedness to sensory perception.

Spiritual life commences when we accept the necessity for this intuitive recognition of the centre of things. Though we may not be able to recognise it, we have to at least be able to accept the necessity to accept it. When we aspire at least for this supreme recognition of the centre of all life, we are said to be mumukshus, or aspirants after Truth. At least we feel the necessity for it, though we have not been able to find a methodology to discover it. With this acceptance of the existence of a supernormal reality beyond our sensory comprehension, we become open to the operation of forces which will sustain us. The greatest sadhana that we can perform is to move earth and heaven and leave no stone unturned in the recognition of this centre.

This is spiritual meditation proper. This is the contemplation into which we have to make the mind enter in its spiritual practices. It cannot enter into this truth of things directly from the outward sensory life by a single blow or hit of meditation. This has to be done very slowly, gradually, by a systematised unfoldment of the outward involvement of the mind in material conditions by abhyasa and vairagya, as the Bhagavadgita tells us. By practice of the character of truth and by withdrawal of our interest in things which are purely sensory, we keep ourselves open to the inflow of the nature of truth in our own selves. When we begin to appreciate the principle of intuitive substantiality in all persons and things, we become inwardly connected with their deeper realities. Outwardly we may be separated; inwardly we become one.

The moment this art of recognition of the centre of things is learned, this is the art of yoga. It is the union of the substance within us with the substance in the cosmos outside. This is the yoga we are striving for. It is not the union of two objects, two persons, two things or two factors isolated from each other. It is a bare awareness of the fact of there being no such dichotomy at all. While we are outwardly and in sensory life separated and seem to have a battling element in us, inwardly we are at the bottom connected by this centre which cannot be externalised. This non-externalised centre can only be one. This is the wonder of it.

I began by saying that we have a centre in ourselves which cannot be objectified or externalised, which we grasp intuitively. And I also said that this centre is in every person and every thing. Now, inasmuch as we have various persons and various things in the world, we are likely to make a mistake in thinking that centres are many, like the many purushas of the Sankhya. They are not many really; they are many only apparently. Because of an inability to comprehend the character of this centre, we are still subconsciously externalising it and regarding centres as manifold.

There is a famous statement of Neo-Platonist origin: “This is a centre which is everywhere.” We cannot think of a centre that is everywhere. Such a thing is never seen anywhere in the world. The centre of a circle is only in one place; it cannot be everywhere in the circle. But this is a centre which is everywhere in the sense that it has a uniform characteristic. However much we may scratch our head, we cannot understand what all this means because we have never seen such a thing in our life. With effort of thought we have to subdue the old habit of thinking, cultivate a new habit altogether in a reoriented form, and strive to learn this art of Yoga proper, which is the system introduced for the appreciation and recognition of the centre that is everywhere. Because the centre is everywhere, the circumference can be nowhere. We have heard this said many times, and we dismiss it as a joke and a humorous gesture made by an old philosopher, but he has said the ultimate truth of things. We call it the Atman in Sanskrit, and the great Neo-Platonist said it is a centre that is everywhere – the Atman which is everywhere.

We are always likely to think the Atman is within us. How can it be everywhere? When it is within us, naturally it is very clear. It is within you, and within that person, and within this object, and so on. So there are many ‘withins'. Naturally we are led, due to a sensory interpretation of this centre, to regard it as manifold, or a multitude of intuitively grasped subjects, or purushas. This is absolutely far from the truth. The Atman, which is the centre of our being, is also the centre of other beings, organic or inorganic. Inasmuch as they are uniformly spread, they can only be one ultimately, and yet we have to comprehend this uniformity of centre or Atman without bringing the idea of circumference or externality.

The moment we think of a centre, we cannot help thinking of a radius or a circumference, but this is a centre without a radius and circumference. This is an inwardness without an outwardness. When we say it is the Atman within, well, it is all right, wonderful; but it is not such a kind of within as to isolate itself from the without. That is the meaning of saying the centre is everywhere with circumference nowhere. If we can comprehend such a situation where there can be an inwardness without a corresponding outwardness, that would be the Atman, but we cannot think such a thing. That is why we are unable to meditate. Meditation has become a problem because the mind is unable to grasp what it is that is before it. It has become a hard job sweating and scratching, but nowhere ending. It begins nowhere and ends nowhere.

The spiritual effort is a psychological novelty in our life, and it is not something that we have been accustomed to or which we have been habituated to see with our eyes. By the effort of logical analysis, when we come to this conclusion of the true nature of the Being of all beings, we need not be told as to what righteousness is or what dharma is. When we know what truth is, we will also know what law is. When we know what satya is, we will automatically know what dharma is. We need not be taught about it. We will not put a question about what dharma, what law, what righteousness is. First of all know the centre; find your Being, and when you find your Being, you have found the Being of others also.

Our problem in meditation and in spiritual practice in general is that we cannot escape this old grandmother's habit of externalising the centre and interpreting it in a sensory fashion. Though we may say that God is everywhere, for us He is a sense object only. However much we may think otherwise, it would be impossible to comprehend in any other manner. This is the influence of sensory perception on our life – so deep and so hard to overcome that whatever be our effort at the recognition of truth, we give it a colour of untruth. The character of an object is foisted on the universal subject, and that is why the mind hankers after pleasure in spite of trying to seek the centre in meditation. We have not been able to overcome our weaknesses yet because of the fact that the senses have not left us fully; we are still under their clutches. The readings that we make of life are only sensory readings, empirical appreciations which disturb our meditation and our effort at spiritual practice.

So we have to learn again. Every day we have to humiliate ourselves and come to the simple conclusion that we have not yet reached even the boundary or the fringe of the recognition of what the truth is. God and the soul are supposed to be one ultimately. The universal is in all the particulars. The ocean is in every drop of it, as we know very well. In every drop there is the ocean. Likewise, the supreme Brahman is in every Atman – so much in the Atman that we cannot know which is the Atman and which is Brahman, just as when we touch the waters of the ocean we cannot say whether we are touching the drop or the ocean. They are indistinguishable. They are different only from the point of view of interpretation and envisionment; they are really one and the same thing.

This uniformity of intuitive recognition is what abolishes the externality of things and persons and makes us appreciate the central character of objects and persons, so that when we look at the world, we do not look at the world really. It is something like looking at a drop and seeing the ocean there. When we look at the drop in the ocean, we are seeing the ocean only, though psychologically we can estrange ourselves into the conception of a drop, which we have done already in our samsaric life. We are seeing the same thing and not two different things, and yet thinking in different ways. From one side it looks as purusha, from the other side it looks as prakriti. From this side it is the Atman, from the other side it is Brahman. Here it is subject, there it is object. But it is one and the same thing that looks as this here, and that there.

The spatial and temporal limitations have made us think in this manner. Space divides, time bifurcates, and when these two factors have introduced themselves into our experience, we cannot help dividing objects into one and the other, and ultimately make a fundamental distinction between the subject and the object of perception. These are only outward interpretations; they are not fundamental differences. The distinctions that we make in our life as subject and object, etc., are all various ways of interpreting and envisaging, and not a real distinction that is drawn in truth.

Truth is a centre; let us remember it again for the purpose of our meditation. Satya or truth is a centre which is in us, which is in others, which is in other objects, and it is non-externalisable; it cannot be externalised. Therefore, it is not possible to see this centre through the senses. We cannot see the centre of another person, because the moment we begin to see it, it has become an object. Just as we cannot see our own centre as an object, we cannot see the other centre as an object. But when we begin to see the centre of other things in the same way as we comprehend our centre, that would be to really appreciate other people and things. Then the war ceases. There will be no Mahabharata or Ramayana afterwards. A new revelation will supervene; a flood of light will be thrown on our existence in such a way that existence itself would become consciousness. Sat becomes chit. Our centre is our existence ultimate, and this ultimate existence and centre is that which is the existence and centre of others also, indivisibly connected with us – indivisibly connected, not externally related. This is the satta or the Pure Existence of things, the knowledge of which, or illumination of which, is the realisation of God.

When we realise, or come to a comprehension of, or become aware of this centre which is everywhere – the Existence and the Atman of all things – we realise God, or we realise the Absolute. So God-realisation, which is the goal of life, is the realisation of sat-chit-ananda, the Pure Existence which is at once the illumination of the fact of life. This is the background of our thought, to be entertained always, and to which we have to revert whenever we have problems.