A Conspectus of Human Life in its Aspect of Spiritual Evolution
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on February 24th, 1973)

Human perception causes the kind of knowledge which takes things in their isolated and disconnected capacity, on account of which there is attraction and repulsion for them. The philosophy of this sort of perception is given in the Bhagavadgita: Yat tu kṛtsnavad ekasmin kārye saktam ahaitukam, atattvārthavad alpaṁ ca tat tāmasam udāhṛtam (Gita 18.22). The Bhagavadgita regards this sort of knowledge as the lowest type of knowledge. That kind of knowledge which regards things in their individual capacity alone and takes the part for the whole, mistaking each entity for a complete substantiality and truth and thus giving rise to likes and dislikes in the mind, is the minimum of knowledge, the grossest of perceptions and the crudest type of understanding.

But unfortunately, we think that this is the only kind of knowledge available to us. For us, every person is complete by himself or herself. Everything is individually a whole, on account of which there is a like for the possession of certain things and a dislike towards other things we wish to avoid. This means to say, the philosophy itself is unfounded, basically erroneous, and as psychology is based on philosophy, our ideas and values regarding things are founded upon this fundamental mistake which we take for a correct perception. It is taken for the whole of truth. When a mother loves a child, the child is the entire truth for her. It is not a partial truth. When a miser loves his money, it is a whole truth for him. When a vainglorious egoist loves his position, that is the entire thing for him. Everything becomes entire.

The character of entirety is foisted upon a particularity. The attribute of completeness is superimposed on an individual which is really incomplete. Everything in the world is incomplete, whether it is a person or a thing. It is the incompleteness of a thing that is responsible for the evolution of that thing into higher forms of existence. Organic and inorganic evolution is the tendency of an incomplete something to grow into a more complete version of its own existence. Every finite thing grows higher and higher in its tendency to become wider and wider.

Restlessness is the character of the finite object. Change is inseparable from finitude. All individuality is incompleteness. Nothing that is seen as an isolated object can rest in itself for more than a single moment of time. The momentariness of things, the transitoriness of objects, the changeful character of the world is proof enough of the fact that no isolated part can rest in itself for a long time. Yet, we mistake the impermanent for the permanent, the individual for the universal, the particular for the whole, the external for the Absolute.

Well, this is tamasic knowledge, the lowest form of knowledge. Yat tu kṛtsnavad ekasmin kārye saktam: The knowledge that is attached to a particular effect alone and is taken for the all-comprehensive whole is the lowest kind of knowledge, which is our knowledge, scientific knowledge. The knowledge that is scientific and logical, of which we are so proud today, is in the eyes of the Bhagavadgita the lowest kind of knowledge. It is not a proud achievement but a folly on our part.

The earlier types of discoveries in science and in philosophy were all restricted to this type of knowledge. They pin their faith on bits of matter and forms of objects, basing their conclusions on these perceptions which were slowly, in the passage of time, given up for higher discoveries. Today we have scientific doctrines and theories which have risen above this crass perception of bits of matter called molecules, chemical substances and the like, and they are rising to a higher relativity of things mentioned in another verse of the Bhagavadgita, which is rajasic knowledge. The rajasic type of knowledge is higher than the tamasic type.

While the tamasic knowledge takes an individual for the whole, and each individual as complete by itself, the rajasic knowledge rises above this concept and recognises the interconnectedness of things and observes the relative character of this interconnectedness. Pṛthaktvena tu yaj jñānaṁ nānābhāvān pṛthagvidhān, vetti sarveṣu bhūteṣu taj jñānaṃ viddhi rājasam (Gita 18.21): Varieties are perceived. This is the higher type of knowledge when we see variety. In the lowest kind of knowledge we do not see even variety; we see only one thing. “My child is everything. There is no other existence anywhere except my child,” says the mother. “This is my house, my property, my field, my position, and I am concerned only with this one that is mine, and I do not even know whether anything else exists in the world.” That is tamasic knowledge. “My condition is the only thing that concerns me. The condition of other people, I am not concerned with. Their existence or non-existence does not affect me.” That is a tamasic appreciation of values. ‘Each for oneself’ is tamasic knowledge. One is not concerned with the other. But when one is concerned with the other and there is a mutual appreciation of values and a cooperation with others, that is rajasic knowledge. Here we have risen above the individualistic particularity of perception to the cooperative relativity of things. Though this is a higher kind of knowledge, the Bhagavadgita is not satisfied with it.

Mutual cooperative activity, though higher than individualistic selfishness, is not the highest kind of knowledge. While the lowest is the crass materialistic perception of the senses, the second, higher one is the intellectual perception of the relativity of objects.

But the highest form of knowledge is mentioned in a verse of the Bhagavadgita. Sarvabhūteṣu yenaikaṃ bhāvam avyayam īkṣate, avibhaktaṃ vibhakteṣu taj jñānaṃ viddhi sāttvikam (Gita 18.20): Sattvic knowledge is the highest kind of knowledge which does not perceive an interconnectedness of objects as if they are independent by themselves though cooperative among themselves, but recognises a fundamental basic universal Being at the background of this cooperation, relativity and interconnectedness. This is far above the tamasic individuality of selfishness. This is sattvic knowledge.

Here is the distinction among these knowledges. The lowest type of knowledge is tamasic which sees only individuals, each by itself and for itself. The higher knowledge, which is rajasic, is the mutual relationship among things: I am concerned with you and you are concerned with me. This is a socialistic type of knowledge, to which we have risen today, but we have not yet risen to the higher type of knowledge which is sattvic. The fundamental basic unity of things has not yet been perceived. The jungle type of living follows the law of the fish, as they call it, the larger one swallowing the smaller one. Though today we are gradually rising from the law of the jungle where each one flies at the throat of another and swallows the lesser one and have come to a socialistic kind of understanding of mutual appreciation of individual values, we are still far away from that highest type of knowledge which the Bhagavadgita designates as sattvic.

While the lowest is sensory knowledge, the next higher one is intellectual, rational   knowledge, and the highest is spiritual knowledge. So the three types of knowledge are sensory, intellectual and spiritual. We have not yet risen to the spiritual level of things. We are still in the rational and intellectual level only, though to a large extent we may be said to have risen above the sensory animalistic perception: sarvabhūteṣu yenaikaṃ bhāvam avyayam īkṣate, avibhaktaṃ vibhakteṣu taj jñānaṃ viddhi sāttvikam.

Also, in another context the Bhagavadgita says avibhaktaṃ ca bhūteṣu vibhaktam iva ca sthitam, bhūtabhartṛ ca taj jñeyaṃ grasiṣṇu prabhaviṣṇu ca (Gita 13.16); yadā bhūtapṛthagbhāvam ekastham anupaśyati, tata eva ca vistāraṁ brahma sampadyate tadā (Gita 13.30). These are all interconnected verses of a similar connotation wherein the mutual dependence of objects, the relativity of things, is observed to be rooted in the rock bottom of the Absolute. While the multiplicity may be there, it is seen to be based on an indivisible unity, and when we interpret righteousness, goodness and all values of life in terms of the existence of this Absolute, we are supposed to have the spiritual perception of things. The judgment of values has to be spiritual; only then can it be correct perception. Otherwise, it is faulty, and any kind of faulty knowledge will breed its own consequence of suffering.

We are not happy in spite of our education, notwithstanding that we have risen above the animal level of perception and come to what we call the human level of understanding. It only means that human understanding is not complete understanding. The level of humanity in the process of evolution is not the acme that evolution can reach. Evolution is an unending process, as it were. We do not know where it will reach finally. According to Henri Bergson, a great vitalistic philosopher, evolution is a universal process of things, which has neither a beginning nor an end. How it began, no one knows; where it will end, no one can say. In the words of Bergson, it is an unending process of the attempt of consciousness to overcome the barrier of matter. Matter obstructs the movement of spirit in the form of objects of sense, and there is a struggle against the spirit of obstructivity of matter. This is the tendency of what we call evolution. Where does this tendency reach, Bergson cannot say, but he has been wise enough to discover, at least, that spirit overcomes matter in its struggle for higher and higher forms of perfection, which is called evolution.

Well, drawing on the logic of this process, we cannot avoid the irresistible urge to conclude that spirit should overcome matter ultimately. While evolution is the attempt of the spirit to overcome the barriers of matter, the pinnacle or goal of this evolution should be the complete victory of spirit over matter wherein matter is absorbed into spirit and spirit reigns supreme, wherein there is the realisation of the Absolute Spirit. This is the goal of evolution, which is very pointedly mentioned in these three verses of the Eighteenth Chapter of the Gita.

The Bhagavadgita, as I may have mentioned, is a fund of all varieties of wisdom. We will find science, evolution, biology, and physics in the Gita. Every blessed thing is in the Bhagavadgita, if only we have the eyes to see it through the lines of the Gita. And when we reach this sattvic type of knowledge wherein the basic reality is recognised as the source of the variety that we see through the senses and understand through the intellect, we reach the goal of our life. Yadā bhūtapṛthagbhāvam ekastham anupaśyati: When we recognise the rootedness of all variety in the One; tata eva ca vistāraṃ: as the basis for the proceeding of all the variety; brahma saṃpadyate tadā: that itself is the realisation of Brahman. This knowledge is identical with the realisation of God. God is knowledge. The Absolute is consciousness. The realisation is the same as this wisdom. Sat is chit and ananda, as we call it. This existence of the Absolute is the consciousness of the Absolute. Spirit supreme reigning beyond the limitations of sense and understanding is the goal of life, towards which we are moving.

We have grown slowly from the lower stages of life, from matter to the vegetable kingdom, from there to the animal, and now we have come to the human level. This is not the end of evolution, but we are likely to mistake this for the complete achievement of consciousness. We, in our scientific prejudice, are likely to imagine that human knowledge is the final knowledge and that it is complete by itself. This is, unfortunately, not the truth. If human existence were to be the final achievement possible, we would not have an urge to grow further, to achieve more things, to be happier.

Why are we so miserable in our human existence? Because human life is incomplete. Human knowledge is not the whole of knowledge, and there are further stages of the evolution of the universe, of which the human level is only one link in the long chain of this process. What pushes us forward and urges us onwards is the existence of a higher principle beyond us. We become restless merely because of the fact that there is something higher above us. The very existence of something higher is enough to push us onwards.

The unconscious urge of the lower to realise the higher is evolution. When it is consciously manoeuvred, the process is called yoga. Unconscious movement towards the higher is evolution; conscious movement towards the higher is yoga. Yoga is nothing but conscious evolution wherein we do not contradict the evolutionary process but become aware of what is happening and are conscious of every bit of this process, and instead of blindly struggling against odds of which we have no understanding whatsoever, we consciously cooperate with this unavoidable process called evolution. That is yoga. So science and philosophy coalesce. Spirituality and scientific discovery are not opposed to each other, provided each one knows its own province of activity and understanding.

Thus, these few verses of the Bhagavadgita give us a conspectus of human life in its aspect of spiritual evolution. In the Fifteenth Chapter again we have various statements of the Gita bearing upon the same subject, if we read it with concentration of mind, taking us from the kshara to the akshara and to the purushottama. Dvāvimau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca, kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭastho’kṣara ucyate; uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ paramātmety udāhṛtaḥ, yo lokatrayam āviśya bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ (Gita 15.16-17). This again is a theme on the very same truth. There is a kshara and an akshara; there is a perishable and an imperishable. Beyond the perishable and the imperishable is the supreme principle. This also is a description of the very same process of evolution in another way. Pure materialism is limitation of consciousness to the perishable alone, the kshara. This is what we call crass materialism. We believe only in the objects of sense. Even consciousness does not exist for the materialist, nor does mind. There is only matter, and everything else that we call the mind, and so on, is only an offshoot, an exudation, of material objects and forces. This would be attachment to what the Bhagavadgita calls kshara, perishability.

How can matter be reality? The material processes are subject to change, which itself is proof enough of their instability and consequent unreality. But simultaneously with this existence of this changeful kshara, or prakriti, as it is sometimes called, there is the akshara, the perceiver, the cognising consciousness behind this kshara. It is akshara or, as we may put it, the object world and the subject consciousness. The object world is kshara; the subject consciousness is akshara. Consciousness is indestructible. The perishable body enshrines within itself an imperishable life. It cannot be destroyed with the destruction of the bodily forces. The kshara which is the body, the kshara which is the world, has immanent within it an akshara which is consciousness. The object and the subject are mutually related in this way, but neither of these can be called the ultimate truth because, as the Bhagavadgita has already pointed out, where one is related to another, it is only a rajasic type of knowledge. This is the sort of knowledge that the Sankhya philosophy advocates occasionally, where the purusha is related to prakriti, and vice versa.

But any kind of contact is the womb of pain. All contacts are sources of unhappiness, even the contact of purusha with prakriti, because Truth is not a contact, it is not a relationship, it is not a mutual connection of things because mutual connection, cooperation and relation imply a basic fundamentality. The Purushottama reigns supreme above the kshara and akshara: ato’smi loke vede ca prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ (Gita 15.18). The Supreme Being sits at the Virat – Purushottama, Ishvara. “Transcending the perishable universe and the imperishable perceiver, I reign supreme as the Absolute wherein the two are blended together into a union, a singleness of existence.” Many other verses from the Gita can be quoted to this purpose.

What we have to bear in mind in this context, therefore, is that our life is incomplete and human life is a preparation for higher achievement. All morality is the determination of the lower by the higher purpose. The good is that which is determined by the higher. Where the lower is determined by another lower, there cannot be a correct judgment. There must be a standard of reference which is higher than that which is to be judged. This is the law of righteousness. The wider and the deeper, the higher, the more comprehensive both in quantity and quality is to be the judge and the standard of reference in the evaluation of things in the world. Only then can we know what is good, what is right, what is just and what is lawful. Otherwise, if an ass is to judge an ass, there cannot be an understanding of what rectitude is.

Unless we rouse within ourselves this higher consciousness superior to the human understanding, we will not be able to judge what is right. We are apparently satisfied with our present laws because of the restriction of our consciousness to the present laws. When our understanding is merged in the circumstances in which we are steeped, we cannot know where we actually stand. That is the animal’s satisfaction. The animal’s mind is merged in the lot of the animal. It cannot have an understanding of what is above it. The animal does not know apparently that there is a higher consciousness called the human consciousness, and therefore, it is satisfied. A wolf is satisfied with being a wolf, a pig is satisfied with pighood, and so on. They cannot imagine there can be a higher form of life. And if man also is to be only in that condition of fully laying faith in his own lot, not knowing that there is a higher form of existence, how could he be regarded as higher than the animal?

But we say that man is superior to animals. In what sense is he superior? The only distinguishing character of the human being, the differentia in the life that is human, is that man can know what is good and what is righteous, whereas animals cannot know. We eat like animals, sleep like animals, and have fear like animals; we have all these lower characteristics of animals, but there is one thing in us which is not in animals. We know what is good and what is right, which animals cannot know because they are not so endowed.

How is it that we know that something is good and righteous? Because we are capable of having an envisagement of an existence slightly higher than our present lot. This is, therefore, in one sense, a linkage between the divine and the animal. While the divine transcends this complexity of doubt in the mind between divinity and animality, and while the animal is completely engrossed in the bodily consciousness, the human consciousness is midway between the divine and the animal so that we have animal instincts on one side and divine aspiration on the other side. While we are subject to the weaknesses of flesh and the rages of the body like the animals, we are at the same time restless with our present lot and seeking a higher state of existence. Thus, we are lower than the celestial and the divine, and yet higher than the animal.

This analysis should open our eyes to the fact that it would be folly on the part of any person to be satisfied merely with human perception, though it be a scientific perception, because as in the verse of the Bhagavadgita which I quoted, to mistake the particular for the entire, the individual for the whole, is gross knowledge, the lowest knowledge, and the cause of our pain. Bereavement, suffering, sorrow of every kind is the outcome of this sort of belief, which engenders attachment in the form of mineness: “This is my brother; he should be happy. Pray for his health and long life. If another’s brother may die, I am not worried.” This is the lowest kind of knowledge. Why should someone else’s brother die and our brother live? We pray for our children, our relations, for the prosperity of what belongs to us. This is tamasic knowledge. Where we pray for all, that is rajasic knowledge, but that is not enough. Higher than that, there is something which is the recognition of the Selfhood of things, atmatva. This is the final gospel of the Bhagavadgita, towards which we have to strive, which is the practice of sadhana.

The Bhagavadgita is a Brahma-vidya and a Yoga Shastra. It is a doctrine of the Absolute and also a description of the methodology of approach to this reality by way of practice. This practice is yoga. What is yoga? It is the adjustment of consciousness to the law of the Absolute. This is yoga. Or, if we would like to put it more mildly, it is the tuning of our consciousness to the next higher reality so that we go higher and higher, from the lesser to the wider.

Now, the tendency of consciousness to grow to a higher state of existence implies a restriction of those tendencies which limit us to the bodily existence and the perception of the particulars, the individuals; this restriction is called atma-vinigraha, or self-control. If we persist in entertaining animal tendencies, how can we be called human beings? So to be human implies automatically the necessity to control those tendencies of the animal. If the animal tendencies are to be given a long rope, where comes humanity in us? We do not attack people like a tiger or bite like a snake, though subconsciously these tendencies are still in us. We check these tendencies so that we may be human. This checking of the lower tendency is called self-control, sense-control.

In the same way as to be human we have to control the animal tendencies by putting a check over them, in order that we may be divine and godly we may have to transmute even the human qualities. Just as the animal instincts look unbecoming in the eye of a human consciousness, the human tendencies which look all right today are also very unbecoming and untrue from the point of view of divine perception. While evil and selfishness are bad from the point of view of the human perception because they are animal tendencies, what we call goodness and social life is also a limitation and to be outgrown in a higher divine consciousness.

So this is the way we have to constantly bring home to our mind that there is a higher purpose in our life so that our very restlessness in life becomes a fillip and a push to take us higher into the knowledge of that which transcends us, and we maintain ourselves by the hope of the achievement of a higher purpose. The higher pulls us towards itself. This irresistible urge of the pull of the higher is evolution, as I mentioned. That is why we cannot keep quiet even for a moment because the higher is pulling us. If the higher were not to pull us, we would be satisfied with our present state of life. We would not ask for anything. Desire, which keeps us restless and unhappy in life, is the blind groping of consciousness for the higher existence, for the higher form of life.

Desire is a blind groping; it is not a clear perception of things, yet it gives an indication that something is wrong with us. When we open our eyes to the meaning behind these desires and urges, we are said to be endowed with viveka or understanding, discrimination. This is the first prerequisite of spiritual enlightenment. Viveka, vairagya and shatsampat – this understanding of the higher purpose of life and an automatic detachment from the lower instincts, together with self-control, constitute the base sadhana for spiritual life.

This itself is not sufficient. These qualifications, viveka, vairagya, shatsampat, etc., are supposed to be only preparatory for the reception of the higher knowledge which is classified under what we call the shravana, manana, nididhyasana process. Even mere discrimination will not do. A mere attempt at self-control is not sufficient because spiritual knowledge is not the negative repression or the control of the senses merely, but a positive realisation of higher values.

We are a positive personality when we grow, not merely a transcendence of lower values. Merely giving up something wrong, bad or evil is not enough. We want to achieve something positive which is good, which is proper and which is just. How can we rest merely in a negative personality of having avoided something? As health is not merely absence of disease, spirituality is not merely control of the senses, but the positive achievement of a superior state of existence and perception and knowledge. Therefore, it is a state of freedom and bliss. We cannot have freedom and bliss merely by having avoided something or got out of some clutches. Positive is spirituality, positive is yoga, and in the earlier stages it is combined with a negative withdrawal from the limitations of sense and a purely rational approach.

This is the sum and substance of the fundamentals of yoga practice – the philosophy and methodology. This has to be applied in our life daily, because every day is a link in the chain of the development of our personality into spiritual life. Every day, every minute, every moment of our life is a link in the chain of our development, and every link has to be strong enough. If one link breaks, the whole chain will be broken, so every moment, every second, every minute of our life is a very strong link in this long chain of development which we call spiritual evolution.

Therefore, it is necessary to build up strong seconds, strong moments and strong minutes of our life. It should be positivity proper. This can be achieved by satsanga, the company of the wise, and meditation, which has a very wide meaning. Meditation means fixing our attention on all those necessary characteristics of a higher form of life, which includes svadhyaya, which includes japa, which includes self-control, which includes seclusion, which includes purity, which includes truthfulness, and so on – all characteristics of that which is higher.

The higher we go, the more we are freed from the clutches of sense and body. The lower we are in the evolutionary process, the more is the control of the senses over us. Senses become very uncontrollable when we live merely a bodily existence. We have a very strong appetite of the senses when we live a bodily existence only. The hunger of the senses becomes uncontrollable when the consciousness is dependent on the bodily processes. The more does consciousness get freedom from the clutches of bodily processes, the more does it also gain freedom from the activity of the senses.

Desire and anger, greed, malice, jealousy, etc., are psychological consequences of the limitation of consciousness by bodily processes. When we have these traits and inclinations in our mind, we may take it for granted that we are still living an animal life, though we look like a human being. Higher than the body and the sensory is the intellectual and literary. A purely scientific, philosophical and rational living is higher than the animal form of sensory living, but spiritual life is more than rationality, more than scientific existence and more than intellectual appreciation. We cannot understand in the present state of our life as to what spirituality really is because we are tethered to bodily consciousness, at best to the human way of perception. Therefore, when we try to understand spirituality and the nature of God, we are unconsciously trying to bring down the dignity of God’s being to the human level. We try to make a social God and interpret God from a social viewpoint. If God is useful to us, then we can approach Him; otherwise, we do not bother about Him. God has to be useful to us. This is the social interpretation of God.

A child of a big business magnate died. He had been praying and had done a lot of yajnas, but still the child died, so he wrote me a letter: “My child is dead. This only confirms my belief that God does not exist. If God did exist, the child ought to have lived.” This is the interpretation of God that we make. It is a commercial interpretation of God: “If I succeed in business, God exists. If I fail in business, He does not exist. If I make a profit, God exists; otherwise, He does not exist.” So this is our understanding, unfortunately. We are very educated people, very learned scholars, but look at our view of things: “If I am comfortable, God exists. If I am suffering and am tortured by the forces of the world, God does not exist. He cannot see me.” This is not true spirituality, it is comfortable spirituality. If it is conducive to our social and personal happiness, we go for it.

There was a lady who had a case in the court. Every day she was perambulating the temple for the whole day. I have seen it myself. The case failed and she stopped going to temple afterwards because her faith in God had gone.

This idea of God is very unfortunate. We have concocted a God like a robot, an engine or a machine to be useful to us for our practical convenience in our daily life. It is calculative, business-like, commercial, social, and personalistic. Such a God is no God, and He cannot help us.

Spirituality is different from all this. We cannot expect God to obey our command. We cannot and should not say, “God, do this.” Who are we to make God do certain things? We can only pray for the grace of God, whatever the form be in which it comes. We should not order God: “Let my business increase.” What is this sort of prayer, as if we know what ought to be good, what ought to be proper, as if we are omniscient?

This is the present type of interpretation of godliness in spirituality, which has become a trade these days, and a mockery, a joke, a humorous activity of people like any other form of business. It is good for nothing. It is worse than anything. We are not going to get anything from this God, from this kind of spirituality, but this tendency is in every one of us unconsciously. We may think that others are like this and we are not like this, but we are also like this. Go deep into your own subconscious and see that you expect something of a very comfortable type from God.

Impersonal love for God is unthinkable, but that is spirituality: “Heaven or hell, good or bad, pain or pleasure, God is my goal.” If this attitude is implanted in our hearts, we can be said to be real spiritual heroes. God does not come to us always in the form of satisfaction and pleasure of the senses and the body. It is not that God will always make us a prime minister. God may make us a beggar, because there is no connection whatsoever between divine justice and the human concept of good and satisfaction.

To be spiritual is to be impersonal to some extent, and this understanding is superior to the calculative understanding of human nature. Any give-and-take policy is a commercial policy, and if this policy is to be applied even to divine existence and God-being, heaven take care of us.

Today, the unfortunate condition of spiritual life, the humorous forms which yoga has taken these days in all parts of the world – as I mentioned, the form of a trade, as it were – this type of living is worse than having no yoga, no spirituality. Misapplication, abuse and misunderstanding are worse than not having any knowledge at all, and deliberate misuse is still worse. So we have to be guarded from all sides.

If we really want God, if we really want to be yogins, if it is true that we honestly ask for yogic perfection, this hypocrisy in our minds should go. We should not ask for consequences, results and commercial values to devolve upon us in our social and personal life. All this should be shed first; otherwise, what is vairagya, what is self-control? We keep cosily in our hearts the treasure of our personal prejudices of fulfilment of our own desires and do not want to give them up, and yet we seek God. Therefore it is that we do not find Him because, really speaking, we do not want Him.

So the scriptures give us a warning always that it is hard to find God because it is harder still to understand what God is, and more difficult to practise yoga. So let us be honest seekers of Truth, not hypocrites who put on the guise of yoga and practise the trade of spirituality. Nothing of the kind; this will not work. Do not put up an ‘International Yoga House’ advertisement or label in your house. No such thing will work. God is not interested in all these things. You may be an international yoga teacher, but the spiritual awareness has nothing to do with these advertisements, propagandas, labels and notice boards. Nothing of the kind. You should not have a notice board even in your mind, let alone outside. To love God and to be loved by God is difficult even to understand. Read the lives of saints, how they lived. They did not have international houses. They did not have palaces. They possessed nothing; they lived in rags, but they were the masters whom we worship today.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” ‘The poor in spirit’ is important to remember. When the world does not want us, God will want us, and when we are big in the eyes of the world, remember, we are small in the eyes of God. Difficult is spiritual life, difficult is religion, difficult is purity and goodness, harder is yoga, and God alone should come to our help. Therefore, daily prayer to God in this connection is essential.