(Spoken on February 27, 1973)
Knowledge comes slowly, through a process of evolution. It does not come immediately. The more we grow in knowledge, the more we become approximate to the structure of Reality. The process of evolution is very gradual. There are no leaps and bounds in nature, and we cannot get a double promotion. Everyone has to pass through every stage. All the geniuses of the world have passed through all the stages through which we have passed and through which we are passing now.
The patterns of creation are eternally set, and every soul has to pass through every pattern, which we call the yonis or the species of creation. Our scriptures tell us there are 84 lakhs of species, or patterns of existence, moulds of creation into which we are cast, of which human life is one. We have passed through various stages of evolution from mineral to plant, from plant to animal, and then to the insect, the reptile, the frog, the lizard, the tiger, the elephant, and everything. We have passed through all these stages, and come to the human level. There are 84 lakhs of species, and in each species we may take several births. So we can imagine how many births we must have taken to come to this human level, and yet we do not seem to have come even to the borderland of Reality. Most of us are far, far away from it. We look through the five senses and see only the external world, and not Truth.
We have to go higher still, wherein the relation between the seer and the seen world gets narrowed down gradually until this relationship merges into a unity of perception. The nearer the object to the seer, the greater is the knowledge of it and the happier we are about it. The farther the object of perception from us, the lesser is the knowledge we have of it and the less happy we are so that, logically speaking, the merger of the object in consciousness should be the ultimate bliss of consciousness. When the object of perception merges into us, we realise the ultimate bliss.
At present the world is outside us, external to us, and we seem to possess objects artificially by a contact which is subject to bereavement at any moment. We do not know when we will lose what, because we have possessed nothing, really speaking. The so-called worldly possession is an artificial concoction of human understanding. It is not a real relationship at all. All contacts are wombs of misery. Ye hi saṁsparśajā bhogā duḥkhayonaya eva te (Gita 5.22), says the Bhagavadgita. You cannot be happy as long as your source of happiness is contact with the objects. And the yoga of bliss, or divine realisation, is non-contact. It is realisation. In the realisation of the Absolute, or the God Supreme, you do not come in contact with an object but you blossom into an experience which is far more universal than the limited experience of your logical universals.
When you rise from dream to waking life, you do not come in contact with the objects. But why are you happy when you wake up from dream? You had a nightmare yesterday, and you wake up from this fear of the dream and wipe your eyes with satisfaction, “Oh, I am in the world of reality,” not because you have come in contact with anything, but you have risen to a higher level of consciousness. So bliss, delight, satisfaction, happiness are only synonyms of a condition of consciousness and not a relationship with objects, though in our ignorance, in our untutored condition, we mistake contact for happiness.
When you scratch an itch, you feel happy. Do you know why you feel happy? Has anybody analysed the reason why you feel happy when you scratch itches? The reason is not known to anybody, except perhaps to technically trained medical men. You go on scratching, but you do not know why you are scratching and how the happiness comes. Well, happiness can come from anything. You rub your eyes and there is happiness. You scratch your head and there is happiness. You twitch your legs and there is happiness. There is happiness in everything. The reason is that you have lost your balance; imbalance is the cause of restlessness, and restlessness is the cause of unhappiness.
If the blood circulation in a particular part of the body is not normal, it causes itching. This is the pathological reason behind happiness in the scratching of itches. The particular part of the body which is itching is not organically related to other parts of the body in a harmonious manner, and when you scratch you create blood circulation more profusely; therefore, you feel happy. You temporarily become more normal by allowing the flow of blood into that particular part of the body by scratching; therefore, you feel happy. You become more normal, more organic, more vital, more integrated, more natural to yourself. That is why scratching of itches causes happiness. So the scratching itself is not the source of happiness. The source is something else which is more organically connected with your being itself. This is the explanation of every kind of satisfaction.
This is a very difficult psychology, but when you go deep into it you will find that no happiness can be there when there is imbalance of personality or error of perception. The more perfect is your perception, the more normal is your personality and more integrated is your being, the happier you are, and the more natural you become to yourself. The highest natural being is God, and so the more you approach Him, the happier you are. Saints and sages such as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Saint Mira, Surdas, Tukaram used to go into raptures by the very utterance of the name of God. One word, ‘Hari, Krishna, Narayana,’ will do. They would go into ecstasies, just as a thief or a miser goes into ecstasies if you say ‘millions’, ‘crores’. Oh, immediately he is happy. The very word ‘crore, million, trillion, billion’, all these words give great happiness. Likewise, saints and sages would go into spiritual ecstasy with the utterance of the name of God because the universal completeness entered into the fibre of their nature.
You do not know what it is for God to enter the human personality. No human being can understand it, no one can explain it because it is life entering into a dead corpse. What is life entering into a corpse? You know what difference it makes for life to enter a corpse. Only a dead person would know what it would be to realise it. If a person blind from birth gains sight completely, what difference will it make? If a blind person who has never seen anything from his childhood suddenly he gains sight, what difference will it make to him? If a beggar who has not seen more than a rupee in his life gets millions in a day, what difference will it make to him? If a newly married wife who receives the news that her husband is dead in a war suddenly gets news that he is alive and he has come, how happy she will feel? All these comparisons are poor apologies to the delight the personality feels when God enters the heart. It purifies, it burnishes, it chastens, it enlivens, it brightens, and it fills you with the nectar of the deathless fundamental Reality. Words of the human tongue are imbecile, impotent before this might of the magnificence of God.
Can you imagine what are the resources of this world? It has unlimited resources. This earth which has such resources is only a tiny spec in the vast space of creation. The whole universe is only a word before us. We do not know what it is, how vast it is. All its resources, the entire reaches of the whole cosmos, which we cannot even imagine in our mind, are only a partial manifestation of the Absolute. Pādo'sya viśvā bhūtāni tripādasyā'mṛtaṁ divi (Purusha Sukta 2): A little part is manifest as this whole cosmos, and the major part of the Absolute is unlimited, beyond perception. When you realise it, what will happen to you? You do not know what will happen. All senses will melt like butter before fire. The bodily individuality will sink into the bottom of being. It is in this condition that great geniuses such as Tukaram wrote their abhangas and sang in ecstasy. Whatever they spoke were scriptures. The songs of Mira, the beautiful ecstatic bhajans of Surdas, and the abhangas of Tukaram are scriptures because they are words of spirit that manifested themselves from the super-individualistic experiences of the saints.
The larger you become in your personality, the more happy you become, so that when the personality expands into the cosmic individual, which is Ishvara, or God as He is called, you become happier. Now your individuality is tiny. It is a puny pigmy that you call your individuality, and so the happiness is also a drop, and that too, a scattered drop. When the individuality expands, the comprehensiveness of understanding and joy also expands, so that Ishvaratva, the supremacy of God-being, is the inclusiveness of the whole of creation. In that experience, the world becomes your body, and there it is that you become deathless, immortal.
To reach this state, daily meditation is to be practised, a process of meditation by which you gradually exceed the limitations of your bodily individuality. You go on including more and more of the outer world into your consciousness so that your consciousness grows, expands, becomes larger and larger until it encompasses the whole cosmos. That meditation of consciousness in which it absorbs its object into itself is the samadhi that yogis speak of. It is the omniscience which the scriptures declare. It is the immortality which the Vedas proclaim, the absorption of the object into consciousness. This is divinity, this is spirituality, this is divine life.
Where the object remains outside consciousness, that is mortality, death, destruction, and misery, earthly existence. The difference between mortal life on earth and the immortal essence of God is that in the earthly life of mortality the objects are cut off from our consciousness and they are outside. Everything is external to us, of which we have no full knowledge and over which we have absolutely no control. But God-being is the absorption of the object into the consciousness where the thinker and the thought-of are one and the same. It is impossible for the mind to understand, and difficult for the intellect to grasp.
Spirituality is not a matter of understanding; it is a question of practical being. God is being. He is not an understanding or an appreciation of values. We call God the Supreme Being, Pure Existence, Satchitananda Svarupa. Therefore, daily meditation should imply and include the natural control of the senses, which is opposed to God-consciousness and spirituality, and this is the sublimation of all urges of lower instincts in our body and mind and a gradual growing into the purity of humaneness and godliness. To think God is to melt the personality, to surrender oneself to the Absolute. To think God is to purify our personality and to destroy all the past sins of previous lives. All our actions of previous lives will be burnt to ashes by the fire of wisdom, by the ignition of knowledge. Ages of darkness can be destroyed by a moment’s rise of the sun. For ages and ages the earth has been in darkness, but how much time does the sun take to illumine it? Does it take ages? In a minute the sun is illumining the earth although the darkness has been there for millions of years. Likewise, all the sins of the past, whatever they be, are reduced to ashes the moment there is illumination of God. Before Him, nothing can stand; no evil, no Satan, no Mara can work before Him, just as all the evils of our dream vanish the moment we wake up into the waking condition. This is difficult for the mind to grasp.
A daily persistent practice of meditation is essential by a chant of the name of God, by japa of mantras, prayer, study of the Bhagavadgita and the Srimad Bhagavata, company of mahatmas, saints and sages, and an honest determination within to live a pure life of chastity, charity, godliness, and God-love. The greatest and the most important quality that is expected of a spiritual seeker is love for God, mumukshutva. If mumukshutva, or yearning for the freedom of the soul, is absent, all our practices will be null and void.
So the divinity should be planted in the very aspiration itself. Where the element of God is present, everything is pure. Where it is absent, everything is impure; however much soap we may apply, it is impure and dirt. But where the name of God is taken, where purity of heart is present, everything is lustrous and brilliant. That very moment when we have forgotten the existence of God, that moment we are in hell. Hell is only forgetfulness of God, and heaven is remembrance of Him. We will be in hell the moment we forget Him. There is no doubt about it. All the sufferings of our life are due to forgetfulness of this ultimate fact of life, and the moment that it is remembered and we make this our centre of consciousness and attention, all our problems will vanish like mist before the sun.
The highest of harmonies is God, the highest of beings is God, the greatest bliss is God, the greatest knowledge is God, and the greatest power is God. The superlative of every beautiful value in the world is to be found only in His divine existence, not in the senses, not in the objects of the earth. What the senses present before us is only a carrot that is hung before the nose of a camel, which it can only see but not touch. The senses are merely tantalising us, but the world gives us nothing. Everyone dies grieving, sorrowing, repenting. Nobody goes with any satisfaction because everybody has been befooled by the world. The world looks lustrous, beautiful, enchanting to the youthful senses, but they grow old and emaciated. They lose their vigour and finally, when the order comes for them to quit this world, they go crying that they have done nothing here. Their life is wasted.
Therefore, it is essential for every child of this earth, for every citizen of this world, for every seeker of God to make this contemplation a daily affair and centralise one’s consciousness in God-being, whatever be your activity. This centralisation of consciousness in the midst of your activity is called karma yoga, and the centralisation itself is called meditation, dhyana. When it becomes a psychological activity, we call it meditation; when it becomes a realisation, we call it moksha or liberation.
So may we all strive for this ultimate goal of life, which is Ishvar-sakshatkara, the immediate realisation of God by the daily recitation of His name, by the chant of His mantra, by the purity of the soul, the training of the mind, and the control of the senses. May goodness and godliness be a vital path of your own daily being so that every moment becomes a step that you take nearer to God, every moment of your life becomes a step taken in the journey that you tread towards God-realisation, and every moment becomes a worship of God. You live for God because that is the only reality. All other things that you call real in the world are appearances which can flee, vanish, and mock you one day. “Oh, you trusted me? You don’t know who I am,” the world will tell you afterwards. So do not go weeping. Be prepared for the requisite knowledge now itself. It is better to learn by the process of education rather than by the rod of punishment. If we will not listen to the educative methods of spiritual sadhana, nature will take a rod and punish us with threats and blows.
Therefore, it is better that we honourably learn in the school of education which is this world and deliberately, consciously accelerate the process of our progress towards God. God bless you.