The Formation of Our Individuality
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on April 1, 1973)

The finitude of our individuality is a kind of insistence by consciousness to fix itself in a particular state and to refuse to be changed into any other state. We call this insistence mind, ego, etc., to designate this character of the obsession of consciousness. It is an obsession because it refuses to concede any other reality than that which is available to its perception. We define the ego, or the ego sense, as that principle in us which limits its reality to the field of its own cognitions, perceptions and experiences. When the cosmic universality gets fixed in a set of circumstances under the conditions of space and time, we call it individuality.

Now, this individuality is again a very interesting and peculiar something. It is difficult to exactly define what our individual sense is. It is a network of feelings, of prepossessions, and circumstances of knowledge. In Vedanta these are called manas, buddhi, ahamkara, chitta, etc. They simply represent certain stresses of consciousness which operate in different fashions within the limitations of the bodily individuality. The different adjustments and adaptations we make in our life are under certain conditions. We will not adapt and adjust beyond a certain limit. All our concessions and charitable feelings have a limit of their own, and this limit is the field of knowledge available to the individuality. It will not go outside the boundary of this limit so that even our concept of God, of our goal in life, and even our notion of the Absolute is limited to our bodily operations, individualised needs, and the limitations of the ego. The conditions of individuality determine all our hopes, ambitions, aspirations, and efforts, as well as likes and dislikes of every kind.

We are under a heavy weight of limitation which has become a part of our existence, so that our existence itself is a limitation, and for us there is no existence apart from this limited existence we call our earthly life of bodily individuality. So when we define or analyse and describe transcendental truths and principles beyond human comprehension, we give them a colouring of our own notions and ideas. These are sometimes called the ideas of the reason. The ideas of the reason are certain philosophical descriptions of the manner in which our rationality works in respect of the world in which we live.

We have a way in which we react to circumstances, and this way cannot be changed as long as we are human beings. The human reaction is the same in every human being so that we may safely say that every human being thinks in the same way. There is no difference in our fundamental way of thinking. That is why we are called a human species, a category by itself, which has a notion of its own. The basic needs and limitations of the human individuality are universally the same everywhere, in every country, so the human way of thinking is a particular way of thinking. The human attitude is the attitude or the method of understanding those sets of conditions and circumstances which make up what we are.

It may be said, to a large extent, that we see what is within us. We do not see the world as it is; we see the world as it is connected with our limited circumstances. These limitations of our individuality are not like walls of brick and stone encircling a field, or a retaining wall that we build to protect a hillside. It is difficult to understand what this limitation of our individuality is. It is not clearly distinguishable by visible factors.

The limitation of our personality is not merely concerned with our physical body or our physical existence. Our individuality is something different from the physical form of our personality. This is seen by our social instincts and the psychological reactions that we set up in respect of outer things in the world. We exceed psychologically the limits of our body in our psychological reactions, and yet we retain our individuality, so that in one sense we may say the individuality of ours is not merely the bodily formation or the structure which we call the physical encasement.

The individual situation or the circumstance is difficult of definition and cannot be submitted or subjected to a clear-cut analysis in a scientific fashion. We are entirely limited to our physical body, it is true, but our psychological operations go beyond the existence of the physical body as, for example, in our loves and hatreds. We love and hate things which are outside our bodies, which means that our activities, our operations, reach up to localities which are far away from our physical body. But how do we reach up?

Yesterday I was trying to explain the manner in which we perceive things by a sort of conscious envelopment of the object in spite of the fact that these things are physically away or distant from us. Some such thing in a lesser intensity happens when we begin to spread our loves and hatreds over the objects of the world. Though we concede that it is possible for us to love the whole world and the whole of humanity, it is something very difficult for us, no doubt, and it is only an individualised reaction. It is not a cosmical spread of our consciousness because the love of mankind or the idea of brotherhood that we have in our mind is only an extension of the limitations of our individuality. In what we call humanity we see in a larger measure the very same human needs and weakness that are observable in individuals, so that for us the large mass of humanity is only a collective totality of what we see in particular individuals. In quality, humanity does not exceed the human individual and is only a physical extension of the limitations of an individual in space and in time, but in quality there is no difference. The thoughts of one million people are the same as the thought of one person qualitatively, though quantitatively they may differ.

This is because of the fact that the principle of individuality cannot be overcome by ordinary means of approach. We hold conferences and public meetings, and parliaments and huge organisations are set up under the notion and in the fond belief that circumstances will change. But circumstances will not change with all the conferences and all the gatherings and meetings, because circumstances are qualitative conditions. They cannot be changed by quantitative conferences, by counting of heads, by raising of hands or by plebiscite and vote. Humanity does not seem to have understood this secret. Even if it understands, it does not want to put it into practice because of a peculiar weakness in the human mind. The weakness of human nature is the same. The vital spots of every person are the same. They are in the same place.

The essential weakness of man is self-esteem, so that the moment we please a person’s ego, that person is ready to do anything for us, whatever be the importance or the social status of that person. Even a cup of tea will pocket a person. It is a great psychology. That is why we give cups of tea, and we put the person in our pocket. We can be pleased by silly things because the ego is connected in diverse ways with all the circumstances in which we are involved in human life. The ego is not a small nut that is in our heart. It is a widespread operation or a diffused faculty working in many ways, so that we should never mistake the ego for some sort of a dot or a nail or a flame or some fixed locality in our heart. No such thing is the ego. It is a factor of operation.  The ego is a field of consciousness which operates in a particular manner.

The difficulty with this manner of operation of consciousness is that it limits itself to certain factors alone and ignores all other factors. We become completely oblivious of other important factors and limit ourselves to only certain visible factors. What we call the visible is that which is capable of being recognised as a reality by the faculties of the sense organs. We live in a sense world, and the ego can accept or concede only that which can be recognised as a truth and a reality by the senses of perception.

The sensory reports are gathered together and are formed into an organisation, a group. The sensory reports are not like the reports that we receive from our peons; they are psychological vibrations. The reports of the senses are vibrations of the psyche, and they create a weight of darkness within, like the thick clouds covering the sun, and prevent the consciousness from operating in any manner beyond the circumstances allowed by this cloud of impressions created by the psychic reactions produced by the senses of perception.

We hear of samskaras, vasanas, etc. We have very little notion of what these samskaras or vasanas are. They are all vibrations. They are not like sand particles sticking to our heart. They are not minute grains. What are they? They are psychic impressions formed by continuous perceptions of objects of sense and accepting each perception as a reality by itself. The moment we accept a particular sense perception to be a reality, it sets up an impression corresponding to that perception in the consciousness. This process goes on continuously for ages so long as we take birth and pass through the process of metempsychosis.

Every perception is like a photograph being taken through a camera. There is an impression formed with every perception. Even a cursory glance that is cast over the objects of sense produces an impression, and these impressions are being formed day and night continuously, as long as we are conscious. Layers and layers of these impressions are formed like smoke which can form a thick crust when the process of the emitting of the smoke goes on for days together. In old kitchens we can see thick soot hanging down several feet from the ceiling merely because of the smoke that has risen from the fire. It becomes a solid substance which can be weighed on a balance and held with our hand. It becomes an actual concrete object, though it was only a thin vapoury smoke that rose from the fire of the kitchen, without any solidity whatsoever. Vaporised evaporations became solid substances.

In a similar manner, as it were, to some extent we may say that the psychic impressions formed in the perception of objects, which look like ethereal somethings without any substantiality of their own, which we cannot easily understand, become a substance, as it were, so powerful as to produce this physical body of ours, which looks like a heavy lumbering vehicle today, obstructing all our progress in the right direction.

The finitude of our nature is, therefore, a conglomeration of various factors. It is not merely comparable to a cloth made of many threads, but is something worse than that. Layers and layers of diverse circumstances, uncountable in number, contribute to the formation of this individuality of ours, so that we cannot know our own nature, truly speaking. However much we may think over ourselves, we cannot know what our depth is, what is hidden inside us. Even our own mind we cannot know, because the mind is made up of various layers of complex psychic vibrations. We are caught up in this way, and we cannot get out of these circumstances. We have built a prison for our own selves, or sometimes we say that we have spun a cocoon around ourselves like a silkworm. We have worked very hard, laboured much to wind a cocoon around ourselves. This cocoon is the fivefold sheath. Annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, anandamaya koshas are the cocoons that we have wound around ourselves so that we cannot go beyond them. We have created them, but they are controlling us now.

Our individuality, our personality, our samsaric existence is thus a set of circumstances created since ages of birth and death and experience, which has become a concrete hard reality for us. It is presenting before us a world of physical objects tempting us and repelling us, and making us feel today that there is no reality beyond this body and beyond the physical world. Very pitiable is our situation.

The practice of yoga has been recognised as a proper panacea for this illness in which we are. Our disease, our trouble, our difficulty is indescribable. If we begin to know what actually our difficulty is, we will start crying today itself. We cannot bear the weight of this suffering. But the suffering is so much that we have become a part of it and it has become part of our nature so that we do not even feel it. It is as if we are born in the jail itself, and do not know that we are in the jail because we were born there; we know only what is within the jail, and outside of it we have seen nothing. It is very difficult to understand what has actually happened to us.

We are born in sorrow. This is perhaps the reason why Christian ethics and theology speak of what is called the original sin of man. He is born in it. The original sin is nothing but this original ignorance in which we are born, with which we are wound, and which we take for the entire reality itself. We are born in it and into it. When we open our eyes as small children in the cradle of this world, we perceive only what is allowed by these circumstances of limitation, and so it is said that we are born in ignorance, born in sin, born in suffering.

But inasmuch as there is no way of knowing anything beyond this limitation, we take it for reality itself. We would have been dissatisfied from the beginning of our life if there had been a standard of reference of our present circumstances, but there is no standard of reference. This is the entire thing that we see. We do not see two realities. For us, only one reality is before us: the world, of which a part is this body. Inasmuch as the whole of reality seems to be exhausted in the world perception itself, we have no idea of what true reality is, what reality is by itself.

Hence it is that spiritual instruction goes over the heads of people in whom viveka has not dawned. If we give spiritual advice to those in whom there is not even the least discriminative faculty at all operating, it will be like music before the deaf or water poured over a rock. It will have no effect. But it has an effect upon those in whom miraculously, in a manner we cannot understand, the sense of discrimination has arisen and we begin to feel, to have an inkling of the presence of something beyond these limited operations of our individual psyche. We begin to feel vaguely that there is something other than what we see. Though we have not seen it, something tells us from within that there is something other than and beyond what we see with our senses. This makes us more restless.

The suffering of a vivekin is much more than the suffering of an ignorant person. When we know we are in a prison, well, we will be more miserable than one who is in the prison but does not know he is in the prison. Here, knowledge is not happiness but grief. Duḥkham eva sarvaṁ vivekinaḥ (Y.S. 2.15) says Patanjali. All is pain and sorrow for the discriminating, not for the ignorant. For the ignorant it is all bliss. The world appears to be a heaven for the ignorant and the stupid, but it is the heaviest of sorrows, a great curse that has come upon us, as it were, when discrimination dawns in us.

The yoga system is a methodology adopted to restate the circumstances of consciousness in a manner compatible with the structure of reality. That is yoga. It should be reoriented entirely. The statement of facts has to be in a different fashion altogether, and there should be a new description of the empirical experiences of the world. The experiences are the same for the ignorant and the enlightened. The wise and the ignorant both see the world, but the wise one interprets the circumstances and conditions of the world in a manner different from the way in which it is done by the ignorant. While the ignorant one takes things at their face value and does not read through the objects and see the significance or meaning behind things, the wise one sees and beholds the objects of sense as symbols, as insignia of a reality transcending them.

When we see an ambassador, we see a government behind him. He represents a vast system of administration called the government. The individual official is an insignia of a vast body of operations called the government. Likewise, the wise one beholds the objects of sense as different symbols or representations of a vaster implication, a wider system of administration of the universe which is represented by these objects, but they cannot be taken as realities in themselves. They do not exhaust reality.

The ignorant one takes every object for itself and imagines that it is a complete reality. That is why we are attracted to objects of sense. We love people, and hate people. We like things, and dislike things. Why? Because we make the mistake of thinking that every person and every thing is complete by itself in that location of its bodily existence, whereas the wise one knows that no object, no person can be so complete as the senses take it to be.

Every object fades away into a larger field of the unknown. The cognition of any object takes our faculty beyond into a limitless expanse, as the ambassador points to the existence of a master administration which he represents. That is why we can concentrate or meditate on any object. This is the vast and immensely charitable prescription given to us by the masters of yoga: Any object of sense can be taken as the object of meditation because every object takes us beyond itself when we actually meditate upon it. If we touch any official of the government, we can touch the government through him. It may be a magistrate, a governor, a tahsildar; it makes no difference. Any official is the government by himself, and we can approach it through him. We can go to the ocean through any river, whether it is the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Ganga, or the Yamuna. We float through that river and are in the same ocean. Likewise, we can concentrate and meditate upon any object and will be taken to the infinite because every object is a face of the infinite. The infinite peeps through every object of sense.

In this sense it is that the Vedas say that the whole universe is the body of the purusha: sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākśaḥ sahasrapāt (Purusha Sukta 1). All things in the world are representations of a cosmic reality, so that when we take any object as an object of meditation for our practice of yoga, we gradually and slowly go deep into the structure of the object. Even in a purely physical sense of description, if we go deep into the formation of an object, we will find that it becomes more and more impersonal as we go deeper and deeper into it. First it is ‘my table’. Afterwards, it is simply ‘table’. The table as such is more impersonal than ‘my table’ because ‘mineness’ limits it much more than merely ‘this is a table’. But more impersonal than the table is the wood out of which it is made. When we say it is wood we describe it more impersonally than when we say it is a table, but when we say it is made up of mere wooden fibre, it becomes even more impersonal than wood. Then we go to the molecules of the wooden particles, and as we go deeper and deeper into the structure of the table, we will find the table has gone.

In the Chhandogya Upanishad we have a description of such an analysis where the components of an object are dissected into their parts and each component goes into its own source, so that the original object ceases to be. The earth goes to the earth, water goes to water, air goes to air, and so on, says the Isavasya Upanishad. The body itself ceases to be as an individual something. The earthen part of the body belongs to the earth. It goes to the earth. The airy principle goes to the air. The physical elements absorb into themselves what belongs to them in a human body, or for the matter of that, any physical object. Finally, when we go to the deeper source of objects we will find that they are at the bottom connected by a single link. On the surface they appear like different crests of mountains, but at the bottom it is one earth that holds all the crests. The different mountain peaks of the Himalayas are so only if we look at them from the outside. At the bottom they are rooted on a single ground. Similarly, all the objects will be realised to form a continuous base when they are deeply penetrated into by the process of meditation.

Meditation is nothing but hammering an object by the power of our thought. It is like driving a nail into a wall, hitting it again and again at the same spot so that it goes deep into the bottom of things. We should not change the object of meditation because that would be like driving the nail on the wall at different spots, so that we will not drive it in at any place. We must hit the nail at the same place again and again, and then it goes in. Therefore, once the object of meditation is chosen, it is chosen forever. This is what is called the Ishta Devata, or the object of our worship, and dhyana. This is why they say once we are initiated, we should not change the initiation, because initiation is nothing but the beginning of the hammering, and once we have started it, we should not stop it.

The diffused rays of the mind get collected into a focussed energy of concentration and become such a powerful impact upon the chosen object that they break through the structure of the object. The heavy hammering that we give to the object of meditation through the focussed and concentrated mind dissects the object into its component parts, and we begin to see through the structure of the object. That is called the intuition of the object. While the senses merely perceive the outer formation of the object, it is called sensation. We merely have a descriptive knowledge of an object rather than an intuitional wisdom of it. Descriptive information is scientific. We have only an outer knowledge of the way in which things operate and work. Science can describe the ‘how’ of things, but not the ‘why’ of things.

The pattern or formation of an object from the point of view of sensations is perceptional knowledge, but a repeated concentration on this pattern of the object, which is dhyana, meditation, takes us nearer to the structure of the object instead of keeping us apart from the object. In all perceptions, the observer or the seer remains outside the object, so that the object as such cannot be known. The reality is the same as the Self of the object. I tried to explain yesterday how reality can be described only as the Atman or the Self. The reality of an object can only be the Self of that object, and so long as we do not contact the Self of that object, we have not known that object, so that merely observing an object through open eyes is not knowledge of the object. Scientific knowledge is thus no knowledge at all, and is superseded every day by newer and newer discoveries, so we can never come to the end of scientific knowledge.

But in intuitional cognition of things, the gap or the gulf between the observer and the observed becomes less and less. The distinction between the seer and the seen gets narrowed down until the two come together, or coalesce, in such a way that under a given condition of meditation it is difficult to say which is the observer and which is the observed object. When two things come together so intimately, when the structure of an object combines with the structure of another and embraces that object, as it were, and tends to become united with that object, we cannot say which is the object and which is the subject.

The world of sense remains outside us now. We see it as if it is external to us, unconnected to us, and we are afraid of it merely because it does not seem to have any kind of relation with us. But the more we concentrate on the reality or the nature of the world, the nearer it comes to us and gradually it begins to shed its materiality.

Two things happen when we meditate deeper and deeper. The materiality of objects vanishes gradually, and things slowly assume a living character. It appears as if even walls will speak to us when we begin to meditate deeply. We cannot imagine how a wall can speak to us. It is a dead, inert substance made of brick and mortar, but yet, in spite of the fact that it appears to be such an unconnected physical, material body outside us, it slowly puts on a new nature by which it can respond to our feelings, supply our needs and demands, and become a part of our nature, so that the world appears to be more friendly in our deeper meditations than it appears now. We have enemies, we have unwanted things in the world today, but in the deeper consciousness of meditation, we will begin to realise that there is no enemy in this world. All things are friendly in our relationships with them, and they are ready to come near us and make us their own if only we are prepared to make them our own. Ye yathā māṃ prapadyante tāṃs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (Gita 4.11) says the Bhagavadgita: As we approach the world, so the world will approach us. If to us the world is only a conglomeration of material objects which have no life in them, well, they will behave in that way only.

But the meditative consciousness envisages a new meaning in the objects of the world, and the world ceases to be any more a world to the meditative consciousness. It becomes a centre of response. We can receive response from every corner in the world. There are ears and eyes in every atom of space. Every particle of nature can see us and hear us. This is what we will see in our deeper consciousness in our depths of meditation. Then it is that we feel a sort of uncontrollable delight within ourselves that we seem to be living in a different world altogether than what we thought it to be. Everything seems to be ready to speak to us. Everything seems to be ready to be of assistance to us and help us.

This is in epic language described in the Srimad Bhagavata when it is said that trees used to bend low in obeisance to the great sage, rishi, Suka when he walked through the jungle. It looks like metaphor and symbolism for us, but it is not so. It is the great truths of nature revealed to us through the epics of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Mahapurana, etc. Narasimha came through the pillar, says the Bhagavata and the Vishu Purana. For us it is only a jocular miracle which can make us smile at the ingenuity of the writers of the Puranas, but it is the great fact of nature that is given to us in these descriptions of the epics and Puranas. Itihāsapurāṇābhyāṁ vedaṁ samupabṛṁhayet (Mahabharata, Adiparva 1.267): The Vedic truth and the Upanishadic reality are described in symbolic language in the epics and Puranas.

The meditative effort, therefore, is such an adjustment of our consciousness, as I said, for it to be compatible with the true nature of things. We now live in an incompatible manner with nature. For us the world outside, nature, the objects of sense are entirely alien in structure. It has nothing to do with us. We are afraid of the forces of nature. Heat and cold and whatnot harass us. Thunderstorms, floods, and all such things are terrors in nature, but natural forces constitute our own body and our own individual nature also. These terrific forces of nature are the components of our own body and our own individuality. We are made up of the very same forces that are outside in nature, so that when we become more and more attuned to the laws of these forces of nature, they become less and less troublesome and less fearsome.

A snake is not afraid of its own poison. A tiger is not ferocious to its own self but is ferocious to others. Likewise, natural forces are not a frightening factor to themselves. They only terrify other things external to them. As long as we are outside God and outside nature, we shall be in this condition of fear, insecurity and dread of everything. Anything can terrify us. Even a straw that is moving in the wind will terrify us. Even a mouse can terrify us because we have estranged ourselves from nature, cut ourselves off from godly powers, and we live in the shell of our own individuality, in our own finitude.

Therefore, the only solution to our problem of human life is that to be saved in the world, to achieve blessedness in this world, is to collect ourselves in a rational manner, and order and organise our personal forces in such a way that they flow with the current of nature rather than be repelled by the forces of nature. This is to be in tune with the infinite, as the poet would tell us, to be in tune with all things.

How can we practise this at-one-ment with things? How do we begin the practice? In the beginning, we have to be very charitable in our feelings. We should not assert ourselves. I am not talking of meditation, but ordinary conduct in life, because the ordinary conduct is a preparation for meditation. We cannot suddenly meditate on God or Ishvara or the Supreme Being when our whole nature is revolting against the realities of life. When we have a revolting sense of uncompromising factors in our own individual personality, we cannot sit for meditation. Such a meditation is useless.

So in the beginning we have to practise compatible conduct in life with persons and things. What does it mean? Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was a master of this art of becoming compatible with others. He spoke in a manner which was in tune with the character and the needs of the person with whom he was speaking. Acharya Sankara also mentions in one of his verses: The wise one is a child with a child; he suffers with the suffering, is happy with the happy, silent with the silent, jocular with the jocular, humorous with the humorous. If we smile, he smiles; if we weep, he weeps. He has no personal attitude of his own. He is compared to a crystal which has no colour of its own. Whatever colour is brought near it, that colour is reflected in it. When we go to great saints, they appear to be friendly with us. Everyone thinks, “He seems to be liking me very much.” They have no liking for anyone, but they reflect our character in themselves because of their purity of nature. We love saints because they are like mirrors. We see ourselves reflected there, and as we know, we love ourselves very much. So when we see ourselves reflected in saints, we love them because of seeing ourselves there. They have no personality of their own. They have neither likes nor dislikes. They have no friends, no foes, no disciples, nothing of the kind, but they appear to have all these on account of their crystal-clear conscience, the impersonality of nature that they are entertaining and the real universal love that they have in their hearts. Universal love means cherishing nothing as one’s own.

There was a mahatma in Benares who would say nothing. He would simply keep quiet. He would not wash his mouth, would not take a bath, would not ask for food. He would not get up. His disciples would come and say, “Maharaj, your bath is ready; you can take your bath now,” and he would get up. If they did not say anything, he also would not say anything.

“Maharaj, it is necessary to have your meal.”

“Yes, bring it, I will eat,” he would reply.

“Maharaj, some devotees have come to receive teachings.”

“Yes, bring them. I will give teachings.” Whatever the disciple said, he agreed with. Sometimes he was bathed several times by devotees, not knowing that he had already taken a bath. Every time a new person came and bathed him, it seems, thinking that perhaps he had not taken his bath. He would say, “Yes, I should take a bath.” He was very simple, and had no personality of his own.

These are the godmen of the earth. The more you become impersonal, the more godly you are, and vice versa. For that, you have not to entertain any desires of your own, not even the desire for eating your lunch and breakfast. Even that desire should not be there. You may be thinking, “How is it possible? Are we to starve?” You will not starve in the kingdom of God, provided you are really in the kingdom of God. There is no dearth in the kingdom of God, no penury or poverty. It is all abundance and inexhaustible resources. In that kingdom you are and you cannot suffer, provided you really believe from the bottom of your heart that you are living in that kingdom. Things will flow to you rather than your asking for them because everything is everywhere, truly speaking. Everything is everywhere. Wherever you go, you can have everything, provided that you cultivate this great art of truly loving God from the heart of your hearts and praying to God through your heart rather than through your mouth and lips, and asking from God nothing but the existence of God. Pray not for long life; pray not for raising the salary of your sons or the early marriage of your daughter. Do not ask for such boons from God. Then your meditation will collapse. These will be obstacles in your spiritual life.

From God nothing can be asked because God is not a means to an end. To ask from God something else would be to treat God as a means to an end, because your end is something else and you are using God as an instrument. That would be misusing that glorious old man called God. So when you pray to God, ask for God only because God is the goal. He is the end in itself. How can you say, “God give me this,” as if this is the end and He is only the means? That mistake we should not make when we pray to God. Otherwise, our prayers will have no meaning. It will be like Hiranyakashipu praying for his own death.

Honesty is the most difficult thing in the world. We cannot be honest with God though we pray, though we read the Bhagavatam, the Ramayanam and the Upanishads. We chant the Rudram and Chamakam and Purushasuktam, but we cannot be honest to God because our heart really does not long for God. We fear the very name of God because we do not know what He will do when He comes. It is something like a schoolmaster entering the classroom, and the children are afraid of him: “It is better that he does not come. He may take leave.”

We are afraid of God in some way. We are afraid because we feel that He will not permit our feelings, our present activities and our present longings. We know; our conscience says that they are not permissible under God’s law, so we are afraid of God. Therefore, we try to keep Him apart from us, a little away from us, until we fulfil all our earthly desires. So even when we contemplate, meditate, pray, we keep Him away from us, harbouring a little desire of our own at the subconscious and perhaps at the unconscious levels of our nature.

We do not truly meditate on God, we do not truly pray to God, because we do not truly want God. That is the naked truth, if it is to be told. That is why we have achieved nothing, and we shall not achieve anything if these circumstances are to continue. Hypocrisy is the worst sin, and we should not be hypocritical with God of all things, to tell Him, “O God, please come!” but in the heart we say, “Do not come.” How can we pray like that? The heart says, “Do not come,” but the mouth says, “Come.” Such duplicity is reprehensible on the part of a disciple, of a saint, and of a devotee of God.

The Bhagavadgita assures us that the vision of God, the grace of God, is very easy, provided our heart is really united with Him and we love Him really. That is called the hearts getting united. How does the mother love the child? How does the husband love the wife? How are the hearts united? Is our heart united with God in the same way as we love our son, for example? We always think of our son, “Oh, he is there, he is here.” But do we think of God like that? Nothing doing! The heart does not permit it.

This affirmation of the ego in terms of the body has to be completely given a right-about turn and straightened up so that our consciousness, instead of circling again and again around the bodily individuality and its own desires through social circles, expands itself into the true love of God, which is the giver of all boons that our heart seeks and which will definitely make us thrice blessed.