(Spoken on April 29, 1973)
Our spiritual progress is often seen in our own personality. Our life tells us where we stand. This is perhaps the best touchstone that we have of the progress that we make in the evolution of life. We need not look outward for the progress. It can be seen within our own selves. As a matter of fact, our achievements are made visible in our personal lives much more clearly than in the phenomena outside. Our progress is recognisable in the sense of perfection that we see in our own selves. The growth of our personality is itself an indication of the extent of progress that we make in our life.
The growth of the personality is not the growth of the body. It is the intensification of our experience and the completeness that we feel in our own self. Our sense of completeness is a very beautiful and perfect indication of what we actually are or what we have achieved. The more miserable we become, the smaller we feel ourselves to be, and so the greater the inadequacy in whatever manner it be that we feel in our own selves, the more should we realise the inadequacy of the progress that we have made spiritually.
Spirituality is another name for perfection. It is a term which is very hard to define. It is a definition by itself. The state of perfection no doubt has degrees of manifestation, but nevertheless it is a perfection. A completeness is seen even in a small child, as we see a completeness in an adult or a genius, though the wholeness or the sense of perfection that we see in a baby is much different from what we see in a master of knowledge and a genius of arts and literature. Nevertheless, we see a wholeness present in every stage of growth in life. We see a wholeness in a baby, on account of which we see beauty in the child’s face, though we cannot call the child a genius like an Einstein or a Sankaracharya or a Vasishtha Maharisi.
The sense of perfection is present in every stage of life, and this perfection it is that gives beauty to things. When this sense grows within us and manifests itself in our own personalities and in our individual lives, we feel happiness. Happiness and beauty go together. We feel a beauty in our own lives. It is not the beauty of the face or the beauty of the makeup or the personality. It is a beauty that we feel within our own selves even if we close our eyes, and it is this beauty within that makes us feel happy inside. Simply close your eyes and feel a beautiful sensation inside manifesting itself, creating a sense of happiness. This is perfection speaking in its own language.
A child is happy though it does not see its own beauty by opening its eyes. This beauty is not the perception of a form or the appearance of a structure through colour, symmetry of form, etc., but a perfection that can be equated with a sense of feeling. A feeling creates a sense of beauty within us. It is a beautiful feeling, we can say. The beauty of feeling is more consequent and momentous than the beauty of form. If the feeling is not beautiful, the form cannot cast a spell upon us. The form looks beautiful when the feeling coincides with that particular form. Otherwise, the form will not look beautiful because the mould within, which is the feeling, does not coordinate itself with the structure without. Unhappiness of every kind is a sense of smallness of every type. A melancholy mood or a feeling of inferiority in oneself that is generated for various reasons should tell us that we are not spiritually progressing.
A spiritual seeker is essentially a happy individual. This is to state the fact very plainly. A spiritual seeker is a happy individual inwardly, whatever be the outward circumstances in which he or she may be living. The happiness that the spiritual seeker feels from within does not emanate from an event that takes place outside in the world. The happiness of the spiritual seeker does not arise on account of praise that he receives from outside, emolument that he gains from the outward world, from status that he occupies in society or from any kind of material gain whatsoever. The spiritual seeker feels a happiness within on account of him or her being something inside, not because of having possessed something, gained something, seen something or being told something, and so on. The sense of happiness within us, therefore, is a perpetual phenomenon, if we can call it one. The spiritual seeker is perpetually elated from within and is made up of a stuff which will not fade or wane or get decreased by any amount of toil, suffering or vicissitude in the outward world.
We can gauge the depth of our spiritual progress every day, every hour, perhaps every minute from the feelings that are generated within us. Our spiritual depth can be gauged by the type of feeling that arises in our mind right from the morning till we go to bed in the evening. The sense of perfection will haunt us in spite of our being engaged in daily activities and duties, like the sun that sheds his rays perennially over our personalities and bodies, notwithstanding the fact that we are not thinking of the sun throughout the day. Though we have no time to think about the sun’s glorious shining in the sky, the sun sheds his lustre upon us and influences us, and gives us his own life.
Likewise, the sense of perfection will speak its own language within us. Though we may be working very hard toiling in the fields, sweeping the floor or writing a letter, whatever it be, the sense of perfection that is within us will not leave us. That will make us happy, which will remain as a kind of undercurrent beneath the activities of our daily life. We shall be happy.
We shall be happy, to reiterate again, not because we have some gain from the outer world, not because a good word was uttered for the work that we have done, but because the perfection within us rises up to the surface, and like the depths of the ocean speaking to the waves that rush forth on the surface, our depth within will speak to the surface that our outward life is. To build up a personality of our own is a great asset indeed. People who lack personality feel miserable. They always want a comrade or a friend with them so that the gap in them may be filled up. They will never be happy if they are alone, because they have no personality. They are a cheap stuff made of straw, and so they are unhappy when they are alone. Why do they want a company of another person? Because they have no stuff inside. The stuff cannot be made good by the company of people. If they sit with the governor, they do not become a big man, but still they feel important. They do not become a governor merely because they stand in the crowd of a governor’s group and are photographed along with them.
There was a gentleman who used to read all the newspapers to find out when any dignitary was coming to the railway station. When a governor, a viceroy or even a minister came, he purchased a garland from the market, put on the garland and stood there together with the group so that he was included in their photographs. When the photo came in the papers he would say, “See, I am also there.”
Well, this may be humorous, but we often behave in this manner without knowing our weaknesses. We try to fly with borrowed feathers. We are unhappy with the stuff that we have in our own selves and want the stuff of others. We want to borrow the commodity of another person, sometimes steal the property of another so that our importance may increase. Clothes that we put on, seats that we occupy, smiles that we receive, words that are uttered cannot make us important. Time is very relentless. Yamasya karuṇā nāsti: Yama has no pity on any person. He may be wearing a silk robe, sitting on a pedestal, decorated with gold and diamonds, but the god of death will not bestow a single thought over this feeling of ours that we have been the son of a landlord or we have been Undersecretary of the Government of India. He cannot see this at all because these things do not exist. They are only in our head, and we will be wiped out of existence like a dry leaf that is thrown by the winds of life.
The spiritual seeker, therefore, is not an ordinary human being but a species of its own sort, which can be detected by the character manifested by that individual. There is contentment in his face, and the seeker is happy even if he is placed in a dustbin. He will not frown merely because he is not offered a seat. He will be happy in the dustbin, like St. Francis of Assisi. Wonderful was that saint – a second Christ, as they call him – and many were such people whose glory did not depend upon the clothes that they wore or the degree that they had or the seat that they occupied. They were happy because of the feelings that they had, the contentment that they possessed. Their greatest virtue and power was the contentment in their hearts, and they were happy with nothing in their hands.
St. Francis was in rags in the streets of Rome while the Pope was parading his glory in the Vatican made of silver and gold. It was Pope Innocent III who ruled the Vatican during the time, and this simple man of Assisi walked in rags to Rome to see the glory of this man of God, the Pope. Who can allow this pauper of the streets into the golden palace of the Vatican? It was something unthinkable. Can we imagine a beggar entering Buckingham palace? Such was the fate of this poor man who wanted to have a glimpse of the Pope because St. Francis believed that the Pope was a man of God, the representation of Christ in the world.
They would not allow him access, but there was one good Cardinal next to the Pope who was really a religious man. He knew the worth of St. Francis, though he looked very pitiable with unkempt hair and dirty clothes. When St. Francis entered the portals of the Vatican and requested an audience with the Pope, though the Cardinal knew the greatness of this poor man, he was not confident that the Pope would give an audience. However, he tried his best and mentioned to the Pope, “Some saintly figure seems to be at the gate requesting for an audience with your Holiness.”
“Who is that? Who is wanting an audience with me? Well, let me see.” The Pope never knew who this man was. St. Francis slowly crawled in like an ant, this ugly figure clad in tattered raiment, to the shock of the Pope. The Pope immediately asked St. Francis to get out and rebuked the Cardinal for wasting his time and allowing him to enter the beauty of the Vatican. “Oh, this dirty man you call a saint, and you want me to give an audience to him? Please ask him to leave.” St. Francis left.
The Cardinal was unhappy that the Pope could not recognise the stuff of this poor man. He pleaded, “Your Holiness, you are mistaken. He is not a dirty man. There is some goodness in him, and it would be unfair on our part if a few minutes are not spent with him because he has walked all the distance in the heat of the sun and the pouring rain. A few minutes must be given to him.”
“All right, all right.” Just to please the Cardinal the Pope said, “Let him come tomorrow.”
The Cardinal felt it would be proper if he were invited for lunch with the Pope, and the message was conveyed to St. Francis that tomorrow he shall have lunch with the Pope. Oh, his heart burst with joy. “I shall have lunch with the Godman tomorrow.” He could not sleep at all with the delight that broke his heart. “Tomorrow I shall have lunch with the Godman of the earth.” He spent a sleepless night waiting for the dawn.
The Cardinal received him, and he was directed to the large dining hall of the Pope. It was shining with the lustre of silver and gold and beauty and paint and so forth. St. Francis could not believe his eyes. “What is this I am seeing? Is this the glory of Christ who had no house to stay in, who had no pillow to keep under his head, whom nobody wanted to look at? Am I seeing the glory of Christ?” He wiped his eyes. And the Cardinal showed him the golden plate where delicious dishes were served. The Pope was seated on a couch, a throne. Francis looked at his food placed on a golden plate, which was placed on the silvery table. Oh! He did not know what to say. He withdrew himself from the hall, went to the streets of Rome, begged for a few crumbs of dry bread, came back to the hall, sat on the floor, and began to eat that dry bread which he had fetched from the streets. He thanked the Pope for the beautiful lunch that he gave, and went back to the city.
The Pope was shocked and wept at the empty show that he had given in the name of Christ because, for the first time in his life perhaps, he saw a man of true greatness.
This story gives an idea of what real spiritual depth is. It has nothing to do with the show of saintliness or the so-called man of God that one can pretend to be. The worth of yours is in you. It is not outside you. Your stuff cannot be borrowed from outside. It cannot be imported, nor can anybody steal that property from you. The simpler you are, the better it is for you. To build up a personality is to allow the Spirit to grow from inside. A man of personality is a man of aura, a man of radiance, a man of pleasantness, a man of inner beauty, which has nothing to do with the way you groom yourself or the clothes that you put on. It is nothing of the kind. It is not oil and butter that makes you beautiful. The beauty of the spirit will speak through your face even if you have not taken a bath for fifteen days.
I have only given one example of St. Francis of Assisi. Such was Christ, such was Buddha, such were the great masters and saints who lived on this earth who had no house, who had no friends. Perhaps they had nothing to eat. They did not know what they would get to eat tomorrow. They did not know where to sleep for the night. They were oftentimes spat at, and had stones thrown at them. Such was the rugged life that they lived, but the beauty of the spirit spoke through them. They were drinking from the waters of the immortal inside, and they were contented. Their personalities were made of iron and steel. Nobody could harm them. Nobody could shake a hair on their bodies though they had no friends, no protection of any kind. They must be regarded, outwardly speaking, as the most unfortunate people in the world, but they were the men of God.
Such is the spiritual seeker who seeks inner contentment from whatever comes. Bhagvan Shri Krishna tells us that the spiritual seeker is content with whatever circumstance in which he is placed. He does not seek for newer and newer circumstances. Whatever you have is quite enough for you; that shall make you happy. You build up your personality by the power of the Spirit that grows from inside gradually by the power of your meditations and your contemplations, which are your daily meal. Your daily meal is your meditation, which will feed your stomach with nectar and make you happier than you could imagine, happier than by all the possessions of the empires of the world.
This personality of yours will speak in your conduct outside. Your behaviour outside will tell you what kind of person you are. The words that you utter, the feelings that you cherish, the attitudes that you have in regard to others, these are the expressions of your achievements. The being of yours will be expressed in the doing outside. Your being and your doing, these are the touchstones, the insignia, the symbol of the spiritual growth of your personality. So remember these two words, ‘being’ and ‘doing’. Your doing outside depends upon your being inside. You cannot be a saint outside and a rogue inside. You cannot say that you are very good inside but very cruel outside. You will be good outside also.
We do not conduct a pretended behaviour when we are spiritually growing inside. Our conduct becomes a spontaneity of expression; it is a natural behaviour. You will be always the same with all people, without much of a difference, which makes you happy. If you are happy, you will be able to make others happy because the happiness that you instil into the minds of other people is not merely through the words that you speak or the gift that you make but through the being that you are. Your happiness will speak for itself.
Small infants of any species are usually not harmed even by ferocious animals, though ferocious animals are not educated in any sense of the term. They have no understanding, but they have instincts.
How can we explain this phenomena? It is not the education of the monkey, which it has none. It is an instinct that speaks from within that here is something whose reaction is not inimical. It is genuinely egoless. The infant has no ego. That is why it is protected. It is the ego that attracts animosity. Though we may not be always conscious of our egos, the ego is there.
We always speak in a twofold language – the language of our mouth and the language of our being. Our being has a language of its own; it speaks. It does not speak in a language which can be expressed in the alphabet of nations, but there is a vibration that we set up from inside. Every person has a vibration of his own. He attracts or repels by his vibrations. Sometimes you feel restless when you see people of a certain thought. At other times you feel happy on meeting certain people. It is on account of the vibrations that they produce. Sympathetic vibrations attract; unsympathetic vibrations repel. The spiritual growth of a personality is capable of producing a vibration of a sympathetic kind, and so you receive sympathy from outside. You become like a child. A spiritual seeker is like a child, though he may be grown up in his bodily status. On account of your childlike nature, you attract sympathy from people, goodness from all outside, and you will not be in dearth of anything at any time. You will receive service uncalled for and unrequested because of your childlike nature.
Now, this childlike nature is not something made up. You do not try to behave like a child. Your nature is childlike spontaneously on account of the spiritual growth within you. You will be wondering, “What is the connection between the spirit and the childlike nature? Is the spirit like a child?” In one sense it is, but not in another sense. The spirit has full-grown understanding and wisdom, as well as the child’s egolessness and spontaneity but not its ignorance.
It is difficult to understand what spontaneity or a childlike nature is. It cannot be studied through books. It can only be known through practical experience. We become susceptible to the forces of nature; that is childlike simplicity. Nature is alive with understanding and intelligence of its own kind. Nature is not dead. The things that we see outside us are not inanimate stuff as scientists and physicists say. They are not inorganic matter. They have life, they have vitality, they can speak. They can attract, they can repel. The world outside us can speak to us in its own prehensive language, though it may not be an apprehensive language. It is not outward language of the tongue but the inward language of life, vitality, sympathy, coordination and unity. Nature as a whole speaks in the language of coordination, sympathy, and an underlying unity. That language is more comprehensive, more meaningful and more useful than the language spoken through our tongue. We may say, “My dear friend, please come and have a cup of tea,” but inwardly we may think, “This idiot has come. When will he go?”
Well, nature does not think like that. It does not call us a friend outside and an idiot inside. Nature’s language is quite different altogether. It is a real language. It is a language of the heart, a language of the feeling, a language of the subconscious and the deepest personality of ours. It is this that is generated and roused in our spiritual seeking. Our personalities are not our outward speeches or our external dresses, but inward samskaras, the deeper feeling, and the thing that we are really made of. The thing that we are made of inwardly will speak the language of truth, of reality, of the basic fact of our relation with things, and unless this is straightened up and polished and rectified, we are not going to be friends of nature and nature is not going to be our friend.
I began by saying that the spiritual seeker is a happy individual. Why is he or she so happy? It is because of this friendliness of nature in respect of that individual. The nature that we see in front of us is the face of God. These varieties of things that we see in front of us – the mountains and trees, the animals and the solar system, and so on, and the many beautiful things or ugly things, as we call them – are the faces of the Almighty. They speak in their own way, and our capacity to react to them depends upon the way in which we have conducted ourselves in the language of the spirit, the nature of the spirit.
To grow spiritually is a different thing altogether. It is not something known to us. To grow spiritually, to grow in sadhana, to grow in meditation is to approximate to godliness, as God would expect us to conduct ourselves. The five yamas which Patanjali speaks of – ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigrah – these qualities spontaneously emanate from ourselves like the rays of the sun. The qualities of a saintly character mentioned in the Bhagavadgita spontaneously shoot themselves forth from a siddha, from a perfected man. They are no more sadhanas or disciplines for that person. We have to try to be good, but a spiritual seeker is really good. He need not try to be good. We have to try to be nonviolent, but he is spontaneously nonviolent without any effort on his part. We have to try to speak the truth, but he spontaneously speaks it. We have to try to not appropriate the property of others, but automatically he will not touch the belongings of others. We have to try to be simple in our life, with effort, but he is spontaneously simple without any effort on his part. The five yamas are automatic behaviour of the spiritual seeker. They are not efforts on his part. Good qualities acquired with effort will not last long. Like borrowed money, they will vanish one day. But characters that grow of their own accord on account of the growth of the spirit from within by meditation are permanent assets of our personality.
What I mean to say finally is that we can be happy even without having anything with us. You need not have money in your hand, you need not have clothes to wear, you need not have a room to live in, you need not have a good diet to eat, yet you can be happy because hundreds of thousands of friends are ready to help you. The forces of nature are your real friends. Do you not think that they will take care of you? Our friends are multifarious; multitudinous, numberless friends we have.
Satan spoke to the Christ and said, “Why are you starving? Why are you standing on one leg, and famishing? You have the power of your father. Convert stones into bread, and eat. The father will convert stones into bread for your sake.”
It is said, “Thou shalt not test thy Father.” You want to test God, whether He will turn stones into bread or not? When Christ was about to be crucified, and one of his disciples cut the ear of a follower of a rabbi, Christ spoke to his disciple, “You want to show your strength? Why did you cut the ear of that man with your sword? Do you know that millions of angels will descend from the heavens to take care of me just now, merely for my asking? But I shall not ask. I do not want help.” Christ said at the last moment when he was about to be dragged to the crucifix. “For my mere asking, my Father shall send millions of angels with drawn swords to take care of me. But I do not want that help. I shall be ready for whatever He is pleased to bestow upon me.”
Do you think you shall not be taken care of? To quote the words of Christ once again, “O ye of little faith, who gives beauty to the lilies in the field, who gives beauty to the voice of the larks that sing in the early morning, who takes care of these birds of the air that sing so beautifully, carefree, as if they are the masters of the whole earth? When these poor things are taken care of, do you think you will not be taken care of? Do you have to horde rice and wheat for tomorrow? If you have as much faith as the grain of a mustard seed and then tell this mountain ‘Move from here,’ the mountain will move.” But do you have a little faith as a grain of mustard seed, at least? You test God, suspect Him, and worry if He exists or not.
Spiritual aspirants are happy individuals because God protects them, the world is at their beck and call, and the forces of nature are their friends; they shall not starve, and shall not die of lack of protection. They are the most beautiful of persons, the most happy, and the most good at heart because goodness is an expression of godliness. The being of the spiritual seeker will speak in the conduct of the spiritual seeker. So let us try to be good at heart, and then good in action and speech in our behaviour.
That is why Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj said the essence of sadhana is to be good, and then to do good. How can you do good when you are not good inside? But what is it to be good inside? It is not easy. How can you be good? You cannot just say, “I shall be good just now, and I am good.” Nothing of the kind. To be good is not to say that you have to be good. It is to generate a potentiality and a substance from within which shall make up your personality. That can be done only by deep contemplation and daily meditation, and an honest prayer that rises from the bottom of your being.
“Ask not and want not.” Let this be the motto of the spiritual seeker. Do not ask and do not want. You shall be happy. You shall be taken care of. Be the simplest person, as much as possible. Be the last man to speak, the last person to ask for a position, the humblest and the simplest and the most unwanted. You shall be the greatest. The most unwanted in the eyes of people shall be the first chosen by God. You shall be the receiver of the first-class ticket though you may be unwanted in the world, most wretched in the eyes of people, a simpleton and a fool in the eyes of others. Well, let it be so. It does not matter. In the eyes of the spirit, it shall not be that. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” They shall be inheritors of the wealth of God. The poor in spirit is not the poor in material wealth merely. The humble in spirit is the poor in spirit, one who has effaced the ego, one who wants nothing for himself but only gives.
I have seen one such personality, Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, who wanted nothing for himself but only gave. If I give you a basket of fruits, you will naturally keep it in your room, but not so was Swami Sivananda. He will distribute it then and there. He will not take one orange for himself. Everything will be distributed there itself. You will be wonderstruck. “I gave it to him, and he gave it to some Tom, Dick and Harry.” The devotees are not happy, because they gave it to the Maharaj for his supper, or whatever it is, and he gave it to a beggar, a nobody. Many said, “Swamiji, this is for you.” But he said, “This is not for me only,” and he gave.
One of the greatest masters was Swami Sivananda, and his life is a teaching, his life is the cause of this institution, and we are here to imbibe his teachings through the imitation of the character of his life, if we are to become humble followers and disciples of his. We say we are disciples of Swami Sivananda. What qualities of Swami Sivananda have we? Not one. How can you be a disciple? Just because you are occupying a room in the Sivanandanagar location physically and geographically, you do not become a disciple. You can only say, “I occupy a room here,” but do not say you are a disciple. To be a disciple you must have at least one quality of his – that goodness, that vast-heartedness, and that entire dependence on God.
“How do you run this big kitchen, Swamiji?” one disciple asked him. So many people eat freely. Nobody will give food like this. Where do you get this income?”
Gurudev said, “It showers from above.” He did not say that it comes from people. Look at his feelings. Generally, we say it comes from donations from people, but with Gurudev it was not like that. He said, “Who are these people to give me? What capacity have they to give me? It showers from above. God rains gold, and so the Society continues.” Why does God rain gold? He is not a fool to do that. It is because He saw Himself in a great personality like Swami Sivananda.
So let us not waste our life in listening to music on the radio, photography, running here and there, eating an ice cream or drinking a Coca-Cola. Don’t waste your life, my friends. This is my request. Life is very precious; nothing can be so precious as that. Don’t try to enjoy the world, but be disciplined by the world. Manu, in his Smriti, says this body has not been given to us for enjoyment. That is not the purpose. It is for intense discipline, hard self-restraint, control over the self for the sake of attaining infinite bliss. You will get all the joys of the world afterwards. Don’t think that you are going to be deprived of the joys by the sufferings of the world. All that you want, you will get in infinite measure.
“Give, and it shall be given, shaken, pressed and overflowing.” If you give one, a hundred will come back to you as a gift. If you give one in charity, millions will come back as a re-competence from God because while we have only two hands to give, God has millions of hands, so when He gives, He will give with millions of hands. He does not use two hands merely. That is why when He gives us back as a re-competence for the charity and the gift that we make, it comes flooding from all sides. While we give from only one direction, He gives from all directions because He is everywhere. We are only in one place; naturally we can give only in one place, in one direction. We cannot give from all sides, but He is everywhere and gives from all directions. Plenty will flow from all sides, and flood us with riches. That is how God blesses us if he wants to bless us.
Sudama became wealthy overnight, so why not you? You are not a beggar or a pauper, so do not ask for the joys and the sensations of this little, brittle earth. Sadhakas, seekers, aspirants should be very cautious. Carelessness is death. Simply leaving the physical body is not death. Why do you call it death? You will be reborn again. You lose nothing. Carelessness, heedlessness, foolishness, stupidity on the part of the seeker, that is verily death, says Sanatkumara to Dhritarashtra. Apramattas tadā bhavati (Katha 2.3.11), says the Katha Upanishad. The seeker is never careless. You should not say, “Oh, everything is all right.” It is not all right. Be very cautious.
In a day, all the millionaires of West Punjab, which is now Pakistan, became beggars. In a day they lost everything, millions. Can you imagine this condition? You may be well off today, but who can say what you will be tomorrow? So let us not be unnecessarily complacent over the sensations of pleasure that have been bestowed upon us by the facilities provided by the goodness of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. He has given us good rooms to live in, a temple to worship in, and kitchari to eat. He used to say, “You have got kitchari. Even if everything goes, kitchari will remain.” He has created a Mooladhana fund for the temple. His heart was so big. He said, “All donations may stop. People may give you nothing. The ashram may not have even a paise in cash, but the Mooladhana will be there. At least you will have some kitchari once in a day, so you will not be suffering. Kitchari at least will be there because the Mooladhana is there.” How good he was, how kind, how large. He wanted to see that at least kitchari is remaining for us, so we may not suffer. If everything goes, we will have one day’s kitchari. We will not die. He has created that.
Not only that, he has made us as princes so that we may not have any difficulty of going begging to kshetras, that we may meditate more. If all your time is wasted walking in the sun to the kshetra and coming back, how can you meditate? You spend three hours going and coming, and having sunstroke. How will you meditate? Poor people cannot get one lemon; one cup of tea they cannot get. You know the poverty of the sadhu. They simply feel elated if they get one cup of buttermilk. You cannot get buttermilk anywhere in Rishikesh. They will shoo you out if you ask for buttermilk. Who will give you a cup of tea? You go and ask anyone, let us see. Nothing. Who will give you rice to eat? You can imagine how good Swami Sivananda was, how great, and what gratitude you should have towards him, and how worthily we should utilise this opportunity that has been provided to us through our growing inwardly into the spirit and the stature of his.
We should not misuse our opportunities, and live like that foolish disciple who misused his time and was taken to the gallows afterwards. Yama will catch hold of our neck for having wasted our time in idle enjoyments and pleasures, and seeking for unnecessary, unwarranted satisfactions of the body and the senses. You will be punished for that. No wrong act can go unpunished. You will be given a long rope to correct yourself, but a day will come when retribution will follow. Nemesis will not leave you.
So let us not be untrue and ungrateful to the spiritual possibility provided to us in this wonderful institution on the bank of the Ganga, which has the breeze of the holy Himalayas. Let us keep the memory of the great master Swami Sivananda, and let every hour of every day be spent in prayer to God, meditation, goodness, and a charitable service as much as we can, and not reluctantly. Do not be a malingering worker. Do not complain, “I don’t have this. I don’t have that. I cannot work.” When you compare yourself to others who have nothing to eat, you are an emperor, a prince.
So let us be true to the salt that we eat, be good at heart and enshrine godliness, which alone will please the imminent spirit of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. If you want to serve him, serve his mission, and be true to him, an ideal disciple of him, you must be a spiritual seeker. Only a spiritual seeker honestly asking for God will be a true disciple of Swami Sivananda because he was a Godman who brought God’s name to the earth and spread the message of God, who lived and died only for that purpose. We shall be having this credit of at least having lived the life of a humble disciple only if we bring to our personal lives this little bit of goodness of being honest spiritual seekers asking for God and nothing else. Everything shall follow. When we seek God, everything follows. Do not forget this. Do not imagine that you will be a loser in seeking God. You will be an immense gainer. God bless you all, my dear friends.