A- A+

Prophets, Incarnations, Gurus
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken January 16th, 1998.)

It is said that great Christs and Buddhas, whom we adore so much as Incarnations, are second-rate heroes. The true heroes come to the world unknown, think one thought which will vibrate till eternity, and leave the world unknown. It is a very great thing to hear this. They don't have to say anything; they need not have to do anything. They have to think one thought; it is enough to vibrate till the end of the universe. They are the greatest prophets and heroes, not Buddha and Christ.

In one of the lectures of Swami Vivekananda, he proclaimed this. These are not the great people. The great people are not known to the world at all. We go by advertisement, publicity and gathering of devotees. The greater is the number of devotees, the greater is the man. They think like that. If the man is single, nobody talks to him, they don't recognise him at all. So this is not the way in which you have to judge a person. If the whole universe recognises you and no human being recognises you, you are a great man.

If people like me recognise me, what is the use of that? In what way are they able to judge me? I am like them and they are like me. There must be something which is greater than humanity. Let that judge. Then we can say it is worth judging. A human being cannot judge a human being. That is like a horse judging a horse, an ass judging and ass. If a hundred people say something, we say, “Oh wonderful, wonderful!” This is no good. Many foolish people do not make one wise man. So this plebiscite, chorus and slogan, advertisement, publicity, they are not the criterion of the greatness of a person.

If the conscience says, “The whole universe wants me”… Even the conscience inside speaks: “I am wanted by the whole universe.” It is like a divinity thinking. We cannot envisage the characteristic of a divinity. We cannot know what it means, actually. We say he is a divine person. What is actually the meaning of being a divine person? It is a superphysical, supermental, non-individualistic phenomenon. We can say that. Sometimes Incarnations are described in those ways. They are superphysical. They represent not merely their individual appearance; they represent the total humanity. All the thoughts of all people in the world vibrate through their single thought.

It is said in religious circles, Christ was the son of Man. He was not the son of any particular man. They always write man with M. In the Bible you would have seen it written like this: son of Man. He is the representation and the manifestation of the aspirations of the total humanity. When the entire humanity cries for God, He will manifest Himself in some form, and the power and the ability of the Incarnation will depend upon the need of people in the world. If the need is simple, a simple incarnation will take place. But if it is the cry that is as if the whole world is going to destruction, the world is crying, then a most powerful vibration takes place. It may be a Lord Krishna or a Muhammad or a Buddha, or whatever it is. They will shake the whole earth and go, and they will be remembered forever, as long as the sun and moon shine. We cannot forget at any time their existence. That Krishna existed, Buddha existed and Christ existed, nobody can forget. You may have any opinion about them, but they will be remembered. That is, they shook the earth with the phenomenon which they themselves were. They were not human beings.

But there were some tremendously great divine beings like Shirdi Sai Baba. Nobody knows who he was. Nobody knows who were his parents, where he was born. He was called a fakir – fakir means a beggar. A Muslim beggar is a fakir. He lived like a nonentity. His behaviour was unpredictable. He will say something now; tomorrow he will say another thing to you. He will talk to you very kindly and lovingly today, and tomorrow he will say, “Why did you come here? Get away from this place,” and you will be shocked. Even Swami Nithyananda was like that, I heard. He has got various moods. Sometimes he will say, “Please come and sit.” Another time he will take a stone and strike him. Why is he striking with a stone? It happened in the case of Shirdi Sai Baba also. There was another saintly person called Upasani Baba, Upasani. He was a follower and a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba. He used to go and fall prostrate before Shirdi. But the attitude of that baba was, he took a stone and struck him so violently that he started bleeding, they say. People could not understand how these Gurus behave like that. He did not say anything. Neither the Guru uttered a word, nor the disciple said anything to him. He departed. Later on this Shirdi Sai Baba told, “This fellow has committed a sin in the previous birth. I removed that sin by this.”

Sometimes small sufferings become a compensation for larger errors we committed. Through the Guru's grace, or even by God's grace, oftentimes, our miserable experiences in the dream state may be an expiation for some terrible mistake that we have committed in the previous birth. That is, in a homeopathic way, I should say, where disease is injected into the person in order to remove the disease. In a similar way, a person dreams that he fell from a tree and broke his legs. This experience is an expiation for a phenomenon that would have occurred in the waking state. He would have actually fallen and broken the leg. But Guru's compassion or God's grace removed that phenomenon, that possibility, and then it went off in a dream.

When the Guru is kind – all Gurus are kind, whatever be their peculiar behaviour. Sometimes they are repulsive. We will not like to go to them because we think like human beings, and the Gurus are not human beings. That's the thing we forget. Gurus are not human beings. They do not think like a human person. But the disciples are human beings, so they expect a behaviour from the Guru which is commensurate with the ordinary human thinking. You cannot expect a Guru to throw a stone at the disciple's head. “This is a crazy man!” they will think, and go away.

So there is supernormal perception in themselves, through which third eye, I may say, they behold things. If a Guru sees you, a real Guru, he will see something behind you rather than yourself. He will see you through your earlier existence, what you were, and what you may likely be in the next birth. All the three things they can visualise, and behave with you accordingly. Their approach is not empirical, it is not sensory, it is not even social. The Guru-disciple relationship is not a social phenomenon. There is no social element in spiritual relationship. It is Spirit coming in contact with Spirit.

The Guru is a microcosmic form of the Divine Spirit. People say, “My Guru is no more.” Actually, the Guru cannot be ‘no more'. The Guru is not the body. The inspiration that you receive from the Guru was not from his body, because his body is made of the same flesh and blood and bone. He eats the same food, he sleeps like anybody else, but he has an element of superphysical environment around himself, which is what is inspiring. That cannot die. It becomes, rather, wider after the physical body is shed.

We believe, for instance, Swami Sivananda is still with us. We never say, “Swami Sivananda is dead and gone, and now we have nothing with us.” On the other hand I, for one, believe that he works more vigourously now than when he was physically visible. This Ashram is running not with the hands and feet of people like us. We cannot run the Ashram like this. It is an enormous adventure that The Divine Life Society is. We cannot imagine that such a thing is possible. We don't earn money. We have no capacity to earn. We don't own property. How the Ashram is running? From where the energy comes? People are working hard. Some few hundreds are working hard. For whose sake are they working hard? Something is driving them from the centre, and I can say only that it is the spirit of Swami Sivananda in a higher realm.

I also have some peculiar perceptions that Swami Sivananda is in Brahmaloka at present. Cosmic existence is called Brahmaloka. It is a Sanskrit word. It is the location of the Creator of the universe. That is called Brahmaloka. People say the manner in which one departs from this body indicates to some extent the place where he will go after passing. The prana departs. They breathe in a unique way at the time of passing. “The prana departs,” we say. That is, the life principle departs from this body. How does it depart? It can depart through the mouth. At the time of dying, the person does like this and the whole thing goes. Or it may pass through the ears. There will be a little bit of bleeding from the ear at that time. It is said that if it passes through the mouth it will reach the penultimate Absolute. The penultimate Absolute is the creative centre, which is what we call Brahmaloka. So Swami Sivananda… I was present at the time of his passing. His prana departed through the mouth, so he must be still in the state of the penultimate Absolute, and he has not merged himself in the All.

He used to talk to us in funny ways. “Oh, Swami Krishnanandaji, come here. I will tell you something. This birth is devoted by me to writing in English language. Next birth will be for writing books in Sanskrit.” People used to say, “Why is Swamiji talking like that? Does he want to take another birth?” “Next birth I will write books in Sanskrit,” he said. Where is he writing books in Sanskrit? We don't know anything.

Twenty-one days before he left the body… He used to attend satsanga every night, and it was the last satsanga he attended, twenty-one days before he passed. After he concluded satsanga, he came out from the hall. “Is there anybody wanting to come to Brahmaloka?” What sense can anyone make out of it? They thought he is making a joke. Nobody said, “Yes, I am wanting to come to Brahmaloka.” Nobody said that. And that day he lost his consciousness little by little, little by little, little by little.

People who are accustomed to a study of mysticism say it was, in his case at least, not a loss of consciousness. It was an ascent of consciousness to a different level. The loss of the lower consciousness need not necessarily be a real loss. It may be a transcending of the lower consciousness in the experience of a higher level. Twenty-one days he was in that condition, and many interpretations were given by devotees.

There are knots of the heart. They are called Brahma-granthi, Vishnu-granthi and Rudra-granthi. They are connected with the chakras inside, as they call it. These grantis are knots which bind us to empirical existence. One knot is Brahma-granthi, which effaces from the person's mind any consciousness of there being such a thing called the Universal Being. It completely wipes out universal consciousness, and instils into the body an individual consciousness. They call it avidya, ignorance. This is the work of the Brahma-granthi, one knot. The second one is, not only is the consciousness of universality wiped out, a positive desire for individual existence is created. A person not only does not do any good, he positively does something wrong. So that is the difference. If one does not do any good and keeps quiet, it is okay. But he not only does no good, he will purposely do some evil. That is the work of kama, or desire. Desire is an evil. It will not allow you to do any good thing, but it will push you to do something which is totally wrong. So that is Brahma-granthi, Vishnu-granthi. Rudra-granthi is pushing a person to external activity, engaging oneself outwardly to such an extent, being conscious of other people, other things, the world outside, and completely forgetting one's own existence. This happens in the case of social workers who go to the extreme of imagining that they are doing good to people outside by losing their own self first. So these three granthis must be broken, and it takes seven days in the meditational process. For each granthi it takes seven days, and he was in this condition for twenty-one days. So some mystical devotees used to say this is him breaking the three granthis, the three knots, and attaining to Brahmaloka.

What I mean to say is, spiritual people cannot be judged by any human standard. “Judge not, lest you be judged.” This is an old saying. Very difficult. The path of the Spirit is very difficult. However much we struggle, we cannot be sure that we are on strong ground, firm ground. Sometimes retrogression may look like a forward march. A person may be giddy in the brain, and he will be actually sliding back, but the giddy condition will make him feel that he was moving forward.

So likewise, our experiences are not true indications of our exact prevailing condition. We may thoroughly misunderstand our own selves. At that time of indecision, uncertainty and agony inside, one has to approach a guide. Without a competent guide, advance on the spiritual path beyond a certain level is difficult. In the beginning everything looks all right for some time. In the kindergarten stage, in the primary school level of spirituality, everything is all right. But when you go further and further, further and further, there is a dark wall in the front. You cannot pierce it.

There is a screen which separates us from the cosmos. “Thus far and no further,” it says. And as they say in the biblical language, God keeps a flaming sword at the gate of heaven lest this mortal that has fallen may come back to the heavens. The screen of space and time, we may say, prevents us from knowing our true position in this universe. We do not know whether we belong to the universe or we are outside it. No statement of this kind can be really intelligible. If you say that you belong to the universe, in what sense do you belong? Are you a property possessed by the universe? Do you belong in that sense? Or do you possess the universe as a belonging? People say, “I have got a lot of property. I have got a lot of belonging. It means some part of the universe is my property.” Does it sound true? Can anyone possess some part of the universe? Neither can one possess anything in the universe, nor is it true that the person is possessed by something else. The relationship between oneself and the universe is indescribable because this avidya, as they call it, the effacing of the consciousness of universality, distorts perception completely, and whatever we see is upside down, topsy-turvy, and nothing that we think is totally correct.

What is our relationship to the universe that we behold with our eyes? Let each one put a question to oneself. Am I inside the universe, or am I outside the universe? It is not easy to answer this question. If you are outside the universe, the outsideness imagined precludes one's relationship to the universe. But if you say you are inside the universe, why do you feel that the universe is outside you? Does not anyone look and see the world is outside? I am looking at the world. That means it is outside. If it is outside, how can there be any connection between one and another? A is not B, you see. A is A, B is B, and A cannot be B.

So the universe cannot be outside, cannot be inside. It is so because the universe is me. That is why this question cannot be answered. The question is futile. It looks absurd and unanswerable because there is the prejudiced imagination that the world should be either outside or inside, and it cannot be in a third place. But actually, it is in a third place; that is, I am the universe. So there is no question of relationship.

This I – we use the word ‘am' – I am. Instead of saying ‘I am', it is better to say ‘I is'. I is the universe. Don't say ‘I am' and all that. This is the metaphysical I, which asserts itself as I is the universe. That is the total I asserting. There is an I in everything. Every little thing asserts itself: “I am here, I am here!” Even an insect, even a leaf, even a tree, even an atom, they assert themselves I, I. The total I – the I is blended together entirely, that is, the I, what they usually call ‘I am what I am, I am that I am,' and so on. This is I, this is I, everything I, I, I – everything I only. So there is no you anywhere. The you does not exist.

Everything is a subject. The you so-called is also an I from its point of view. Now you say you to that person, but for him he is I. So what is the correct position? Is he an I, or are you? Nobody would like to be considered as an object of somebody else. It is pure subjectivity: I am what I am. This total ‘I am what I am' is the aim of spiritual life. The whole universe of creation should be considered as one pure Being-Consciousness. This is what they call God-consciousness.