by Swami Krishnananda
The causes are more important than the effects. That which came first is more important than that which came later. We are perhaps the least important, because we came much later. Nature is more important. But, there is something more which you carry with you.
You carry yourself as a psychological unit; that is true. You carry human society's relations; that is also true. Now, the third thing that you carry is the permission granted to you by nature to exist here. You know what permission nature has given to you. It gives you security. You want air to breathe: "Take," says nature. You want water; it rains. Who can manufacture rain?
Such an arrangement has been made by the natural laws, by the cooperation of oceans surrounding the earth's surface, and the sun in the sky, and the wind that blows. All these three cooperatively working create clouds, rain, showers, and we have rivers of water everywhere. Who can forget this wonderful operation in nature, to which we give scant respect?
In Indian traditional parlance, it is stated that when you wake up in the morning, you put your foot on the surface of the earth. This earth is a divine being. We generally offer a prayer in Sanskrit meaning "Oh, Consort to the Almighty, this Mother Earth, please excuse me. I am putting my foot on your chest helplessly. You are a divinity. "Would you doubt that the earth is a divinity? Would you doubt that the sun is a divinity? Would you doubt that the beautiful waters that flow in the rivers are divinities? Would you doubt that the fresh air, the oxygen, is a divinity? There is divinity everywhere. There is nothing but that.
So, I mentioned about your individuality, psychological setup, which is very important, and your social relations, and then your obligation to nature. "Prostrate yourself, bowing your head down every day to anything and everything that you see around you," says a passage in the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. "Prostrate yourself before a dog also, and a donkey. Do namaskar (a greeting with the palms of the hands placed together)." A donkey is not a wretched creature. It is as important as you are. A cow is very sacred. You must bow down and do namaskar. If you see a towering tree, "Oh, wonderful master, namaskar." We prostrate ourselves before Ganga.
Everything in the world is worthy of respect. That is Bhagavan Sri Krishna's admonition to his disciple; a parting advice he gives to a person called Uddhava. "We lose nothing by being humble. We lose everything by being proud and self-assertive, and wrongly imagining that we have all the power, while we have no power of any kind." The power that we seem to be having, even to walk with our legs, comes from the cooperative structure of the whole of nature: the nervous system, the bloodstream, the brain, the heart, the lungs. How do they operate? We are not contributing anything to their operation. Nature is kindly setting itself in tune with our structural individuality. We have the grace of God, with which we are living in this world.
Now, I am mentioning the word "God". It is the last, but not the least. You carry Him wherever you go. You carry yourself; you carry society, you carry nature, and you are carrying God Himself. This is the most difficult thing to conceive. To some extent, you may know what you are; to some extent you know what society is, and to some extent, what nature is. But what God is, is beyond; it passes understanding. You do not know what it is all about. People say anything about God. It is not possible to meditate so easily like that, because you do not know what it is that you want. An incomprehensible, indivisible, enveloping, total perfection, beyond space and time – how will you contemplate such a thing?
If this exercise could be practicable, if you can feel at one and the same moment that you belong to all these things, the quarters of the heaven will guide you, protect you, and take care of you. The Yoga Vasishtha says, "The guardians of the eight quarters in the horizon will protect you." This is not imagery; this is not mythology; this is not religion. This is scientific fact. You are inseparably existing from nature outside and the divinity that is behind nature. You are perpetually under the protection and guardianship of these divinities.
We see with our eyes due to the operation of the divine solar principle that is giving energy to our eyes inside. We have five sense organs – seeing, hearing, etc. All these are superintended by certain celestial operations. If you read the Chhandogya Upanishad, or the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, you will have some idea how these divinities operate. The moment you are born, the divinities enter you, and the child opens the eyes and begins to see; it hears, and it feels.
When it is time to depart, the divinities take leave because the time of departure is like an emergency situation arising in the body. When there is an emergency in a particular country, the ambassadors coming from other countries flee that place immediately. All the embassies will be withdrawn to their respective countries when there is an emergency in a particular land. So, what can be a greater emergency than the event of death taking place? It is going to take place in a few minutes. The divinities, the ambassadors of God, withdraw themselves, and then we cannot see anything. The dying person cannot see, cannot hear, and he cannot think, also. This is a serious situation which is before us. We cannot escape.
The Upanishad tells us when the time of this order to quit comes to us, a little light emerges from our heart; a little flame, as it were, shoots up from the tip of the heart. It is the quantum of energy in our system. That little tip of flame – you may compare it to the soul that we are – is trying to extricate itself from the clutches of the bodily condition. It wants exit immediately. When it pulls itself out, what happens? It pulls the sense organs, and drives the divinities out. They are not necessary anymore. Then, the last thing that it pulls is the prana, or the vital force, and the body becomes cold. The fire element has been withdrawn; water element is withdrawn. The body becomes dry, chilled, and nothing is left except this physical substance, bereft of all the energies and the divine forces.
What will happen afterwards? This little flame will rush out like a rocket, with the speed of a rocket, we may say, or with a greater speed still, the speed of light. It is with incalculable speed. It will rush to the spot where you can fulfil those desires which you have been harbouring in your heart in this world, but which you could not fulfil in this world, due to various factors.
Therefore, be careful. The Upanishad says, "Oh human beings, be careful. Beware of what is going to happen to you." Where are you going? You will go to that particular area, that atmosphere, that thing which you have been brooding over throughout your life. If you had chaotic thoughts, confused ideas, a muddled way of thinking, and distracted desires, the less said the better. You would like to be a wonderful, glorious luminous, happy angel, if possible. How can you deserve that wonderful state of a divine angelic existence if you have not aspired for it in this world? Is anyone wanting to be an angel? Is it possible? Then you have to live the life of an angel in this world. If a person lives like a pig in this world, how will that person become an angel in the next world?
What we become in the next world is only a carrying forward of the balance left in the previous life. It is a like a clear balance sheet. If there is a debit, a debit will be carried; if it is a credit, a credit will be carried, and you must know what it is that is going to be carried with you. Be very careful. Decide: "I want to be a shining angel in the high heaven. This is my desire. I want to be fit enough to visualise the Almighty Creator, God. I shall depart from this mortal coil and enter into the bosom of the Supreme Creator."
Has such a desire arisen in the mind of any person? Even if that desire has arisen, has it taken a root in one's heart? If it has taken a root in the heart, for how many minutes does this thought continue? Is it a waste of time to think like this, or is it the only proper thing that we have to do in our life? Is there time for us to waste in wool-gathering, and chit-chatting, talking nonsense and meaningless things, wasting hours and minutes? Is it going to be worthwhile? How long are we to live in this world? Nobody knows, but we think another fifty, sixty years is quite all right. Who told you this? Where is the guarantee? It may be fifty or sixty minutes, also, but you think it is years. This is another illusion that is catching hold of the person, so that the person will never be able to do any worthwhile fig.
If we are not in a position to do anything worthwhile for our own selves, what is the use of asking whether we can do some worthwhile thing for other people? People talk of service, social welfare, running about here and there, doing good to the whole world. What good have you done to your own self? You yourself are in a state of emergency end danger.
We started with the word "spirituality". Here is spirituality. It is a comprehensive, total dedication to the cosmic structure that the Almighty God has created. That is spirituality. It is not chanting some mantra; it is not rolling a bead; it is not going to a temple, ringing the bell, or going to a church. It is not taking a bath in a river. Nothing of the kind can save us when the time for it comes. We have to gather ourselves up into a centre of absolute concentration on that great wonderful Totality, the Supreme Being.
People come to this ashram of Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj to find time to think like this; because they cannot think like this in a marketplace, in a railway station, or a club, they come here. But if even here you cannot find time, then who is to blame? Be happy. I have uttered these few words to you from the bottom of my heart. It is that which is important to me, and I consider it is important to you all.