by Swami Krishnananda
Then what is it that God wants? He wants you only. This is a moot point in spiritual life. If anyone says "I want you" what will you make out from this statement? You want me? What is the meaning of this statement? We have this subject discussed in the great poetic drama of the German poet Goethe when he wrote the beautiful epic called Dr. Faust. Dr. Faust was in a state of embarrassment when Mephistopheles, the opposite of spiritual welfare, offered him all the wealth of the whole world for a small price. "Would you offer a small price, Dr. Faust?" "Oh, if it is a small price, why should I not part with it? But what is it that you are going to give me?" "The whole world of glory with all the magnificence of creation – here it is, it is laid out before you. But give me a small thing." "What is that small thing?" "Give yourself to me." "Oh," Dr. Faust thought over. "Oh, I see, you want me. And in return for that you will give me the whole universe of pleasure." Dr. Faust forgot that when he is not there, because he has already given it to someone, he will not be there to enjoy this cosmos. This idiocy caught hold of him. "Take it," said Dr. Faust. A thunder, as it were, broke everywhere. Dr. Faust felt he was shattered to pieces. He broke into little, tiny particles. When you are broken into tiny particles of subatomic elements, torn apart in shreds, unthinkably destroyed completely, you are no more there – such shattered condition befell this wonderful Dr. Faust who sold himself for the sake of the wealth of the whole world.
This is not a story. This was also mentioned in connection with Jesus Christ. The whispering one came and told, "Why are you sitting on this top of the mountain famishing your body? You have already attained what you want. Here it is. Look, everywhere gold, everywhere silver, everywhere shining crystal. Take. Why are you torturing yourself? Go. Here it is." But Christ was made of a different stuff. "Get thee behind, Satan. Tempt me not." These are the stories that apply to everybody. We should not think that we are better than Dr. Faust or Jesus Christ – nothing of the kind. Every human being has to pass through the same experience and in the same layer of ascent. If it is not today, it will come tomorrow. There is no such thing as waiving of a condition or a double promotion – nothing of the kind. Every step of ascent has to be passed through by everyone; if it is not today, it'll be done tomorrow.
Most people get frightened of the thought of surrendering themselves to God, because it is a negation of one's dear self. Nothing can be more frightening than the possibility of losing your own self. This fright will also be a good indicator of how far we have progressed in spiritual life. You are frightened by God Himself. Is it possible to imagine such a situation? When God says, "I shall give you all things and I take you entirely into Myself," well, when He says "I shall give you all things," you are pleased. When He says I shall take you into Myself – God forbid. If I am annihilated from the existence which I am enjoying now, I shall not persist anymore and there shall be nothing called 'me' even to enjoy the bliss of God. This is the whisper of Mephistopheles, or the opposite of Christ, which will not permit you to think that there is a glory beyond your own selves. "I am everything, what I am is perfectly ok. I am perfect, there is nothing wrong with me; there is nothing higher than what I am." It is impossible to conceive that which is beyond yourself.
This is perhaps the reason why the great German thinker Immanuel Kant said you cannot think the noumenon, the thing that is really there. You cannot think that which is above yourself; you can think only that which is within your capacity, within the phenomenal range of your mental perception. Beyond that you should not touch – don't go beyond the limit. There is a limit for logic, there is a limit for reasoning, and reason fails and then religion starts.
Spiritual meditation is not a kind of physiological exercise. It is not a mere attempt to see if something can come or not. It is a dedication, and a dedication for the whole of life. When I say it is a dedication for the whole of life, it means there is nothing else to be done – this includes all things. And even the other things that you are apparently interested in and engrossed in, they are also brought together into this granary of comprehensiveness of God-consciousness. Many people cannot reconcile themselves between the world of activity and the being of God. "After all, I have got duties, I have got a family, and I've got to do work." Who told you not to take care of family? Who told you not to work in a factory, in an office? But your wisdom consists not in making a dichotomous distinction between God and the creation, but to see a blending factor between the two.
A little bit of conversation we had yesterday with some visitor, and a question was raised before me: "After all, we have to get on in this world of matter." I said, "I do not know if there is a world of matter, because that would imply that God has created matter also." There are two aspects in this question. If matter exists, it opposes spirit; that is the Sankhya duality of Prakriti and Purusha. If spirit and matter are opposed to each other, there will be nobody to know that matter exists. Matter cannot know itself because it is not spirit, and spirit cannot know matter because it is established that the two are totally different. So who is it that is conscious of the world? You will not know that even the world exists at all because you are a center of perception, knowledge, spirit, opposed to the object of the world which is considered as material. If you are totally segregated as a center of the spirit that you are inside yourself, the objective world will not be an object of perception. Nobody can know that the world exists if spirit and matter are two different things. This particular situation defeats the argument that spirit and matter are two different things.
Second thing is when you say that God has created the world. Every religion says that God created the world. What did He create? Did He create the world out of some pre-existent material? If you say God existed, of course, but there was a substance also out of which He fashioned this world, then there would be a permanent opposition to God, and the other assertion that God alone is will be futile. Some religions are unable to get over this problem, and accept that there are two facets of reality – Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, as the Zarathustrian philosophy will tell you. There is a permanent opposition to God. Ahura Mazda is God, Ahriman is the opposite of it – a spirit and matter opposition. In India we have got theological doctrines of Deva, Asura, Sangrama – a war between the gods and the demons. From where did the demons come at all? Who created them? No one wants to put questions of that kind – they are all taken for granted.
So, just as nobody can know that the world exists if the perceiving consciousness is totally isolated from the world of matter, as you think, so also you cannot know who created this world. The assertion in all religions that God alone is, or was, or shall be, precludes any possibility of God handling some pre-existent matter for the purpose of creation; because if there is a pre-existent matter, call it Prakriti or whatever it is, then God is not All-in-All. If God is not All-in-All, He's a finite being, He cannot be immortal, He cannot be infinite. There is a muddle in thinking.
This difficulty arises because the mind is impure to the very core. The mind is unfit even to think such great things. But, as I mentioned to you the other day, take at least the initial step in the direction of understanding this truth. It may not be a complete understanding at 100% marks – you have got only 1%. Ok, God is pleased with that also. You will not be declared a failure because your mark is only 1%; you don't have to certify 40% – not necessary. God is a very good examiner – 1% is sufficient. What a beautiful statement in the Bhagavadgita. Even the least attempt that you make in the direction of knowing this reality will free you from great fear, because even the least effort, even a millimeter distance that you cover in the direction of this ultimate reality, evokes a flood of response from that Great Being, and prevents the agonies of people.
When you think, when you exercise your mind in meditation, mostly what happens is you are simultaneously conscious of excluding certain thoughts. You should think only Bhagavan Sri Krishna, and you should not think any other nonsense in this world. You shut out the thoughts which are external to that particular thought which you have chosen as that which is your ideal. But you must remember, psychology is a very interesting subject. You cannot shut off or shut out the thought of something without being conscious that such a thing exists. Even when you are not wanting a thing, you are conscious that such a thing exists.
So there is a dual activity of the mind – a struggle, as it were, going on within itself – the thought that it is wanting to concentrate itself on one thing, and the thought it does not want to concentrate itself on another thing. This not wanting to concentrate itself on another thing also is, unfortunately, another thought. So you should not imagine, just because you excluded the thought of something which should not intrude into your meditation, you have got over it. It will be there staring at you, "What have you made out of me?" And I mentioned sometime ago that even the awareness that there is a thought of something other than the thought of that what you have chosen is not possible unless there is a linkage between the two thoughts. How would you know that something is irrelevant and something is relevant unless there is some operation going on in the mind itself which links the two aspects of reality?
This is something like our famous Hegel's philosophy of position, opposition and synthesis – thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Thesis is that the mind should concentrate on one thing. The antithesis is it should not think of something else. The synthesis is that thought which brings about a union between these two thoughts of the position and the opposition of it. So there is a third element, like a triangle – you can have a picture of it drawn, geometrically. The base of the triangle consists of two points which you may call the position and the opposition – the thesis and the antithesis – and the apex of the triangle is the blending factor which is the synthesis of the apparently two different points of the thesis and the antithesis. This is only an illustration I am giving you.
But the world is so big that merely bringing about a reconciliation between two thoughts will not suffice, because this synthesizing thought operating as a transcendental medium between the position and the opposition will itself, to put it in the language of Hegel, will be in the position of a thesis, a position which will be opposed by another thing which is the antithesis of it. The world is so big that there will be no end for this situation or the encounter of the thesis by the opposition or the antithesis, the seeking of a blending of them two together in a transcendental unity which series goes on one above the other, one above the other, until, staggeringly as it were, it reaches the absolute synthesis where the thesis of God and the antithesis of the world are brought together by a synthesis of the Absolute. Well, I'm not talking on Hegel now, or Kant or anything, I'm just mentioning these Western thinkers are also very penetrating. There is something we have to learn from them. You should not think that Indian thought only is wonderful, and there is nothing there. It is not like that. Very great thoughts are there – Plato and others – people have to teach you very much.
Now, we're coming to the point – I am not able to complete this subject today because I went in such detail – it has taken already 45 minutes. May I conclude today and take up another time? Ok? Hari Om!