The Attainment of the Infinite
by Swami Krishnananda


Chapter 3: Calling God into Yourself

Whatever I have spoken to you for the last two days is so important, if it has actually entered your mind it should be considered as the very foundation of spiritual practice, upon which the superstructure of further developments in sadhana is to be built. Whatever I spoke to you in the first two days was a little hard substance because I introduced you to a new way of thinking altogether, totally different from the manner in which human beings usually think.

Today I shall speak to you something much easier, though not less important – namely, the art of calling God into your own self. When you call anybody towards yourself, what method do you adopt? You call a dog with some gestures. You call a cat; it comes near you. You hold a little grass in front of a cow, and it comes near you. You gesticulate in a friendly manner with a person, and that person comes to you as a friend.

Can you also call God? Whenever you summon something, you call that something by a name. People who fondle dogs give a name to the dog. They call the dog by that name. Elephant drivers, mahouts, give a name to the elephant, and when they mention that name, the elephant stops. "Lift your trunk!" It lifts it. "Move!" It moves. "Stop!" It stops. The elephants are taught the art of recognising their own names that they are given.

When your name is uttered, you suddenly get identified with the name. So much is the intensity of the identification of oneself with the name that even if you are fast asleep, you will wake up only if one summons you by your real name. If John is sleeping, you must use his name: "John, please get up." But if you say "Joseph" he will not get up. It is not the sound that you make that makes a person wake; it is the summoning of what one identifies oneself with. So intense is this identification that it persists even in deep sleep; otherwise, when you are totally unconscious in sleep, how is it that you are remembering your name, and when somebody shouts your name, you wake up?

God also is summoned by a name. In ordinary parlance, this art of summoning the Almighty Creator is done by the recitation of a name that we associate with God's nature. The name of God is a description of the characteristic of God. According to Indian traditional parlance, when a name is given to a person at the time of birth, it is not that you just give any name that you like, as in modern days; considering the stars, the planets, and the day on which the child is born, a particular name is chosen indicating the influence exerted upon that child by the entire stellar and planetary system. So, the name suggests the actual characteristic and nature of the person. Nowadays, we call a person by any name, as a plant or a tree, or a twig, or any such thing. There is no significance in all these names.

God also can be summoned by a name, provided that the name chosen, with which you summon, indicates the might and the majesty, and the affection God has for you. The mantra that people chant in japa sadhana, for instance, is supposed to be an indicator of the name of God. The mantra that you chant, into which you are supposed to be initiated, is the modus operandi adopted to create in one's own mind a suggestion of the nature of the God whom one worships and adores. In the Vishnu Sahasranama recited just now, the thousand names are a thousand different characteristics of the Supreme Being, and they are not just anything and everything.

There are infinite ways of calling God, inasmuch as there are infinite qualities that we can associate with God. You can call Him by any name, provided it is in consonance with His nature. What are His qualities? They are immense capacity, and indomitable power; Almighty He is called. He is the greatest power you can think of, before which nothing can stand; this is one quality of God. And He is the greatest beauty, enchanting, stunning, filling you with joy, making you feel as if you are drinking nectar; it is utter beauty, incomparable, the kind of which you cannot see in the world.

There are little, beautiful things in the world, and you cannot know which is more beautiful than the other. On account of the fickleness of our mind, different things look beautiful at different times, but you have never seen beauty as such. Beauty, as such, cannot be seen because you are accustomed to see things through the sense organs. The sense organs can see only forms; they cannot appreciate abstract things. Mathematics, gravitation, and equations, for instance, are thoughts which cannot become objects of the sense organs. You cannot see mathematics or gravitation, etc., but the understanding of these principles gives you satisfaction. The solution of an algebraic equation brings joy, not because it is an object sitting in front of you; it is an intellectual beauty that has brought you satisfaction.

There are varieties of beauty in this world. The crudest of all forms of beauty is architectural beauty. The Taj Mahal is architecturally beautiful. St. Paul's cathedral and St. Peter's dome in Rome are beautiful. You look at them and feel enamoured at the majesty and the structural super-abundance of the material that has been used for the architectural edifice. What a beautiful thing!

Go to Madurai, in southern India, and see the temple of divine Minakshi. The Minakshi temple of Madurai and the temple of Rameswaram are some of the examples of majesty of architecture. You would like to go on looking at them, but it is the crudest form of beauty, because it requires heavy material. The greater the quantity of material that is necessary in order to make a thing beautiful, the more crude it is in its formation.

Sculpture is a subtler form of beauty. Sculptural beauty is another beauty, using materials of marble, stone, etc. There, the material that is used is less in quantum than what you have to use in a big architectural edifice. If you have seen a piece of sculpture anywhere, you would like to go on looking at it. What are you looking at? Are you looking at the marble, or the stone? You are seeing the beauty of the pattern into which the material is cast. There also, you have seen beauty.

Painting is a still subtler form of beauty. The material used there is much less than even in sculpture. You can be stunned by a beautiful painting. Paintings of Ravi Varma, the great artist of Travankore, the paintings of Michelangelo – you would not like to take your eyes away from them. They can create stunning attraction by the arrangement of ink and pattern of presentation, by the art of painting.

Subtler still than painting is music. Music does not require any material; it is only a sound. So, you can be enchanted by the beauty of music much more than by your perception of painting, sculpture, or architecture. You can simply melt if you listen to beautiful music, because sound is the subtlest of the elements that you can think of in the world. Painting requires canvas and ink; sculpture and architecture require actual material; music does not require any material. It is the subtlest medium that you can adopt in enjoying beauty. Music is beautiful; it is beautiful to the ears, whereas painting, sculpture, and architecture are beautiful to the eyes. One is visible beauty, and another is audible beauty.

A third beauty is that which is intellectual beauty. That is the beauty of literature. You will be enraptured by the study of classic literature. Here, even sound is not necessary. Sound is one of the five elements, so some amount of grossness is present even in sound, whereas in intellectual activity, that element of grossness also is removed. You are in the empyrean of mere thought. Merely by thinking, you can become happy. Your thought becomes beautiful at that time. When thought becomes beautiful, it is literature, a dramatic presentation, and you cannot stop reading a book of that kind of literature unless you complete it.

There are classics in every language. We have Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti in Sanskrit literature. If anyone knows Sanskrit, just read the literature of Kalidasa. You will not put the book aside. You will go on reading it because of the beauty, the sonorous way in which the words are arranged, and the beautiful ideas that are generated in your mind by the method of expression.

There are orators who can speak before a large audience. You will be stunned by listening to them. They are only communicating ideas to you. When a majestic idea is presented before you, your mind also rises to a great height of majesty. Majesty also is beauty.

We have got the beauty of the great Tamil poet Kamban, or the great poet who wrote Tamil's classic called Shilappadikaram. Those who do not know Tamil will not know what I am talking about. They are masterpieces of literature. There are masterpieces in Telugu, in Malayalam, in Kannada, in Hindi, and in all languages, but to appreciate this masterpiece of literature, we must know the language.

So, what I mean to say is, there are varieties of beauty, and God is beautiful, and the beauty of God is not like the beauty of architecture, sculpture, music, painting, and literature. It is something quite different. It is the beauty of your own soul. That is why you love yourself so much. You are a beautiful person, inside. The beauty of yours is not in your face. Sometimes the beauty of the soul that is inside you gets reflected in your face; then the person looks beautiful. When there is a harmony of the spirit inside, the person also feels the manifestation of that beauty in oneself.

There are troubled souls, composed souls, happy souls, disturbed souls, and wretched souls. Anything is possible, but the soul is really, basically, a perfection. The beauty that you perceive in anything in this world is a reflection of the symmetry of your own soul. The soul of a person is a highly systematised presentation, a symmetry. When you think chaotic thoughts, and observe objects which are scattered in a confused manner, the soul's beauty is not manifest fully, because it is something like seeing an object with broken spectacles, or a concave or convex lens – not seeing properly.

Beauty is a reflection of the spirit inside. Because you have got the greatest beauty inside you, you love yourself better than anybody else. You cannot love anybody so much as you love yourself, because the greatest beauty is hidden inside you.

The greatest beauty that is hidden inside you is nothing but a ray of the Almighty beauty that is pervading everywhere. So, call God as a great beauty, a great wonder, a great art, a great perfection, a great power, and enchanting. The Srimad Bhagavata mentions Sri Krishna's personality as sakshat manmatha manmatha – one who enchants even Cupid himself, and Cupid has to hang his head in shame.

Beautiful things, whether they are visual, audio, or intellectual beauty, are forms of the absolute beauty of the Supreme Being. The perfection of the universe is so complete that if you see things in a complete fashion, everything looks beautiful. People heap wooden logs here and there in marketplaces. The logs of wood do not look beautiful. But when they are hewn properly and arranged in the pattern of a beautifully carved table or chair, the very same ugly log that was lying on the roadside, which you did not want to look at, looks beautiful. What a beautiful carved table or chair! The ugly log of wood has become a beautiful piece of furniture because of the pattern into which it is arranged.

So, beauty is a pattern of perfection, and the highest pattern of inclusiveness is God Almighty. Can you feel the beauty of the utter inclusiveness of God? You can call Him as a great power, as I mentioned. That kind of devotion in which you summon God as indomitable power is called aishvarya-pradhana-bhakti. Examples are like Bhishma, who considered Bhagavan Sri Krishna as the ultimate power you can think of anywhere. He was incomparable strength, but he was also beauty.

Sri Krishna's body was described as having adamantine strength, like vajra, as if his whole body was made up of diamond, or it was a beautifully chiseled perfection of art. If it is only an incarnation that is described like that, the original must be much greater.

God is sweetness, also – not merely power and beauty. We do not know what sweetness is, except as we see it in things of the world, like sugar and honey. Honey may be regarded as the sweetest of things in the world, so there are some saints who call God "Honey". The great Tamil saint Ramalinga Swami used to call God "Honey": "Oh Honey, oh Honey, please come! Honey of bliss, come!" He could not call God by any other name, except Honey. Can you imagine honey dropping everywhere? You will taste it. Oh, what a joy!

You will see It as beauty; you will hear It as beauty; you will understand It as a great power, and you taste It, also. For every sense organ, It is a beauty: It is the softest; It is the most musical; It is the most beautiful; It is the most intellectually appreciable classical masterpiece that you can think of.

This is the art of bhakti yoga, calling God as the Supreme Father in heaven, wherein the aishvarya or the glory and majesty of God is emphasised more. Or, you love him as your beloved of the heart, inseparable. You cry, "I cannot exist without You." The chanting of the mantra, called japa sadhana particularly, is the art of choosing a particular characteristic of God, and therefore, when you are initiated into a mantra, you must know what your predilection, your inclination, and your liking is. You should not take up japa mantras that are not suitable, whose meaning you cannot understand. It is the duty of the Guru to select the proper mantra or formula for your recitation.

Actually, a mantra is a formula. It is a kind of arrangement of words which, in a cohesive manner, produces an effect on its own. According to the Indian tradition of mantrashastra, the system of the arrangement of words in a mantra is described in a highly interesting manner. The mantra is not an ordinary name, like a tree or a stone. It is not like that. The words are so selected in the formation of the particular formula called the mantra that when they are juxtaposed and recited consecutively, they produce an action and reaction among themselves, like the chemical action taking place among chemical elements when they are juxtaposed or mixed together. An element of force or energy arises out of the mixing together of the different words, which constitutes the whole name called the mantra. So, the word itself has a power, like chemical power, or strength that is generated by the combination of different chemical elements.

Secondly, the mantra is supposed to be a thought generated in the mind of a great seer, called a rishi. Every mantra has a rishi, or a seer. When you recite or chant a mantra, first of all remember the name of the rishi who actually visualised this mantra. It is said that you should always respect the author before you read a book. You see who the author of the book is; then only you read the book. It is not that suddenly you open a book and start reading. That gives scant respect to the person who wrote the book. So, the author has to be respected. "Oh, here is the person; this is the author. He must be a great man to write such a majestic book."

The author of the mantra is a rishi. You have to revere him, mentally prostrate yourself before him and seek his blessings, because the thought of the rishi is in the form of the verbal manifestation of the mantra. The thought of a person immediately brings you in contact with the mind of that person. Similarly, the thought of a particular rishi comes to you as a blessing by the very thought process of the rishi. Think of a thing; immediately it blesses you. You can contact even the stars by thought, even Brahma-loka. So, whenever you sit for japa sadhana, you firstly remember the rishi or the great sage to whom this mantra was revealed.

Thirdly, there is a beauty and a divinity inherent in the art of combining these letters, so that the blending of these letters in a consecutive way produces a new effect altogether. That blending, that combination, that arrangement of letters in a particular manner, in a mantra, is called chandas – meter. Meter here means the method by which the words have been selected and combined with certain other letters to produce the desired result.

So, there is the rishi or the seer of the mantra, and the combination of the letters, which produces some chemical effect; then, there is the chandas, or the meter; and there is the thought of the ideal which is in your mind during the recitation of the mantra. The ideal is the divinity thereof. The mantra is a verbal form of the pattern of divinity which you are conceiving in your mind.

Certain scientists who are familiar with this word formation and the geometrical effect that is produced by the utterance of certain names have discovered that the particular form of the divinity that you are thinking of in your mind can be seen as automatically engraved even on a pattern of sand spread over the ground, or even on the water in front of you. It will make a pattern of the particular divinity, provided that your chanting is perfectly articulate and scientific. The mantra should not be chanted hurriedly, or very slowly. It should be a moderate, sonorous, loving articulation.

Apart from all this, there is the strength of your own thought. It is called sadhana shakti. There is rishi shakti, chandas shakti, devata shakti, and the sadhana shakti of the person who recites the chant. All these combine to produce a tremendous effect, due to which many people have taken to japa sadhana as the sole way of attaining freedom.

In the Bhagavadgita we are told that japa is the greatest of all the spiritual sacrifices that one can think of. Yajnanam japayajno'smi: That is what the Lord has declared. Why do you want so many yajnas and sacrifices with material, with ghee, and pundits, and all that? Mere thought expressed in the form of this articulation of a mantra will bring you the benefit of all the sacrifices or yajnas that you can think of in your mind.

Finally, it all amounts to saying that mantra japa is the art of summoning God into yourself. You will summon that kind of form or characteristic of God which you are entertaining in your mind. Everyone has an idea of God; that idea determines the nature and the form in which God will manifest Himself.

In the manner the sculptor chisels marble, in that manner only the form of the statue will come out. The thought of the sculptor is the form that the material takes in sculpture. So, God's form is nothing but the form of your own thought. As you think He is, so He is. As you would like Him to respond, in that way He will respond, because your mind is the miniature receiver-set of the great force that emanates from the Cosmic Being which, by Itself, has no form. It has every form.

In a block of marble, you can imagine any form of statue inside. The block of stone is impersonal, but the personality of the form of the particular statue will depend upon the thought of the sculptor. From the block of marble you can carve out a god or a devil, a horse, an elephant, or a lion. Anything you want can emerge from that block of marble.

All forms are hidden inside the formless Being. You can say, in one way, God has no form, in the same way as a block of stone, by itself, has no shape. But you can carve any shape out of it; infinite varieties of forms can come out from that otherwise impersonal, formless block of stone.

Likewise, with the totally detached, universal pervading featureless Existence, any form can come out. Thus, it is up to you to choose what form it is that you are expecting. The more complete is your concept of the form of God, the better for you, and the quicker is the result. The more incomplete is your concept of God, the lesser is the effect that you get. God may take no time to come to you, or He may take a lot of time, according to your concept of the form of God.

If you think that God is distant, He will take time to come, because you have already decided He is far away. He will take you by the letter and the spirit. If God is in one place only, naturally He will take time to travel. If He is far away in heaven, it will certainly take time to come, and He will take as much time as is necessary to travel that distance.

But if we can accept the fact that distance is abolished in the all-pervasive Existence, then immediate action will take place. As time and space do not exist in God, there is no distance that He has to cover, and no time that He has to take. It is instantaneous, here and now, provided the heart of a person will ask in this manner. But, if we are prejudiced in any way, and we have idiosyncrasies of our own, and think in terms of the distracted forms of the world to which we are affiliated, and carry this prejudice even to God, then the reaction will not be so intense.

Previously I mentioned that the only quality, the only requirement, and the only discipline that the sadhaka has to develop is wanting it. If we want a thing, it has to come. Many a time, even if we want a thing, it does not come because firstly, we may want it wrongly, or we may not want it, really. Really we cannot want anything, because we have other wants. The presence of other wants prevents the reality and the intensity of the want of a particular thing. The mind is its own good psychologist. It knows itself very well, and we cannot play hanky-panky with it. If there are two objectives before the mind, and if one of them is desired for the purpose of materialisation, there will be only a fifty per cent effect of the system of materialisation. It will not be a hundred per cent, because fifty per cent of our mind is subconsciously directed towards another object, which also we would like to have. If we like two things, or three things, or a hundred things, then we will get only one hundredth of the benefit that we require.

God is not a fraction. He is inclusiveness, in the sense that whatever we want in this world will be found there also. There is a fear in the heart of people that when God comes we will lose the world – lose our family, lose our money, lose all connection – all the beauties and glories of the world will vanish completely when God comes. This is a frightening situation for us. Are we going to lose the whole world because God should come? This doubt will persist even in the mind of a very advanced seeker, because it is hard for anyone to appreciate that the whole world is contained in God.

So, we are not abandoning the world. The idea of rejecting the world does not arise in spiritual practice. It is an inclusion of the world in the ultimate ideal that we are actually trying to meditate upon. The world is a reflection of its own original that we can find in the Absolute. Even we, ourselves, as people seated here, are shadows of our true nature, which is in heaven.

Can you imagine what all this means? You are even now in the highest heaven, and that reality of your personality which is in the heaven is summoning you up, and making you restless in this world. You are not pleased with your own self. You feel wretched. Why should you not? Your real nature is somewhere else. It is pulling you up. So, you will not be satisfied with anything in this world unless you get your own true nature, the archetype, as they call it .

This is a duplicate that we are seeing in the world. All things in the world are shadows of the originals that are in the highest heaven, including our own selves. We are not the ultimate realities. Our own true self is parading in its highest glory in the heavens above, in any loka – you may call it Brahma-loka. We are in all the worlds just now, but we think we are only in one place.

Our higher nature is commensurate with the higher natures of all things, as the waters of the ocean are commensurate with every part of that water. All the water is everywhere, and we cannot say that it is segregated in one place.

So entering into God is not a rejection of things in the world – throwing out the father and mother, all our wealth and bank balance. "Everything is gone! What a tragedy!" You will be thinking like that. No. Your bank balance, in its originality, will be found there. This is only a shadow that you are operating. You yourself are a shadow. It is fluctuating; as the shadow is moving, we feel restlessness in ourselves.

Our original is in God, and we are seeing only the duplicate of it, the shadow of it. It is not even a duplicate; it is only a shadow. It has no substance in it. The world is a shadow of God, not even a true manifestation in the real sense. It is a topsy-turvy perception of the very God Himself. We, in this personality, are only the topsy-turvy of our original. That is why we have wretchedness in our feelings, and an inability to be pleased with anything in this world. Nothing can satisfy us in this world, because all things are originally somewhere else. So, they are pulling us, without knowing what is actually happening to us.

So, never imagine that you are losing the world when you reach God. You will get the world in its real form. The whole world will lift itself. When you wake up from your dream world, have you lost the treasures of the dream? You might have been an emperor, for instance. You have been a king in dream, or an emperor of Rome. You had all the treasures you can conceive. You had a huge army, a retinue, all friends, whatever you wanted. You were a big emperor in dream. You have woken up. Have you lost the kingdom completely? Can you say, "What a wretchedness! I have come to the waking condition, where all the emperorship and the glory, and everything has gone." It has not gone, because that was a shadow of the mind that has now woken up. All the treasures, all the glories, entire space-time, and even the emperorship has gone into your mind, which is in a waking condition. So, in waking, you are not losing the glory of the dream world. You are only happy that you have woken up from the nightmare.

So is the case with another waking into the consciousness of the Absolute Being, wherein the idea that you have lost the world is meaningless. The emperorship of the world, the glory of humanity, and all the beauties and grandeurs that you see in this world are similar to the dream world. Just as when you wake up from the dream, you do not feel that you have lost the empire that you were ruling, in a similar manner, when you reach the Absolute, you will not feel that you have lost anything. You will find everything there. Whatever you see here, you will find its original there. Can there be a greater joy than that? Why are you worrying?

But the mind is so stupid. Like a pig, it will think only like a pig, and you cannot make it think like a saint. It is impossible. It requires great chastening, satsanga, the company of great people. You must always meet great people and discuss with them. Tadbuddhayastad-atmanastannisthastatparayanah; gacchantyapunara-vrttim jnananirdhutakalmasah. Speak only this: tadkathanam. What should you think? Tadbuddhaya: Your mind should be always thinking that, like a person who has lost his property thinks only that: "How will I get it? Millions I have lost. I cannot sleep. When will I get it?" Tadatmanaha: Engrossed in that only and wanting nothing else. Tannisthaha: Established in the desire to have that only. Tatparayanaha: Always talking about that only. Gacchantyapunaravrttim: Engrossed in that only and wanting nothing else, established in the desire to have that only, always talking about that only, you will never come back to this miserable world afterwards.

Similarly, we are told of what is called the practice of the presence of God. It is called brahmabhyasa. Tadchintanam, tadkathanam, anyonam tatprabhodanam etad eva parasmin cha brahmabhyasa kurutah. When you think, you will think only that which you have lost. Actually, what have you lost? You have lost God Himself. The Creator of the universe you have lost. So, the heart should cry for it: "Oh, I have lost the great beauty!" Tatkathanam: If you see anybody, you talk only that. Suppose you lost ten million; you will go on telling everybody, "Oh, I have lost so much!" In the marketplace you will be yelling, "I have lost so much, I have lost so much!" You tell that now.

We have to reach the Great Being. You can find everything there. It is not there, it is here. The idea of 'there' also is redundant, because there is no space in God.

It is difficult to think like this. We are bound by the spatial distance and temporal succession, so we cannot think that God is here. "How is it possible, because He is far away?" the space tells you. Tadchintanam: thinking that only; tadkathanam: talking to people on that subject; anyonam tatprabhodanam: just as students in a college or a school discuss a subject on which they have an exam tomorrow. "Oh, how is it? How are you getting on? What is the matter? This subject – have you understood? What is the answer to this question?" They mutually sit and discuss before the exam takes place.

In a similar manner, you must sit together and discuss: "How can we go? What is your difficulty? Tell me. My difficulty is like this. Can you find a solution for it? What are your difficulties?" Mutually discuss among yourselves. "I am unable to think properly. This is the trouble with me. What can I say?" This is called anyonam tatprabhodanam atat aka paratvam cha. It is sinking your being only into that. That is your greatest treasure, your great succour, your immortal friend.

Suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati: "Remember, I am your friend. At the time of distress, I will come and help you." But we have many friends who will desert us at any moment. They will turn their back to you at the least event that takes place. But "I am the friend of all beings; remember that. I shall come to your succour and give you whatever you want, if you only remember me. I want nothing from you." Every friend expects something from you, but here is a friend who wants nothing from you. He wants only your love, and He will come to you at your beck and call.

If this concept of God has entered your mind, you are a real sadhaka, and nothing can be more blessed than to be devoted to God in this manner – honestly and sincerely, not because you wish to be called a sadhaka and have a certificate that you have attended the Sadhana Week programmes. Let the Great Being know what you are. If He knows you, that is sufficient for you. If the whole world praises you and the Almighty ignores you, you are nowhere. Let there be no friends; let Him become your friend. One friend is sufficient, as the sea becomes your friend. Sri Krishna was an ocean. He was the friend of Arjuna, and one Being was sufficient. The army of the Kauravas could not stand before this one person, because the army constituted of millions were like drops in the ocean, whereas here is the ocean itself.

That was the mistake Duryodhana made in choosing millions of drops, whereas Arjuna chose the ocean itself, which nobody could understand. So, the ocean defied the activity of all the drops in one second.

So, we have drops of beauty and greatness and wealth in this world. Like Duryodhana, we are asking for the drops of beauty, wealth, and possession in this world, and the ocean is somewhere else. We have forgotten it.

It is up to us to sit quietly and think over our true welfare, and not waste our energy in going to the marketplace, chatting, and going on running here and there in the name of pilgrimage, sightseeing, and picnicking. Your time is wasted in this manner. You need not go anywhere. Sit in one place, and you will find that you will get what you want here itself, because that which you seek is just here, under your nose.