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Your Questions Answered
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 7: The Good and the Bad

Malaya: How can I compare the good to the pleasant?

Swamiji: You have asked me this two or three times. I have already explained it to you. You have not heard what I said last time. Do you remember that you have put this question to me on what is the Higher Self and lower self? You are raising the same point in a different way. You asked me what is the Higher Self and the lower self. This is the same thing you are repeating once again – conquering the lower self by the Higher Self. The lower self is the sensory self, the physical self, the perceptional self. The Higher Self is the Universal Self, which is the only Self. As far as the lower self is concerned, there are many lower selves.

Many people are sitting here. They are all so many lower selves. One has no connection with another, as it were. But, there is an underground current of connection of all these lower selves. That is like the ocean of Self; that is the Higher Self. Nobody knows that It exists, because the sense organs are compelling the individual self to look outside. You cannot look inside and see what is at the back. If you see the back, you will see a sea of consciousness. That is the Higher Self. On That you must meditate, and if you do that, the lower self will get absorbed into the Higher Self. That is called salvation, liberation. It is a simple matter, if you understand it. You must meditate like this.

Malaya: What is there to enjoy, Swamiji?

Swamiji: I have already spoken on that previously. You are not really renouncing any "thing". You are renouncing the "thing-ness" of things. You are sitting before me as a thing, but there is something in you that is not a thing. You look like a person, but you are not a person, really. The personality of yours is a condensed form of an internal urge which comes from the Universal Being. This condensed form should liquefy, melt down into the original impulse, which comes from the Universal Being. You cannot renounce anything, because, only if you possess something, can you renounce it.

Malaya: Then, there is no question of enjoying, Swamiji.

Swamiji: You are enjoying yourself only, finally; and, that is the highest enjoyment. It is the merging of the whole thing into yourself, which is far greater than possessing things. You are not "possessing" things, but wish them to "become" you, because that is a greater joy than possessing things.

Even when a person desires a thing, the subtle desire is to "become one" with it. That is why if you hear that your object of desire is nearby, you feel happy. When it comes near, and you can see it, the joy increases; and when it is coming nearer still, there is more joy. When you touch it, it is still more, but even that is not sufficient. You cannot, unfortunately, go beyond that. You can touch an object of desire, but you cannot enter into it. That is why there is bereavement, suffering, death, birth, and all that following desires. The ultimate desire is to make the object melt into your being. You do not want to stand outside it. You want perpetual enjoyment, but the space-time complex which is outside prevents the object from entering into you, because every object is independent; so, how can it become your property?

There is no such thing as possessing anything. It is a foolish idea, but actually, the intention is to merge yourself with the self of that object, so that the two selves become one self of a bigger size. If all the selves melt together, it becomes a larger self. There, all the objects become the Self; then, who can compare that joy to anything else? It is incomparable bliss because the object has not been "possessed," it has "become" you. Can you imagine what kind of condition it is? You will never lose it afterwards, because you are "that" only. Can you catch this point?

It is a wonderful thing to hear it. Even to hear it is a wonder. Go on thinking like this every day, and see what happens to you. Some miracle will take place. Every day you must think like this continuously, and go on brooding, asserting it: "It is like that, it is like that." Then, you will see that some mystery will open up before your eyes. You will not be an ordinary person afterwards. Tremendous joy, power, happiness, everything will well up from inside. Daily you must go on thinking like this, and do deep meditation.

Malaya: Swamiji, what things are good?

Swamiji: Some things are good because other things are bad; but why are other things bad, and this is good? This is not an easy question to answer. What is the meaning of being good? When you say something is good, what do you mean by that? It is pleasing to you; is it like that? So, does it mean that whatever pleases you is good? Can you say that? What pleases you may not be good, and what is good may not please you; this is also possible. So, how do you know what is good? What standard will you apply for knowing what is good?

Finally, without going into details, if you want a quick and brief answer. That is good, which is good to your soul. Anything that is good to your soul can be called good; but, what is good to the soul? That is good to the soul, which will satisfy the soul.

What will satisfy the soul? Who will satisfy you? A person who is like you will satisfy you. If a person is different from you, he will not like you. So, what will satisfy the soul? That which is like the soul will satisfy it. What is there which is like the soul? What is the nature of the soul?

First of all, you must know that a soul is an all-pervading presence. So, anything that has the quality of all-pervading presence will satisfy it. Is there anything in this world which is an all-pervading presence? There is no such thing. Everything is in some place only. Nothing can be regarded as being everywhere. So, in that sense, nothing in the world can satisfy the soul. Even if you become the king of the whole earth, it will not satisfy you because the earth is not all-pervading.

So, anything that has a tendency to become universal will satisfy the soul. Though nothing is universal completely, there may be a tendency towards the universal in certain things. Anything that is attempting to be universal also will satisfy the soul. And, incidentally, that which is intending to be satisfying the soul must be imperishable, because the soul is not perishable. Perishable things cannot satisfy the soul. So, what satisfies the soul is an imperishable character in anything. The perishable character will not satisfy. There is nothing imperishable in the world; everything is perishable. Only the quality which I mentioned as a tendency to become universal is satisfying.

A good person is that person who aspires for the Universal Being. He may not be himself a Universal Being; he has not yet reached that state, but he longs for it. A person who longs for the Universal Being can be called a good being. Ultimately, God only is good; and anything that is trying to approach that state also is good.

Anyone who enters the educational field is a person going for education. He may be in the kindergarten stage, or the primary level, or elementary stage, or whatever it is. Any step taken in the direction of education is education, whatever the degree of it. In the same way, anything that is having a quality of aspiring for that which is deathless and imperishable is good. So, only a spiritual seeker can be called a really good person. The other people have selfishness. Since you want nothing but what is imperishable – and the soul is imperishable – it will be satisfied in the company of those people who are seeking the Universal. The people may be perishable, but the soul in the person is not perishable.

Thus, all saints and sages are supposed to be good people in the sense that they are aspiring for the Universal. That is why you want satsanga with such people. You are not having satsanga with the body of the saint. You are having satsanga with the aspiration and longing that the saint has within. Actually, your soul is aspiring to be in company with the soul which is also aspiring. That is why you like saints and sages.

Malaya: Those who are not seeking God are not good people?

Swamiji: They will have some selfishness.

Malaya: They are not good?

Swamiji: No. Anything that is contradictory to universality cannot be regarded as good. It will perish. All the kings and emperors also will die, because they are searching for that which is perishable. The emperor will die like a miserable man; the king will die like a beggar. When he dies, he is like a beggar only. Nothing will come with him. The ownership of property, all wealth and greatness in this world, is ephemeral as anything else is. But, the aspiration will not die, because aspiration is the function of the soul. It will not die because it is connected with the soul.

Only a God-man is a good man; and, anyone who tries to be a God-man also is a good man. Even if he is only in the initial stage, taking only one step, he should be called good. He may not be a God-man, but he is trying to be a God-man. So, anything that has a tendency to universality is that which pleases the soul. Nothing else can satisfy it.

That is why you cannot be a real friend of anything – not even of your father and mother. One day you would not like them, for some behaviour of theirs. Parents do not like children, and children do not like parents. The liking is only conditional. Only under some conditions they like you; if the condition is broken, they will never look at your face. Suppose you behave in a funny manner with the parents; they will think that you are no good, and will not want to talk to you. Similarly, in your case also, if they behave in a strange manner, you would not like to see them. The love of parents and son and daughter, husband and wife, is a conditioned, perishable longing.

Nothing can survive in this world except the soul, because that is the character of universality. Other things in the world, any friendships you have, are perishable because they are located in the body only. Every love is perishable, because it is connected with the body of a person. But, if it is a love born of the soul, it will have a universal tendency, and it is a love of soul by soul – which is difficult to conceive.

Everything has a soul, but you must recognise the soul in it. You should not see that which is covering it. When you look at a person, are you seeing the body or the soul? What are you seeing? When you are talking to a person, to whom are you speaking? You are talking to the intention, the wish, the longing, the aspiration, the operation of the mind of the person. You are not loving the body of the person. His intention, his longing, his way of thinking, his vision – that is what you are attracted to. That is the point. It is idea that loves idea. It is not body that loves the body. Ideas attract ideas. Finally, the whole world is Idea only. You may call it spirit, or consciousness. Soul likes soul; God loves Himself.