Chapter 13: Wanting Only God
Priest: Now, officially, I am a priest, but I am aspiring for God-realisation.
SWAMIJI: So, being a God-man is an unofficial designation. There is no contradiction between the two. There is nothing wrong with being a priest. You can be. The only thing is that it has to be divinely oriented. The priest has an official function to perform, under the dictates of the Pope, finally. It is a systematised organization of Christianity which expects the priest to give sermons either in the church or in public. What sermons he gives depends upon the instruction that he is given.
Priest: The message has to be conveyed, but the main thing is from within.
SWAMIJI: The priest also has a duty to proselytise. Is it a duty on your part?
Priest: The witnessing of his own faith is expected, but trying to convert others is not.
SWAMIJI: Proselytising is not a duty on his part?
Priest: If it is, I would not agree with it.
SWAMIJI: If a priest lives a good Christian life but he would not convert anybody, don't you find fault with him for being a priest without doing that duty?
Priest: No. That is the way I try to live.
SWAMIJI: Some Christians have the feeling that converting also is a duty, because of the fact that Christianity is the true religion, and everyone else who follows another religion is following a lesser religion or perhaps a false religion, and so converting is an essential duty. This is one of the doctrines which has been inculcated to the priests. You are saying that it is not a necessity.
If a Christian feels that his religion is the true and best religion, it follows from that feeling that others are inferior. If the idea that others are inferior is simultaneous with the feeling of one's own superiority, there is a third corollary following from it that it would be good to transform people into the true religion. This follows automatically. So, if the priest does not do that, he is not doing his duty properly.
Priest: But he may not agree with the first and second. Then the third doesn't follow. I don't believe in the first; otherwise, I wouldn't have been here.
SWAMIJI: I have met many good Christians, and they are honest people. One priest from Italy likes me very much. He used to tell people that I am a very nice person, and I am on the right path, and one day I will become a Christian!
De Smet is a very scholarly Christian. I had all sorts of philosophical discussions with him, especially on the concept of trinity, the existence of sin, and all that. Many of these people get caught up in the concept of sin. Where is sin existing? Is it existing somewhere, or is it existing nowhere? Such questions arise and we used to discuss them. Finally, we draw a truce and go happily.
You are a spiritual man. You are aspiring for the realisation of God. Is it true that finally you want God, and you want nothing else? Or, sometimes does the heart and the feeling say that there is something else also that you would like to have? This question has to be answered. Is it a hundred percent true that your heart is seeking God only, and nothing else?
Priest: In principle and in desire, but not always in reality.
SWAMIJI: Now, you are using the word desire. Desire is a want for something. Is it a desire for God, or is it a desire for something other than God? Let this question be answered by one's own heart. If the desire is for God only, you cannot call it a desire at all. It is a holy longing, an aspiration, and, therefore, there is nothing wrong with it. Everybody should desire God; if that desire is the only desire and there is no other desire, it is a wonderful thing. But if the desire implies the longing for something other than God, one must put a question to one's own self: What is it that one wants, other than God?
Now, can you tell me if there is anything in the world, in this creation as a whole, which the one seeking God would like to have? Is there anything in this world which you would like to have as something other than God? Or there is nothing outside God?
Priest: In principle, no, and in the mind, no. But in reality, yes.
SWAMIJI: What is not a reality then? The reality is something else?
Priest: In real life, there is that strong longing for God.
SWAMIJI: Let us concede that the world is real, and God is not so real. Shall we come to that conclusion?
Priest: God is very real.
SWAMIJI: How real? More real than the world, or equally real, or less real?
Priest: In principle, He is the only real, but in practice...
SWAMIJI: No, don't bring practice and all such things. There is no such thing as practice. Either the mind is thinking honestly, or it is not thinking honestly. You cannot say A is A and there is nothing more than A, and practically in life say, "No". A is A only in a professorial classroom, but in the heart of hearts, A is not A. There is also B outside A. How can you live a dual life like that? Which is your real life? Is your real life the reality that you are speaking of, or the classroom life? Which is the real life?
Priest: There is a conflict.
SWAMIJI: Now who is going to guide you in this conflict? I am only analysing the situation, not talking to you as a Guru or mentor. A conflict can only be between two realities; there cannot be a conflict between reality and unreality. That is not possible, and you have conceded reality to both things. There is some reality in God, and there is also reality in the world.
Priest: There is a conflict between reality and the unreality that appears as reality.
SWAMIJI: No. When it appears as reality, it is reality only. A thing that you call as reality, because it appears as reality, you have accepted as reality. If you don't accept it, you can tell the reality, "I don't accept it, because it is an appearance."
You may say, "No, no. I don't regard it as an appearance. It is a reality. It affects me very seriously." If that is the case, to the extent that it is real for you, you must handle it in an intelligent manner. Now, you must find out what realities of the world are affecting you. How many things?
If you want something in the world, it need not necessarily be a source of conflict. If you get that thing which you want, do you think the conflict will cease? If you want a thing and you get it, the conflict ceases?
Priest: Only temporarily. Then something else comes.
SWAMIJI: Then you get the other thing also. If you have that second thing also, are you satisfied? No. The third comes. So, why does this happen? Why does the mind operate in this manner, that it moves from one object to another, not getting satisfied with anything? This is a philosophical question, not merely a theological one. There is a reason why the mind wants something, and yet cannot be satisfied with that thing. Why does it feel like that?
Priest: Ultimately, it is seeking God, but it doesn't go straight.
SWAMIJI: If you feel like that, then your problem ceases. Do you also believe that God will protect you and save you from your problems, or do you think that He has no powers? Why don't you resort to Him? If you really have the faith in God, and say that your problems will be solved by God Himself, and if you resort to Him, He will be your mentor finally, will you be able to resort to Him? You can't do that because the other thing will pull, that which you call the desire for the world. Is it so?
Priest: Partly, but that is the best answer I have received.
SWAMIJI: There is one prayer of Christians: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come... Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory for ever and ever." This is one of the best prayers ever. Do you think this prayer has no effect?
Priest: It has. I need to renew my faith in it.
SWAMIJI: Don't you have faith in it?
Priest: I have.
SWAMIJI: Then it will work. It must work. I don't think you should have any problem. This is a kind of self-created confusion. One cannot call it a problem, it is a kind of chaos in the way of thinking, which must be handled by yourself or your mentor, or by God. God will solve it, if your heart is really in it. What do you say? Be happy.