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Your Questions Answered
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 33: The Tenth Obstacle

SWAMIJI (addressed Bhavagrahi): How will you manage to control the natural impulses and live in the world? You have to steer the course in the middle, like fire-walking. People walk on fire, without getting burnt. The world is like that, like a fireplace, and you have to live in it without getting burnt. You must live like a water drop on a lotus. The water drop is always on the lotus leaf, but it won't stick; it is like an oily thing, not getting stuck. Like that, you have to live in this world without sticking.

How is it possible? The mind has to stick to something. You think some object, and it will stick there. If you allow the mind to stick to some better thing, it will not stick to some worse thing. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj used to say, "attach, detach, attach, detach": detach from this world, and attach to God. If you want to withdraw from one thing, you have to connect yourself with something else. Suppose you want to move away from the West; you have to move towards the East. If you move towards the East, you are automatically away from the West. So, if you move towards the Universal, you are away from the particular, automatically. If you move towards God, then you are away from the world of appearance.

But finally, you will have the greatest of doubts: Even if I see God, what is He going to give me? What has He given to anybody? In addition to Patanjali's nine obstacles, you will have the greatest of doubts as a tenth obstacle: Even if I see Him, what is He going to give? This doubt will be harassing the mind. "Even if I go there, how long will I be sitting with Him?" "He may push me back, and again I will be in the world. Already He has pushed me once, so what is the guarantee that He will not push me a second time? If once He has done it, a second time He can do it also."

This is a very serious matter. "So much suffering and hardship I have undergone to see God; I go there, and He will push me back." Suppose He does that. What will happen? You will run to all the gurus. All the meditation is stopped, because the highest doubt has come – doubt in God Himself, that He will create trouble when you go there. This doubt may occur to the greatest of learned people. It is a heart-rending question.

Then a second problem comes. Someone says that this question is foolishness, because you will not be there to raise any question. If I will not be there, then why should I go there? What is the purpose of doing anything? I will not get anything because I myself will not be there! So why should I suffer, unnecessarily doing things for a purpose which has no meaning?

Who is there if I am not there? God alone is there. Let Him be alone there, but what is my fate? Your fate is that you will not be there. Or, if you are there, then you will be sitting and looking at God for the whole day. Either way you are caught. Now the brain will start agitating, pendulum-like.

The greatest tapas is the ability to understand this point. Starving and sitting in cold water and sleeplessness are not tapas. The ability to understand this problem is the tapas. Some great problem has come to the mind; if you are able to understand what it actually means, and why this problem has arisen, there cannot be a greater tapas than that solution.

How has this problem arisen? If I am there or not, both ways I am in trouble. If I am abolished completely, it looks very horrible; and if I am there, what shall I do there after going? If you can answer this question to yourself, you have done the greatest sadhana, and nothing further is necessary. Let anybody answer this question: What will happen to you? The heart will jump in fear. This is a question as to what God-realisation means. The question is final. Let each person answer this question for oneself.