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Your Questions Answered
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 38: Test of Our Progress on the Spiritual Path

Swamiji: When a child cries, sometimes you will be able to know what it is wanting; at other times, you may not even know why it is crying. Often children cry, without even telling you why they are crying. They go on wailing. If you ask them what the matter is, they will not speak. Rarely they tell also, "I want this."

So, either way, you must take notice of this phenomenon. Thoroughly you have to put a question to your own self. Is it true that you have got everything that you want? Or, do you have a feeling that it is not the whole issue like that? "Everything that I want, I have not obtained; there are certain things which I have not got." See whether such a voice arises from inside.

These are the ways by which you can test yourself. How many times do you get angry in a day? You can ask a question to yourself: "For the last one month, how many times did I get angry?" If you never got angry, it is well and good, fine. If you did get angry, what was it for? You can put a question to your own self: "Am I justified?"

There are two kinds of anger. The mother's anger with the little naughty child, just to protect it from going too far; the physician's anger with a patient who is disobedient; the teacher's anger with a schoolboy who is not studying properly – these are all educational angers, but not really anger. That is fine, because here the emotions are not stimulated. If a lawyer does not argue properly, the judge may get angry, but he is not angry from the emotions. It is an intellectual resentment.

The pernicious anger is that which arises from the feelings of the heart – not like the judge, the teacher, or the mother. You really mean harm to somebody. That is emotional anger, and you must be guarding yourself against it: "Have I got anger like that? If so, I must see that it does not arise in the future."

Yesterday, somebody asked me what is the first step in Yoga, and I mentioned four or five principles. Are you violating any one of them in your daily life? They are important basic principles because they concern your attitude towards other people, and the extent of emotional self-restraint that you have achieved. With these little things, you may have some idea of the progress that you are making.

There is another thing. Do you feel happy in the midst of people, or do you feel happy when you are absolutely alone, unknown to anybody? Suppose for three days continuously, you have not seen anyone's face, and nobody has seen you, also. You are somewhere far off, in a sequestered place, in an isolated, far-off region. Do you feel that you are happier in that condition than you would have been in the midst of other people, or do you feel, "No, this is a misery; I cannot be alone like this. I must have some social atmosphere around me."

The more you feel happy when you are alone, the more can you be said to have progressed spiritually. The more you feel misery when you are alone, the less is the progress you have made. Actually, as the great mystics sometimes tell us, this superb attempt of yours is a "flight of the alone to the Alone."

We are alone in this universe, ultimately. We do not realise this fact because of illusions. Our mind is caught up in a cobweb of the network of errors, due to which we feel that we have many friends who are sustaining us. The fact is different.

In this world, which is relatively constituted, no part can be said to be a friend of another part. All are intertwined, like the warp and woof of a fabric. In that sense of the interdependence of the parts of the Universal Whole, no one is a friend of another, and no one is an enemy of another. It is cosmic democracy you may say. Neither do you have an occasion to like anything, nor do you have an occasion to dislike anything. Like threads in a cloth, things are intertwined warp and woof. They are so closely mixed that they can be said to be brothers, sisters, or friends; yet, you cannot call any thread as a friend of the other thread. It is a cooperative activity going on among the threads, and cooperative activity is a transcendental operation, rather than an emotional friendship.

So, anyway, it means, finally, you are alone, and you do not belong to anybody, and nobody belongs to you. In this consciousness, you are actually nearing that Supreme Aloneness which is the Absolute. God has no friends, and He has no relatives, and He cannot be considered as less happy. Can you say because God has no friends, no family, therefore, He is a miserable person, and we are better because we have all appurtenances? The other way round is the truth.

The nearer you are to aloneness of the ultimate type, the greater is the progress that you have made in the spiritual field. But if you are enmeshed in society, politics, communalism, and all that, and you cannot be happy unless you are in the middle of a market place, or a cinema house, or a ballroom, or a club – without these you cannot have peace – then, it is clearly a tragic condition of the mind. When you are happy with yourself, and you do not require anything from anyone – "My condition of consciousness is such that I can obtain anything I want just here, because of the cosmic operations" – then, you do not have to tell people to bring you anything. "All these things shall be added unto you."

The universe is not outside you, as the cloth is not outside the threads. If the thread has to go and speak to the cloth, it need not have to travel by an airplane. It is just there. So, if you want anything from the cosmic operations, you need not have to go here and there. All is touching your nose. Just assert, and it is there.

So, these are a few words about the nature of the test that you can apply to your own selves concerning your progress in the spiritual path. This is my short message to you. So, I've told you something even without your asking [group laughter].