SESSIONS WITH ASHRAM RESIDENTS - 8
The World Proceeds from Bliss to Bliss
by Swami Krishnananda
(Spoken on February 1, 1997)
The greatest wealth is the time for us to think correctly. There is no use of simply thinking in a hodgepodge manner. You have to think correctly. When you start thinking correctly along the proper lines, every other thing that the mind wants to think will also be included in it. As people say, all roads lead to Rome. So every thought, of whatever nature, is included in a central thought of the inclusiveness of all the forms in the shape of this world.
Whatever you want, you can have anywhere, at any place. The Upanishads say that the fruit of your longing will be fulfilled here itself, not at a distant place, because the world has no distance. Distance is our concept of measurement in terms of length, breadth, height, etc. But by itself, the world does not have these qualities. Therefore, everything is just here, at this moment. As spacelessness and timelessness are essentially the nature of the whole world, you can achieve your purpose in a spaceless actuality and in a timeless immediacy.
Faith is the greatest qualification of a spiritual seeker. If you have no faith in anything, and you are a doubting Thomas, doubting everything – “Whether this is okay, I don’t know. I go from this place to that place, seek this person, that person’s advice, go to all places in pilgrimage” – you will fritter away your energy and time by thinking along these lines. A serious-minded spiritual seeker need not have to run from place to place. The world is ready to offer itself at your service if you really demand it. The world says, “Here I am.” Even God says, “Here I am.”
You are hearing me saying something here once in a week. Do you want someone to go on telling you these things every day? And who is that person who can take upon himself the task of saying the same thing every day? Is it possible? How long will you go on hearing it? How can you expect any person to go on pouring wisdom upon you? Once it is said, that is enough for you. If your mind is sharp and your intellect is very acute, one reading of a book is sufficient. You need not read a book a second time. Endless are the scriptures and the books in this world; who will go on reading every sentence of every page? At a glance you can make out what the essence of the book is. If you read the 700 verses of the Bhagavadgita once, you will have a grasp of the total message of the Gita. But you must have the capacity to collate the different ideas expressed in different verses. What is the connection of one verse with another verse, what is the logical sequence of ideas following from chapter to chapter, and finally, what is it that is being told to us in the Gita?
Can anyone say what the final message of the Gita is? What are the Upanishads telling us? What is any scripture saying? What are the mahatmas, saints and sages telling us? You go to satsanga; you hear Ramayana Katha and Mahabharata Katha. What are you hearing finally from them? What fruit have you gathered from these lectures, from these admonitions? The mind will repel every such admonition because of its prejudgment of everything and the habit of asserting one thing always, again and again, and looking at everything else in terms of this prejudged assessment. “I think it is like this, that’s all. Whatever it is, finally I think like this.” And you will not listen to anybody.
There were two farmers quarrelling for the water supply in their fields, and one farmer said, “The water should flow through my field.” The other said, “The water should flow through my field.” So they put a petition to the Magistrate to settle this matter. The Magistrate knew that they are both some illiterate fellows who do not understand anything. Simply quarrelling is the only nature they have. The Magistrate said, “Now listen to me. I will say one thing. You have come to me for advice. You must agree to whatever I say, okay?” One of them said, “I agree to whatever you say, Maharaj, but the water should flow through my field.” Then the Magistrate said, “Then what is the use of coming to me? You have passed judgment yourself.”
This is how the ahamkara speaks. “All right, I’ve heard all your lectures and everything, but I am what I am. I will not change my ideas. I want this. I don’t like that. Whatever you say is all right, but I will stick to my own guns.” You should have a liberal heart and a charitable nature, and the capacity to feel in an expanded manner and be good in your heart and be essentially a good person. Let everyone know you are a good person. If are a good person, everyone will know it even by looking at your face. Goodness is said to be the visible form of godliness. Only a person who is godly in some measure can be a really good person.
Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was sitting one day and some visitors asked, “Have you seen God?” “Oh, what is this question you are asking? Who can see God? Very difficult thing. I am trying to be a little good, that’s all.” Nobody should say, “I have seen God.” It was a humble answer he gave. “I try to be a little good.” But you cannot be good unless you are a lover of God. Goodness is not a social morality or an ethics of the populace. It is something arising from your feelings. When you also see something in other things that you see in your own self, goodness arises automatically. What is the right thing, and what is the wrong thing? That has to be identified by your own conscience under a different context.
What is the sum total of all these considerations? That we are living in a good world. The world is not made of demonical forces. There were two Western thinkers. One of them said, “God made the world, which is so beautiful, wonderful and grand in every way.” The other man said, “If all this world has been created by somebody, it must be a devil that has created it. There is so much wretchedness everywhere, so much ugliness, so much evil, so much corruption. Everything is good for nothing. Such a horrible world is this, and if this world has a creator, it must be a demon.” The other person said, “If a devil had created this world, do you know what would have happened? If you took one step, the ground would break into pieces and you would go into the pit. If you touched a leaf of a tree, it would cut you like a blade. If you drank water, it would burn your throat like fire. This does not happen. Therefore, a demon has not created the world. It is a good world.”
The world is good if you really cooperate with it as a friend with a friend, and not treat it as an object of sense. Never consider anything as an object of sense. Nobody would like to be designated in that way. Would you like to consider me as an object of your senses? I would not like to be considered that way. Nobody is to be considered as an object of sense perception because the idea that someone is an object of perception can retaliate upon oneself with the same feeling, and you will also become the object of somebody else.
Because of this subjectivity present in all things everywhere, without objectivity anywhere, great thinkers have opined that this world is a kingdom of ends. This is a kingdom of ends, and not a kingdom of means. Nothing is a means to another thing here. Everything is an end in itself. Would any one of you consider yourself as a means for the fulfilment of the wishes of somebody else? Nobody wishes to be a slave for all times. The pure subjectivity in you prevents you from accepting this position of utter slavery. So is the case with everything. Even an insect would not like to be crushed by anyone’s feet. It is a very valuable life to its own self. There is a subjectivity in it. Everyone protects oneself, guards oneself because of the subjectivity that is predominant in every person and in every thing. If this subjectivity is expanded into a cosmic area, it becomes a large kingdom of ends. This means to say that only subjects exist in the world. There are no objects in the world, so there is no question of attachment and revulsion, and so on. The whole world is a big ocean of subjectivity, and that universal subjectivity is called God. This is the concept of God you can draw from an analogy of there being such a thing called a world of ends only, not of means.
What a wonderful concept! Nobody is subject to somebody else. There is no somebody else in this world of inclusiveness. As somebody else does not exist, nobody is a part and parcel of somebody else, as if by means of service. The world is a cooperative kingdom. Everything merges into everything else; everything touches everything. The earth and the heaven meet each other every moment. There is no exclusiveness anywhere. The inclusiveness patent at the heart of all things creates a wonder and a joy. The bliss of God manifested itself as this world, by the bliss of God the world is sustained, and into the bliss of God the world will return one day. And we are not outside the creation, so we have come from the bliss of God, and are sustained by the bliss of God. That is why we love everything. Everything is pleasurable for us because the essence of the bliss of God is present in the very ability in us to sustain ourselves. And in the end we return to the bliss of God.
God has not created the world from sorrow; He has created it out of His bliss. The world does not proceed from sorrow to sorrow, but from bliss to bliss, if only we are agreeable to cooperate with this inclusiveness of God’s creation and set aside the egoistic exclusiveness of keeping ourselves apart from the things of the world. If you are a friend of the world, the world will be your friend, and God also is your friend.