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Swami Krishnananda in Conversation
by Swami Krishnananda
Compiled by S. Bhagyalakshmi

20. The Path of Glory

A pleasant sun shone overhead. Monkeys were frisking about on the branches above, peering down to see if there was anything they could snatch and leap back into the branches. The 'chats' started with a question from an old American devotee who runs an ashram in California.

Devotee: Why is it compulsory for us to read the Glory of the Gita which runs into several verses, reducing the time available for the verses of the Gita itself? Why? I never read them. Sounds like blackmail to me, this compulsion.

Swamiji: It is only to give you an incentive to read the text, and does not have much importance by itself. We have a peculiar system of glorifying everything. The greater the glorification, the greater the incentive to read it. Not worthwhile by itself. When an article is advertised, you have a peculiar weakness to go in for it. It is a tradition—just give it that amount of value. After the death of a person, they read a sacred text such as the “Garuda Purana”, in which there is a vivid description of hell! When people hear what kind of tortures are meted out to a miser cringing from doing charity, or to one who shows lack of respect for his responsibilities and duties, they get frightened and do a lot of charity, pay respect to their duties and so on, because they think, “Oh! Let me be saved from such a torture.” The “Garuda Purana” picturesquely and vividly describes what happens to the soul of the man who has not done charity or fulfilled his duties or one who has lived a bad life, etc. etc. So it is likely to inspire the living to mend their ways (laughs).   

An ashramite: Does not the charity and the like done by those left behind benefit the departed soul?

Swamiji: No, no, nothing of the kind. It has no connection with the departed soul. It is meant only for those left behind.

Devotee.: The glorification of the Gita is so long that you can hardly complete the reading of the verses in a given time!

Swamiji: (Laughs.) Yes, yes, reading even one sloka of the Gita is enough if you can understand the meaning of it properly. One single verse is sufficient for contemplating the glory of it.

A foreign visitor had been sent by his Guru to meet revered Swami Krishnananda. After he had been in the gathering for about one full hour, the visitor asked Swamiji what his name was.

Swamiji: (Without showing any emotion) I am he whom you have come to see.

The reaction of the gathering to this was one of shocked amusement. This instance has a place in this chronicle of the Darshan Hour Talks, because it is a typical example of some of the Western visitors who come for the Morning Darshan without any real interest or without knowing why they have come.

Visitor: How long have you been a Sannyasi?

Swamiji: (After a moment of silence, in the most even voice) About 35 years. All my life.

At the end of the session, later, all but one or two old disciples remained.

Ashramite: These people remind me of urchins throwing stones into the pool, just to while away their time.

Swamiji smiled indulgently.

A visitor, a German, had been initiated in meditation to concentrate on the centre between her eyebrows, which is considered a very suitable point to concentrate on during meditation.

German Visitor: This has landed me in the problem of physical disturbance. Is it right and is it the only place or the best to concentrate upon? I am unable to control the mind in meditation.

Swamiji: Has anyone controlled the mind? None except the Realised Souls. It is not necessary to fix on that point for the most effective concentration. The control of the mind is very difficult, because the mind is not an object. It is like air. How will you hold it? But there is a way, a technique. The air is everywhere and you cannot hold it. But it is concentrated in some place. Find out where it is thus concentrated, the source from which it is flowing everywhere.

The mind, like air, is concentrated at some spot on an object. What the object is, is of little importance. But it should be held firm there and never move away from it. It may be only a tree the mind is concentrating on or it is just thinking of. Hold the mind there, on the tree, and do not let it move even an inch from that place, location or object. Then it will tend to become very strong. The mind is always thinking. But it is thinking of one thing at a time. Let it think of that only and not any other thing. That is called meditation. You go from shop to shop to purchase something. When you do not find it in one shop, you go to the other and so on until you find the thing that you are looking for. It is not for nothing that you tire yourself going from shop to shop. Is it not so? Similarly, the mind is searching for something while thinking of various things. What is it that it is searching for? Here comes another question. What is it that the mind is searching for?

German Visitor: It is going here and there thinking of the Divine.

Swamiji: It is not thinking of the Divine. It has no idea of the Divine. It wants to unite itself with some object, and when there is a union with that object it gets pleasure. And it is looking for pleasure. It is pleasure that the mind is searching for. It does not want objects, which are only instruments in creating the psychological circumstances called pleasure. If an object cannot bring pleasure, who wants it? There is the tiger, the cobra, etc. Will you search for a tiger or a cobra? Will you love it? Will you want to hug a tiger or a cobra? Hugging a child gives satisfaction, but not hugging a tiger or a cobra. So what you seek is pleasure and not an object. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your mind wants this or that object. You do not want anything other than pleasure. And if you think that a particular object can give pleasure, you go near it, but if it does not give any satisfaction, you will leave it alone and go to another place or object. So your life is spent in this way looking for pleasure and not for a particular object, which it really cannot find. And nowhere will you find this pleasure you are seeking for. Because it is not a commodity of this world. It belongs to some other realm altogether. But you are mistakenly looking for it here, unnecessarily going on a wild goose chase, as they call it.

I have given you a simple picture of the state of affairs. You cannot get in this world what you want in the life that you live here. Now comes the next question. Then where else? See, one question leads to another, endlessly. You can find it only where it is not where it is not. You cannot get water from the Sahara desert, where there is no water. You will get it from the Ganga. You must first know where the Ganga is, then only can you go for water! So the mind is searching for what is not there in the objects. If there had been pleasure in any object, there would have been no necessity for the mind to move from one object to another. That it moves from object to object shows that these do not give satisfaction. So it is not available in the world, it is available somewhere else. Where is that place? It is not in books, universities, nor even in Mahatmas and Gurus that you can get this satisfaction. You are thoroughly mistaken in looking for it in them. If you know where it is then you will never open your mouth thereafter; you will close your mouth forever thereafter. Do you understand what I say? These are the answers to your various questions on meditation. Do not concentrate of the “Trikuti” (middle of the eyebrows) unnecessarily. It is not going to give you anything at all… What is the time?

A voice: 11:50 by my watch.

Swamiji: Oh! Long past lunch hour. You are all starving! Go, go for your food. God bless you all.