21. War on Our Minds
A visitor: Why is there always war in the world? Why is it that peace is always in a precarious balance? If philosophers rule as kings, there will be peace. The example is, the epic figure, King Janaka. War is the result of the selfishness of individuals. We had one example of a King-Philosopher in India, that is King Janaka. In Rome there was a philosopher king, Marcus Auroelius. When one enjoys absolute power, one becomes absolutely corrupt. For absolute power corrupts absolutely when it is not combined with wisdom. War, like poverty, has two causes: one is the selfish exploitation by the powers that be; the second, which is more the cause for poverty, is idleness, which is the ideal workshop for the devil.
A lady from a foreign country who is connected with the Theosophical Society at her place as well as Adayar, Madras, asked Swamiji if he knew about the Theosophical Society and if it was possible for a person belonging to the Theosophical Society to get guidance from Swamiji.
Swamiji: Yes, I know the Theosophical Society very well. I am a friend of all, and even of Satan! So even if Satan comes I will welcome him as a friend and make him sit with me and give him advice if asked for. Satan is not a negative figure. Negative thinking is a kink in your head. God does not create negative things. When two nations are at war with each other, one army defeats the opposing army, and is victorious. They glorify this victory. If the other army won, they would also have glorified their victory. But this glorification is defeat for the other side which has suffered severely in order to give you victory. Such one-sided vision, without the vision of the whole, is negative. Such negative thinking is undivine. To have vision of the whole is divinity.
But it is very difficult to think divinely. We can, unfortunately, think only as human beings. But at least you should understand how your thinking goes. When you see things as God sees them, it is Truth. When you feel love for all, you feel as God feels. When you act as God acts, it is justice. It is not that God manifests Himself in different forms. But your mind sees Him as different forms. The object you see does not change, but your mind changes its form. For example, if you look at an object with coloured glasses, you see it tinged. Mirrors of uneven surfaces reflect the same object in different forms. Such is the trick of the mind.
Q: Is meditation different from prayer?
Swamiji: Meditation is a superior form of prayer. Meditation is the inner culture of the mind. The two are different in the sense that prayer is a current flowing with the thoughts towards God. Meditation is the highest prayer where the thoughts are fixed in God. Any attitude towards God is prayer. Success in meditation is bound to come if understood correctly and practised regularly.
Amidst the usual small gathering around Swami Krishnanandaji is a German couple who have been in the Ashram for a few days in the course of their tour. Swamiji enquires about their welfare and comfort and asks:
Swamiji: What do you want from us? What is the purpose of your visit?
The wife: The aim in coming to the Ashram is to get some guidance at understanding what yoga means. I am a sociologist and my husband is a scientist.
Swamiji: Why are you interested in yoga?
The wife: Perhaps as a sociologist I could help people to a better way of life, a better understanding, and thereby they may gain peace in their lives.
Swamiji: Swami Sivananda has written some books particularly suited for Western minds interested in the study of yoga: Raja Yoga, Mind, Its Mysteries and Control, Concentration and Meditation, Thought-Power. Then there are two useful books by Shri Sundernath Dass Gupta: Yoga in Relation to Other Systems of Indian Thought and Yoga as Philosophy and Religion. You may also look into Yoga and Western Psychology by Gerald Coster.
Another visitor: I am interested in hatha yoga and the practice of it. Is there a book suitable for me?
Swamiji: Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Also Romello Calle—he lives in Madrid—has written two big volumes on this subject. Abridged editions are available now.
Visitor: What is meditation? What does it mean?
Swamiji: Affirmation of the mind and confirmation to reality is meditation.
Visitor: Why is the mind getting involved in events?
Swamiji: Events affect the mind only when it thinks on them and thus gets involved in them. This involvement is due to the ignorance of the ego. There are three types of ignorance which the ego affirms: I am everything… I am nothing… I am something.
Visitor: What is purushartha?
Swamiji: Purushartha is the effort directed in the discharge of your duty. One's duty changes with the expanding consciousness in greater and greater degrees of the existence of the Supreme Reality.
Visitor: You mean I expand in my existence?
Swamiji: Existence is not bodily consciousness—this is a wrong notion, so also is the notion of psychological and social existence. Existence is indivisible. Love and goodness are man's real nature.
Visitor: But there are likes and dislikes in one's life.Swamiji: Dislike arises when there is intense conflict of your limited individuality with the existence of the other's limited individuality. Your true existence is the absolute existence in God. What restricts it to the bodily existence is the ego. Hence, conflicts arise. But the human tendency is towards pure goodness and cooperation. Our real agony is due to our separation from God. We are made to forget this agony by temporary pleasure, which ultimately lets us down in bringing an end to cheap pleasure. Fulfilment of every or any desire is only cheap pleasure. The mind soon discovers this to its consternation. This temporary cheap pleasure is not capable of stopping the deep urge to obtain the ultimate pleasure in the reunion with the Absolute. This drama goes on. And we are both the actor and spectator of this drama, which is directed by the urge for ultimate pleasure of finding ourselves one with the Absolute. But here goes the luncheon bell. Thank you for your darshan. God bless you.