1. Abolishing Our Karmic Debt
(Darshan given on January 7th, 1996.)
A visitor: I would like to practise dharma. My mind jumps like a monkey from one place to another all day, and I talk too much. I would like to settle down and be peaceful and more relaxed.
Swamiji: If you follow dharma, you will be peaceful. You tell me what is dharma.
Visitor: Dharma is what sustains the whole world, the whole creation.
Swamiji: If you deeply concentrate, meditate on this dharma of God's creation, the mind will not go like a monkey.
Another visitor: I have left everything and come here.
Swamiji: You cannot say that you have left everything until you have left the Earth itself because the Earth will catch you wherever you go, so don't make such statements. It is not a logically valid statement. It is a statement which is emotionally made, but not logically valid. You are sitting on the ground of the Earth, and you are saying you have renounced everything. The Earth is sticking to you. When the Earth is sticking, the family also is sticking because they are on the Earth only. You have renounced nothing, so don't make any false statements. Amend your statement. Nobody can renounce anything.
This word itself is the jargon which conveys no sense finally. It is an orthodox jargon which looks like a very well-phrased idiom, but it is not having any real significance. When your connection with the whole Earth is removed, then you may say you have renounced everything. Don't make any such statement, but try to be humble and simple.
The physical body goes with the Earth, and the Earth is connected to the families, so who can renounce anything? The meaning of the word must be understood first. You have a dictionary meaning of the word 'renunciation', but this metaphysical meaning is not easily clear.
Can you renounce yourself also? Is it possible?
Visitor: Renounce myself? In what way?
Swamiji: Renounce whatever you are. You think you are physically renouncing, but mentally you are another thing. Anything that really exists cannot be renounced. Only that which does not exist can be renounced. Any apparition, appearance or illusion can be renounced, but that which is really there cannot be renounced. That which is really there is something with which you have to establish a relation of friendship, equality and harmony so that your relationship with your family is one of friendship, equality and harmony, and not a sense of belonging. Neither do you belong to them, nor do they belong to you. You are on a par, so the relationship is one of equality; therefore, one cannot renounce the other.
So is the case with the world. It is on par with your physical body, as the body is made up of the very same substance as the world is made of. Hence, you are not standing outside the world. The physical body is nothing but a composition of the five physical elements; so as long as the body continues, a relationship with the world also continues. Renunciation doesn't really mean cutting off the connection. No one can cut off a connection with that which is really there. The family is existing, the world is there, your body is there, everything is there. The real renunciation is an establishment of equanimity and harmonious existence between yourself and everything else, and in the end it is a state of harmony with the entire creation.
Harmony does not mean renunciation. It is a kind of unity that you establish with all that exists. Your consciousness is identified with all that exists, including the whole cosmos, so that you have not renounced anything; you have become everything. So there is a difference between renouncing and becoming. It is very difficult to understand this. When you have become the very thing which you want to renounce, there is no renunciation. As long as you think that it exists and it is outside you, you are thinking of renouncing it, but you cannot renounce it because it persists in existing. As you are existing, it also exists. What right have you got to renounce an existing thing? Your only duty is to establish harmony so that it becomes one with you in an equanimity of understanding, and that law also applies to the whole universe, and to God. It is a question of universal harmony and equanimity of consciousness with everything that you consider as existing. This is spiritual awareness where you don't renounce anything, but you become all things.
Do you understand what I am saying? Don't go to extremes in ideas. Be careful.
Another visitor: I want to give up work and devote my time to contemplation and meditation.
Swamiji: The world is a field of activity, and the soul is a field of contemplation, so the world and the soul go together. Nobody can go to extremes in ideas without understanding the relationship between body and soul. Everybody has to work as long as the world exists and the body exists, but everybody should also meditate because the soul is there. This is the Bhagavadgita in essence: consciousness of God centred in the soul, and activity to the extent necessary for the maintenance of one's physical existence.
Another visitor: Can meditation become dangerous, like a drug?
Swamiji: It can become dangerous provided you have worldly desires in your mind, because if that is the case, the worldly desires which want to be fulfilled in an earthly way collide with your aspiration for the spirit, and a war will take place. It is like God and the devil fighting with each other. Desires concerning the world are devils, and they also have some strength. You know the biblical story where Lucifer fought with God. Though he was defeated, it caused a tremendous upheaval and that is why a situation of that kind, if it arises in the mind of a person, can be regarded as disastrous. You should not move towards God unless desires for the world have almost gone to nothing. Only a person who wants God wholly, and wants nothing else from the world, will be free from this consequence which you call dangerous. You should not mix up sensual desire with God knowledge. They cannot go together.
Another visitor: We have committed so many imperfections in this life, and cannot be united with God with all these imperfections, so how do we remove all this?
Swamiji: Suppose you have borrowed somebody's money in dream, in the dream world, and it is a debt that you have incurred. How will you pay the debt? What is the way? In dream you have borrowed a lot of money from somebody, and you know that 'borrow' means it is a debt. How will you pay that debt? Not by paying money back, but by waking up from the dream you have immediately paid the debt. So here is the answer to your question. Whatever action you have performed, this way or that way, is abolished in one second when you reach God. That is called waking. There is a spiritual awakening. There whatever actions you have done get negatived in the same way as all your borrowings are negatived by awakening. You have paid the debt immediately by waking up.
Visitor: So I shouldn't get worried over it?
Swamiji: Do you worry over the dream when you have woken up?
Swamiji: Then why are you talking again on the same subject? That means you have not woken up. You are still dreaming only. That's why you are suffering. I am asking you to wake up, and then all your debts are paid in one second; all your karmas are destroyed because whatever you have done in the dream has no effect when you have woken up. There is no karma. The karma has vanished completely because you have woken up. What do you say?
Visitor: Beautiful answer.
Swamiji: Now go on remembering this point, and don't forget it. It will give you peace of mind. Don't confuse yourself unnecessarily by entangling in emotions.