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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996
by Swami Krishnananda

26. Religion, Spirituality and Meditation

(Darshan given on March 24th, 1996.)

Swamiji: What is religion? It is not an academic career. Religion does not mean becoming a professor and a scientist. Economically it may benefit you, but religion is not economics. When a person says I am a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc., they defined themselves in terms of a religious ideal. If that ideal is missing, they are neither Muslims nor Christians nor Hindus.

A Christian visitor: Religion means doing service to people.

Swamiji: This question raises also the other question: What do you mean by service? If you don't know what is service, the way of rendering service also… What impels you to do service? Who told you that you should do service? There is an impulsion inside, the source of which also has to be understood because you will never do any service if it is contradictory to your own welfare. So you have to do service to yourself first so that you may be hale and hearty. But why do you put this question to me? You are already doing service, so why are you putting this question now?

First you must serve God. After that you may serve the world, because the world came afterwards, God was first. When you say you have to serve the world, it implies you have to serve God also. You know how to serve humanity. Now I will ask you, how do you serve the cause of humanity itself? How will you serve? What is the way of serving the very cause of the whole world? What method are you adopting, because external service will not work. Minus the cause, the effect is nil and void. So you don't want to convert your services into a vacuum. Your service must be filled with the cause that is behind all this activity. You go on serving according to your own understanding. How are you going to serve the world? What is the way you are adopting? God is a universal being, humanity is an external phenomenon, so the externality cannot stand without the universality behind it. Are you finding it difficult to make any sense out of universality?

I have put a question, but you are not answering. Does anybody else want to talk to me?

Another visitor: Swamiji, at one point you mentioned that thought should think itself, and not something else.

Swamiji: There is a philosophical saying of Aristotle: “Thought thinking another is human. Thought thinking itself is divine.” But no thought can think itself. It is only a proposition. It won't work. Thought can think itself and be satisfied with it provided that thought is self-complete. Why does the thought go to some outside things? Because it feels it itself is not complete. It wants to fill the gap of finitude and limitation in itself by adding qualities, adjectives, from outside things. What the mind lacks, that it thinks outside. But if the thought is complete, is not an individual thought afterwards. It will be a universal thought. That is called divine. But usually the thought thinks another thing. That is mortal. So if the thought thinks itself, it will cease to be a thought. It will merge into Pure Consciousness. Though that is a very remote possibility in ordinary conditions, if that is possible, then the Universal consciousness, Vaishvanara, will absorb this thought which is thinking itself as self-complete. Vaishvanara is the Universal Being, which is self-complete, so self-complete thought only can enter the self-complete Being. A finite mind cannot reach the Absolute. This is understanding a subtle technique. If you are completely satisfied with whatever you are thinking and don't want to think anything else outside, then only are you fit to meditate like that. But if you feel your thoughts are incomplete, you want to get something from outside. There is nothing outside the Vaishvanara. It is self-complete. It is universal comprehensiveness. If your thought also is comprehensive, it is a total integrated entity and doesn't want anything from outside, then it will fly. Like a bird, it will fly to the Absolute. But it requires great training. So this is the essence of it. You must be the total being. A fractional mind cannot reach the Infinite; it can reach only other finites. It is only a suggestion to you that such great things do exist in the world, beyond human comprehension.

A visitor: What do I need to do to improve my spirituality?

Swamiji: The awareness of God's presence is called spirituality. To the extent you are aware that God is, to that extent you are spiritual. If you are doubtful of the existence of God, you are living a doubtful spiritual life. Spirituality is the characteristic of making God one's own. The entry of God into the mind of a person is the nature of spirituality. If God has not entered one's heart, that person cannot be called spiritual. If God has entered your heart 50%, then you are 50% spiritual. Your consciousness of God's existence is your spirituality. Are you conscious that God exists, or are you doubting it? Here is a moot point. Are you having any doubt that God exists?

Visitor: No, I don't have.

Swamiji: If you have no doubt that God exists, then another question comes: Where is God? You are believing that God exists, but where is God according to your feeling?

Visitor: Everywhere.

Swamiji: The consciousness that God is everywhere – and therefore, that God alone is – that is spirituality because if a thing is everywhere, that alone can exist. Nothing else can exist. If there is something else outside it, it cannot be everywhere. So the deep conviction and feeling in your heart that God is everywhere and, therefore, that God is everything – all in all – that is the final word. That is the only thing that you want. If that conviction has entered your heart, to that extent you are spiritual. It requires meditation. Spirituality is mainly deep meditation on this Great Being which you said is everywhere, a perpetual consciousness of the all-pervading presence at the background of your thought and actions, and wanting nothing else because it is everything. When that which is everything is in you, you do not want anything else. So desires cease in one second when that which is capable of fulfilling all your desires is made a part of your own being. Do you understand what I say? What else do you want to ask?

Visitor: The second question is, I so frequently wish to have a deep meditation, but I don't know how to get this deep meditation.

Swamiji: How are you meditating? What do you do in meditation?

Visitor: I try to put my consciousness between you and I.

Swamiji: What is that 'you'? What do you mean by 'you'?

Visitor: My Guru, my God, or you maybe. I would like to have a deep meditation.

Swamiji: When something is very valuable, you will certainly think of it. If something is not valuable, your mind cannot think it. Now, do you mean that God is valuable?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Is there anything more valuable than that?

Visitor: No.

Swamiji: Then what is the difficulty in thinking that? That is meditation. If it is the most valuable thing for you, can you think anything else other than that? Already you have concluded that it is the most valuable thing, so how can the mind go here and there? It must go to that because it is the best thing, the most wonderful thing, and nothing is equal to it. How will the mind go here and there? It must be on God only because there is nothing equal to it. The mind is not such a foolish thing. It can understand. It knows what is good for it. And here you are, facing the most wonderful thing. How could the mind not concentrate? How should it not? What do you say?

Visitor: Sometimes it goes away.

Swamiji: It goes away because you are not believing fully that God is everywhere. You have got doubt. You are thinking the buildings also are there, the trees are there, people are sitting here, and that is why the mind goes here and there. But you are contradicted by the feeling that God is everything. If God is everything, these people also are included in that. They don't exist at all. They are all ripples in that vast ocean. But still the mind says, “No, it is not like that; there is a table, there are people sitting here.” Therefore, the mind goes here and there. There are no people sitting anywhere. They are all included in that vast ocean of God-existence. This is the point, and you have understood it. The only thing is, you are not continuously thinking of it. Your mind goes here and there because it is not able to find time to think deeply over that again and again. Every day you should sit and think deeply, again and again, again and again. Then the mind will not wander. Why should it wander when it has before it everything that it wants? What is the purpose of wandering? You are in the middle of the ocean and searching for water. Will anybody do that? You are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and saying, “I want water.” There is no meaning in it. Think over this.