7. Repentance and Pride
(Darshan given on January 28th, 1996.)
Visitor: The other day you were talking about repentance.
Swamiji: Yes, I explained it. It is a deep feeling of remorse in one's own self for having done what should not have been done, and an affirmation in the mind that in future you shall not commit such mistakes. That is repentance. If you deeply feel that you have made a mistake, and you are feeling the pinch of your conscience that you ought not to have done it, and simultaneously you are deciding that you will never commit such mistakes in future, that repentance will absolve you from the consequences of those actions.
Why are you putting this question? Do you feel that you have committed some mistake?
Visitor: I wondered how it related to being happy. You were saying we should be happy no matter what the circumstances.
Swamiji: Do you feel there is some obstacle to that process of being happy?
Swamiji: What is the obstacle?
Visitor: My own pride.
Swamiji: You are proud of what?
Visitor: Of being special. I am special.
Swamiji: Nobody can be called important before the Great Power of the universe. The world force can crush you to pieces if it wants. That it has permitted you to live for some time in the world is due to some good actions that you have performed in your previous life. Otherwise, people die in the womb itself. They won't be born at all. There are such circumstances due to some actions which they have performed in their earlier life. I have never seen any person who feels that he or she is greater than others. I have never seen such a person because it is the highest and deepest form of ignorance, and you may call it stupidity. Everybody is equally important. Everybody has a right to live, to eat, to breathe, to sleep, and to be safe. Everybody has a right for this, and so there is no comparison between one person and another person. Each one is as great as the other, or as unimportant as the other.
We sometimes use the word VIP, very important person, or it may mean very insignificant person [laughter]. It can be both. VIP means both: very important or very insignificant. So you can give any meaning of it to yourself. Are you a VIP? Use the word very carefully because it has a double meaning.
You are not living in the midst of human beings; you are living in the midst of the cosmic forces, which are manifestations of the Creator of the universe. Before such a vast ocean of power and grandeur which is this universe, can you imagine what is your position? Humblest of the humble, littlest of the little. Always you sit in the back seat, not in the front seat. You cannot have any occasion to become proud because there is nothing in you which can make you feel that you are very important, more important than anybody else. Otherwise, what is the enlightenment that you are seeking? Enlightenment is the knowledge of the truth of the universe, but if you are totally ignorant of it and imagine that you are something different from what you really are, then what is enlightenment? If you have a misconception about your own self, how can you have a correct conception of anything else? So all learning becomes a waste. There is a basic ignorance of the facts behind things.
To enlighten you is the duty of your Guru. You cannot enlighten yourself by yourself. People go to schools and colleges. If that training is not necessary under a teacher, then everybody can sit in one's own house and become a well-trained person. Why do you want to go to a teacher or a professor, or anybody? Why do you want a mentor and a guide? Only one who has trodden the path can guide you on the right path. You are just beginning, but there are others who have already covered the path. They will give you the whole knowledge of all the difficulties that they have faced on treading the path. So a spiritual teacher is necessary, and it is the duty of the teacher to enlighten you if you accept the teacher as your Master.
I am practically telling the same thing every day so that it may be driven home into your mind.
Visitor: I was thinking about what you were saying about why are we continuing doing retreats and coming here every day. I was thinking that if the universe is infinite and the truth is infinite, then satsang also can go on forever.
Swamiji: Okay. It is good to have satsang always because the mind cannot keep concentrating itself on the truth always. It often slips down from its concept of truth, and so a repeated scrubbing of the mind, just as you wash vessels every day, is necessary.
One devotee went to Ramakrishna Parmahamsa. He had a great Guru called Totapuri. Ramakrishna Parmahamsa got initiation from a great Master called Totapuri, and when Totapuri went to Ramakrishna Parmahamsa one day, he asked Ramakrishna, “What are you doing every day?” “I am meditating every day,” he said. “Why are you meditating every day? Is it not sufficient if you do it once?” Then Ramakrishna Parmahamsa said, “The brass vessel has to be cleaned every day; otherwise, it may become dark, black. Just as a vessel is cleaned every day, I have to clean my mind always.” Then Totapuri said, “Suppose your vessel is made of gold; then you need not go on cleaning it because gold cannot get tarnished.”
The hidden meaning behind this conversation is, if the mind is like brass and capable of getting contaminated by outer influences, then every day you have to do meditation; every day you have to do satsanga. But if your mind is made of gold, that is, it is free from every kind of impulse characteristic of the world of nature, and you have no impulse of any kind, it is perfect concentration on the Universal Existence, then you need not have to repeat it every day because you are always in that condition. This is what the great Master told Ramakrishna Parmahamsa.
So you must learn the art of perpetually maintaining a background of your concentration of mind on the ultimate Truth. It is not necessary to forget it for twenty-three hours of the day and try to bring it to a concentration point only one hour in a day. If your practice is perfect, you will be meditating even when you are walking on the road, because a mistake cannot be committed even when you are travelling. You cannot say “I will rectify myself after the travel is over. I will sit quiet in a temple or an ashram, and then start meditating” because when you will slip out of the point of concentration, no one knows.
Meditation is practised not because it is a kind of ritual routine everybody should do, and afterwards you may miss the point and think something else. It is a background of thought which one has to maintain always. That is to say, whatever work you are doing, wherever you are moving, whatever be the occupation, your background is a rootedness in the Universal Being. As a universal being you can walk on the road, you can travel in a train or a bus, you can fly; but you are a universal being that is doing that. If you say you are a Mr. or a Mrs., this person or that person, from this country or that country, though it may be a fact, there should be an outer periphery of your thinking, but the background is that you are a universal being eating. Even when you eat your lunch it is a universal being eating universal food. The Upanishad, especially the Chhandogya Upanishad, is very insistent on this practice of eating universal food, and the eater is also the Universal Being. God eats the universe, as it were, when you have your lunch. But who can have such a thought? It is the Universal Being eating the universal food of the universe.
Do you remember you are a representative of God and a spark of divinity? Every particle of matter is connected to every other particle of matter, modern physics says. Every atom in the universe is connected to every other atom. The material universe is a large organism. Even if you take a morsel of food, it is made up of matter. If it is the truth that every particle of matter is connected to every other particle of matter in the whole cosmos, the morsel of food you are taking is a part of the organism of the universe that you are eating. Inasmuch as the organism has no parts, every part is conditioned by the total organismic power, you are virtually eating the whole universe. If you injure a part of the body, say a toe, you are injuring the whole body. The body will feel the pain. So if you have the consciousness that you are a universal being and then you take your lunch, the whole universe will vibrate with the power of your divinity. That is what happened in the case of Lord Krishna eating a leaf. Even if you take one atom, it is like eating the whole universe because one atom is connected to other parts of the universe, and the total universe stands before you even when you touch a particle of matter.
So is the case in your soul. Your soul is not a segregated part of the Absolute, because there is no segregation anywhere. Everything is connected to everything, so every soul is connected to the universal soul. Hence, any action that you do is the universal soul performing an action in the universal material existence. The whole action is an integral action taking place.
Only a universal being can think like that. What I am telling you is something of the nature of the highest meditation, and I mentioned to you that always you must be in a state of meditation because always you are in the universe, which is integral, and always your soul is integrally related to the Absolute. So everywhere there is divinity, everywhere there is integrality, everywhere there is interconnection. No isolated individual exists anywhere. The quantum physics of modern times will tell you of the integration of the whole cosmos. Everything is everywhere and, similarly, every soul is everywhere. If you can conceive this position, you won't know exactly what is your position in this universe. The whole universe is your body, and the soul is the Absolute, so the Absolute is donning the whole universe as a garment, as it were. Inasmuch as no soul is different from another soul, all the souls – integrally connected with one another – form the Absolute Soul. We don't have many souls; we have one soul only, just as the whole ocean is behind all the drops of the ocean. Therefore, whatever you think is a universal thought; hence, the universal thought that is manifested through your universal being materialises itself as a universal consequence.
Actually, meditation means God thinking Himself as the total existence. This is the whole truth which I illustrated in a little story from the Mahabharata: Lord Krishna eating a little particle. Incidentally, it happened to be the whole universe that he was swallowing, as the Universal Soul that he was. This is the way you have to meditate. Simply doing some little thing and imagining that you are meditating and afterwards thinking some nonsense, this is not going to benefit you. Throughout the day you must be conscious of the fact that you belong to the whole cosmos, and never think that you are an isolated part, which you are not. The spirituality of your personality should be a perpetual spirituality. It is not that you are spiritual for one hour of the day and unspiritual for twenty-three hours. You cannot say, “I am very busy. Meditation will come afterwards.” You should not be busy like that. Even when you are busy, you are universally busy. Okay, do the work, be very busy, but do it as a universal work and a universal performance. When you travel, it is a universal travelling; when you eat, it is a universal eating; when you speak, it is a universal speaking. Can you understand the consequence of this kind of consciousness? You will be blessed in a moment. Do you catch what I said?
Swamiji: Be happy. I have given you a big bundle of messages of a universal connotation. Okay?
Visitor: Thank you, Swamiji.