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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda
by Swami Krishnananda

12. Service to People

(Darshan given on July 25th, 1995.)

Visitor: Is it important to worry about acting sane? Is that a valid consideration or… Many saints go crazy in their sadhana.

Swamiji: It does not follow that because of your experience of the unity of things you will be a misfit in society. There is no contradiction between your being a good citizen in society and also a spiritually evolved person. As a matter of fact, the more you are established in this unity experience, the more you look normal to people. Nobody will know that you have got that experience, unless you have some reason to believe that the experience contradicts human nature. It need not do that.

Maybe in an initial stage of that experience if the emotion is heavily charged, some kind of behaviour may be there in the person which may not look normal to human society. But when you are mature, that contradiction or disparity will vanish automatically. A spiritual hero is not an unnatural person; they are very natural.

Another visitor: I believe that by doing good deeds we can reach God.

Swamiji: ‘Good deeds' means the service of people?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Do you mean to say that God can be reached by the service of people?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Suppose you are not in a position to serve people due to some physical disabilities. Then you cannot reach God because you are not able to do service?

Visitor: No, there are other ways also. By knowledge, etc.

Swamiji: So the idea that service of people is the way to moksha is ruled out by the fact that this idea will prevent people from attaining moksha when they are physically unable to do service. Therefore, that definition may not be correct. It doesn't mean that everybody can do service. If you have some facility you can do service, but there are some people who are lovers of God but they cannot do service because of their lack of facilities. So that will debar socially incapacitated people from reaching God.

Visitor: Then what do you suggest for such people?

Swamiji: What is your desire for God? Why do you want Him?

Visitor: Everybody in a way wants this.

Swamiji: What is the reason for wanting it? You are feeling you will get some great benefit?

Visitor: Peace, tranquillity.

Swamiji: You feel you will get some tranquillity after reaching God?

Visitor: That's what I think.

Swamiji: According to you, where is God at this moment?

Visitor: In everybody.

Swamiji: In everybody. That means to say, everywhere.

Visitor: Everywhere.

Swamiji: Can you conceive something in your mind which is everywhere? Is it possible to contain in your mind the idea of being everywhere? Everything must all be in your mind at once, because it is all things. Is it possible to think like that? Simultaneously you have to think everything, because it is everywhere. This is called meditation, and this is the way to God. God does not want anything from you except your thinking Him and not forgetting Him. Service or no service, it is immaterial because when you serve Him you have also served others automatically. When you serve the root of a tree, you have served the branches also at the same time. So you need not worry. God is not so cheap. Your heart has to get concentrated in that thing which you described as all-pervading.

Now, you say it is difficult to conceive it. That requires a little bit of practice, and nothing else is necessary for that. No ritual, no books, no reading, nothing is necessary. This requires only your feeling for Him and your ability to conceive the presence of God everywhere. As you say, it is a hard thing. The mind is not accustomed to think like that. But if you can succeed in maintaining this consciousness that God is all things, then your heart will be purified at once. Instantaneous purification will take place.

Visitor: In meditation, what should be our thinking, our aim of…

Swamiji: You don't think anything except what you said just now. It is something which is everywhere.

Visitor: But it is all an objective thing.

Swamiji: It is not objective. If it is objective, then it is not everywhere.

Visitor: Sorry, I meant subjective.

Swamiji: It is not subjective. If it is subjective, it is not everywhere; it is only in one place. If it is objective, it is also not everywhere. When you say everywhere, the subject and object have vanished completely. By eliminating subjectivity, eliminating objectivity, you are trying to raise your mind to a transcendent universality. That exercise must be continued. That is meditation, that is yoga, and there is no need for anything else. That is enough for everybody. Do you understand the point? There is no other way.

Another visitor: I am a humble soul beginning the journey. I don't know how long or short it will be. Right now all I've been doing is meditating.

Swamiji: Is your meditation all right?

Visitor: My meditation is going wonderfully, though I find that sometimes I create it as a chore for myself because I have so many things in my life – school, family and friends. I'll say, “Okay, I will meditate,” and then if I don't have time for that meditation…

Swamiji: You don't have time for meditation?

Visitor: Well, I say I want time for meditation, and then when I don't meditate I get angry with myself.

Swamiji: You have no time for meditation; that's what you are saying? You have no time?

Visitor: Well, I have time. Time is what I make it but I find myself putting off meditation although it seems to me the most important thing.

Swamiji: It is a little inconvenient for you?

Visitor: Yes. And there are so many other things going on in my material life.

Swamiji: The question is the same as the one that concerns you. Do you know the value of meditation?

Visitor: I'm learning about it.

Swamiji: Are you convinced of its supreme value?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Then how is it that you cannot find time for that?

Visitor: I find that somehow I'm distracted.

Swamiji: Distracted by that which is more important than meditation?

Visitor: Distracted by other people and things around me.

Swamiji: The other people are somehow or other inadvertently accepted as more important than meditation; otherwise, the attraction is not possible. For some reason, the other people are more important than meditation. The mind cannot accommodate itself with the idea that what you are thinking in your mind in meditation is of any utility finally, because the utility is somewhere else, in the people outside in the world. The mind is not able to accommodate itself to that point because sometimes there is a serious doubt in the mind that you are meditating in an abstract manner, whereas the world is more concretely real. You cannot say the thought in your mind in meditation is as concrete as a brick or a human being.

Actually, it is a foolish doubt. The mind is as solid as the world itself. It is as hard as a rock, and it is more real than the world. You can analyse philosophically or by your conviction the actual fact that the mind is not a phenomenon, an exudation from the body, and the body is more real. Don't you feel that the body is more real than the mind? You think the mind is only a theory, that it is only a way of thinking, but the world is not a thought. The whole point is that. You cannot agree that the world is a thought. You think the world is more real than thought, and if you identify meditation with thought, it becomes less important than the world. This is the whole psychological contradiction.

A very difficult situation this is, and you have to have great satsanga for that. Satsanga is company of great people. Your studies will not help you in this matter. You are told right from the beginning that the world is more real than thinking, that thought is less important than the actual concrete reality of the world. This is what you are studying in the schools and colleges. This is what you are seeing with your eyes. So how will you suddenly turn the cart around and think that the mind is more important than the world? Easily you cannot accept it, though it is a fact. Unless the mind is more important than the whole world, meditation is not possible; otherwise, it will be a mere imagination and it will not work at all.

Meditation is not imagination. It is a concrete thing, more solid than the whole rocky world. You cannot understand this unless you have the company of great people. That is called satsanga.

Visitor: So to resolve this struggle between what I have always been taught is real, and what now I am learning is real – is satsanga the key to that? Is the key to resolving this struggle satsanga?

Swamiji: There is nothing equal to satsanga. Independently one cannot go because the world will be too much for you. You cannot face it, and to develop an inner strength by which you can face the whole world is not an easy job. That requires the grace of God, I may say, or the company of great Masters whose presence will be an encouragement for you.

Visitor: So I should seek those people?

Swamiji: That is very important. Otherwise, you will drift somewhere and you will not know where you are moving.