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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda
by Swami Krishnananda

31. Absorbing the Lower into the Higher

(Darshan given on November 13th, 1995.)

Swamiji [to a visitor]: Spirituality is a process of gradual ascent from matter to spirit. You cannot reject matter and go to spirit, because spirit is only a flowering of the material existence you are thinking of. Matter melts down into the liquefied condition of spiritual existence. It doesn't mean that it is opposed to the spirit. You are thinking that matter is opposed to spirit, and materiality is against spirituality. It is not like that. Lower knowledge is not rejected by higher knowledge. It is subsumed and absorbed into the higher knowledge. You are saying that lower knowledge opposes higher knowledge. Lower knowledge does not oppose the higher, but is transcended by the higher. Do you know the difference between the two? When you grow into an adult from childhood, you don't reject the childhood; you have only absorbed it into your adulthood. Can you say there is a contradiction between the genius that you are and a little baby that you were? If that is the case, then there is no contradiction in anything in the world. It is only a gradual development from lower to higher, from lesser to more noble, and from the finite to the infinite. So you cannot say something is useless.

Visitor: But things such as jealousy come automatically.

Swamiji: You have to materially exist and also spiritually exist. You have to intellectually exist and morally exist, and also exist socially. You cannot deny existence of one aspect and catch another aspect. You are materially existing as the body, socially existing as a citizen of a country, morally existing as a good man, intellectually existing as a qualified engineer, and these are not irrelevant things for the purpose of the spirit because the spirit is only a transcendence of these lower things, not a negation of them.

Therefore, you should give up the idea of rejecting, but you must always have the idea of absorbing the lower into the higher because if a thing is totally useless, nobody will pursue it. Just think over it. You take lunch, a meal in the daytime. What connection has that got with spiritual realisation? You will know it only if you don't take it. So you cannot say it is a useless thing. “Why should people cook food when they have got God?” is an immature way of thinking. Every little thing is a cooperative element in the development of personality in higher and higher degrees. You should not make hasty conclusions: “I want God and I reject the world and everything in it.” It doesn't mean that. The world is integrally connected to God's existence, which means it is integrally connected with yourself also. Everything that you are is integrally connected to God, whatever you are – a body, a social unit, a moral principle, an intellectual genius, and also a spirit. So which part are you rejecting when you are going higher up? It is a total rising from the lower inclusiveness to the higher inclusiveness, and so you reject nothing. Everything comes up in a modified, transformed and transmuted form when you rise to the highest inclusiveness, which you call God.

Do you catch the point? You require a proper teacher, a Guru, as we call it. Otherwise, you will make a mistake in judgment. The spiritual path is very difficult because the mind cannot conceive this totality which is involved in every movement of yours, every day. A total action includes everything. You cannot forget any of your aspects when you take any step in any direction. You have to become a total person because God is a total being, and only a total can go to a total. A fraction, a finite, a little speck cannot go to God. Do you understand me? It requires great training in the way of thinking itself. You require a very good mentor. Keep it in mind.

Another visitor: Swamiji, in the past you would say to give things up for the life spiritual.

Swamiji: No, I never said that. Sankaracharya never said that. It is a misunderstanding of the whole subject. He never said give up anything. You give up the lower for the purpose of the higher, which is another way of saying absorb the lower into the higher. You cannot reject anything because if anything exists, it is real, and a real thing cannot be abandoned. Only unreal things can be abandoned. And so there is a contradiction in the statement that existing things should be abandoned. Anything that exists is real, and real things cannot be abandoned because you have already called them real, so they will be persisting as a reality in spite of your imagination that you have rejected them. There is a misunderstanding of Sankaracharya. You don't understand him properly. There is no rejecting anything. The idea that you are rejecting must be abolished from the dictionary. The dictionary must remove that word. There is no rejecting, there is inclusiveness only. Inclusiveness, absorption, totality – these are the things that you have to keep in mind, not throwing out, rejecting, abandoning, and so on. These are wrong notions of religion, and perhaps of spirituality.

Visitor: If someone pursues a PhD, how do you know that the world won't suck you in too much? How do you know it is enough? You can get one PhD, two PhDs, three PhDs. How does one know what is enough? How do you know you've done enough?

Swamiji: My dear friend, what you call worldly life is an erroneous way of thinking, in which condition you imagine that things are totally outside you, and you have either to grab them or reject them. Things are organically connected with your larger being, and so worldly life and spiritual life are not opposed to each other. They are only two different ways of looking at things: one horizontally, another vertically. The worldly life, as you call it, should get transformed into spiritual life not by rejecting it, but by understanding its true meaning in the context of spiritual consciousness. Do you understand me? Actually, I am repeating in another way what I told the other visitor. There is no worldly life. It is a wrong way of thinking. You cannot reject the world. It existed even before you were born, so how will you reject it? You have only to understand it and appropriate it into your life in a larger dimension of your consciousness, not as an individual but as a comprehensive consciousness that you are in your essence.

Visitor: After a while we like it so much that we tend to grow more horizontally than vertically.

Swamiji: The horizontal gets absorbed into the vertical so that you become wider and wider, and also higher and higher at the same time. God is the widest, and also the highest, and towards that end you are moving. Do you understand? It is very difficult to catch. Your mind will not receive this. You will forget it because you are not accustomed to think like that in your daily life. Wrong education is given to us from the very beginning. Society tells us wrong things. Education tells us wrong things. Nobody tells you the correct thing, and so it is very difficult to accommodate these truths unless you have put forth great effort in completely changing the way of your thinking.

Visitor: I would like to discuss japa yoga.

Swamiji: Actually, japa means chanting a formula which indicates perfection, or God-consciousness. Go on repeating the same word: “God-consciousness, God-consciousness, God-consciousness. I want God-consciousness.” I am saying it in English but you can also say it in Sanskrit, and it becomes a mantra so that you may go on thinking the same thought again and again until your way of thinking gets transformed. It is a very beneficial way of controlling the mind, and turning it from a wrong way of thinking to a correct way. It is actually reciting the name of God, or you can recite any kind of formula which amounts to that meaning, finally. You can even say, “I want God Almighty, I want God Almighty, I want God Almighty.” If you go on saying it a thousand times every day, your mind will get purified. That is japa.

Visitor: Can I chant Om?

Swamiji: You can chant Om consistently, with deep feeling about it. Om is actually a universal name. It is the name for the total existence of all things. It is a cosmic vibration reverberating through your vocal cords.