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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda
by Swami Krishnananda


7. The Universal and the Particular

(Darshan given on June 5th, 1995.)

Swamiji: [To a visitor] Bondage is caused by your inability to know that you belong to the Universal Reality, imagining that you are outside the Reality as Mister so-and-so. But you are not that. You are a part of the entire structure of the cosmos, and not merely part in the sense of a mechanical nut and bolt; you are inseparably related to the whole total, so that when you think, you have to think through the thought of the universe only. This you are unable to do. The whole cause of bondage is only this much, that you are unable to think through the cosmic mind. You are thinking only through the individual mind. That is all, briefly speaking. You have to learn the art of thinking through the Universal Mind. That is called yoga, that is called spirituality, that is called religion, that is called anything blessed. The mind should think in terms of the universal inclusive mind, and not think as Mister so-and-so. Do you understand my point? This is called yoga, and if you have understood that, you will not have to understand anything else afterwards.

Swamiji: [To an ashramite] It is foolishness to ignore duty and expect only fruits. It is like asking for the harvest without sowing the seeds in the field. The farmer has to work hard sowing the seeds, taking care of everything. Then the harvest comes. How can you have rights unless you have duties? “I want only the fruits, not the trees.” What kind of argument is that?

This is due to a lack of adequate education. It is not the fault of any person; it is the fault of the educational process itself. We have some education, but not total education. It is partial and one-sided, and it ignores all other aspects of life. It is like a doctor who knows very well how the eyes are to be treated, but he doesn't know what to do if you have got pain in the chest, which is a more serious matter. He is a one-sided doctor. If you go to an eye surgeon and say you have got pain in the chest, what will he say?

A visitor: Pluralists quote a mantra from the Rigveda which says Brahman and jiva are separate.

Swamiji: The universal and the particular are the two words mentioned there or, to put it more practically, what are represented as Krishna and Arjuna in the chariot in the Mahabharata are, philosophically, the particular and the universal. The particular can be considered as isolated from the universal in the sense that you call yourself different from another person, but there is a universal in which all the particulars are included. Inasmuch as all the particulars are included in the universal, there are no two things. You have used the word ‘particular' – the drop and the ocean, for instance – and if you consider the drop as different from the ocean, then they are two different things. But if you say the drop cannot be different from the ocean – because you say it is the ocean only – then they are not two things. So it is only a question of viewpoint. If you consider one bird as the universal and the other bird as the particular, you can view it from two points of view. Is the drop in the ocean identical with the ocean, or different? You can say anything, either way. Likewise, the universal is present in the particular and the whole is present in the part. The whole is present in the part, but the part is not in the whole. The part is different from the whole; yet, it is not different from the whole because without the whole, the part cannot be there. So it is a kind of viewpoint, and you may say it is from the individual point of view. You never say you are the same man as that person. You are two different persons because you are asserting your individuality. But if you visualise yourself in the universal that is immanent in you as much as it is immanent in other persons also, then you are not different from that person.

Visitor: That means this difference is only in the empirical states.

Swamiji: Certainly so. It is empirical difference, but transcendental unity. It is not only in the Rigveda; it comes in the Mundaka Upanishad also. The whole may be said to be different from the part, or you may say it is not different from the part, either way, according to the viewpoint, because the whole includes the part, so there is only one. There cannot be two different things, and yet because you have used the viewpoint of the part you can say they are different, just as everyone feels he is independent. Otherwise, basically you are a universal being, and in that context you are inseparable from everything else.

Visitor: It is only up to empirical states.

Swamiji: Correct.

Another visitor: If the disciple is separated from the Guru by a long distance…

Swamiji: There is no distance. Distance does not exist in space. If you know this fact, you will never put a question like this. If you think a thing in your mind, even if that thing be in the high heavens, it has touched you immediately. Even if it be many light years away from you physically speaking, the moment you think it you have contacted it, and you will have a response from it. It may be a Guru or even God Himself. What is the distance between you and God? How many kilometres? How will you contact God? If God is endless light years away, how will you contact Him? There is no means of contacting Him. But His presence is not so many light years away. It is an instantaneous presence. If you think God, He is here in one second. So is the Guru, and so is anything in the world. Even if it is a banana – if you are intensely thinking of the banana, it has to come here. Somebody will bring it. You should not think it is a joke. It is a serious matter. If your heart says “I want a banana”, somebody will bring it here. You will not know how it works. It is a satellite action which immediately acts and connects your thought with what you need. There is a cosmic satellite though which you are thinking, so immediately it connects your thought to that destination, wherever that thing is. So there is no problem in contacting anything.