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The Attainment of the Infinite
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 1: Our Relationship with the Cosmos

We have gathered here to exercise our minds in the direction of our true blessedness. Where does our blessedness actually lie? Where do we become complete persons? These are days when people are intensely conscious of the environment of the world. The environment is very important. The vast atmosphere around us is the environment. It not only influences us minute by minute every day, but on a careful analysis we will realise that we are inseparable from this environment.

The environment spoken of is a kind of society external to us. We know very well to what extent every person is dependent on external human society, and the society of nature – the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the sunlight that we bask ourselves in. It is not merely this much. There are greater secrets which never appear before our eyes – namely, the question of our existence itself.

Do we exist? If it is true that we are existing, where are we existing? "Where are you coming from?" we generally ask a person. People say they are coming from Delhi, from Kanyakumari, from Japan, from England, from America, but whatever be the place from where we are coming, it amounts to saying that we are coming from the surface of the earth. We are moving on the surface of the earth. There are no countries, actually; they do not exist at all. They are only conceptual demarcations of the human mind for the purpose of administrative convenience. Countries do not exist. Only the surface of the earth exists.

The language that we speak, which immensely conditions our cultural background, adds to the difficulty of our not being able to realise that we are citizens of this planet earth. Let alone the question of nationalities and countries, we cling even to a community, a village, or a district, and imagine that we are confined to that particular location.

The mind has a predilection to enjoy the limitations of its own self, shrinking itself more and more into a very, very limited cocoon of prejudiced individuality, so that this little tiny tot of a so-called 'I' within oneself feels immensely happy within the tortuous cell of its own bodily encasement.

The environment that we are speaking of is what is external to us from one point of view, but inseparable from us from another point of view. While this earth is a large planet, upon the surface of which we are crawling like insects, as it were, the earth is a member of the larger family of the planetary system, which is ruled by the great parent of the entire system, called the solar operation.

Our family extends through entire galaxies, which are the original sources of different solar systems. Magnetic forces, which are undividedly pervading the whole atmosphere, taking often the form of what generally people call cosmic rays – which are not actually rays, but magnetic energies flowing from outer space – solidify themselves into the visible forms of bodily existence of human beings, of trees, of mountains, and of the very earth itself.

The cosmological analysis, even on a purely empirical level, establishes the fact that the vibration of space created a movement which we call the activity of air pervading the surface of the earth. Friction caused by this continuous movement of the air principle created heat which we call fire. The further condensation of the density of these forces, right from the activity of space, became what we call liquid, the solidified form of which is this very earth.

That is to say, our family extends beyond the surface of this earth; it touches the planets, the sun, the moon and the stars. Have you heard that our minds operate according to the movement of the moon in the sky? Lunar waxing and waning causes waxing and waning of the feelings and the emotions in the minds of people. During full moon and new moon days, people generally get excited without themselves knowing what actually happened to them. On full moon days, the ocean waves rise up, as if they want to catch the moon itself. The gravitational pull of the moon makes the liquid of the ocean rise up into turbulent waves.

It does not follow that the ocean alone is pulled by the gravitational power of the moon. The whole earth is pulled. Because the earth is solid, it does not rise up like the wave of the waters of the ocean; but nevertheless, the pull is uniformly felt by every particle of the material stuff of this earth. What of ourselves? We are also pulled up. If the waters of the sea are pulled up, every cell of our body also is pulled up. We get agitated, disturbed, upset, and have changing moods, and people who have a deficient mind, not perfectly normal, behave erratically, excitedly, and abnormally during full moon and new moon days.

The lunacy of the mind comes from the word luna, which means the moon. We say a person is a lunatic; that is moonstroke. Just as there is sunstroke, there can be moonstroke, also. In that case, there is disturbance caused by the mind.

Astrologically, we can decide the condition of the mind of a person from the location of the moon in the horoscope. Where is that moon situated – in what context, in what corner, in what relationship with other planets?

Suffice it to say, we are not simply cozily existing here, independently by ourselves, in our locked-up rooms. This idea has to be shed. We do not belong to our own selves. If it is true that we have to love our own neighbour, we have to know who our neighbour is. That question was asked of Jesus Christ: "Master, you said, 'Love thy neighbour as thyself', but who is my neighbour?"

How would you know who your neighbour is? That which is adjacent to you; that which is almost touching you; that which is inseparable from you, which limits you and conditions you, from whom you derive benefit, and about which you have some fear, even, is your neighbour. You like your neighbour because the neighbour may be of assistance to you, under certain conditions; but you fear your neighbour also, because the neighbour can retort and retaliate, and behave in a manner contrary to your expectations.

So, the neighbour is a friendly being, and also a fearsome something. So is nature. Nothing can be more friendly to us than the vast nature, because it is the mother out of which we are born. The very stuff of our body is made up of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether. If that is the case, how do we consider ourselves as outwardly existing, external to nature? The very building bricks of this body, of our own selves, are the stuff of the five elements.

Do not say that there is space or a long distance of sky between ourselves and the solar orb. Do not say that, because the sky, or the space that we speak of, is the very same thing that is causing the width and the height of this body. The size of our personality is due to the space that is present within us.

Scientists tell us that if we squeeze out all the space from within our body, the entire stuff of our body will be one cubic millimeter of carbon, hydrogen, etc. There is nothing in us. We are puffed up balloons, due to the entry of space within us. A balloon looks big, so we also look big, but it is all air that is causing the expansion of the balloon. The space that is within us is the reason for our height and width. Our very existence is precariously conditioned by the structural pattern of the whole atmosphere outside, so that we do not know who is really there, whether the nature outside is existing, or we are existing.

If the house that we build is not independent of the bricks of which it is constructed, independent of the cement and the iron rods that we use, and it will not be existing there if we pull out the bricks, we can say that there is no such thing as a house. It is only a false name that we give to a spatial shape taken by the bricks and the cement and the substance that has gone into the formation of that particular structure. There are no mansions, no palaces, no houses, but only bricks, stones, cement, lime, etc.

In a similar manner, a question will arise: Do we really exist at all, or are we imagining that we are, like mansions, parading ourselves? These mansions will collapse when the building bricks are pulled out. That happens at the time we call the departure of the spirit of our personality from this particular formation called the earth. The elements withdraw themselves from their erstwhile cooperation with us.

The power of cohesion which keeps these elements in order, so that we may feel safe in this body, destabilises itself, and they go helter-skelter, just as if the cement that is keeping the bricks together would not be there, the bricks would collapse in one minute. The cohesive force is our ahamkara, our egoism, our self-assertive nature.

So intensely are we conscious of this limitation of the bodily existence, by the power of that affirmation. You know, the mind is very powerful. It is the electromagnetic energy that can draw everything into itself. Nothing can be stronger than the mind. Nothing is more powerful than the mind, and nothing can be more enduring than the mind.

The self-affirmation of a little location of mental process, which is what is called the 'I' in the individual sense, acts as a cohesive force of the particles of nature, and causes the formation of this little body. We differ from one another in our structure, in our face, in our eyes, in our very demeanour, because of the nature of the difference between the affirmation in one person and another. We do not assert ourselves equally, and therefore, we do not look identical with one another. Our desires vary.

Actually, what we call this cohesive force is nothing but the mind's desire. No two persons desire the same thing; though they appear to be desiring one and the same thing, the manner in which the desire manifests itself differs. That is why there are so many people in this world. Otherwise, if there is only one kind of desire, there would be only a mass of humanity merged into one Vishvarupa of man. That does not happen.

Suffice it to say, therefore, that we are not existing in any particular location of the world. Our atmosphere is our neighbour, and when it is said that we should love our neighbour, we love our own larger personality. We cannot love an alien entity. If the neighbour has no connection with us, in any manner whatsoever, the question of loving the neighbour does not arise. There is a vitality, a similarity of characteristics between oneself and the neighbour; therefore, the question of loving, or having any relationship with the neighbour, arises.

The world is our neighbour. It is not merely near us; it is that stuff out of which we are made. As I mentioned, the substance of nature constitutes the stuff of our physical personality. The Cosmic Mind is operating and dancing through the individual mind of every one of us. The solar orb conditions the eyes, the moon conditions the mind, and many other divine forces are conditioning the operation of the sense organs. We do not seem to be independently existing at all. We seem to be living a borrowed existence. There are people who live by borrowing, and they have nothing of their own. In a similar manner, we live a borrowed existence, and when the creditor withdraws support, the entire sustenance will collapse in one second, and the whole individual personality will get dismembered into little bits of material stuff, and reduced to the utter particles of nature.

The vast stellar system above, which also forms part and parcel of the conditioning factors of our existence, is a matter that is to be considered. Why do we consult people who know the stars? Why do we worry about the stars? The stars are inside our bodies, through their operations which are non-spatial. Space is extended, as it were, and is causing a dimension of distance, all which makes us believe that the stars are far, far away from us. It is not so. It is like saying that the head is far away from the toe. In one sense, it is true; there is a distance of five and a half feet or six feet from the toe to the head. This distance does not matter. We do not feel that distance. Do you feel that your head is far away from your toe?

That integrating power, which is the 'I-ness' in us, abolishes the apparent distance measurable geometrically from the toe to the head. That is not taken into consideration, because of an awareness that brings the distance into a non-entity, a nullity. It is, therefore, a cosmic cohesive force which may be called the Cosmic Mind, or the divinities operating everywhere, which is actually the reason why we are existing as we are existing. We live in this world, in this body, only so long as our assertive nature of our false independence continues. When that is lifted up, we will not exist at all.

I made reference to this particular principle in us, and designated these principles as desires – an intense longing to be in one place only, a desire to be for some time only, and a desire to be connected to certain things only and not to all things. This is the limitation that is part and parcel of the I-consciousness, or the affirming individuality of ours.

We require liberation. People say, "We want moksha, salvation, for which purpose we are practising sadhana." What is the kind of moksha that we are aspiring for? It is liberation from the thralldom of this assumed individuality of a physical existence conditioned by sensory organs. It is actually the longing – mumukshutva means the desire – to melt down this falsely manufactured individuality in the menstruum, the oceanic expanse of universal nature. When you become all nature yourself, your moksha is granted. Moksha is the freedom from the shackle of individuality, from the limitations of particularised existence and the sorrow that is gnawing into our vitals on account of this false identification.

If you are in one place only, if you are the son or daughter of some person only, and if you are speaking some language only, then that is your business. The world is not concerned with it, and you can expect no benefit from the world of nature, because you are one person's son, one person's daughter, one language you speak, and you are existing in one place only. If this kind of egoistic affirmation continues, the world will kick you out and will benefit you in no way whatsoever. Even God cannot help a person who refuses to accept the fact of God's existence. If you do not accept it, it will not accept you, also. If you do not want to accept that there is a thing that is outside you, it also will not accept your existence. There will be a war between outer nature and individual personality.

Moksha, liberation, is just a simple thing. It is an enlargement of the consciousness into the dimension of the widest possible extent, until it reaches a point where it overcomes even the idea of space and time. This is to think in a totally different way altogether.

The greatest education is the art of the chastening of the mind. There is no use studying textbooks and going into the tomes of science, philosophy, and scripture. Our friend is our mind; the books cannot help us. Whatever we have learned from outside sources will leave us, because they are outside us. Our mind is our friend; our mind is our treasure.

The mind is not merely a thought, it is also a thing by itself. Thoughts are also things. This is something new that we have to hear. The thought, the process of the function of the mind, can concretise itself into a form and assume a substantiality of its own, as it appears in dream, for instance. You can see hard rocks and mountains and rivers in the dream world. You can hit your head against a rock and your forehead can bleed even in dream, because the stuff of the mind, which has projected the solidity of the object of perception, can cause a similar experience.

What is happening to us in the waking state is similar to what is happening in the dream world. Objects do not exist independently of the thought process. The relationship between the individual mind and the all-pervading Cosmic Mind is actually the relationship between man and God, the individual and the Absolute.

What we require, therefore, is an intense training of our own mind, enabling the mind to think in terms of its vast potentiality. The all-pervading mind is the source of the individual droplets of minds apparently working within the brain and skull of different individuals, as the ocean operates through all the drops of water in the little, little mini-globules of eruptions on its surface. These little globules of drops are the ocean only. So is the case with our minds, which are droplets of the Cosmic Mind. If a particular drop in the ocean is to assume individuality by itself, and assert that it is totally unconnected with the ocean, it is free to think like that, and it becomes an isolated, bifurcated, unwanted individuality.

To attain moksha, so much time is necessary as it is necessary for a drop in the ocean to sink into the ocean. How much time does it require? It has only to realise that it is inseparable from the ocean.

We have a fad and a prejudice of thinking that the individuality of ours is all in all, not knowing the fact that we cannot even exist without the contribution of support from nature outside and the vast atmosphere. Environment is this much; the environment we are speaking of, which is talked about so much these days, is not merely the trees and the waters, and the air that we breathe, but the entire atmosphere touching beyond the very point of the existence of stars. These bodies not only are made up of five elements, of the elements of the different planets, but of the stars themselves. That is why we are so concerned with the operation of the planets through our body, and we always talk of the stars into which a person is born, etc. Such a distant thing called the star and the planet seems to be exerting such an influence on us, that we are cosmically constituted. This is a fact that does not require much of an explanation.

This is a great revelation. Can you think like this, that you cannot exist like this, as you are thinking that you are existing, and that the bricks of your body can be pulled out by their source, which has contributed its own substance into yourself? The prejudice of human nature is so hard, flint-like, that it will not permit you to think even what is best for you.

The poet has beautifully said, "The egoism asserts that it is better to be a king in hell than a servant in heaven. Let it be heaven, but why should I be a servant there, sweeping the floor of the palace of the gods? Let it be hell; it does not matter, but I will be the ruler there." Such is the way in which ahamkara operates, egoism acts. Personality consciousness kills us, practically. We kill ourselves by the erroneous thinking process of the terrible, flint-like ahamkara. That is what we seem to be ourselves. We have nothing in us except our egoism. Every moment we assert it – subconsciously, consciously, or otherwise.

The individuality of yours, the egoism of yours, cannot be known by you when you are not interfered with. Let somebody scratch you; you can know what you are. The egoism will hiss like a serpent, and it will tell that person who you are. You will not tolerate any interference from externality of any kind, even from your brother, because you are what you are, and you cannot be anything else, different from what you are. "I am what I am." This is the affirmation of our isolated individuality.

Then, there is no question of liberation. Unless you want liberation, it cannot come. Mumukshutva is the longing for it. There is no other qualification necessary. There is only one qualification: you should want it. Your heart should want it. You will realise that the psychology of the mind is such that anything that you really want has to come to you, but it should be really a hundred per cent want. You should not desultorily and half-heartedly want a thing: "If it comes, let it come; if it does not come, it does not matter." Then, it will not come. You should say, "It will come"; then, it has to come, because the mind is nothing but the object that we think of. The mind is touching the object. When we say it has to come, it comes.

"Whoever thinks of me deeply, undividedly, for such a person I provide everything, and take care of what is so provided," is a great promise that we read in one of the verses of the Bhagavadgita. It is the whole world speaking to you – eternity is speaking to the temporal world. You think of the eternal, and the whole temporal world will fall at your feet. That is the meaning of this great verse: ananyascintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate tesam nityabhiyuktanam yogakshemam vahamyahmam. It is not the son of Vasudeva or Devaki, Krishna, who is speaking. Krishna is only a symbolic mouthpiece of this whole universe speaking to you: "Come unto me and I shall give you whatever you need." The whole universe is speaking to you. That is what is called the Vishvarupa, which Bhagavan Sri Krishna showed. The entire cosmos is talking to you: "Come unto me. I shall give you what you want." But you are telling it, "You go away from here. I mind my business." Then, how will you get anything?

We shall be permanently poverty-stricken, sorrowing because we do not want; that is all. If we do not want a thing, how will it come? Even wanting it is not possible. We are so poor that we cannot even want something that is blessed. The mind is so treacherous, such a trickster, that it will not allow us even to want a thing that we want. We, very desultorily and suspiciously, ask for God: "Will it come? It may be or may not be. In this birth it is not possible. He may not be existing there. This may be a concoction of the pundits. Who knows?" Like this, nothing will come.

Doubts are our traitors. If there is any dacoit in this world, it is the doubt in your mind. You doubt your own self; you doubt the capacity of your own mind. You do not trust your own self, so how will you trust anyone else? If you have full trust in yourself, if you are true to your own self, if you are honest to your own self, and if you are confident that you have got the infinite potentiality of summoning the forces of nature, they will be at your beck and call. That is what Bhagavan Sri Krishna mentioned: "I shall be with you. I shall be at your beck and call. I shall sweep your floor, I shall wash your clothes, I shall provide your rations." Who is actually speaking? The whole cosmos is telling you, "Come, my dear child. I am here to provide you with whatever you want." But, we do not want it; then, how will it come?

So, mumukshutva is the longing for the liberation from this limited thralldom of individual physical existence, and a deep wanting. You have to underline the word 'wanting'. Do you want it? You will get it. Be sure about it!