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The Great System of Yoga Propounded by Patanjali
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 15: Concluding Message

Our goal here is not merely to gain a new way of thinking and feeling, but a new way of being. This is the essence, the sum and substance, of all educational processes in general, and particularly the process of the novel educational training that you have received during this short period of time here.

You have to remember again and again that your knowledge is worthwhile only when it has a connection with your being and living. You are not being instructed to become professors or teachers, but to be exemplars in the eyes of the law that works through this world. It is important to remember that your behaviour is expected to be in harmony not simply with the rules and regulations of human society, which are usually called etiquette or decorum, but it has to be in harmony with the law that operates. There are not many laws. American laws and British laws and Indian laws are only man-made expressions of a central organising law which works unanimously, impartially and perpetually everywhere. Whatever be your confidence in the social laws and etiquettes of human society, that would not help you in the living of a peaceful and happy life if you are not in consonance with the Central Law which is the operating principle in the world as a whole.

Hence, you have not been given merely a theoretical knowledge, some information as to the history of philosophy, or the history of culture, or a survey of the thoughts of thinkers of all ages. Here the emphasis is on a new aspect altogether to make you true human beings and truly happy persons, not sorrowing individuals, grief-stricken and racking your heads for little things of the world. You have been told the way in which you can maintain your sanity under the worst of circumstances and never lose your balance. You have never to lose your balance of personality under any vicissitude through which you may have to pass. Winds may blow over the tops of mountains, but the mountains cannot shake with all the tempests and tornadoes that may blow over them. Such should be the rootedness of your personality in an internal verity which will take care of you like a mother or father, and you need not have to weep for the bread of tomorrow or the appreciation of man. Remember the beautiful admonition of Jesus Christ: Look at the beautiful lilies in the fields and the birds in the air. Do they weep and cry? They don't think of the morrow. They are taken care of. If such creatures are taken care of by the Father that is in heaven, why not you, who is more dear to Him than other things?

The difficulty is to establish oneself in this true knowledge. It is not learning; it is not any kind of certificate in a social or academic sense. It is a satisfaction that has to come from within you. What is the use of certificates and encomiums and recognitions in society if there is no satisfaction inside? And if a little of that has been injected into your blood, if you go from here with a joy that does not come from outside, then your training has been worthwhile and meaningful. You do not go out like students from colleges. You generally see people turned out from educational institutions with certificates, with flying colours, but suddenly they find themselves at sea. Generally, your education starts when you leave the college, not when you are inside it, because when you are within the campus or university or educational institution, you are protected by an artificial atmosphere of the government of that institution. But the moment you are released out of this atmosphere which has been taking care of you in various ways, you are face to face with the realities of the world. Then nobody will look at you despite all your education, because the world is made up of a different stuff from what you have been thinking that education is.

The world is made up of a reality which is different from mere theory and understanding, and to face it is a hard job. Whatever be your learning, you cannot utilise that learning to appease your hunger. You will find that a new art is necessary to satisfy yourself even in the context of your physical personality. Satisfactions are of different degrees. They are not merely physical, as we have mentioned earlier.

Thus, you have to learn the art; and you have already learned it, I believe. Remember this technique of perpetually being en rapport with the powers of the world, which are eternally alive, never asleep and never unaware of your presence. The forces of the world are eternally awake. They never forget even the least event or phenomenon that takes place. The world is a living organism. The universe is alive eternally. Everything is known everywhere, and if you are to be awake to this great fact of the eternity of life in spite of the temporal processes which appear to manifest, if this could be practicable, you shall be happy. When I say that you shall be happy or you shall be peaceful, I am not referring to a mere psychological condition of temporary subsidence of the sorrows of life. There are occasions when we forget our difficulties, not because they have gone, but because we have been engaged in something else which is absorbing. But that is not peace, and that is not happiness.

The peace or happiness that we are referring to here is the character of the soul inside you, and not a condition of the mind which appears to reflect this peace of the soul occasionally on account of various factors. Your peace, your happiness, is not to depend on factors, conditions. There is no necessity for some event to take place in order that you may be happy. You should not say, “Something has happened and upset my mind”; you should also not say, “Something wonderful is there, and I am very happy.” There is nothing wonderful in this world, and also there is nothing to upset your mind. It is all a question of your adjustment with it, your reaction to it, and your grasp of the situation as a whole. The world is neither a friend nor an enemy, and it is not there either to please you or to displease you. It is an impersonal, absolute, eternal, infinite principle of reality. Therefore, you are not to evaluate it as you ordinarily evaluate persons and things.

This is a great message of Yoga and Vedanta – not the Yoga and Vedanta of schools, of institutions, but a vision of the soul. True Yoga and Vedanta is the perception of the soul, the way in which the soul perceives things. It is not what you read in a book. The reaction of the soul within you to the soul of the cosmos, that should be called Yoga, and that is Vedanta. So to live in the soul – and not merely in the mental, or psychological, or physical or even social level – is to be your effort, and it has to be a perpetual effort.

In the earlier stages all this is difficult because we live in a world of the senses. We see objects, and therefore, we are likely to get immersed in the judgment of things in terms of sense objects and people and the various things that we see. To evaluate things from the point of view of the soul is difficult. For instance, when you look at a person, it is hard to look upon that person as a soul. Whatever be your effort, you will not succeed in this attempt, though it is a fact that the person is a soul in essence, and the outward personality is only an expression created by other factors than the eternal principle, which is the soul.

If you can root yourself in the soul and visualise things from the point of view of that soul, you will be able to recognise the soul in others also, so that it will be a relationship between soul and soul, not between person and person. There will not be a psychological embarrassment or reaction. It will be a communion of powers which are eternal in their nature. This is what ancient masters in India call Ramaraja, or the golden age of things – the millennium, as people generally say. When God rules the world, the soul becomes the point of reference in every matter.

But when your point of reference is the body or wealth or social relationship or any kind of satisfaction to the ego, then that is not God's kingdom. It becomes a temporal hell, which is nothing but a distorted vision of things. Hell is not somewhere far off in the so-called inferno, and paradise is not away from you in a distant place. It is everywhere. Everywhere there is hell, and everywhere there is heaven. They are one and the same thing, which is called hell or heaven from two different angles of vision. When you are completely out of tune with the Ultimate Reality, you are undergoing a hellish experience, and the intensity of torture of the hell is in proportion to the intensity of your separation from Reality. The more you are able to approximate yourself to the conditions and laws of Reality, the more you are moving towards heaven, so that paradise is total attunement with Reality, and hell is total disunion and distortion. Therefore, they are only conditions, not things and objects. Hell and heaven are conditions of consciousness; therefore, they are everywhere, at every time.

Thus, it is possible for us to place ourselves in any condition according to the capacity of our minds or the predilections of our psychological apparatus. Whatever has been taught to you in these few days leads towards this end, to make you into human beings a hundred percent, which means to say, into people who are capable of recognising humanity in others also. A human being usually cannot recognise that someone else is also a human being, on account of deep-rooted selfishness. This incapacity of one person not being able to recognise the same person in another is called exploitation. For instance, an employer cannot have a hundred-percent human feeling towards an employee. He always treats the employee as a kind of tool, an instrument, an exploiting medium, so that the maximum benefit is derived from this tool that is employed. And it is not merely the employee. Anyone who is utilised for a purpose is under a subjection of exploitation.

Well, cooperation is the law of life, no doubt. I can work for you, and you can work for me, but I need not be your employee, and you need not be my employee. Without using these terms, without being under subjection, we can be cooperative forces for the welfare of one another. If I have need of something, you help me. I don't regard you as an employee merely because you serve me. So also is in the case of everyone. Mutual service is the law of life. Coordination, cooperation is the principle of existence, not exploitation, not subjection and not rule under the mandate of rods, threats and fear. That is not the principle of life.

So, when you become truly human, this necessity to feel superior or to exercise authority in an unpleasant manner leaves you, and you begin to appreciate, rather than merely rule. It is difficult to understand how people can live in mutual affection, mutual regard and mutual service, because the moment the idea of a relationship with another arises, there is the instinct of exploitation. We always exploit. Though we may not be employers in a technical sense, this principle of exploitation is always there, which is a subtle technique adopted by the mind to grab circumstances to its own advantage for its individual physical, psychological or egoistic satisfaction. You cannot make use of anything in this world as a tool for your individual benefit. You have duties and, really speaking, you have no rights over things in the world. Generally, today it is thought to be the other way around. The cart is put before the horse. People think of only their rights and not their duties, but we have only duties, and no rights at all.

You will be wondering what kind of life this is where we have only duties and no privileges. You will be surprised that all privileges will be heaped upon you automatically by the laws that control the world if you are successful in the performance of your duty. The anxiety in regard to privileges and rights arises on account of an inadequate performance of your duties. Duty is nothing but the obedience that you owe to the law, which includes a law of society and the law of the world as a whole. When you perform your duty as it is expected of you, you evoke the presence of the protecting power of the law of the world; the protecting power automatically satisfies you, and your privileges are granted to you. You need not demand them; there is no necessity to ask. Things automatically come, just as when the humours of the body are set in tune, you feel a sense of health. You need not ask for health: Health please come, health please come, health please come. Why do you ask for health? You do not say, “It is my privilege, it is my right.” When the balance is established among the forces that constitute the physical body, you automatically feel the satisfaction consequent upon health. Likewise, duty is only a way in which you set yourself in tune with the reality of things. Cosmic health immediately emerges, and you are granted infinite boons by the God of the universe.

Thus, Yoga and Vedanta are to be taken in their true sense, and not merely in the sense of bookish learning or qualifications for a certificate, or any kind of academic degree. It is a way of living, and it is nothing but that. It is not merely a way of living ordinarily in the simple sense of the term, but living a true life. And what is the meaning of true life? It is harmony with the righteousness of God, the law of the universe.

This is my message to you on this auspicious day of holy Vijaydasami when we conclude the holy worship of the Universal Mother. God's grace is upon you, and my only request again is that you may not forget what you have learned here, and do not allow these ideas to leave your mind. They become part and parcel of your life, and you learn to live a godly life.