Chapter 16: Questions and Answers – Part 2
Swamiji: Have you any more questions?
Student: Who will realise God?
Student: What is that ‘yourself'?
Swamiji: ‘Yourself' is that who puts the question. Who put the question? Ramana Maharishi had one stock answer for all questions. He was not like me. I speak so much, but he would not speak. If any question was asked, he would say, “Who is questioning? You find out.” Then that man would keep quiet, and go away. That which says or feels ‘I am existing', that which is convinced that it is existing, that which has no doubt that it is existing, and is conscious that it is existing—that will realise God. This is a subtle answer to your question. Your body will not reach God. Your mind will not reach God. But that within you which says that it is, that which feels ‘I am'—that will reach God. The Existence in you will reach God because God is pure Existence, and the Existence in you can reach the Existence that is everywhere. It is a union of Existence with Existence, Sat with Sat. The Existence in you—or rather, that you are—will reach Existence that is. Existence merges into Existence.
Student: What is the subtle connection between the senses and the presiding deities?
Swamiji: The connection between the sense organ and the presiding deity of the sense organ is like the connection between an electric bulb and the electricity that is passing through it. If the electricity does not pass through the bulb, it will not shine. The bulb has no meaning; it is like a dead corpse. When it is said that the bulb is shining, who is shining, actually? That which is really shining is the deity, but the medium through which it is shining is the sense organ, which is like the bulb outside.
The eyeballs do not see; the seer, or that which sees, is inside the eyeballs and the other sense organs. The intelligence that is seeing or hearing, etc., is the deity, but the instrument through which it is seeing, hearing, etc., is the sense organ.
Student: Through meditation, japa and asanas, we are trying to get back to our true selves. And in trying to get back, aren't we going away from ourselves? Aren't we making ourselves more complicated?
Swamiji: You are not going away from yourself. You are going away from that which is not yourself. All that you see with your eyes is not yourself, but that which sees is the Self. You are seeing something, and that which is seen is not the Self. But who sees that? That consciousness which sees is the Self. Actually, your effort is to move towards the consciousness that sees, and not towards the object that is seen. When you say ‘we', ‘I', and so on, who is that ‘we' and ‘I' that you are referring to? “Are we not complicating ourselves?” you asked. Now, who are these ‘ourselves'? It is not your body, it is not your relations, it is not your sense organs. It is that which is in the state of deep sleep, to give an instance.
You were existing in the state of deep sleep, but in what way were you existing? Were you the son of somebody, or a professional, a man or a woman, a rich man or a poor man? What were you at that time? You were none of these things. These great things that you are evaluating so much in the world have no meaning in that state of sleep, and yet you are more happy there than when you possess the kingdom of the Earth. I have already explained this in an earlier session, that the ‘yourself' which is in the state of deep sleep is pure awareness—awareness of pure Existence. You are existing as Consciousness, or there is Consciousness of Existence.
Again we are coming to the definition of Sat-chit. You existed as Sat-chit. And you were very happy; therefore, it is Ananda. So you existed as Sat-chit-ananda. Inasmuch as these words are difficult to understand, I am not using the Sanskrit words too much. It is pure awareness of Being. And, as we analysed this situation earlier, this awareness of Being cannot be only inside the body, because awareness cannot be located in any particular body or spot. This is because if Consciousness, that awareness, is only in one place, there must be somebody to know that it is not in another place, and that who knows that it is not in another place is itself only. To know that it is not in another place, it has to already be there. That means to say, your consciousness is all-pervading. So only in the state of deep sleep do you have an indication of your real nature of all-pervading pure Existence-Consciousness. To reach that state, you are trying your best to withdraw yourself from all entanglements with which you are connected in waking and dreaming.
Student: Is it true that God realised God?
Swamiji: God realised God. Yes, God is a God-realised person. Correct. Is there a difference between you and the person who knows that he is you? That is the same thing. God Himself knows that He is; and anyone who knows that he is, or she is, or it is, or whatever it is, and knows nothing else, you may say that is God Himself. The whole trouble is, there should not be awareness of anything outside. That is the whole difference between God and man. Man knows that there is something other than himself, whereas God knows that there is nothing outside Him.
Student: What is spiritual life, and how can I have social harmony?
Swamiji: In ordinary language, these yamas and niyamas are nothing but the art of harmonising social life with spiritual life. But in a higher sense, social life is nothing but your consciousness of there being something outside you. That is all. There is nothing else in society than your consciousness that there is something outside you. Do you understand? Now, how would you like to deal with another thing which is outside you? Tell me. You deal with that thing in such a way that it does not harm you and, also, it does not harm itself. Mutual progress is the criterion of social relationship. Neither should it damage you, nor should it damage itself. So, as an answer to your question, you behave in such as way as the Bhagavadgita mentions. You behave in this world in such a way that you do not shrink from anything, nor will anything shrink from you. People are not afraid of you, and you are not afraid of anybody. This is how the Bhagavadgita answers your question, so I am only repeating what Bhagavan Sri Krishna said.
Student: What is the difference between consciousness and awareness, and what is their relationship?
Swamiji: They are two words which mean the same thing. That which knows that it is, and that which knows that something else is—that is the consciousness, and that is also the awareness. It is only a difference in words, like various words in Roget's Thesaurus. They mean the same thing. Something that knows is the consciousness. You may call it awareness.
Student: All the senses have slightly different vibrations: the mind, the intention, the will. They become finer and finer, and then the different virtues come. Could you explain this?
Swamiji: The five sense organs are connected with the five elements. We may say that they are grossly connected with earth, water, fire, air and ether, and that they are subtly connected with smell, taste, vision, touch and hearing, and so the last one is the subtlest. If you do not smell, it will not be as serious a trouble to you as if you cannot taste; but if you cannot see, it is still worse than not being able to taste. If you do not have the sensation of touch, it is still worse than not seeing, and if you cannot hear, it looks as if the world does not exist for you. So is the case with the fine arts. Music is the highest of the fine arts because it is connected with sound. Painting is lesser because it is connected with vision. That which you can touch and enjoy is very gross. If you do not touch it, you cannot feel it—such as velvet. Anything that requires direct physical contact in order to be appreciated is a gross form of satisfaction. Where physical contact is not necessary and yet you are happy, that satisfaction is higher. To enjoy a painting, you need not go on touching it. But music is the highest. And people say that higher than music is literature, because that does not require even a sense organ. It requires only thought. So the answer to your question is that it gradually goes higher and higher.
The highest virtue is that attitude where you consider yourself as the same as others, or you consider others as the same as you. It is not merely loving thy neighbour as thyself, but knowing that the neighbour is thyself. That is the highest virtue. Anything connected with that is also a virtue, we may say.
Student: In the Bhagavadgita, God says He has created the universe, and it is very difficult to reach God. So why not make it easier?
Swamiji: Krishna Bhagavan is a very naughty boy. Rama is straightforward, a very plain person; but Krishna is very naughty. Even when he stands, he doesn't stand straight. He puts one leg over the other. Rama does not do that. And if you go to Brindavan, even the streets are all winding. You don't have a straight street in Brindavan. Krishna's teaching is also such a complicated thing. Rama's statements are very clear. He says this or that, but Krishna says like this, like this, like this, and finally catches you like this: “I created.” Why did he create a troublesome thing? But he has answered your question. This question arises from an Arjuna in you, and not a Krishna. Arjuna's question it is. These questions arise on account of the vision of creation conditioned by the sense organs. You may ask who created the sense organs. It is a very complicated question. Who created the substance out of which an object is made? That will raise a further question: whether creation took place at all.
You see, there is a large granite stone. It is very hard, heavy, and you can touch it. If you look at the granite stone through a very powerful microscope, you will see only molecules. If you bring a microscope which is still more powerful, you will see atoms. If a still more powerful microscope is used, you will not see even the atoms; there will be gyrating energy, like waves of force. The stone has gone. Now you see the stone with your eyes, and not through a microscope. Are you seeing the stone properly, or is the microscope seeing it properly? Who is seeing it properly? Naturally, the microscope is seeing it properly. Your eyes have a blunt perception.
Why does the microscope not see the stone in the same way as you see it? That is to say, the subtler is the vision, the better is the perception. When your vision becomes very subtle, you will not see this world, and you will never put a question why God created the world—because God never created the world, in the same way as atoms have not manufactured the stone. Atoms do not say, “Let us become a stone.” They have not become the stone. If that was the case, the microscope would see the stone.
This answer is not supposed to be given to people who are sure that there is some hard stone, etc. The Yoga Vasishtha warns us that if such statements of a transcendental nature are made, which an ordinary student cannot understand, both the student and the Guru will go to hell. So as I do not want to go to hell, I will not answer questions of that kind. [Laughter]
Student: According to Vedanta, we are all one, whereas according to our practical experiences, we look different.
Swamiji: I told you that when you see things through the sense organs, everything is different. When you see through the soul, it is one. It all depends upon what medium you are using for perception. It depends upon the kind of spectacles that you have. If the spectacles are made differently, you will see different kinds of modulations of objects. If it is plain glass, things appear one way. If it is coloured glass, you will see coloured objects. If the glass is broken, you will see things as also broken. Cataract eyes see two moons. Now, are there really two moons, or is there only one moon? But you are seeing two moons. Therefore, seeing does not mean anything substantial, finally. The mistake is in the vision. So just because you see many things, it does not mean they are really there. I have already answered the question. The stone is not there; only the vision must change, that is all.
Student: What was the first desire that caused the cycle of birth and rebirth?
Swamiji: They say the first desire was a curiosity. The curiosity was, “What would it look like if I assume independence and then become Myself rather than everything?” You try to find out what experience will be there if you become independent instead of becoming one with all people. There was a desire to become independent. It was a wrong concept of independence. This is what the Bible story says is the fall of man. The fall is nothing but the desire to be individual rather than the Universal. Somehow that desire arose. Why it arose, nobody can answer, because once you answer that question, you will not see yourself existing here. You will immediately vanish. A tentative answer is that it is a desire to assume an independence and a locality for oneself which arose in universal Consciousness, and as the ocean looks like many waves and ripples, the One Being looks like many people and all the things in the world.
You are happy to be like that. Even now, you are happy. You would not like to be something else. That shows there is a joy even in being independent, outside the Universal Being. Are you not happy? You do not want to die even though you are in this condition. You want to protect this individual personality. Though you say it is not a good thing, you would like to continue it for eternity.
Though independent existence is philosophically not regarded as worthwhile, it is so valuable that not even an insect would like to die. It wants to perpetuate its existence. Even a crawling creature wants to continue that existence for any number of years. That shows the desire of the consciousness to exist, though it may be existing in hell. It is the desire for individual existence that catches hold of you.
Therefore, let there be the desire to become Universal rather than this kind of desire to be independent as a localised being.
Student: What is the meaning of eternal life?
Swamiji: Eternal life means no birth, no death; always you will be the same thing. It is timeless. There is no process of past, present, future.
Student: What is the purpose of trying to raise the kundalini?
Swamiji: The purpose is the same as the purpose of raising the mind to God.
Student: How can we attain one-pointedness of mind?
Swamiji: One-pointedness of mind is possible if you have desire for one thing only. If you desire two things, the mind will swing between two things, like a pendulum. If there is anything which you like wholeheartedly, and you want only that and nothing else, then the mind will certainly concentrate on it entirely. So find out what it is that you want finally, and on that the mind will concentrate. There is no doubt about it. But if you have got many desires, then the mind will go in all directions.
Student: Is it possible to destroy sanchita karma by sadhana?
Swamiji: By doing sadhana, all karmas will be destroyed. Sadhana is like a fire which can burn even mountains of straw. A matchstick is so small, and the mountain of straw is so big; but even if the straw mountain is so high, one little matchstick is sufficient to reduce it to ashes. Like that is the power of sadhana, meditation. The thought of God is the most powerful energy anywhere, and nothing can stand before it. To light gunpowder, you don't take much time; to light firewood, you take more time; and if you try to burn plantain stem, it takes a lot of time. So it depends upon what kind of person you are: plantain stem, firewood or gunpowder. [Laughter]
Student: Swamiji, if it is the psyche that perceives the psyche in the dream world, then is there a second psyche which perceives the dimension of time and space, subject-object?
Swamiji: They are all also in dream. Whatever is in waking, you will find in dream—but in a psychological sense, not in a physical sense. The difference is only the content. The content is psychological in dream and physical in waking, but the structure is the same. There is no difference.
Student: What is the root cause of sensual pleasures?
Swamiji: The root cause is the separation of yourself from the universal Bliss; and the senses are nothing but certain instruments manufactured by the fallen consciousness so that it may rule in hell, rather than serve in heaven. I am only quoting a poet.
There is nothing wrong with being social with people. Spirituality does not mean behaving in an odd way. Spirituality is nothing but what you are thinking in the mind. I can speak to you, I can serve you, I can do anything like anybody else, but you don't know what I am thinking. My thought is my spirituality. God respects what you feel and think, and not what you do with your fingers. You can do whatever you like.
A spiritual man is not an odd, peculiar person. It is not like that. He is the most sensible and normal of people. As you go higher and higher in spirituality, you cannot even know that the person is spiritual. He will look like anybody else. Only persons who are half-baked put on airs and appear to be spiritual; they wear a mala, and so on. But the more you are advanced, the less will you appear to be spiritual. That is the peculiar contradiction. Only in the beginning stages will you put on airs. So don't put on anything. Be normal. Where your mind is, that is your spirituality.
Student: Swamiji, what is the meaning of the turiya state?
Swamiji: Turiya is a consciousness which is beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping. In waking, of course, there is a distracted perception. In dream, there is also the same kind of trouble. I told you that, in sleep, you are existing as pure Consciousness. That is true. Yet, there is a trouble there. It is covered with a thick cloud of past karmas, and you must also transcend that state.
By inference we come to the conclusion that in sleep there is Consciousness and Existence, but it is not direct experience. Direct experience is nil in deep sleep. You are completely ignorant of all things. That condition of ignorance should also be transcended, and then Existence, Bliss, or Consciousness—which is now merely a conclusion that you draw by inference—will become direct experience. That state of direct experience of Universality is turiya, beyond waking, dream and sleep.
Student: How can we attain it?
Swamiji: By meditation only—deep meditation on that, and thinking nothing else.
God bless you!