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The Vision of Life
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 7: Yogic Vision

The spiritual seeker, the soul that aspires, is protected from all sides. This seeking centre becomes the cynosure of all the eyes of the guardian angels. The world opens its eyes and gazes attentively at a sincere spiritually aspiring soul. Spiritual aspiration is a miracle, a wonder in its own way. It is not a kind of occupation, a work that is of this world. It is an awakening, a rising from sleep into the perception of a new dimension and a different kind of world altogether. The seeker himself would be surprised when the world takes possession of this sincerity that emanates from spiritual seeking.

In the earlier stages it often appears that the spiritual seeker is abandoned socially and is often helpless, appearing to be isolated in a kind of individual religious practice. There is an unavoidable state of affairs through which one has to pass in the earlier stages of spiritual seeking, namely, the feeling of a kind of social aloneness.

We are born into a family. We are not born suddenly, individually, isolatedly in a desert. We have a father and a mother; we have an atmosphere of members who constitute a family. From our very birth we are in human society—we are never alone. The security, the satisfaction, the joy and the traditional clinging to an environment of this kind is so ingrained in the human person that no one can even dream of living a single isolated life, freed from social connections. So when a surge of spiritual awakening begins to activate itself in the soul, mostly people feel like being away from human society. Why such feeling arises is something interesting in its own self. What is wrong with our being in human society and yet being a spiritual seeker? No spiritual aspirant in the history of mystical quest has freed himself or herself from this pressure to be alone to oneself whenever this spiritual longing is felt to be very strong in one's own self.

There is a peculiar juxtaposition of factors which creates this impulse to be alone into oneself, and there is a feeling of irksome unhappiness when one is forced to live in the midst of people, though it is not that people around are always bad and are against the welfare of the seeking aspirant. The activity of the soul is an answer to this great question of the intricate and intriguing aspiration to be alone to oneself. On the one hand there is a feeling of insecurity and fear in being socially alone to one's own self. We feel protected in the midst of people. But here we have an apprehension which is not a happy thing—when we are totally alone to our own selves we do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, though we feel that nothing of an unbecoming nature will happen as we are guarded by the society of which we are members. Yet spiritual seeking goes together with the necessity to be alone to one's own self.

This admixture of factors—on the one hand a desire to be alone and on the other hand the feeling of uneasiness in being alone—this mix-up of feeling arises because of an admixture of the stuff of our personality itself. We are neither soul entirely, nor a physical body entirely. If we are wholly soul, the necessity that the physical body feels in its daily life would be out of point entirely, and if we are wholly physical bodies, there would be no impulsion inside along spiritual lines. We are partly physical bodies and partly not physical bodies. The physical aspect of our existence compels us to be in the midst of physically related society. The fear of annihilation and pain takes possession of the physical body, physical existence and all physical values; but the other aspect of us which is not physical, therefore not social, wishes to be alone to itself, because the spirit is always alone.

The spirit cannot be a social unit. It has no society. It is not a member of a family. The nature of the spirit inside us is super-social, eternity being its essential nature, and therefore it craves to assert its aloneness and non-externalised independence, which is the reason why there is a pressure from inside to be alone to oneself when there is an urgent call of the higher life. But the other aspect of the matter also has to be taken into consideration as long as the spirit feels that it is with difficulty that it can free itself from involvement in the physical body and the physical relations of human society. Thus there is a combination of inwardness and outwardness; a kind of contradiction takes possession of a spiritual seeker— neither can one be alone nor can one be in the midst of people.

The earlier stages of spiritual practice are in a way the most difficult stages, because of it being not so easy to lay proper proportionate emphasis on these two aspects, these two sides of our personality—the spiritual on the one hand, and the physical and the social on the other. Hence the advice of adepts in this line is for a graduated extrication of involvement in human relations and physical needs by a systematised diminishing of the percentage of involvement and an increase of the percentage of association with the call of the spirit in itself.

In the Yoga Vashishtha, the teacher mentions that in the earliest of stages of spiritual practice only one-sixteenth of the mind can be devoted to God. Fifteen-sixteenths has to go to the world, because the involvement of everyone in the world is so deep that any attempt at an isolation of oneself from the world entirely, at the very beginning itself, would be something like trying to peel the skin of one's own body—a total impossibility. The mind is involved in the body to such an extent that in will not permit any kind of attention that is compelled upon it in the direction of anything that is entirely cut off from its desires, which are manifest through the body and social relations. One-sixteenth of the mind, one-sixteenth of our time alone can be permitted to be given to the pursuit of God. Inasmuch as a large percentage of our life goes to social satisfaction, physical fulfilment of desires and all sorts of empirical longings, the mind will not mind much our occupation in the so-called other-worldly, godly occupation. The control of the mind is often compared to the control of a wild beast. No one can go near the beast, because it is violent in its nature. It asserts its own point of view to such point of vehemence that no one can afford to go near it. The mind has its say in everything, and everything has to be done according to its inclinations, predilections and instincts. Any requisition from the mental nature cannot be opposed by logic, social restrictions or religious forms. Therefore great caution is exercised in the restraining of the mind from outer involvements, as a ringmaster in a circus who tries to control wild animals takes care to see that he protects himself from any kind of onslaught from the beasts and at the same time tries to succeed in his endeavour to restrain them, control them and gain mastery over them.

We cannot dub the world as entirely bad while we desire it from our deepest recesses. It would be a hypocrisy of attitude to feel one thing and proclaim something else. The taste that the senses feel in respect of things in the world and the delicate nature of our performances through social relations are so very inviting, attractive and comforting that to make a theoretical proclamation of the illusoriness of the world, or the non-utilitarian character of involvement in the world, would be an entirely futile attempt on our part. It is impossible to escape the notice of the world to the extent that we are involved in the world and the world is entirely present in our own selves in a miniature form as a microcosm in the shape of this body. We are carrying the world with us wherever we go, though we feel that we have renounced the world. The world cannot be renounced by anyone who carries the body with him, because the world is not outside. This body is called the world; it is hanging so heavy on our minds and our consciousness, and it has become so intensely part and parcel of what we ourselves are, that we are ourselves the world.

Who can renounce the world, as the world is ourself? The freedom that one can establish in relation to the involvement of oneself in the body, which is regarded as one's own self, is also the extent to which one can be free from the world outside. Wherever we go we are in the world. We are not away from the world merely because we are seated on the peak of a mountain or geographically we are distant from some particular location. No one can escape involvement in the world, because all spiritual seeking arises from an individual nature originally, which is nothing but an involvement in the physical body. The needs of the body are something like the calls of a devil. It is true that we are not going to appease the devil, because neither can it be appeased nor it would be wise to pamper the clamours of a demon. But there is a way of freeing oneself from the demon, inasmuch as we can place ourselves in some intelligent context with the devil, not by denying what it asks, and not by entirely acceding to its requirements. We give it what it wants, though it is not our intention to go on giving it what it wants always, forever.

From moment to moment the mind finds itself in a necessity to fulfil its potential desires. It asks for its diet every day, and this diet has to be placed before it. Give it what it wants, though we know very well that we have no such idea of continuously giving it what it wants for eternity. As a statesman works wisely in the administration of a country with a consciousness of the past and also an anticipation of the future while he acts in the present, there is a kind of spiritual statesmanship, an adroitness in behaviour on the part of a spiritual seeker. The seeker does not rush headlong, like a fool, into a region which angels fear to tread. He carefully places his steps not to destroy himself in this movement, but to be firm in the steps that are taken, and yet protected even while moving forward.

A very wise suggestion that has come from Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj that we should keep a spiritual diary, together with a daily routine. This is a system of personal check-up that we maintain for assessing the progress that we are making and the amount of control that we have been able to exercise over the calls of the inner nature. Though all the calls of the inner nature have to be attended to properly—the eyes have to see, the ears have to hear, the tongue has to taste and all the senses have to be given what they need—this has to be done only in that percentage and quantum which is essential at the given moment. Excessive pampering is to be avoided. For instance, we are hungry and we are thirsty; we need food every day. We also want drink for the quenching of our thirst, but it does not mean that we should go on eating throughout the day, occupying ourselves only with this work as if there is nothing else for us to do.

The satisfaction of hunger by the giving of a diet to this impulse we call hunger is very necessary indeed, but only in that percentage in which it is required. That is to say, for instance, we have to eat only when we are hungry and we need not eat when we are not hungry. But most of us eat even when we are not hungry. For instance, just at this moment we are not hungry; we have had our breakfast. But if some very delicious prasad is distributed just now, everyone will take it and put it in the mouth. There is no necessity to take it, but the inclination to eat in excess of an otherwise reasonable requirement precipitates into a habit of total involvement in a kind of appeasement of the senses. The senses take possession of us rather than our taking possession of the sense organs.

Social relations are very necessary. We cannot be brooding individually somewhere in a corner and crying that we have lost everything, the world is not helping us, the world does not want us, we have abandoned our homes, we have no friends, we have no wealth, we have no house, and God is not coming—the One whom we have been aspiring for, for whose sake we have left everything. This is not the way of living a spiritual life. Hasty steps should never be taken even when we are engaged in doing something virtuous and most desirable, even spiritually. Though God protects everyone and He is at the beck and call, as it were, of every devotee, there is a way in which God acts.

Our concept, our idea or notion of God will not always be adequate to the purpose. We may affirm that God is here just now and ready to protect us, give us what we need; but we have a peculiar sentiment, a traditional pressure of the feeling that creates a distance between ourselves and God. Even if there is only one inch distance between ourselves and that source from whom we expect protection, there will be no connection. We know very well that even if there is only a millimeter distance between the lightbulb and the electric socket there will be no light, though it is very near indeed to the point of contact. In a similar way, the psychological distance that we inadvertently create in our own selves between ourselves and God, whom we expect to protect us and save us every day, perhaps prevents God from rightly acting and taking steps in the direction of the fulfilment of our aspirations.

Why do we create this distance? It is the pressure that the world exercises upon us, the world that is involved in the space and time process. Because of the pressure of space, which is the very essence of the manifestation of the world, we cannot help feeling that there is some gap between us and the world. We cannot feel that God is sitting on our lap or is clutching our nose—He is not so near, there is a little bit of distance. This is caused by the element of space that is working as this world. Because of the pressure of time, we feel that God will come a little afterwards—a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few months or years afterwards. God will come. He has not come but He is going to come. This futurity of attainment and expectation of God's grace is the subtle activity of the time process which keeps us in anxiety in respect of what has not taken place in the form of a future, and the space that creates the difference. There is therefore an intellectual honesty which affirms that we shall receive all abundance and grace from God Almighty, but a subtle dishonesty from the other side which is the instinct acting from our lower nature, telling us that this is not going to be a simple affair.

Again, to repeat what I mentioned previously, we initially require guidance for the spiritual seeker. To tread the path by oneself independently, to attempt this impossible task, would be to walk on the razor's edge, which will cut either way and will not even be visible to the eyes as to the manner of its working. The weaknesses of the flesh, the involvements of the body and the desires of the mind are to be taken as they are. Call a spade a spade, as they say—we should not imagine ourselves to be more than what we really are. Mostly, in enthusiasm, we may consider ourselves to be superior to what we actually are. This self-approbation, an over estimation of ourselves, is the work of the ego which does not wish to be cowed down by any kind of advice or instruction from outside; it feels it knows everything for itself and it is not inferior to anybody else. The ego will not take everything that even the spiritual guide gives. It will sift the arguments and the instructions of the Guru and apply reason, so that its own point of view conditions even the more mature advice or instruction coming from a spiritually experienced state which is the Guru or the master. We have umpteen cases of fall in spiritual practice, leading not only to the breakdown of physical health but also to mental aberrations later on.

Most sincere spiritual seekers become nervous in their personality, quick in irascible behaviour, sudden in counteracting whatever is placed before them, and manifest an incapacity to accommodate themselves or even to be charitable in their feelings, in their words and in their outer behaviour with people. A self-assertive nature of a vehement type takes possession of spiritual seekers; they often become more egoistic and self-adumbrating in comparison with others who are not so spiritual. This is the reaction that is set up by the inner operations of the psyche, especially the ego, which objects to any step that we take in the direction of its own control. The nearer we go the to the wild beast, the more violent it appears to be in respect of us. If we are away from it, it appears to be calm and quiet, lying still, and it does not appear to be what it really is. The approach that we make to it rouses it into a fit of its essential nature. So is the ego, so is the instinct, so are the sense organs, so are the desires which are subhuman, animalistic and purely biological.

The presence of these instincts cannot be condemned outright as something totally undesirable, inasmuch as we have been born into a biological instinct and we are biological bodies only. Therefore the needs of this atmosphere, which are physical, social and biological, have to be taken care of in a proper percentage, but with a wise intention, namely, the need to gradually free oneself from these pressures. How? By proportionate feeling, and not going to excess in the act of indulgence. Neither indulgence nor austerity has to be of an extreme type—we should be balanced. Here is a caution exercised, namely, that yoga does not come to a person who is extreme in behaviour, excessive in performance either on the positive side or on the negative side. Yoga will not come to that person who does not eat at all. But yoga does not come to a person who indulges in eating too much, day in and day out, and goes on gorging himself with delicacies. Yoga also does not come to a person who sits idly and does nothing, or to a person terribly active and distractedly moving about here and there, with one business or the other, so busy that there is no time to sit.

Our relationship with God is a state of balance that we establish between the consciousness within and the consciousness that is operating everywhere. It is a system of harmony that is introduced in the relationship between the inner soul and the cosmic soul. Because the universal soul is present in the various degrees of manifestation in the creative forces of this world, this balance, which is also yoga, has to be struck by degrees, from the point of the lowest type of involvement gradually to the higher kinds of involvement, which are internal and natural. A great scientific attitude is sometimes called for in our spiritual quest. We have to be mathematically precise in keeping a watch over every thought that arises in the mind every day. We have to observe every impulse that arises from us from morning to evening, and even study our dreams, what they could be indicating. We have to be a watchdog of our own selves.

This spiritual diary or the daily routine as advised by Sri Gurudev, to which I made reference, is a kind of a diary, a ready-reckoner, as it were, by means of which we can keep watch on our own selves. We are distracted, disturbed and irritated. We feel a sense of resentment many a time, caused by factors over which we do not generally bestow much thought. The intense resentment and the repulsion that we feel in respect of outer conditions originates from a psychological circumstance that arises from within our own selves, which we have to study. The cause of our behaviour has to be the subject of our self-investigation. If we have behaved in a particular way today, what was the reason for the manifestation of that behaviour. It is not anyone's fault, of course. Neither can we say we were entirely at fault, because outer conditions evoked that behaviour, nor can we say that the outer atmosphere is entirely responsible for it, because there has been a susceptibility on our own side to manifest that behaviour. The vulnerability of a person and the pressure of outer circumstances clash with each other and create this behaviour. Therefore a study of one's behaviour is also not going to be an easy affair. We do not know who is to be found fault with, whether with ourself or with somebody else. It is neither ourself nor somebody, but a peculiar situation which insinuates itself into our life. That peculiar thing, which is neither us nor somebody, is very difficult indeed to study; a very impersonal approach is required in the study of these circumstances.

We stand above ourselves and even the outer conditions—we become umpires of two parties. The two parties consist of ourselves and of others, the world and the individual, and an observation of what is taking place in the manifestation of a particular behaviour, desire or impulse. This observation is not possible either from one's own subjective point of view or entirely from the point of view of others in the world. We have to take a stand which is neither ourself nor others; we have to be a judge of the very case that we present before the observing entity, which is neither me as an individual nor the world as an outside element. It is the sakshi-chaitanya that is working as the witness-consciousness, which is at the back of our individual consciousness. Sometimes we call it the conscience that is operating in one way. Individually we are jivas, but there is a super-individual witnessing power in our owns selves called sakshi that will help us in knowing what is actually the reason behind a particular occurrence in which we are involved, and also the counter co-relate of ours, namely the world, is also involved.

This kind of self-investigation is to be carried on every day by one's own self in the presence and under the guidance of a spiritual expert. We may also have mutual discussions among ourselves if we are in a fraternity of common aspiration. We are in the midst of several people in an organisation, in an ashram, in a family, in a house, in an office—wherever. There may be one or two persons who think like us, from whom we can find guidance from the concourse that we establish with them in an atmosphere of friendly dialogue, in addition to the help that we can get from intense study.

The scriptures tell us that one-fourth of our knowledge comes from the study that we make, one-fourth of knowledge come from the teacher, one-fourth comes by the passage of time, and one-fourth comes by one's own effort. All these factors go together, and we need not over emphasise any particular aspect here. But to repeat, it is necessary for us to keep a watch on our own selves by maintaining a diary and observing our thoughts from morning to evening, especially thoughts that occur early in the morning when we wake up and thoughts which occupy our minds when we go to bed—the first thought and the last thought, apart from the various thoughts which come to us by our contact with outer society.

Spiritual seeking is an entire dedication. It is a whole-souled surrender to a pursuit, and when this pursuit is taken seriously it engulfs within itself every other pursuit, whether it is economic, official, personal, or whatever be its nature. That which we expect from spiritual seeking is inclusive of all our expectations through other channels of activity. It is a sea, as it were, before us in our contemplations of the objective of spiritual life, a sea into which every river of desire and extraneous expectation gets involved. But the sensory perception of a multitude of objects in the world often prevents us from taking to this recourse of convincing ourselves that the objective of our spiritual meditations is going to be so large in its inclusiveness that we can find everything there. We may even doubt if our attainment of God is not going to be in some way a loss of certain values in this world. We are going to be bereaved of friendly relations, the joys of life and the many accumulations that we considered very endearing to ourselves—such is the intensity of the weight of the world that we feel is sitting on our head perpetually. Such doubts can persistently enter us and shake our faith in the very object with which we have taken recourse to spirituality.

We have to be in an atmosphere of friendly, cooperative spirits for sometime in the early stages; and we are all in the early stages. No one can be considered as advanced in spiritual sadhana. Such a high-handed feeling should not enter our minds. In the earlier stages we should be in the presence of some friendly, guiding spirits. We require some sort of social security, otherwise the mind will immediately revolt. We may become totally out of gear and lose control of our feelings. The limitation on our social relations may be confined to only a set of people with whom we are concerned, as we are not concerned with all and sundry in the world. Our activities should also be limited to our immediate requirements and urgent necessities, not beyond that. Those conditions which have to be fulfilled for the bare existence of oneself in the world in a healthy manner have to be accommodated into one's daily life. Those things which are called luxuries—the non-essentials—may be carefully avoided.

A mutual cooperative decision of a spiritual nature taken among friends of the spirit will also be an assistance here in this practice. Though it is true that we have ultimately to be alone to ourselves in our daily meditations and place our aloneness face to face with an aloneness that God Almighty is, we may move slowly in this direction by taking cautious steps through a little fraternal society in which we may live, though we need not be attached to the society. We may eat, yet we need not be attached to food. We may put on clothing as a necessity, but need not be attached to our dress. We may live in a little room, but need not think that the room is ours. The facilities and amenities provided for healthy living in the world need not necessarily mean that we should simultaneously have a sense of possession for those amenities. This is a detached attitude that we can maintain even when all the comforts are available to us.

In this ashram, for instance, the spiritual seeker has every comfort. Comforts beyond expectation have been provided by the great tapasya of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. There is nothing that this ashram lacks. There is every kind of security, every kind of protection, and needs of every kind are attended to. There are avenues for the fulfilment of our longings in a healthy manner, whatever they may be. But it does not mean that we possess anything in this ashram—we have no ownership here. We are blessed by these amenities provided to us—a temple for worship, a library for study, a kitchen for our food, a room for our stay and social security which we cannot easily find elsewhere. Everything is here, and we should be happy and grateful to God Almighty and Sri Gurudev that we are in an atmosphere of this kind, which is so very ideal in every way—and yet nothing here belongs to us.

Having everything and yet not feeling that one has anything at all is also a spiritual requirement. To be alone to oneself and yet feel that one has everything within oneself is a symbol of spirituality. We have nothing with us and yet we know that we can have everything, if we want. The aloneness of the spirit is also, at once, a universality of protection from all corners of creation. The aloneness of God Almighty is not an isolated social aloneness. In that direction it is that we are moving from the lower degrees of aloneness to the higher ones, which include all the other things that originally appeared to be outside the spirit of being alone to oneself.

The practical technique that we may adopt in our daily life when we practise yoga should be a scientific discipline, precisely conceived, namely, that all eventualities that we may have to face in our spiritual life are clearly before our minds. We are aware of all the future potentialities, the future expectations, the troubles through which we may have to pass, the pitfalls that we may have to encounter, and the difficulties of spiritual seeking in general. The practise of yoga is, for all outer observation, an individual affair. We know that somebody else cannot do it for us. It is not a social congregation that is called yoga practice. It is entirely our business, yet it is not wholly our business. While we appear to be alone to ourselves, we are not somebody else; we are seekers by our own right. Yet we are related to others in many a way, firstly by social relation, secondly by the involvement of the entire nature in our physical body, and thirdly by the entry of the whole cosmos itself in a miniature form in our own individual personality. So the individual is engaged in spiritual practice no doubt, from one angle of vision, from a particular point of view; but this practice is also universal in its gamut and catch, finally.

It begins with an individual session of meditation, but it gradually expands itself into a region which rises beyond and above the location of the individual personality. We are more than ourselves every moment, though we are only ourselves always. This is a peculiar self-contradictory position that we occupy in this world. We are no one other than what we are, and yet we are connected to everyone, in some way or other, in every respect. We are all humanity even in our individual nature, all nature in our personality, and all creation in our individual make-up. From one point of view there is a social association in yoga practice or in any kind of work altogether. It is also an individual affair, from one point of view, and it is also a cosmic occupation of the mind. The realisation of the highest spiritual reality, which we are aspiring for, is a universal attainment. It is not one person's occupation on an individual track that is isolated from the beaten track of others. We begin from different points, but reach the same level after some point.

In the stages of yoga practice, up to the level or the point of concentration of dharna and dhyana, we appear to be different, but when we touch the point of real absorption bordering upon the finale of dhyana that is called samadhi, we will find that all pilgrims have landed in a particular point, the peak of attainment—all types of yoga converge at this point. The individualities of the various pilgrims melt into a flow of inclusiveness where all those who have been journeying on this spiritual pilgrimage become a single individual.

So there is a natural aspect, a physical aspect, a social aspect and an individual aspect in our daily life and in our spiritual practice, but there is also a super-social, super-individual and cosmic aspect simultaneously in us. From our individual personality we rise gradually to the universal that is operating through us even now. This spiritual occupation, which is the sadhana that we practise, should be a daily affair in the same way as our breakfast and dinner is a daily affair for us. We would not like to miss it even for a single day, and we feel unhappy if it is not there on some day. Continuity is maintained by way of a vibration that is set up by our practise. When it is done every day, a cyclic operation takes place in the daily sessions of meditation; the cycle gets broken if one day we do not do it. Sometimes in the administration of a medicine for curing an illness, a specific dose is prescribed to be taken at particular intervals, and if the intervals are broken, the chain of action of the medicine breaks and it will not produce the desired result. In a similar manner is this cyclic action that takes place in the continuity of practise in which we have to be engaged every day—it has to become our daily bread.

These are certain considerations that serve to adequately clear before our minds the principles of spiritual life, a vision that lifts itself above itself every moment in a longing that is never satisfied at any moment, in an asking that is more and more, every day, a never-satisfied asking. This unending, timeless desire that we seem to be confronting in our daily life is to be our inner guide, by which we shall guard ourselves from being wholly satisfied with anything that is given to us in this world, even in abundant measures. All the joys of life, even if they come together as a flood from all directions, should not extinguish this endless asking in our own selves. Even after having acquired all the power, authority and joy of an emperor in this world, still there is an asking for more.

We may daily contemplate the very interesting and thrilling calculation of the possible joys given to us in the Taittriya Upanishad, namely that the highest possible joy that a human being can expect in this world is not even a drop of spiritual bliss. We all know well how this computation is aesthetically presented before us in this very thrilling narration. Can we conceive of a ruler of the whole earth, an emperor of this world, very healthy, very learned, a great scholar, very wise, very discrete, very considerate and very amiable? Can such an emperor of the whole world be imagined as having control, being a master of the treasures of life, living long with all things that we consider good, virtuous, righteous and magnificent? Can we imagine such a person, though such a person never was born, and we do not expect such a king to be on earth at any time in the future also? But if such a king, an emperor of the earth, can be imagined at least in the mind, what would be the joy of that king? Unthinkable, immeasurable, surpassing understanding would be the bliss of that great emperor. We cannot even dream what that bliss could be. A hundred times more than the conceived happiness of an imagined emperor of this whole world is supposed to be the joy of the astral beings—pitris and gandharvas. A hundred times the happiness of gandharvas is the happiness of the gods in heaven, the angels in swarga-loka. A hundred times more than the happiness of these angels and gods in heaven is the happiness of the ruler of the gods, Indra. A hundred times more is the happiness of the preceptor of the gods, Prajapati, because of his wisdom which surpasses even the power and knowledge of Indra. Infinitely greater is the joy of Virat. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times multiplied over and above the joy of this great master of wisdom and power, Prajapati, is that incalculable bliss of Virat. A hundred times more is Hiranaygarbha, Ishvara—and what could be that Supreme Absolute!

What are the little joys of this world? We are also happy. Are we not tickled by the little satisfactions of life? If we can be pleased even with a little modicum of the worst of things in the world, what about this great emperor that we have been thinking of in our minds, and the great ones that are above; and where is this God Almighty, Virat, Hiranyagarbha, Ishvara, Brahman? Knowing that such majesty exists above us, we should be detached from attachments. Vairagya should be the watch and ward of our daily life. The high watermark of our expectations should be a total detachment, not because we have a hatred for anything, but because our expectations, our desires, our longings, our aspirations transcend and must transcend all these lowers which are included in the higher.

Strangely enough all these levels, all these stages of bliss mentioned are in our own selves even now. They are not far away physically, millions of light years above us. They are ingrained, potentially, latently, in our own little personality, here, just now, this microcosm, this pindanda which contains the entire brahmanda within itself. All the lokas, the fourteen worlds mentioned, are capable of perception in the little cells of this body. The gods in heaven—Prajapati, the preceptor of the gods, Virat, Hiranyagarbha, Ishvara—are actively working here in this very fibre of our personality just now, so that we can manifest this potentiality. We hear that Hanuman could manifest immense strength—right from a little minute creature, he could become mountain-like. This means to say that there are possibilities in us which can be struck into the action, unleashed into force by ignition, detonation of whatever we are in ourselves. These great things spoken of in yoga—these majestic things, these wondrous divinities, God Almighty Himself—are inside us, not inside as content in a vessel, but as part and parcel of our very muscles, nerves, cells and our very bones itself. Such is the glory of whatever we ourselves are.

With this joyous beginning, we continue a joyous day of spiritual practise with the hope that we end with that limitless joy. Spiritual sadhana is supposed to be a movement from one state of joy to another state of joy. From bliss the world has come, in bliss it is located, by bliss it is sustained, and to bliss it shall return one day. Joy is the beginning of this creation, joy is what sustains this world, and joy is also the culmination and the final longing of this world. So live a life of inner quest of the highest spirit with a beginning which is joy, a procedure which is also joy, a progress that is joy, which shall consummate in a joy which is the aim of yoga, of spiritual vision, of religious practice—of our very life itself, this existence in toto.