Question: Is it possible to find the Self in the daily life? Answer: Yes, it is all itself – ever found. It is ever found, because it is by its power that the mind thinks, that our hands move, that our tongue tastes, so it is ever found. But we do not know that we have found it.
What we are concerned with today is that the essence of the universe is the essence of a bubble of water, or the brain of a fish; it is the essence of the brain of Plato and Newton; it is also your essence, your essence, your essence. So the first thought is, that there is one essence; and the second thought is, to know the nature of it. You will say: “What is the use of it?” The use of it is that you become limitlessly blissful, all your wants are satisfied, all your doubts are gone, and even if the whole solar system crumbles to dust before your eyes, there will be not a single furrow on your countenance.
One thing more. From morning until evening man tries to acquire power, to be happy. These are the words of the Upanishads: “Man will not be happy, without knowing the nature of his Self, until he is able to use as a blanket the whole of space and wrap it round him” – which of course he will never be able to do. The science by means of which this essence is known is called Yoga. Hegel called it religion, some call it mysticism, and Christ called it the Kingdom of Heaven. If any of you study science or physics you will find that this gospel is proclaimed by every leaf, by every blade of grass. It is not only revealed metaphysics, but it is also natural metaphysics. Yoga is over and above all practical.
Now I take it that this essence is worth knowing. “Know thyself” means, recognize this principle – as a hypothesis if you like – or with faith take it as the grandest principle, and then try to realize it in your own experience. The use of theoretical knowledge is that it should prompt you to practise it. Knowledge which does not change your life is no knowledge at all. The only test of knowledge is, in what direction, to what extent does it change my daily life? This knowledge will change your daily life radically, and you will become pillars of immortal light.
This knowledge is called in Sanskrit, knowledge of Brahman. I do not know any word in English which can be substituted for this universal Self, and therefore please remember the word ‘Brahman’. It means this universal Self. Where is it? In you. Now when I say ‘in you’, there are many erroneous systems which say that it is located somewhere in this physical body. They say, in the heart: raise your consciousness slowly from centre to centre, from position to position, until it is located there; that is to say, there are some teachers not only now, but in olden times also, who place the locum of this universal essence, omnipotent and omniscient, in some part of our anatomical structure. Well, my friends, I will ask you to dismiss it at once. When we say that Brahman, or the universal essence, is in you, we mean that it is located palpably, not potentially but palpably in your intellect. Therefore in order to know your Self, you will have to know it in the intellect (buddhi). When you have discovered it in your intellect, then you will see it in the whole universe and in all the details of the universe. But it must first be seen by you in your intellect. It is no use going to Jerusalem and thinking that some miracle will take place to reveal God to you. No, in your intellect. By living a yogic life, by serving God, by meditation and devotion, you can see it, and there is no other way to see it. Not by saying: “Well, I have heard of the solar initiation”!
Let us be reasonable, let us be reflective, and let us be experimental. The Yoga is as much subject to experiment as any scientific formula, which you can check. The testing tube is the buddhi (the higher intellect), the contents of the tube are the consciousness, and the laboratory is the yogic practices, and you can test it whenever you like; and if you are serious, it does not take long to enjoy that freedom and bliss which is your nature. We sometimes take long because our quest is not whole-hearted. You cannot take Yoga as a fad; no, you have to take it as a life principle.
Now I say a little more about the analysis of the intellect in which the Self abides for ever, and of which man is not aware. Please listen carefully. This universal principle, or Brahman, abides in the intellect of each and every man, and it is that part of the human personality which is entirely free from attraction and repulsion, and is a witness, and entirely free from all duality. There is something in the human intellect or personality which is not subject to attraction and repulsion, in other words, love and hate and so forth.
The first thing is to make our personality of such a kind that it is not attracted to the rose or the moon, to power, to comfort, to pleasure, or to the red stuff in the bottle! Why? Because it knows that the soul, the essence of all comfort, all bliss, all power, abides in the intellect – in me, in me, in me! Was Christ at all repulsed by the abuses of his opponents, the stones hurled by his adversaries, the lashes? Not a bit. Try to live in such a way: be above all attraction and repulsion. It does not mean that the smiling innocence of children should not please you; it does not mean that in the Spring you cannot go to see your own glory in the roses; it does not mean that a beautiful sunset may not produce a charming effect on you. Not to be attracted, means not with a desire to possess, or a desire to be possessed. Such was the love of the saints of God, and this is what the Saviour came to teach. How often people think that to love means to possess. No, no! If there is the least desire to possess the object of love, it is not the object of love but it is arsenic. Beware of it. What happened to Romeo who tried to possess Juliet? Therefore attraction and repulsion must not be taken in the vulgar sense, but in the philosophic sense. See the sunset and adore Him who is shining through the sunset. The same thing also about repulsion – let there be no repulsion at all. A Persian poet says: “In this garden of the world, I walked with my skirt not entangled in the thorns and my eyes not charmed by the roses.” If kings and emperors adopted this policy, do you think there could be war?
If this principle is not adopted, then our prayers are redundant, our rosaries are useless, our fasts and our Holy Communions are meaningless. To recognize that element in the human personality which is not subject to attraction and repulsion. An important word for it is, the Witness, the Witness. It sees when you are hungry, when you are angry; it witnesses all the moods that pass in you. It is the witness. Through deep meditation, try to find out what it is in you that witnesses all. What is it? You have a pain. There is something in you which sees it and knows: ‘there is pain’. What is That? It is called the Witness, sakshi. That Witness abides in your intellect, and that Witness you have to discover. How can you discover this Witness? By always thinking: “I am the Witness, I am the Witness. ” You have to de-hypnotize your mind which has been adversely hypnotized. Therefore, three things I have tried to make clear to you:
(1) the universal essence is in you and it is one;
(2) it is located in your intellect and is free from desire and aversion, attraction and repulsion;
(3) it is the Witness, and, more than anything else, it and nothing else but it can be called the very Self of you.
Then, to know the Self, what is the meaning now?
“I am the eternal, all-pervading Witness.”