A Friend in Need

(The word buddhi, which is used in this piece, is the spiritually discerning aspect of the mind. The training of buddhi is one of the major purposes of yoga practice. In yoga it has the general sense of being awake in a directed manner and, when purified, is the repository of the higher powers of spiritual inspiration. It can also be a force for ill when turned to darkness. Editor)

The Dilemma

What is the difference between action on the individual and on the cosmic plane?

Suppose an obsessive gambler once more approaches a better-off friend `for a small loan’, perhaps of Forty Pounds and perhaps of Four Hundred.  He promises it will not be spent on betting, a promise he has made, and broken, many times before.  The friend knows what will happen, but often he cannot refuse the bedraggled figure.

Now if he has done some meditation, the awakening buddhi will tell him:

`No.  To give confirms his habits of betting, drinking, and breaking his promises.’  This hint, in the unfamiliar language so to speak, may be difficult to translate.

`I see that and I have tried that occasionally; but when I refuse him, feel terrible afterwards.  He knows this, and turns up every week and sooner or later I give in and let him have the forty or even four hundred he asks for.  Then I feel good for just a moment, and afterwards feel terrible again.  What can I do?  I give or I don’t give, but either way I feel terrible.’

The Flash – Hard To Understand

Buddhi says something, but it is somehow difficult to grasp:

`Give and don’t give’.

What can it mean?  Then, something about a box or a bag.  He ponders and ponders it for some time.  Then there is a partial inspiration.

He opens a little savings account, and the next time his friend asks for a loan, he refuses it, but afterwards quietly transfers the exact amount into the savings account.  He feels much easier about his refusal now.  The same thing happens again and again; the friend tries to wear him down by persistence, and departs disappointed, but meanwhile the savings account is piling up.

The Action

One day, buddhi seems to be saying:  `Now’.  When the friend shows up, he takes him in, and tells him what has happened.  `There is now a bit of capital, and we can set you up in a small business, arranging that you don’t get tempted by access to the cash or credit.   Will you try this for a year?  Then at the end of the year, you can compare how you feel now with how you will feel then, and make up your mind.’

If this offer is accepted and turns out well, or if it is turned down, or if it is accepted and the business fails, he finds that he is not disturbed at all.  His action has been inspired by the cosmic purpose, and he feels a deep inner calm which is not ruffled by any outer turn of events.

Later on, he will no longer have to translate from vaguely understood hints given by buddhi; there will be instant inspiration, without going through any medium.  This corresponds to the stage where a student now thinks in what was a foreign language, but is now his own.

© Trevor Leggett

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