Bhava is the prevailing mode. We should see what is the prevailing mode of our mind. Take the prevailing mode of a fanatic; he will not listen to anything, only to destroy truth, destroy family, religion, church, poetry. Why? Because it is his bhava, and the vasanas are the resultant of the desires. Desires are either fulfilled or not fulfilled. If they are not fulfilled, they go deeper into the karana sharira, which may be called the Unconscious of the psychologists. And from there, as they are not dead, they begin to sprout forth like snakes imprisoned in a jar, and lift up their heads when they want food. And this sprouting forth of the desires demanding efforts to satisfy them, and the complexes they create, is called vasana.
Man can always change his mind and modify his mind. This is the holy truth. Vrittis take their own course but the vrittis can be changed. They can be changed by our efforts or they go on changing themselves. It is not easy to love anybody, I have always said; and I have made experiments in the practice of love. In order to continue to love, you have to change the vrittis of your mind occasionally and continually from the diversions which are likely to tell on the strength of your love. People are not conscious. When I decided to love Swami Rama Tirtha, I always tried by every possible means to keep my psychosis in a suitable frame to cover him with love. If I do not try, sometimes in his writings, sometimes by hearsay account, I may come to hear something adverse to him and then it will tell on my love. If you want to love what is truth and right, if you want a love which is to be a source of upliftment, you will have to support your love by creating the bhava or mode in which that love flourishes. They are children, not grown-ups, who go to a Guru and after six months they say: “I have heard that twenty years ago his ways of life were very questionable. I am sorry I have given my allegiance to such a one.” Such reasoning is most detrimental. A piece of stone can teach you the highest truth. A piece of wood will speak to you in terms of the highest truth, though not audibly, what to say of a human being, provided your devotion is unwavering, your love waveless, your service continuous. In this way shravana and manana and nididhyasana are to be undertaken.
Two things are necessary to preserve bhava:
(1) To give up the society of those people, however attractive or entertaining or profitable, whose associations disturb your faith, your meditation, and your convictions spiritually. In one of his verses the ever-compassionate Shri Tulsi says (I heard Shri Rama Tirtha often singing it with great joy): “Burned be that society where they do not talk of truth, the eternal truth, the truth of God, Rama. If there is no harvest but you erect a strong barricade round the field, what is the use of that barricade?” This is one rule.
(2) Not to enter into argument with anybody to defend the holy truth until you are sure that he understands the philosophy of Shri Shankara. And I tell you that it is not easy to understand cent per cent his philosophy. There are some who have studied fifty years and they miss the real point. Who will understand? Surely not the Guruless, surely not the one who is not prepared to make sacrifices for his sake.
Nowhere is a line of thought. I offer some reflections on a most important subject. Is the holy philosophy anti-intellectual? If it is not established by intellect, what is the use of intellect, of reason? The chief prerogative of man which distinguishes him is that man is rational. And we come here and what do you say? “Verily this Atman is not achieved either by much hearing or much talking or by exercise of the intellect.” (“Katha Upanishad” 1.2.23.) You will often hear this objection. Today we offer some salient reflections on this so that it may be clear once for all.
The element by which the subtle truth of Vedanta will be grasped is the mystic element and not the intellectual element. That is one thing. The aim is to get over reason and its claims, and to open the way to direct insight. Up to mind is the region of limitations and darkness. Beyond mind is the region of Witnesshood, the Kutastha. And chidabhasa must have a direct insight into it, and that insight is not gained by the exercise of the intellect. The guards which stand in the outer palace of the King cannot find entry into the private chamber of the King; their object is only to remain outside. Intellect stands outside the sphere of Sacchidananda or Atman, and therefore Jnana or direct insight into “I am Brahman” is obtained by overcoming reason.
Reason is good to defend the holy philosophy from the attacks of the dualists, but reason itself is incompetent to give the aparoksha jnana or realization. In the philosophy of Shankara reason is used to systematize the holy truth. “Brahman is” will not be established by any argument. The rationalists and the atheists say: “Can you prove the existence of God?” But say: “Can you disprove it?” Reason does not only mean proving. We have also to disprove and justify. Even Bradley said: “We cannot disprove His existence”. You have to apply reason to systematize the truth of Shruti: “Verily there is One without a second.” (“Chandogya Upanishad” 6.2.1.).