How can a man in the present circumstances achieve realisation of the Spirit? The answer will be dependent upon the nature of the man himself. Men in this world may be broadly divided as possessing three kinds of tempers, three kinds of minds. There are some whose minds are of the nature of unstable equilibrium; there are others whose concentration or peace of mind may be of the nature of stable equilibrium; there are others who are always in neutral equilibrium. What is unstable, equilibrium? Place the pencil vertically upon the palm of the hand, it never stays (here the Swami put the pencil on his palm in a vertical position); for a second or so, it may be at rest every whiff of mind will throw it down. This is called unstable equilibrium. Hold the pencil by one end. (Here the Swami held the pencil between his fingers, and kept it hanging like a pendulum.) It is at rest, but being a pendulum, it will go on oscillating for some time, but after a while it will stop again. The equilibrium may be disturbed but it may be regained soon. In the first position of the pencil, the equilibrium may not be regained. But there is a third kind of equilibrium, Place the pencil horizontally (here he laid down the pencil on the table) it is at rest. Place it like that; it is at rest. In this position wherever you place the pencil, it is at rest. It is in equilibrium ail the time. Just so there are some people whose minds are all the time disturbed, all the time distracted, they cannot be in equilibrium, they cannot be at rest, external circumstances bring them rest, but they are distracted again. There are other people whose minds are usually calm, collected and quite, but being once disturbed they go on oscillating for a long, long time, and the majority of men in this world arc of that nature. You are walking through the streets; somebody comes and shakes hands with you, and makes some remark which is not complimentary, but critical, cynical.
He goes away but the act is done; be made the remark, and went away. The effect of that disturbance continues for hours and hours, sometimes for days and days, for weeks and weeks for months and months, sometimes even for years. The effect of that remark remains and the mind keeps on oscillating; being once disturbed it goes on oscillating ; goes on moving up and down; and this state of mind, this oscillating state of mind ruins your life; it takes away all your time. Now just mark. The acts or the facts did not take much time. The act was the first motion which was given, but the after effects, or say, the oscillations of your mind take away your life. If you could prevent those peculiar oscillations, if you could overcome that inner disturbance, if you resist or bring under control that hesitation or that continuous vibration of the mind, and, palpitation; if you could overcome it, your life would be the life of millions of men. Even your thirty years of life may be equivalent to hundreds and hundreds of years. Mark the disease of your mind, the psychological disease from which you are suffering. Know that disease and cure it. The disease of your mind is the oscillating tendency. When the thing is done the mind keeps on oscillating between a fear and a smile. These are only pendulum-men. Now, the third kind of men is the heroes, the liberated souls. These are men whose minds cannot be disturbed by any circumstances; let anything come to pass, they are undisturbed, they are at rest. Place them in the surging waves of the rolling ocean, the same; place them in war, the same. You are friends, you will talk to them today, you make all sorts of remarks, and the remarks are unanswered. The very moment you go away. So is the case with a liberated soul, or a man of wisdom. He is one upon whom the outside stain can leave no tainting spot, whom nothing can pollute, and who remains as free as ever. You may come and praise him all the time; go away and his mind will not afterwards be chewing the cud of your praise. You come and pass critical cynical remarks; you go away and he will not be ruminating over your criticisms. Free, free. He believes in his Divinity.
Now, Rama says that if you really study Vedanta and keep the Vedantic teachings continually before you and by self-suggestions from OM, or from some other remarks, by self-suggestions in the right direction. You remember your God-head and keep the reality before you, your mind if originally of unstable equilibrium, will become of stable equilibrium, and if it is of stable equilibrium, it will acquire neutral equilibrium by degrees; and this Vedanta, this truth, you have to keep before you all the time. Rama will now tell you some outside aids and helps to. Keep continually in that state. Try it and you will see that even though this is not preached by people, yet it is a wonderful advice. You will mark it. When people come and have a talk with Rama, sometimes remarks, cynical, critical remarks, are made, and then they go away. Now, you see Rama has told you the cause, the mental disease. Rama has laid before you the general malady of the human soul. The general malady is this oscillating tendency, and Rama has told you how you can keep the mind steady.
Do you know how Rama keeps himself safe from their suggestions? Different ways there are. One way is this. You see that small book before you.
This book is not a famous book like the Bhagavad Gita, it was not written by Krishna; it was written by a. man who was unknown to name and fame. But here is a man who gives you all the Christs, Krishnas, Buddhas, all of that. Rama takes up this book. It is in Sanskrit you know, and when Rama reads one verse out of this, book, that is enough to wipe out and wash away all pollution of lives and lives. It throws Rama at once into a state of ecstasy, one verse of this small book appeals to the heart and uplifts, reasserts the God-head in Rama. It destroys the low nature and rends asunder the veil of Maya at once. So Rama tells you, you may keep a book of that kind, you may have some psalms which lift you up, inspire you; you may have some songs which inspire you immediately; you may have some poems which appeal to you. You may have, say, the Bible; you may have the Sermon on the Mount. You may mark the passages of your favourite authors, the passages which inspire you, or anything whatever that uplifts you.
You may have a small note-book in which you keep collected all those sayings which inspire you or which uplift you, which fill you with prayer. You may have this book. You may have the poem written at the end of this book. “Oh, brimful is my cup of Joy,” that poem, and you may have anything which stirs you up. Keep that always right at hand and after you have mixed with your friends or left any uncongenial company, instead of allowing your mind to keep on oscillating, instead of allowing your mind to remain in a disturbed state, oscillating all the while, at once take up this Inspiring passage and make the mind steady.
In these days the common complaint is lack of time. They say, “We have got no time, we have to attend to all sorts of business, our relatives and friends take up our time.” There is a prayer: “O God! Save me from my enemies,” but the prayer which the modern man should offer more properly would be, “O God, Save me from my friends.” Friends rob us of all our time; then anxieties, worries, trouble, take away our time. Then we have to attend to our children and our helpmates; we have to receive visits and pay visits, we have to read things; how can we spare lime for spiritual advancement? Of, duties! They take away our time. We cannot spare time even to take dinner easily. In the name of duties all your life is being frittered away. But let us ask wherefrom these duties come. Who imposes these duties upon you? You yourselves. In fact it is you who make your duties. Duties should not come upon you as a cruel master. You regard it your duty to attend to the office work, but who put that office work on you? It is you yourself. If you ultimately realize the nature of duties, you will see that you are your own master, and that all these duties which absolutely enslave you, are created by yourself. If you once feel that, there is nothing in this world that binds you. Everything originally comes from you. You can be very happy, and you can adjust your position most smoothly.
We play a great deal, and what is left out of that is wasted away in attending to nature’s calls, and in eating, drinking, etc, and what is left out of that goes in anger, envy, anxiety, troubles, and worries. These are also natural for every man, what remains still, what little is left to us, is taken up by attending to our children, to our friends and relatives. What can a man do in this world? We must weep for those that die, and we must rejoice at the birth of new arrivals. All our time must be wasted in this way. How can a man do anything solid, anything real? How can a man spare time for realizing his Godhead?
Live Vedanta even in these surroundings, and when you live Vedanta, you will see that the surroundings and circumstances will succumb to you, will yield to you, they will become subservient to you; you will become their master. Is it society that weighs us down? Is it this world that keeps us down? You do not live in this world. Everybody lives in a tiny little of his own creation. How few are the men who live in this world! In the wide world very few live indeed; you live in small worlds of your own creation. You have made your worlds around your small selves. There are people who do not know anything beyond the small domestic circle; there are people who do not know anything beyond the small world of their own caste. There are people who do not know anything beyond the small world formed by their wives, husbands, or children. Live in this wide world at least; rise above the little petty worlds. It is not the broad world that keeps you down; it is the small world of your own creation that keeps you down; if you can rise above it, the whole world will yield to you.
Now, this small world of our own creation will be illustrated by referring to what work really is. You say you are kept very busy, and Rama has observed in this country people complaining of time, though Rama is amused to see here that .they are trying all their lives to kill time, and yet they complain of it. They get time enough to hang heavy on their hands as well as heads, and yet they say they have no time. You are driving out time by your desires, you are killing time and yet you say you have no time. How is that? The cause of your complaint is a misunderstanding of the nature of work. You call that work which is not in reality work. Work is defined differently by different people.
Rama asks, “Please state how much work you do in twenty-four hours? When you are eating, is that work? No. When you are doing many other things, are you working in the same sense in which Psychology defines work? When you are walking are you working? When you are doing many other things, Rama need not mention all, are you working? No, no. Your mind or attention was not engaged. If your mind or attention is not occupied with what you have got in your hands, then you are not working; there you are idling away your time. Could you not spare that, could you not utilize that? In some work our mind is thoroughly engaged, and while doing, some other work, our mind is half occupied. In work where your mind is half occupied, you are doing half work. In the other half of your attention you might utilise, and when your attention is entirely idle, then you might utilise your full attention. Thus by utilizing your minds, attention you may increase your lives. You can do more work in one day than you could do by not utilising the due engaged attention.
Two boys met each other in the streets. They were friends. One of them urged his fellow to go with him to a church, and there hear a sermon, or say some music or something. The other pleaded play. Now, what was the use of wasting time in going to church and hearing a monotonous sermon? They had better play. They did not come to an agreement, so one went to the church and the other went out seeking play. But when the boy who went to church found himself face to face with the preacher, he could not understand or enjoy the sermon at all. He was undone; he repented of his having gone to the church. Then he began to think of the playground. He began to think of the boy who was being joined by his friends at play. Two long hours he spent in the church, but all the time his mind was in the play-ground. Now, the boy who went to the play-ground did not find any congenial company, did not find any ether boy who might come and play with him. He found himself alone, and he felt very lonely. He thought of the church, and then he thought within himself that it was too late to go to the church. He remained on the playground, but his mind was all the time in the church, he was all the while in the church so to say. After two hours those two boys met each other again on the streets. One said he was sorry for not going to the church, and the other said he was sorry for not going to the play-ground.
This is what is happening everywhere with men. Your minds are not where your bodies are. How many are there that heard the lecture today; very few can manage to remain in the hall; the mind flits away; the mind is there with the child or with some other friends. The mind wanders away from place to place, from topic to topic. According to Psychology you do a thing when the mind does a thing. Sometimes when your body is doing a particular action, you have not done that action. When your body is in the church, when you are offering prayers, when you are attending lectures, you are not attending lectures; and sometimes when your body is on the streets, when your body is taking walks, there you are in reality with God. Your mind is with God.
Oftentimes people who were accused of faults and crimes were in reality godly and pious: their minds were with God. Sometimes people, who are looked upon as pious and holy, have filthy minds. Sometimes we see that the absolutely wicked prosper. Vedanta says, it is not their wickedness that brings prosperity. They in their hearts have been living with God; so do not draw any inferences from the external actions of people. If a man commits murder or theft, you ought not to look down upon him.
A man who lives in a house of ill-fame may be a saint. We know that Lord Buddha went to the house of a courtesan, Buddha was pious. We know that Lord Christ lived in the house of Mary Magdalene, the woman whom people were going to pelt, but Christ is God. We know that there have been saviours even in India like Christ They lived in the company of people of ill-fame. They were really God. Judge not a man by his company, judge not a man by his acts, judge nobody. A man is what his thoughts are. People who live in jail often live in heaven. Bunyan wrote his “Pilgrims Progress in a jail. Milton’s great work came out when he was in jail and when he was also blind. Daniel Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe while in jail. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote his History of the World in a jail. We wish that our surroundings may be of this kind or that; we are living where our thoughts are living. Now, we come to interpret the story of that death, i.e. death in life. Just mark. Rama says that success comes to you as a result of your unison with the All.
What is the real Self? The body is not the real Self, nor is the mind the real Self, nor is this life the real Self. How do you know that the world is? Through your consciousness. Even your consciousness undergoes three kinds of changes or moods. There is the waking consciousness, there is the dreaming consciousness, and there is also the deep-sleep consciousness. Your consciousness being like a thermometer or barometer,’ it gauges the temperature or the pressure of the world.
The consciousness in the wakeful state indicates that the world is solid, rigid, set in its laws and rules. The verdict of consciousness in the dreaming condition is quite different. But the dreaming and sleeping conditions are just as strong as the waking condition. Again we see that your sleeping experience takes just as much time as the waking experience. In your life you sleep just as much as you wake. A child is, so to say, all the time asleep. All the world undergoes that experience. The reading or verdict of our consciousness in the wakeful condition is flatly contradicted by the verdict of consciousness in deep sleep or dreaming state.
Now that which is the same yesterday, today, and for ever is real. This is the criterion of Truth accepted on all hands. That which persists is real. This consciousness takes three different forms from the subjective standpoint. In the wakeful state this consciousness identifies itself with the body, find when you use the word ‘I’ you understand by it this body, this consciousness. It assumes quite a different state in the dreaming condition. You become changed. The dreaming subject is not the same as the waking subject. You and in your dreams that you are poor, whereas you are rich. You find yourself surrounded by enemies, your house is destroyed by fire and you barely escape alive. In your dream you may have, taken some water, and when you awake, you find yourself thirsty. The dreaming subject is different from the waking subject. So the consciousness assumes one shape in the dreaming condition, and another in the waking condition, and it takes a third shape in the deep Sleep condition. Your consciousness then identifies itself with nothingness. You say, “I slept so sound that I dreamt nothing at all.” In the deep sleep condition there is something in you which keeps awake all the same, which does not sleep. That is your real Self. That is distinct from the objective consciousness, that is pure consciousness. That is your Self.
A man comes up and says, “ At 12 o’clock last night I was on Broadway Street and I saw nothing. There was not a single individual there at that time. ” We ask him to put down in black and white the statement that there was not a single individual present on the said street at such a time. The man says it is a true statement, for he himself was an eye witness. Then the question is put, “Are you nobody or somebody? In order that we may accept this statement on your authority, it is self-contradictory. You must be present there if it is true.”
When one is in the profoundest slumber, on waking up they say they dreamed nothing. We say, brother, you make this statement that there was nothing there, but in order that this statement may be correct, you should come forth as a witness. If you had been really absent, wherefore this evidence that you give? There is something in you which are awake even in that deep sleep. That is your real Self, that is Absolute Will or Absolute Consciousness,
See how the whole world expands from it. Look at rivers. They have three states. One that of a glacier, the other that of small rivulets and brooks. The snow has thawed and the river is in a very soft, quiet, gentle condition. The third condition is when the river has left the mountains and gone into the plains and become very turbulent and filled with mud. These are the three conditions.
In the first condition in the mountains, the image of the sun was not seen in the snow.
In the second and third it is seen. In the second state the river was not navigable, it was not of any practical value, but it was very beautiful. In the third condition it is navigable and the fields and valleys are fertilized also. So we see there were two things present! One was the sun and the other the river.
One is the Sun of suns in you, which is God in the deep sleep condition. That Sun of suns shines upon the congealed snow; that Sun of suns is the witness, the motionless, the unmanifest, When the Sun keeps shining on that nothingness in you for some time, say in the deep sleep state, the Sun of suns in you keeps itself in a shining, heating condition, making the causal body in you melt, and from that nothingness flows out the dreaming condition.
This is what the Bible says ‘God created the world out of nothing.” There was God and that which is called nothing in the first place. Just as the sun creates the rivers out of the snow, the Sun of suns the God in you, shone upon the seeming nothing— which the Hindu calls Maya—and outflew the subject and object. The subject means the perceiver and the object is that which is perceived. .
The dreaming experience is to the wakeful experience, as the tender, small rivulet is to the mighty river. They say that man is made in the image of God, in deep sleep you have no ego in you, while in the dreaming and wakeful conditions you have. In the dreaming and waking conditions you have the reflection of God. The real Self is God, the Sun, and not this reflected image. In dreams you see all sorts of things. In order to see anything, ‘in what light have you to see it? Is it the light of the moon, the light of the cursor the sun that enables us to see things? No. Now what light is it that enables you to see all sorts of things in dreams?
It is the Light within you. It is the same Light which makes every abject visible. This Light which enables you to see all sorts of things in the dreams simply shone free in the deep-sleep state. It makes the objects in the dreams visible, so that Light remains constant in the deep sleep state as well as in the dreaming state. Just as in the dream if you see the moon, the moon as well as the light of the moon owes its existence to the Light within. To-day it has been proved that you are all light. You are the Light of lights. Just as in the stream, you know that the sun which is at the source is the same as at the mouth, so the real Self, in you is the same in the deep sleep, the dreaming, and the wakeful states. That thou art. Identify yourself with that reality within, and then you are strong and full of power. If you identify yourself with fickle, changeable things, it is like a rolling stone gathering no moss. The sun is the same at the source, the middle, and the mouth of not only one river, but it is the same in all the rivers of the world.
That Light of lights in you is the real Self of the deep sleep, the dreaming and the wakeful states of all the people in the world. That Light is not different from the objects upon which it shines. You are that Light of lights. Dwell upon this idea that you are the Light of lights. That am I.
I am the Light of lights. Identify yourself with the Light of Lights. That is your real essence. No fears, no frowns, no sorrow, everywhere’ it is that. The Lights of lights, the constant, the unchangeable, the sane yesterday, to-day, and for ever, I am the Light of lights; the whole world appears as mere eddies and waves, as mere ripples and rings.
The following method will be found extremely beneficial towards lifting the veil enveloping the ‘little self.’
People say ‘when you walk, have a friend to talk.’ This is fallacious for the following reasons:
First. When we walk alone, our breath is natural, rhythmical and conducive to health. For this reason, Kant towards the close of his life always walked alone to keep up to a good harmony of breath, and he lived up the old age. When we walk alone, we can breathe through the nostrils, hut when we are talking, we have to breathe through our mouths. Breathing through the nostrils is always invigorating and gives strength to the lungs, God breathed into the nostrils of man and not into the mouth. We may exhale through the mouth, but we should always inhale through the nostrils. The air that enters the lungs is sifted by the hair in the nostrils.
Second. When we are walking alone, we are in the best mood to think, and sublime- thoughts just seek us, Lord Clive somehow stumbled on this secret and used to walk up and down when he had to think upon a most intricate problem in Indian politics. Thus walking alone is extremely beneficial in intellectual culture. When we are walking in company, or when we are walking with people who are all the time voicing their ideas on us we shut out upon ourselves the original and sublime thoughts which had to visit us, otherwise.
Third. From the spiritual stand-point, when walking alone, the mind shakes off the dividing forces and the discordant elements and gets its centre; and imagination, which is the relaxation of the soul, finds an opportunity to enjoy itself. The whole system is invigorated.
Make this auto-suggestion to yourself that you are happiness incarnate. “I am the Light of lights.” That is the idea which is to be emphasized in cultivating our higher faculties. Walking in the moon-light or early in the morning has indescribable benefits connected with it. Walk towards the’ setting or towards the rising sun, walk on the banks of rivers, walk where the cool breeze is playing, and you will find yourself in tune with nature, in. harmony with the universe.
We shall take up this afternoon the question, “Why do people suffer, why is there this suffering in the world?”
Rama shall not take up this question from the standpoint of history, or of what has been read in historical writings, or of the sayings of sages or the opinions of wise men. It is true that all these great writers, all these great thinkers and authors have spoken the truth. They have told what occurred to them to be the absolute truth. But all the writings of all the authors of the world put together do but little good, unless you sift matters through and through, and see by your own personal experience Rama will say only what he has seen through his own personal experience, and what each and all may see by personal experience.
There is a great tendency in these days to refer to some authority, to refer to a great name, a great historian, or a great scientist, and the speaker who can use these great names is honoured most: this is a suicidal tendency. ‘Rama will tell you from his own experience, and will tell you what you can learn by your own experiments.
The great cause of suffering in the world is that “we do not look within, we do not form our own opinions, we take matters too much on trust, we rely on outside forces to do our thinking.”
What other people say we take for granted, and we do not look within; we do not rely on our own stamina. In addition to belief in Mohammad, Buddha or Krishna, we have created all sorts of fetishes before which we bow. Any child can criticise our conduct and that is sufficient to throw us off our balance, and cause us suffering. We care too much for the criticisms and opinions of others; we spend too much time in currying “favour with others. This idea of looking at ourselves through the eyes of others and not looking at our true Self, not seeing ourselves but through the eyes of others around us is the cause of our suffering. The habit of looking at ourselves through the eyes of others is called vanity, self-aggrandisement. We want to appear so good in the eyes of others; this is the evil of society, the bane of all religion.
Rama tells you, Heaven from within tells you never to think yourself, dilapidated, decrepit, or worsted.
A gentleman came to Rama and said that his superior officer ill-treated him all the time. Rama told him that the superior officer looked down upon him because he looked down upon himself. If we respect our own selves, everybody must respect us. If a value of one cent is put upon this little book, nobody will pay two cents for it, but a value of 25 cents is placed upon this little book and everybody is willing to pay that amount for it.
Similarly set upon yourself a small value, and nobody will take you at a high value. Set upon yourself the highest value, respect yourself, feel your Divinity, your Godhead, and everybody must take you in the same way. They say, faith will save you, but faith in external principles will not save you, faith in your own Divinity will save you. Believe; have living faith in your own Divinity, respect yourself, and everybody will respect you.
In order that your suffering may be remedied, you should not rely on the adjustment of your surroundings or on your position in life for the remedy, but depend upon the remedy which deals only with the adjustment of the Sun within. All people are trying to get rid of suffering by placing or adjusting as it were the furniture, by placing this and that differently in the world or by accumulating money, or by building grand houses or by acquiring certain land which somebody else owns. By adjusting your surroundings, or by placing your furniture in this order or that, you can never escape suffering. Suffering tray be shunned, removed and got rid of only by bringing light into your room, by having light, by having knowledge in the closet of your hearts. Let darkness go and nothing will harm you.
All anxiety, all suffering, all pain lies in yourself, never outside. Suppose somebody calls you names, or rebukes you; such a person prepares for you the food which, if taken into your mouth, will hurt you. Thus, nothing can enrage or excite you, unless you take it up and appropriate it to yourself. Rama never takes things into himself, people often say unfavourable remarks as he passes along the streets, but such words have no effect unless they are taken up and believed to be true.
If three hundred and thirty-three billions of Christs appears in the world, it will do no good, unless you yourself undertake to remove the darkness within. Depend not on others. All these processes of joining this Church or that, this society or that society, worshipping this Christ or that Krishna, this fetish or that, will avail nothing. ‘Do all that you like, but it will avail you nothing. The only remedy i.e. Light, and Light is living knowledge, living faith in your Divinity. That is the remedy, there is no other.
Light or the true realization of Truth would make all these bodies transparent, would make all personalities evanescent. Whatever a person appears, a man of realization never sees the little ego, the apparent body, but only the Divinity. To him the apparent form or bodies is an illusion, it is darkness, ignorance.
When you begin to realize the Truth, to feel that you are the Light of lights. The Sun of suns, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, alt these astronomical stars, all these gigantic Milky ways are a mere insignificant, speck. When you realize that, when you feel that and think that O, how can any of your worldly bugbears produce any effect on you?
If books have not been written upon it, it is nevertheless the Law. Thus when you cling to that something, when you hold it so dear, something takes place which takes it away, and you are sad and worsted; then two kinds of phenomena take place. Some people on “becoming worsted begin to find fault with circumstances, to struggle and criticize circumstances. Such people are visited by still harder difficulties and they exclaim, O misfortunes never come singly.’’ People who after one misfortune do not regain their equilibrium, but go on fault finding and criticizing, and go on struggling after frail reeds, for these misfortunes do not come singly, but after suffering for some time, they are in a state of mind to which is again added the power unseen. Then comes a state of “harmony, a state of resignation, a state of leaving those desires, a state of geniality, a state of universal peace, and then again the clouds disperse and fairer circumstances come. Again they are misled and keep depending upon outside manifestations only, and again are led into difficulties; and after a while they come to religion. It is said that misfortunes lead to religion.
Thus in your everyday life there is day and night. Every day of suffering is followed by a night of pleasure, arid every night of pleasure is followed by a day of suffering. So long as you keep clinging to forms, this rise and fall will continue, it will go on one succeeding the other. Now, what is the object of this inner rise and fall? The object of this inner rise and fall is to make you realize the Sun within.
Misfortune, anxiety and trouble are to make realize the Heaven within, It is to make you feel that you should realize the Sun of suns, the Light of lights within, and when you realize that, you are above all worldly pain and suffering, above fluctuations. You then go beyond and above all of them.