THE Self is bliss, free, all pervasive. As long as the soul of man is subject to the not-self it is said to be in bondage, and when the soul is freed from the not-self and becomes its own real nature within the soul, then the soul is said to be free. Some people call this freedom God vision.
To be conscious of the world as reality is bondage; to be conscious of God as the only reality and as our own Self is called freedom. To think that the world is real and that there is nothing above it is called ignorance; to think that God is all-in-all and that the world is embossed on God is called wisdom, spirituality and freedom.
Yoga is the return of the soul to its normal condition, and the normal state of the soul is freedom, bliss, truth, perpetual vision of God within and without. By means of Yoga all abnormality is removed from the soul and the soul is brought to its normal condition. Just as in modem psychology when the Consciousness is centred on itself it is called the normal state of the soul, but when the soul takes flight from itself and begins to indulge in associations with things other than the world there follows the state of neurosis, so the purpose of the Yoga is to open the door to you to return to your own normal Self called God.
The questions to be asked are: What is this world? What am I? What is the relationship between this world and me? What is God? These questions form the basis of philosophy.
How to live well! Here are a few remarks which will help you. A good life is the result of man’s hard thinking and efforts. It is not like a ripe fig which falls from the tree: Yoga is not so. Yoga is solid hard thinking, solid efforts to realise the normal condition of the soul, one thing you have to do so that the taint of the world may not stick to your soul and you may remain pure.
The first condition is occasionally to withdraw from the world and meditate on the all-pervading Reality. Withdraw your eyes, your ears, your sense of touch and so forth from going outward and concentrate your mind on Self or God, which are the same.
If you do this practice every two or three hours then the world will not have a hold upon you. You may do all the duties in the world, but you will live in the world like a lotus which is untouched by the water—as the water rises, so rises the lotus plant.
How to be truthful, how to be peaceful, how to be the real, “What am I ?” This is called concentration on God. The mind is so made that when the soul forgets itself and goes outward into the world, the mind loses its natural transparency and it becomes opaque and prevents the soul seeing truth or God, and this is called the state of ignorance.
Therefore the real interest of the wise is to know God within. Then pause every hour or so and ask: What am I? What is the meaning of my spiritual growth? What is Truth? What is God? What is my relationship with God?
When you ask these questions then your mind is centred on God and your soul will not be tired. When the soul becomes tired we have illusions in the world and we become irritable.
To give way to passion is living in hell. So that the mind may not fall into this state, occasional remembrance of the Lord is necessary.
When a man becomes totalitarian it means that he is psychologically ill. Conceit is the mother of all mental weaknesses, irritability, hopelessness—the mother of all these is conceit. The soul has begun to fall and you will be invaded by restlessness, grief, worry. Therefore avoid the state of extreme individualism. Co-operation is normal, and as soon as a man becomes a dictator his soul has fallen from the natural serenity and he will be a source of very great grief to himself and to all those who are about him. This state of mind is the beginning of lunacy.
You can avoid it by turning your mind to God: He is in me, I am in Him.
“Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”: these are the words of Jesus in the Christian Gospel.
Let us strengthen our moral muscles by practising equimindedness and detachment. Our morality is the life of the soul because it is morality which in the end is converted into discipline, then into devotion and then into God vision by patience, equimindedness and unconditional and real loving kindness. Then our society becomes worthwhile and our household becomes a blessing.
The world is a school where we have to learn the supreme lesson, and that is: God alone is real and all else is illusory, and I am intrinsically God. Let us learn to resist the demands of comfort and pleasure. Undue comfort is an enemy– of the soul because it relaxes the moral muscles. Therefore let us harden ourselves. Sometimes sleep on the carpet, sometimes go without a meal, sometimes walk in the rain without an umbrella, sometimes go where you are abused. Know the joys of tranquillity, the joys of equimindedness and the joys of devotion to God. Let us learn the lesson of hardening our moral fabric, hardening our power of observation, and be equiminded and tranquil. This is Yoga, this is the way to Godhead.
There is a verse in the Gita in which the Lord says to His disciple, Arjuna:
“The whole universe has come forth from Me and in Me it abides”.
The source of the universe is in God and it dwells in God. Such being the case, where is the room for anger, pride or hate? Every man you meet, give him the impression that he is worthwhile in your eyes, he is not nothing in your eyes, at least here is one person in the world who thinks him worthwhile; and I assure you you will give him such moral upliftment that by this one little attitude alone you have done him great good.
Elevate yourself by remembering God. What is God ? What am I? What is this world? These are the ontological questions which you have to ask, and the time will come when none will be a stranger to you. Yoga means living in such a way that nobody in the world may feel he is a stranger to you.
A fact to be ever remembered is that it is your duty to rise from self consciousness to super consciousness. Super consciousness is above the mental consciousness; it is the God consciousness. Man’s goal is to be God.
Sin is treason against super consciousness. Super consciousness is I: self consciousness is mind. I is the light which reflects itself in the mind and imparts to the mind the temporary condition of self consciousness. I is greater than the mind: the mind changes and the I abides. Therefore “I am God: God am I” should be your perpetual meditation.
The mother of all sins is forgetfulness of God as the goal of all your life. God means the immutable ultimate Reality. To discover this Reality in the soul is to discover God. The intellect, when veiled by ignorance, takes the real as appearance and vice versa. There is great discord in the soul when the soul forgets Reality or God and thinks that pleasure, fame, comfort, country and so forth are real.
By devotion to God the veil of ignorance is removed from the face of God. Devotion means to realise His presence, first by force of will and imagination, secondly by concentration and meditation and thirdly by self absorption. The culture of right values is essential. Values means inherent, deep-seated interests.
The right values are truth, spiritual equipoise, inner enlightenment and covering all with God.
Then let us refine our mind. How to refine the mind? By the study of Plato and Shri Shankara and by cultivating patience and inner beauty to such an extent that even a little departure from truth and beauty becomes appalling to us. Education is the way to refinement: this is what education means and not that “speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts”.
The soul lives in three worlds: one is the world of space and time, the second is the world of the mind and the last is the world of the Spirit. When our soul is in the world of space and time then it should seek right companionship, to create forms of beauty, and to express peace and beauty in our daily conduct.
When our soul lives in the world of the mind then it should live to create peace, light and love, to meditate and refine the mind and bring the mind closer and closer to God who abides in our heart. “May all see the highest good, may all be taintless, may no one be an experiencer of pain and suffering”, this should be our motto.
Now the world of the Spirit. When does our soul live in the world of the Spirit? By living rightly in the space and time world and in the mind world, the soul prepares itself to go into the palace of the Lord which is in the intellect. What is there ? A feeling of unity. One of the most important words in any language is unity. In the Upanishads it is said,
“He becomes unreal who behaves as if it is multiplicity which is a fact”.
It is unity which is a fact in nature. Unity then of our passions, our emotions, our natural drives—this is the message of Shanti Sadan—absorption of the mind in contemplation of God. “What am I? What am I?” Go on asking the question. Pray to Him for a right answer. The soul must struggle and strive but the conferring of the state of exaltation comes from God.
Remember Him all the time: everything comes from your real Self. Choose a name of God, place it on your lips with great love, and each time you take that name think that something great is happening to you by virtue of the name.
Lastly there is enlightenment in infinity. Our psyche rebels against anything finite. The ultimate aim of the soul is to enter into the realm of infinity. Self forgetfulness can be acquired by meditation on God, by taking His holy name and by attending the holy devotions where they are traditionally held. God alone is infinite and the soul is naturally attracted towards Him.
“Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee”—these are the pregnant words of St Augustine. Nothing will satisfy the soul until it is brought with equipoise and determination to God within and to the realm of infinity.
Meditate on your ideal and it will give you relief. The first stage in meditation is called concentration on God. Close your eyes and other sense organs and turn the mind within and concentrate on I, I, I. The second stage is absorbing the mind in God. Through meditation the mind must be made temporarily no mind in the waking state.
When you are conscious of the all absorbing presence of Shri Vasudeva, the Lord, it is a very great thing. And then be your Self through self-surrender. All should be surrendered to the Lord. Our personality is a seven-holed flute which can be played successfully by only one flute player, that is, Krishna abiding in your heart. When your self surrender is complete then you become God. These are the three stages.
I close by reading to you the verse from the Gita on which this whole discourse is a commentary: Chapter 2, verse 66:
“The uncontrolled can have no wisdom” (The man who has no power of concentration and meditation is called the uncontrolled. The man who can withdraw his mind from the world and employ it on the holy name of the Lord is the right man), “and the man who has no control cannot dwell upon inner peace, and the man who has no inner peace, where is rest, where is joy, where is pleasure for him?”
Therefore let us ask Him to accept us as His disciples, to lead us on the path, to attract our minds towards Himself, to be our life, our soul, our religion and our all in all.