In the yogic psychology, there’s the mind, and there’s what’s called Samskara, which are dynamic, latent impressions, formed from the thoughts and actions of the past. Which seekers always seeking to reproduce themselves. Now, until those are changed, we shall not be able to change on the surface permanently. We can change momentarily, but it’ll change back again, because the roots have not been changed. The roots are changed by meditation and by habitually thinking on those lines; that gradually changes the roots of the mind.
And then, the impulses which come up are impulses from inspiration, and not the impulses due to the dynamic traces of what I’ve done before. I tend to, we tend to simply repeat what we’ve done before. People don’t develop naturally. It’s a myth. You start typing with two fingers, you don’t naturally go on and gradually type with ten; touch-type with ten. No, you get better and better at typing with two fingers. Two mad hens, it’s been said. They can type very fast, some of them. But it’s a very poor way of typing, as distinct from using the whole hand on the keyboard. We don’t naturally develop; it can be cultivated.
Now, in the same way, devotion can be cultivated. You think, “Oh, how can it be cultivated? You can’t change your feelings.” Yes, you can. Because it corresponds to something within man. The devotion which we give to, for instance, the stories of an Avatara. Rama is the example given here. For in the west, it can be Christ. But if we read those stories, and we concentrate on them, something will begin to stir within us. Then there’s a basis for belief, because it corresponds to something within us, not something external. So that it can be cultivated, and then the time is going to come when we have a terrible disappointment, or a great fear. Now’s the time. Because then one’s actually prepared to do something.
“One of the great enemies”, my teacher said, “Is comfort.” “Oh, I’ll do it next week. I’ll do it next month. I’ll do it next year. Some year.” But when there’s a great catastrophe, if we can use that energy from the catastrophe, instead of thinking, “Oh no”, if we can use that energy, by plunging into one of these practices, it’ll bear fruit.
This is a very important lesson. With many of us, we need something rather shattering to get us to move. But if we are intelligent enough, then even from a position of comfort, we can get moving. But we feel we should practice some yoga, and then when the time comes that we’re thrown into prison, imprisonment for six or eight months, it’s a good time to practice yoga. If the conditions aren’t too bad, we don’t have mosquitoes in this country. That’s nice. Not so easy to meditate with mosquitoes. Bzzzz. And then the sting. Bzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzz. It’s gone away. Bzzz. BZZZZZZZ. Well, we don’t have that. There are many advantages. Now’s the time to do some.
Well, then that can be, if the flame is small, it can be fanned. It can be fed, and fanned. But it’s much more difficult to start a flame when you’re in great difficulties. External difficulties. The time to start it is when, the time to learn to swim is when the water is calm. If you try to learn to swim in rough water, it’s going to be very much more difficult.
About our actions – this is not the particular chapter which we’ve been looking at, but later on it’ll say – one of the great masters, Shri Dada meets, he’s giving instruction to the public, and he says: “You should try to do good, but in fact, you cannot perform good Karma; nor can you earn merit, until you get rid of your intense body consciousness.”
Now, we think on our present basis that we can do good. I can judge, I can see, isn’t it right…? For instance, somebody who’s sick: Isn’t it right to cure them? Well, supposing it’s Hitler. In India, there used to be what were called criminal tribes. They lived, but their profession was robbery, basically. And you get certain tribes in other parts of the world, whose basic trade is crime.
One area in Africa, there was, there were two communities. One cultivated the land and cattle in the valley, and on the hill, there was another tribe. Now, they practiced the use of weapons, but they didn’t have any trade, or any agriculture or anything. But every year, they used to come down and raid the farms in the valley, and kill when necessary, and simply take everything they wanted; take the food back to the uplands, where they lived on it.
Well, then there was a great famine, and both tribes were starving. Well, then the United Nations came, with quite a big relief operation, and I read the report by the head of it. And he said, “We fed the people in the valley, and we moved onto the uplands. But the people in the valley said, ‘Don’t feed them. They’re starving now; they’re too weak to hold their weapons. They’re starving now, but the moment they’re strong again, they’ll pick up those weapons, they’ll come down, they’ll kill any of us who resist, and they’ll simply plunder everything we’ve done. Don’t feed them.’” And the United Nations man; he said, “What is the right thing to do? What should I do?” Well, in the end”, he said, “I carried out my mission, which was to feed both. But I knew”, he said, “I was feeding robbers and murders who were going to continue making raids.” Doing good contains these conflicts.
© Trevor Leggett
Talks in this series are
Part 1 : Mysticism of the heart 2
Part 2: The vibrations of Shri Rama
Part 5: How to stop a thought