That which we study is nothing new. It is more ancient than the science of numbers, it is as ancient as human tears or as the leaping of the heart at the sight of great beauty— at least as old as all of these.
“Know ye the Truth and the Truth shall make ye free” are the words of the Lord Jesus.
What is Truth? One aspect is that it is free from contradictions, and this holy Truth which we study is entirely free from contradictions.
Let us prepare our minds to follow this Truth.
Relax your muscles and your central nervous system, take a few deep breaths, focus your attention on your heart and contemplate the presence of the Ruler of the Universe, of the Sun of suns, the only home of beauty and joy, present in your heart.
If you want peace and poise then start your day with this simple exercise for at least ten or fifteen minutes done in faith and devotion.
Experiment is the surest way to conviction—experiment for fourteen days and I assure you your mind will begin to feel tranquil, your courage will increase and your desire for virtue will increase also. The object of this exercise is to cultivate devotion to the Lord Who is within you. Be peace with all. OM.
Man is a knowing being. The characteristic which differentiates man from lower animals and characterizes an advanced state of life is that man wants to know. He is not satisfied with those things which are essential to the support of his family but also wants to know the why and wherefore of the world. If life could be measured one might say that he is most alive who wants to know more and more about the Truth, that is, the truth about his environment, the world, and its Maker.
Pleasure is a temporary satisfaction that arises from the contact of the senses with certain objects and pleasures are no guide to real life. They are the pseudo-postman who brings the illusory letter from the Beloved but not the Truth, and they do not assist us in our enquiry after Truth. He lives more intensely who makes greater and greater efforts to know the Truth. A seeker after Truth is a seeker after God, for God is the ultimate Reality, and nothing but knowledge of Him will satisfy the human quest.
When we cease to enquire into Reality we are dead. There are many such phantoms going about, eating, laughing, gossiping, and yet dead! He alone is alive who seeks to know the ultimate Reality, God.
How are we to know the Truth ? Are the five senses of perception the instruments of such knowledge? We say we see the blue sky, but is the sky blue ? We say we see the vault of heaven as an inverted bowl, but is it so? The five senses do not give us a report about the Truth. Chocolate to one is bitter, to another delectable. Beer is elixir to some but poison to others. Emerson has said that the loudest sound is never heard.
Do we hear the beautiful music created in the body by the flow of the blood in our veins and capillaries mingling with the orchestra of the nervous system, called anhad? If we did we should say that no orchestra is equal to this one playing in our own bodies. So the reports of our senses are not reliable. Kant has said, “Senses tell us of the veil in which the sensations are wrapped up, but they tell us nothing of Reality”.
As many philosophers, so many opinions. Where is the “Truth that will make us free”?
How shall we know about it? Kant has said that man has two selves, the empirical or seeming self, and the transcendental self. The seeming self is the doubting, hearing, seeing, imagining self. Truth or Reality is unknown and unknowable by the seeming self but is knowable by the transcendental Self, called by Kant intuition. It is not a property of the mind. That which is the nature of the higher Self of man is not a characteristic of our thinking principle.
Human life is like a tree on which are seated two birds, one above the other. The higher bird is happy in and by itself; it has no wants. If I say that a friend, or wealth, or music makes me happy, I am a fool. True happiness must come by itself without an object. Ignorance of this fact is the cause of suffering and heartaches. The lower bird is busy eating the fruits of the tree; it nibbles a glossy fruit or a seed and being disappointed tries another, repeating the experiment endlessly.
When the bird gets tired of this experimenting it looks up to the golden bird above and thinks, “How can I be as perfect, as desireless as this golden bird ?” When its resolution to be like the higher bird is strong and its concentration on the higher bird is complete a miracle happens, and this is called intuition. The lower bird realizes that it has no existence of its own and is united with the higher bird, doubts come to an end, sufferings cease, there is nothing but delight, the Truth is realized. Then follows a life of perfect freedom and joy and identity with God. Human life is the tree, the lower bird is the personality, the higher bird is God. As long as the lower bird looks down it is doomed; but when it looks up, the third eye is opened, wisdom dawns and man becomes free forever.
Yoga means the way in which the anxious soul is able to unite with the immortal ever blissful Self, the Divine Being or Knowledge.
Christ did not only live in Palestine; He lives now in the heart of every living being, every atom, every electron. Christ is twinkling in the stars, smiling in the flowers; and to know Him thus is to know Him as He must be known.
When Peter, afraid of the crown of martyrdom, was running away from Rome, Christ appeared and Peter asked Him “Is it Thou, O Lord, whither goest Thou?”
“I go to suffer martyrdom a second time for thee,” replied the Lord, and Peter turned back and went and suffered death and laid the foundations of the Church.
In order to know the Truth and be free we have first to banish pleasures from the realm of our life. In place of the lower pleasures arising out of sensations we have to plant the seeds of benevolence, harmlessness, rigid self control, adoration and devotion to the Lord. Thus adorned, the garden of our soul becomes a fit abode for the manifestation of the Most High in ourselves and this new experience is ecstasy, samadhi, what Kant calls intuition. Both Bergson and Kant unanimously condemn the life of the senses as being incompetent to lead the soul to the desired end.
The holy Yoga teaches that Christ is in you.
This means in your mind. The mind is, so to speak, a bulls-eye lantern which can be focussed on any specific object but whose light is not made by itself. The light passing through the lantern belongs to the universal supply of electricity, and in the case of the mind the divine light of God passes through it. When the mind is able to apprehend this light in its universal aspect, then God is known and the mind is free.
How is this done? Shri Shankaracharya says: “Just as water which is very muddy again appears as transparent when the mud is removed, so the Divine Self (Atman) also manifests Its undiminished lustre when all taint has been removed”.
The first postulate is that Bliss is the nature of the real Self of man. If Bliss and Truth are to be obtained they are to be found in the Self of man and not externally.
The essence in each man is the Son of God, but His Presence is obscured by the restlessness and impurity of the mind. Let us make our mind tranquil and taintless so that the splendour of the Divine Christ is realized within, bringing in its wake satisfaction, wisdom and eternal freedom.
It was a sacrifice for the Divine to become human. He is implanted in a conditioned form in the mind of everyone so that the soul may be freed.
Man can obtain this state of freedom through love of the Lord, or the Divine Christ, in his own being.
The way to tranquillize the mind is to cut out all selfishness and all anger and then to render it taintless. What is the mud which taints the mind? It is ignorance; that is, erroneous knowledge. To say, “This is my house, this is my relative,” is ignorance.
What is knowledge? That which is opposed to ignorance. When the Lord appeared before Prahlada who had been persecuted by his father, He said to him: “O My devotee, you have been persecuted for My sake. Ask a boon. Shall I punish your father or send you to the seventh heaven?” Prahlada answered: “O Lord, I see that none but Thee exists. Thou art in heaven, Thou art in my father, Thou art in the trees, and Thou also standest before me. If Thou desirest to give me a boon, grant me the boon of desirelessness”.
Every earthly desire is a chain which prevents the soul’s upward flight. Do not give thy love to the perishable, the unreal, but to the real, the Imperishable.
The Imperishable is hidden in all that is perishable.
The intellect distorts. The taint is removed when self control has been practised, when the pursuit of pleasures is over, when God becomes our bread, our meat, our highest desire.
Then the higher Self takes the place of the lower self and the problem of life is solved forever.