Everything has three aspects. One aspect is extemporary, fleeting, unimportant. The second is the aspect of activity and life, which animates objects. The third is its position or relationship with the great Spirit behind all. Let us look upon man as an object in nature.
The first aspect, which is the physical, is too well known to us to need description. The second- mind—shows itself in the activities of the psychic being. This aspect is devoted to the promotion of the physical good. Intellect cannot only be the servant of the physical interests of man. One of the great errors of the philosophy of the 19th century is that intellect is held to be self-sufficient, autonomous. Many think it should be so. Man is more easily ruled by ideas than by surroundings, and the idea which governs the 19th century philosophy is that reason is supreme, that it is a function of the intellect and can pronounce judgment on issues which concern the whole of life.
This is a wrong attitude. Reason is only a part of human life. There is something far greater than reason, from which it derives its power. This is the Spirit in man, which is called Atman. The revolt against the deification of reason has been led by Bergson, William James and others. Reason can only function in the realm of duality. The object of civilisation, education and the experience which we gain in daily life, is that we may broaden our heart and spirit continuously, until they cover all that lives.
Before he leaves the body man should acquire the experience of God-vision—Beatitude—the Kingdom of Heaven within— Christ. All these words are names for one experience, which takes place in the region of the Spirit—although the mind can help. The spiritual region, in which the spirit of man functions, is beyond all dimensions, and it transcends causation, time and space, but man’s mind, being opaque is unable to appreciate it.
The Spirit in man is above the mind, in fact it rules the mind, and is not bound by the mind, as so many think. It is Infinite, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lord Himself. Having been overcome by ignorance it identifies itself with name and form, and though immortal, thinks itself to be mortal, though infinite thinks itself to be finite, though eternally free, thinks itself to be bound.
Through discipline and meditation the sleeping faculty of spiritual discrimination in man becomes aroused; then the Spirit sees its illusory identification with the body and the mind destroyed, and has the great vision of unity, and the cycle of birth and death is broken.
This is the pivotal point in any philosophy, and the main problem of man—how to free himself by having this supreme experience.
We have a little mental life, a national life and international life; a touch life, a hearing life, all these lives are fused into one, and find their proper place in the infinite life of God, when, through the practice of selfless virtue, meditation and the study of the holy philosophy, we purify ourselves under the direction of a competent Teacher. All lives, plants, angels, rocks, everything has come from God. There is but one life as there is one light and one space.
That life is the divine life. When man has made adjustment, when he has found that his life is in the life of God, when he has seen it in a vision, what happens to him? The immanence of Bliss is felt within and without, which is quite different from pleasure, delight or joy.
Pleasure is fleeting, joy is stimulating, delight is only on the surface. The seeker surrenders himself as completely as the dawn surrenders to the full glory of the day. Then every movement of the mind acquires a new meaning, a new glory.
“Every action of man becomes higher worship of the Lord, and all inaction becomes worship also.”
If a man follows the Yoga of selfless action, it is a great sacrifice and worship of the Lord. If he studies the Holy Truth, it is also a worship. Every action, every thought then becomes worship of God. The ways to this state are many. Penance, Fasting, Pilgrimage, Prayer and association with men of God are some of the ways to this state.
The psychic perfections— clairvoyance, clairaudience—have no place in the spiritual life, they are all jugglery. Those who care for them enter into a dark cave where the spiritual light will not penetrate.
Nature has experts, and Truth has experts also, called Rishis, Saints of God, Gurus. These great souls offer their very being to bring fight to those who are surrounding them.
The Path described above is the direct path, and the devotee sees God at once, not gradually, but at once like the cave man of Plato.
There is another Path, a second culture of the self, which is gradual and slow. The candidate meditates most of the time on the fact that he is the Immanent Principle of the Cosmos. The Lord is immanent in the world in the form of Spirit, and the soul recognises this Spirit and tries to be conscious of It all the time.
This can be done in many ways. Some repeat Mantrams, or the holy Names, or fix the attention on one of the Chakras. Some do it in the desert, some in towns, some in Universities. Prayers are offered for light—and still more light. It is a long work and must be done all the twenty-four hours, but it can be done. It can be done when working in an office, or as a householder.
God grants His Grace slowly, and the soul has flashes of the knowledge of God, transitory at first, and then all the time. Such a man lives in the constant meditation that his finite life has its roots in the life of the Lord Himself. He feels that he is in meditation all the time. He thinks: ‘I am the vast Ocean of Consciousness in which Universes rise and fall like little waves raised by the dynamic power of the Lord.’
Outwardly such a man may be doing the ordinary work of the world, but his inner consciousness is centred in the Lord.
The whole creation is the brother of such a man of God. Infinite patience is needed to be a lover—the state is realizable, but the Yogi has to have infinite patience.
God is hidden in the soul of man, so work harder, dig deeper, have patience.
When the Grace of God comes, the veil of ignorance is rent asunder, and the soul stands in the presence of its Maker.