I:01 - Wiesbaden, Apl 26,1934 - (Vol.1 1-23)[CG 1-16]1
“When should I attend to my morning, noon and evening service? The sun is shining in the sky of my heart. It does not rise.
It does not set. ” —(Upanishads)
I:01.01 When the necessary mental purification has been attained by the aspirant, rituals are no longer of any use.
I:01.02 There are people who renounce rituals before they are sufficiently developed. This is very wrong, just as renouncing image-worship before having outgrown it, is very wrong and very harmful.
I:03.02 Never decry people who worship images. There is a great truth in image-worship, and the Protestants are quite wrong in denying it. They do not know anything of spiritual traditions and spiritual life. There is not only subjective but also objective manifestation in the holy image. This, too, is the idea standing at the back of the Roman Catholic forms of worship, however distorted they may have become in course of time.
I:01.02a For most of us, worship of some image, physical or mental, is absolutely necessary if we really wish to grow, and not merely to theorize. The idea of the formless etc., may appeal to our sophisticated intellects, but we cannot worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’ at our present stage of spiritual development. So if we go and try to do it in spite of our inability, we obstruct our growth and will never be able to advance.
I:01.02b All our ideas are so hazy and indefinite. What do we actually mean by worshipping the Divine ‘in spirit and in truth’? Just some hazy, vague, indefinite feeling, while the puppets and dolls of phenomenal life attract our whole attention, because they at least are
1. Respectively, pages of Volume I, and its 1978 re-publication as The Condensed Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [CG]..
not hazy and indefinite, but awaken some very definite reaction in our mind. All these grandiloquent talks do not mean anything at all if we go and analyze them mercilessly and dispassionately. Nothing but vagueness and intellectual gymnastics!
I:03.09 Discrimination can only come when the brain is clear, when the mind is calm and dispassionate and able to think dispassionately.
I:02 - Wiesbaden, Apl 27, 1934 - (Vol.124-46)[CG 17-32]
I:02.02 The Lord lives in the temple of the human body. So let us first come to know Him. We should first ourselves come to know the Lord and be able to solve our own problems, and then help others. By our very being we can help others silently, by radiating Truth, without their being aware of it. But without having obtained anything ourselves, it is quite absurd to think or talk about helping others.
I:02.03 We all want to be teachers, instead of undergoing a strict course of Sadhana, trying to become efficient and pure instruments of the Lord. That is the whole trouble. First try to attain Him, and then let Him do with you what He wishes to do. Give up the idea of helping others for the time being.
I:03 - Wiesbaden, Apl 28, 1934 - (Vol.147-51)[CG 47-36]
Inner and outer solitude
I:03.03 Holy company is always very helpful in spiritual life, just as worldly company is very harmful.
I:03.04 The real solitude is mental. Outside solitude helps only in creating mental solitude in the beginner. If we are not able to have inner solitude, we are not very much benefited by outward solitude.
“What is solitude? Real solitude consists in realizing the one
without a second who is within—(Upanishads)
I:03.06 In the first stage of Sadhana one cannot do without strict regularity in Japam, meditation and solitude. We must be alone, at least during a certain time of the day. This is very, very essential. Every day try to have a dip into this eternal inner ocean of bliss and plenitude and freedom. The whole life then becomes worth living. Just as sleep is essential for the health of this body, this inner solitude is necessary for the health of the soul. Meditation means coming in touch with the Cosmic Power knowingly, consciously, purposefully, and real meditation always replenishes the body and the soul.
I:03.07 Disconnect yourselves from your environment. Unless you put up the hedge, you can never grow. The beginner cannot grow without a hedge. There are always hurricanes and cyclones; and there are goats who come and eat the tender plants. The aspirant should always rise to higher planes of thought. Lower planes are real to us, but they are not safe for us. We should make it a point never to dwell on one of the lower planes. If we do, we are bound to have nasty falls and may ruin our whole spiritual life for good. We must protect ourselves from outside dangers. We must know how to strike root in the soil of reality and dive deep into the very depth of our own soul.
I:03.08 This fencing-in may be a temporary glass-case existence, and you may not like the idea, because you do not understand, but it is necessary for all who really want to advance. We must first develop strength, and later we can stand heat and cold, hurricanes and cyclones, and goats, without being affected.
Who are our relations
I:03.10 Very often those we call dear and near ones, are perfect strangers and very harmful to us. They live on one thought-plane, we on another. Live in your own house, independently. Live as a stranger with your so-called near and dear ones.
I:03.11 Devotees and spiritual aspirants are our very own, because this Divine connection with others is more permanent and even more intense than any earthly connection. It is the only connection that counts.
I:03.12 We are all living like guests in a guest-house. You must get rid of the idea of ownership and bring in the idea of trusteeship. You must never raise any emotional claim on others. They are not your property, and you in your essence have nothing whatever to do with any of them.
No aversion, no criticism
I:03.12a Do not entertain aversion for anybody. Aversion gives rise to anger. Do not get upset by either censure or praise. What do they mean? Do not cling to other dolls and puppets. Learn to be impersonal and yet sympathetic. Never seek fault in the other person or group, when you yourselves are so full of faults and insufficiency. Do not allow hatred to rise in your heart.
I:03.12b Seeing the Atman in all beings is very important. As long as you cherish any form of aversion or hatred in your heart, you cannot have anything to do with God. You are an atheist and nothing but that, whatever you may pretend to be and to believe, and to whatever institutional religion you may happen to belong outwardly. Do not seek to injure anybody. Never censure anybody. The phenomenal world is constituted of good and evil. You cannot change that in any way. There will never be any change on this plane. But he who clings to hatred, aversion and fear, cannot reach God, but becomes more and more the slave of his uncontrolled emotions. As I told you many times, there is no such thing as ‘righteous’ anger and ‘righteous’ aversion. And all those who cherish it, are just as bad and impure as their supposed opponents or evil-doers.
Prepare to become an instrument
1:03.13 Meditation is like churning. Churn your mind calmly and separate the butter from the milk. Just as butter pervades milk, Brahman pervades everything. Just as by churning, people separate butter from milk, meditation separates the Real from the unreal.
“Like butter hidden in milk, the Pure Consciousness resides in every being. That ought to be constantly churned by the churning-rod of the mind." —(Amritabindu Up. 19-20)—
“As the oil in the sesamum-seed, the butter in the curd, water in the flowing waves, and fire in the Shami wood, so is the Atman in one’s self, to be discovered by one who searches for it through truth and austere practice."—(Brahmopanishad)—
“Seeing the Atman in all beings, and all beings in the Atman, one attains the highest Brahman, not by any other means."
1:03.14 The Upanishads always take illustrations from life. Once butter is produced, it no longer gets mixed up with the water in which you place it to keep it cool.
1:03.15 Once you have developed real purity and non-attachment, you no longer get mixed up with the world; the world no longer acts on your mind and your body. And then alone you can talk about helping others. The blind person who only knows certain fine theories can never help another blind person, however grandiloquent the words he uses may be.
I:03.16 You should all, one day, become workers, and this means making your bodies and minds fit for the Divine and for the expression of the Divine Will. So this is your duty, and this alone. Leave all other thoughts aside and steadily perform your Sadhana with ever-growing intensity.
The Lord, if He finds you really sincere and worthy, will one day make you His instrument. Purity is the watch-word for you all, purity that has become unshakeable, that is beyond anything worldlings can even imagine. So much grace is showered on you, but you must be steady and sincere to the backbone, and know how to profit by it.
I:04 - Wiesbaden, Apl 29, 1934 - (Vol.152-53)[CG 36-37]
The blending of male and female in Sri Ramakrishna I:04.01 A lady devotee says with reference to Sri Ramakrishna:
“In Sri Ramakrishna’s character we used to notice the tenderness of a woman, and a wonderful way of entering into our sentiments and the ways of our mother. We seldom looked upon him as a member of the male sex, considered him as one of us and did not feel the least constrained before him. The Master used to say to us, ‘Why do you feel shy? As long as one cherishes in one’s heart shame, hatred and fear, one can never realize God. We are all the same, and you feel shy because of the beard, isn’t it?’— Nowadays we hear the Master will not allow any woman to approach him. When we hear these words, we laugh and think we are not yet dead! What a great love he used to bear to us!”
I:04.02 Sri Ramakrishna used to advise the lady-devotees to renounce lust and wealth, and warned them again and again to beware of the snares of men.
I:04.03 For a long time Sri Ramakrishna practiced disciplines as a hand-maiden of the Divine Mother, and this made him forget that he belonged to the male sex. Patanjali tells us in his YogaSutras [YS2.35] that when one’s mind is free from hatred and aversion, human beings, even animals, forget their hatred in one’s presence. And this is true not only in the case of feelings of hatred, but also of lust and all similar passions.
1:04.08 Girish Chandra Ghosh, the great Bengali actor and dramatist, noticing the wonderful blending of male and female in Sri Ramakrishna one day asked, “Sir, are you a man or a woman?” Sri Ramakrishna replied “I do not know.”
I:04.09 You see, he renounced woman in all forms of earthly relations but he honoured woman as the Divine Mother and accepted her as spiritual guide in the Brahmani. The Brahmani was his first guru. In Sri Ramakrishna’s mind there never rose the thought that he was a man and another person a woman. He had the same attitude towards men and women, but he could not bear the presence of worldly people, neither men nor women.
1:04.10 Clear, merciless self-analysis without any romance is necessary, as we always transfer the love for the SELF to the body or to the mind or to both. Sri Ramakrishna wants us to see ourselves and others as souls, and to the extent in which we do this, we are true to Him.
1:04.11 To the extent in which we are able to approach Sri Ramakrishna’s ideal, to that extent we make our own heaven.
Control, sublimation, transmutation
1:04.13 When he who later was to be Swami Turiyananda, came to the Master, he was a tremendous hater of women. He was a strict Brahmacharin, and had always observed the strictest chastity. So the Master asked him, “How do you look upon woman?” Swami Turiyananda promptly replied, “Sir, I feel as if a tigress were going to devour me. I hate them all.” Then Sri Ramakrishna said, “My boy, you cannot go beyond their clutches by hating them. ”
I:04.14 Control is the first step, sublimation the second and final one. We can only think of others as Divine, to the extent in which we think of ourselves as Divine. When we think of ourselves as lust-bound, hatred-bound, as animals and weaklings, then we can only look upon others as animals too. This is the great point to note in spiritual life. There are some people who without themselves rising to a higher plane, want to have higher ideals. This is quite impossible, except by entertaining empty, shallow theories.
I:04.15 As long as we ourselves remain on the lower plane, the brain remains clouded. Then the sense-objects really possess a certain charm. But when we rise to the higher plane, the same objects look quite different and have no attraction whatsoever for us.
I:04.16 Rise to the plane of the Spirit. See body and mind only as something ensnaring the Spirit.
The spinal column, a spiritual barometer
I:04.17 Whenever you find the mind dwelling in lower regions, make it rise. This is a secret most people do not know.
I:04.12 The spinal column is, as it were, a kind of spiritual barometer. We should never allow the energy to remain in one of the lower centres and always force it to flow upwards. This is very hard in the case of the beginner, but there is no other solution if you really want any ultimate solution. This alone can save us, for as long as the energy is allowed to dwell in the lower centres, the question of true Brahmacharya, continence, does not even arise. No one can remain pure and at the same time allow his energy to remain down there.
I:04.20 We speak of love and become very eloquent about love, but this beautiful romantic love evaporates in a few days or months or years, or it suddenly shifts its centre and is gone, leaving nothing but misery and anguish. Have relations through the Divine only, and not in any other way. Life is not a cinema-show, nor is it a romantic novel.
Purity, preparatory factor
I:04.21 When we find great purity in anyone, we should know at once this is the approach of dawn, and that in his case the sun will rise soon. Purity is the condition of all forms of spiritual life, but it is more than the constrained purity of the moralist.
I:04.22 When the emperor intends to visit some subject, he sends his train and his furniture in advance. So purity comes as the emperor’s messenger, before he himself visits the aspirant and gives him illumination.
1:04.23 You see, spiritual life has many phases and an endless variety of experiences. It is a real life of adventure and heroism and beauty, and whoever wants these, should follow it steadily without looking back and without caring either for life or death.
There is such peace and bliss in store for you all, if you would but follow the path conscientiously without wavering.
I:05 - Wiesbaden, Apl 30, 1934 - (Vol.153-56)[CG 37-39]
Be careful with whom you associate
1:05.01 The aspirant cannot mix with everybody indiscriminately, but there should never be condemnation.
I:05.02 Unless we are able to transform others by our soul-force, it is not at all safe to associate with others. Their manifestations are not safe for us, although there is God in them too. Never think you have become saints and can associate with anybody you please. You have not become Christs. A Buddha, a Christ, a Ramakrishna, can go to a sinner, be in the company of a sinner and help, but just go and see what happens in your case! Your soul-force is not developed enough to enable you to help such people. So what you should do, is to help yourself, to perform your Sadhana steadily and intensely, to devote more and more time to your Japam and meditation and study, day by day. Then one day, you will be able to help, but you cannot help others before having solved your own problems first, for good.
Good and bad tendencies
I:05.04 We have all got in us good and bad tendencies. And the bad ones are first of all to be thrown out. “But God has given us all these desires!” True, quite true, but God has also given man the desire for self-mastery, for control. Sand and sugar have become mixed. If you do not separate them, if you do not want to listen to advice, please go and reap the consequences.
Harmony between intellect, feeling and will
I:05.05 Truth, experienced Truth, not mere theoretical truth, transforms us completely. It transforms us the moment we really respond through intellect, feeling and will. The whole being of man should respond to the ideal. In spiritual life, the one great task is to make intellect, feeling and will work harmoniously for the higher ideal.
I:05.06 To the extent in which the ideal pervades our entire being in its threefold aspect, we succeed in spiritual life.
I:05.07 If your entire being does not respond to a thing, take time to bring about the necessary harmony between intellect, feeling and will.
I:05.08 We should have more of knowledge, know how to sublimate our feelings, and possess a strong will. This is spiritual life in a nutshell.
1:05.09 And herein lies the absolute necessity of regular Japam and meditation. Make the whole mind flow along a certain definite channel. Through steady practice comes the habit of working in harmony. Without following a strict course of Sadhana nothing can ever be achieved. The mind and the body must be curbed and made to obey.
I:05.11 Our task now is to stop taking in fresh impressions, and to remove those that we already have. This is very, very important.
I:06 - Wiesbaden, May 1, 1934 - (Vol.157-62)[CG 39-43]
Is our society civilized?
I:06.01 Really civilized society gives, even to the weak person, an opportunity to evolve. It never oppresses the weak person, but tries to assist him. No society that does not do this can ever be called civilized.
I:06.02 Might is not right, brutality is not manliness in a civilized society. It is the very sign of a terrible lack of culture to make might right, and such a society is uncivilized, it is a society of savages.
I:06.03 The uncivilized savage man can do little harm, but the uncivilized "civilized man" can do any amount of harm. He becomes a demon in every respect.
I:06.04 You see, here in Europe, will has grown, intellect has grown, but not the heart. The heart has not become pure and expanded. The heart has become crippled. It is stunted, has become perverted and an instrument of hatred. We need more of brain of the right sort and more of heart.
I:06.05 A savage is infinitely more harmless than this kind of so-called civilization. You see, it is this:- When the savage learns organization and gets all possible technical means, he becomes most degenerate and dangerous. And the Asuras, the demons, the mighty Asuras, are much more powerful than the gods.
How to help society
I:06.06 If anyone can ever help society, it is only those that get out of it for good; those who get out of the whole whirlpool, and go and help individuals. Everything else is just wishful thinking.
I:06.09 If we want to be of some slight service to these herds, we ourselves must first completely rid ourselves of this herd-instinct.
What little knowledge and spirituality we possess, we should always try to share with others.
1:06.10 If you really feel and realize that this society is demoniacal, the society of brutes and savages, go and change your own nature. Then at least, there will be one savage less. Show that you at least can conquer the savage in you and bring about a change. It is very grand to help others, but the blind cannot help the blind. He should help himself first.
I:06.11 The world is bad, no doubt. Awful things are happening every day. Quite true. But then, what are you? You can only change the world, if such a thing can be said at all, to the extent in which you bring about a change in your own person: for then at least that part of the world which is you has become better and more reasonable. But we always want grand tasks, become saviours of others, but not saviours of ourselves. How childish all this is! The baby posing as a hero!
Therefore, our task is to learn how to remain in the world, but not of the world. The worldling cannot advance and cannot become a civilized human being!
I:07 - Wiesbaden, May 2, 1934 - (Vol.163-74)[CG 44-52]
How to get rid of worldliness
I:07.01 Once they get into the net, the silly fish generally try to entangle themselves all the more. Very few get out of the net again.
I:07.02 The worldly man leading an impure life and tied to ‘Woman and Gold’ has lost all capacity to think of God or to pursue any definite course of Sadhana.
I:07.03 Very often people talk of things that do good neither to themselves nor to anybody else. You should rather observe silence in such cases. There is no sense in unnecessary worldly conversation.
I:07.04 Most people who read books do not even know how to sit perfectly quiet. Or people go in for some quite unnecessary activity. They cannot sit quiet. They must be busy with random activity, like mad monkeys. This is most ridiculous.
I:07.08 In some cases it is very effective to go on ridiculing the world in order to create a terrible disgust for everything worldly and all worldly relationships. Disgust should be created in beginners, though, later on, this complex is dissolved after the dawn of illumination.
1:07.09 What are we, physically speaking, but heaps of nauseating worms and filth and dirt? Even if you try hard, you cannot keep your body clean for an hour even. And mentally, what filth and dirt and meanness! It is really nothing to make a song about if we look at our ordinary selves in a very dispassionate way.
Beware of brooding at time of meditation and Japam
I:07.05 We must have perfect faith in Japam, perfect faith in the purifying name of the Lord, perfect faith that we, by repeating it steadily and intensely, become purer and purer.
I:07.06 It is very dangerous to brood over the past and past actions with any intensity at the time of meditation and Japam.
I:08 - Wiesbaden, May 3, 1934 - (Vol.174-84)[CG 52-59]
Who is qualified for spiritual life?
I:06.10 Spiritual life does not mean that one would be awfully soft and tender. Do not become like puffed rice soaked in curds. But those who really know how to bite, should never go farther than hissing. Sentimentality and romance has nothing to do with love, and brutality has nothing whatever to do with manliness or heroism. Neither the sentimentalist nor the brute can ever rise to true manhood. You must learn to be as hard as a diamond and as soft and tender as the tenderest flower. It all depends on the case. So here, too, great discrimination and dispassionateness are absolutely necessary.
I:08.01 Whether the strength is manifest or not, it must always be there. The weakling has no place in spiritual life, neither has the lustful person. One who sincerely follows the spiritual path must have the capacity for sustained, unwavering effort, and tremendous will-power; he must not be soft or sentimental and romantic and sloppy. Tearful, mawkishly sentimental people will never be able to advance.
I:08.02 Swami Vivekananda does not want a colourless, jelly-fishy, indefinite wobbly mass of flesh and bones at all. He needs the heroic soul, the man who is a real dare-devil and cannot be curbed by sickly emotions and animal impulses, the real man who will risk anything for the sake of attaining his ideal.
Spiritual life: a glorious adventure
1:08.04 Spiritual life is such a great adventure. There is no end to spiritual experience and we feel that life is really worth living. We are no longer slaves. We truly enjoy life if we lead an out-and-out spiritual life and rise above all our petty impulses and desires and hopes. This is the only way to attain full manhood and full satisfaction in life. But the worldlings cannot even imagine such a state of freedom and bliss. They just go on groveling in the mire and think they are enjoying themselves mightily.
I:08.05 Try to follow the examples of the Great Ones. It is so elevating even to think of the lives they led. What does petty, puny little man matter after all, when we see the glory of the Divine manifesting itself through such mighty instruments? What do life and death matter? What do all our little, petty miserable attachments, likes and dislikes matter? They are shadows, standing between ourselves and the bliss that is ours if we but follow the right path and are determined to achieve something in this very life. Go on steadily with your practices: then you are sure to receive His Grace. There is no doubt.
I:09 - Wiesbaden, May 4, 1934 - (Vol.185-93)[CG 59-65]
Lower and higher learning
“Learning is of two kinds, the lower and the higher. The lower
is the knowledge of the different scriptures: the highest knowledge is that by which the imperishable Self is known."
—(Mundaka Up. 1.1.4-6)
I:09.01 The lower knowledge has its value to the extent in which it sharpens the intellect and develops our power of understanding and discrimination.
I:09.02 Real knowledge, however, is not something created by work, by effort of any kind: it is inherent, innate.
I:09.02a Discussion has its use, but only before Self-realization and as a help to real understanding. Sometimes our discussions become so very discursive that they draw us away from Reality and become an obstruction.
Vedanta means Realization
I:09.02b ‘Found your discrimination and your thoughts on
Vedanta until you fall asleep or until you die.’ This is the gist of a famous saying. We should so live that we create the proper instrument for the highest perceptions, that we become purer and purer mentally and physically, that our mirror can one day reflect the whole glory of Brahman without stains and dust. You must always remember Vedanta does not mean simply empty philosophical theorizing. It always means realization, and the practical way to realization. Vedanta without practice and without realization becomes valueless. Intellectual gymnastics may be very good to sharpen the intellect, all the intellectual faculties, but the goal is something quite different. It is not hair-splitting and then finding that, after all, the hair we have been so busy splitting was not the hair we really wanted to split! This happens in the cases of many grandiloquent intellectualists, you see. It is so ludicrous. Realization, the actual direct perception of Truth, is something very, very different from that.
No sense in wailing
I:09.03 Why complain? We go and eat the fruits of the forbidden tree, lose all intuitive faculties, and then we are where we are. It is silly to complain about evil and badness etc., as long as we ourselves do not really change our ways. How can we see things as they are, if we just wallow in the mire of lust and violent likes and dislikes, and wear glasses coloured with heaps of dirt and filth, physical and mental? There is no sense in wailing continually, “Oh, how bad the world is! How bad men are! How criminal this is!” No. It is bad, no doubt, but then, rather see that you transform your own lives and become a blessing, and let the world go on merrily with its bad ways and all its follies. What has that got to do with you?
I:09.04 Take the case of fire. It burns no end of dirt and filth and rubbish; it takes no end of shapes—the shapes of all the things it burns, good and bad. But it is never contaminated thereby. It is free. It always remains the pure uncontaminated flame.
One thing is certain: no one who cherishes hatred and dislike and aversion and attachment in his heart will ever be able to see things and connections as they are, neither will he be able to make any progress in spiritual life. First these obstructions must be removed. But who is willing to do that?
We feel so proud of our righteous anger, of all our aversions, so strong; and yet only babies act as we do. This is not the way to attain the goal.
No power in circumstances
1:09.05 The light of the sun falls on everybody alike without ever taking the limitations of the different things it falls on. The all-pervading ether or air or whatever you wish to call it, takes the shape of this room, the shape of different jars, the shape of different persons, carries the different smells along, good and bad, but it is neither limited nor contaminated by them in its real substance. There is badness, evil, dirt, in the world, but why should you be contaminated? If you are, it is your own fault. If you feel affected, it is your fault, not the fault of other persons, not the fault of circumstances. It is just your own evil desire, your own attachment, your own weakness. So, go and change that, and everything will be changed for you. Destroy your own miserable clinging to the unrealities of life, to the dolls and puppets and limitations of life, and Reality will come, will be unveiled. It is so silly to go on complaining endlessly about things and people instead of rising to another plane yourselves!
I:10 - Wiesbaden, May 5, 1934 - (Nothing read today) Callousness is not non-attachment
I:10.01 You should be non-attached, but you should not become callous to the suffering and misery of others, naturally. Callousness is not non-attachment, but selfishness, clinging to one’s own dear ego. Try to render help only to the extent in which you already have the power. Otherwise pray to your Ishtam for those who need assistance and ask Him to come to their help. If you do this sincerely and intensely, He will do what is best for them. You see, you cannot help others efficiently if you cannot help yourselves. If a boat capsizes and you and your companions fall into the river, you may be able to save one of them, but not ten. If you try to save them all, all will be drowned, including yourself.
How to deal with the poison of the world
I:10.02 So, gauge your own strength first, dispassionately, using all your discrimination. Then try to help others if the opportunity arises. Even with your vibrations, with your will-power you can do something for them, to the extent in which these are in tune with the Will of the Divine, or of the Ishtam.
I:10.03 Shiva drank the poison so that the whole world might be saved. But one must first have the capacity to assimilate the poison without being poisoned oneself. One must first attain to Shiva’s tremendous purity and non-attachment. Better begin with small doses! To the extent in which your own system becomes pure and immune, greater and greater doses of poison can be assimilated without danger. The more you feel for others, the more you wish to help them, the more you should become non-attached and be drawn towards your Ishtam, towards the Lord, and the purer you should become. Pray to the Divine for yourself as well as for others and scold Him, tell Him, “Why are you so perverse? Why are you putting so many obstructions in our way? Why are you just blinding yourself? This is your creation. See your own light!”
We must work out our karma
I:1 0.04 Above all, increase your intensity, your firm determination to achieve something. Rather die than give up. During your Sadhana, many reverses will come, many setbacks, due to all sorts of things and currents. But just manfully hold on to the chain that is going to take you to the goal. Then you are safe whatever happens. But never let go, never give in. This is the secret of achievement.
I:10.05 Do not think that henceforth everything will be smooth sailing. It will not. Your Karma must be worked out, and this means suffering and pain for everybody. But the true aspirant is glad when they come to him, for this always means that just so much of his bad Karma is annihilated. Learn to be real children of Sri Ramakrishna, no matter what happens, and pray to Him to give you unwavering faith in yourselves and in the Divine. Make the Lord your all in all.2 Then nothing else matters any more. Then you are safe at all times, wherever you are, whatever you have to pass through. Be pure, one-pointed, determined, and you are sure to attain the goal.
I:11 - Wiesbaden, May 6, 1934 - (Vol.194-96)[CG 65-67]
He alone knows Brahman who becomes Brahman “Those who give up this supremely purifying thought of Brahman, live in vain and are on the same level with beasts.
2. Reference to the hymn ‘Thou art my All in All, O Lord!’ quoted in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna p.207 (full edition), which is one the Swami recommended learning by heart for use at prayer, prior to meditation etc. (Publisher)
“Blessed indeed are those virtuous persons who at first have this consciousness of Brahman and then develop it more and more. They are respected everywhere." —(Aparokshanubhuti 130-131)
1:11.01 Truth that was reflected on the clear mirror of the mind, remains as ever in its own glory when the mirror of the mind is broken. The highest experience in spiritual life is when the mental state has completely stopped, when the bubble has become one with the ocean. ‘One who has become Brahman, he alone can know Brahman.’
“That mental state, illumined by the reflection of Pure Consciousness, makes the Supreme Brahman, unknown but identical with the individual self, its object and destroys the ignorance pertaining to Brahman. Then, just as a cloth is burnt when the threads composing it are burnt, so all the effects of ignorance are destroyed when their cause, viz., ignorance, is destroyed. Hence the mental state of absolute Oneness, which forms part of those effects, is also destroyed.
As the light of a lamp cannot illumine the lustre of the sun, but is overpowered by it, so Consciousness reflected in that state of the mind is unable to illumine the Supreme Brahman, self-effulgent and identical with the individual self, and is overpowered by it. And on the destruction of this state of absolute Oneness with which that Consciousness is associated, there remains only the Supreme Brahman, identical with the individual self, just as the image of a face in a looking-glass is resolved into the face itself, when the looking-glass is removed. ’’
Passages for meditation
“In me, the boundless ocean, the ark of the universe moves hither and thither impelled by the wind of its own nature. I am not impatient. (7.1)
“In me, the limitless ocean, let the wave of the world rise or vanish of itself. I neither increase nor decrease thereby. (7.2)
“In me, the boundless ocean, is the imagination of the universe. I am highly tranquil and formless. In this alone do I abide. (7.3)
“The self is not the object nor is the object in That which is infinite and stainless. Thus It is free from attachment and desire and tranquil. In this alone do I abide. (7.4)
“Oh, I am really Consciousness itself. The world is like a juggler’s show. So how and where can there be any thought of rejection or acceptance in me?” (7.5)
I:11.02 These are wonderful passages for meditation, and you should all think of them deeply and repeatedly. It is very good to read such passages day by day after your practices and to meditate on them and their real meaning.
Two kinds of Samadhi
Absorption (Samadhi) is of two kinds, viz. that attended with self-consciousness, and that without it.
Absorption with self-consciousness (Savikalpa Samadhi) is that in which the mental state, taking the form of Brahman, the One, without the merging of the distinction of knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge.
In that state the knowledge of the Absolute manifests itself in spite of the consciousness of the relative, as when we know a clay elephant etc., the knowledge of the clay is also present.
Thus it has been said: “I am that Brahman, the Intelligence absolute, formless like ether, Supreme, eternally luminous, birthless, the one without a second, immutable, unattached, all-pervading, ever free.”
Absorption without self-consciousness (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) is the total mergence in Brahman, the One without a second, of the mental state which has assumed IT’s form, the distinction of knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge being in this case obliterated. —(Vedantasara 5.193)—
Then, just as when salt has been dissolved in water it is no longer perceived separately, and the water alone remains, similarly, the mental state that has assumed the form of Brahman, the One without a second, is no longer perceived, and only the SELF remains. —(Vedantasara 5.198)—
Importance of ethical culture
I:11.03 As long as there is impurity, the impurity is to be removed. As long as you have got individuality, purify your individuality. Vedanta and the highest morals must always go together, but morals are never an end in themselves. They are a means and nothing but a means to the end. We have to pass through awful darkness for a very long time, and unless there be this hedge of strict ethical culture and Brahmacharya, it is not possible for a soul to grow.
I:11.04 It is really extremely ridiculous when people speak of the highest Vedanta and do not stress ethics and a pure life. People who do not stress ethical culture and discipline, should never speak about Vedanta. They are most dangerous. No Vedantic doctrine and teaching can even be understood by the impure human mind tied to ‘Woman and Gold’. Such people are all false and no Vedantins at all. Vedanta and lust and gold can never go together.
I:11.05 The horse wants to take us wherever it pleases. It is to be curbed and broken in and then to be taken along the right path with a tremendous effort of the will. Hold tight the reins! The horse is ever ready to create trouble.
I:12 - Wiesbaden, May 7, 1934 - (Vol.196-101)[CG 67-70]
Good and evil: are they real?
I:12.01 In the domain of relativity there are gradations. Now, in our present state of ignorance, both good and evil are real to us. So the bad is to be avoided and the good to be taken up. From the standpoint of the man of vision everything is unreal.
I:12.02 We on the plane of ignorance, steeped in ignorance as we are, bound by all sorts of childish whims and desires and passions, must always be on our guard. To the man of vision to whom the Atman is the only Reality, and by whom It is experienced as such at all times, the world is neither good nor bad. Even if we question the reality of things, it helps us to a certain extent. This whole identification with what is not really real must be constantly undermined, and finally shattered for ever.
I:12.03 Unless our attitude changes, unless all our reactions,ideas and feelings are completely overhauled and changed, unless our vision of life changes, it is impossible for us to transform ourselves completely and make any substantial progress.
I:12.05 The bad is as real as the good, to us, while we are on the plane of ignorance and are instruments of ignorance, but to the perfected soul both are equally unreal and unsubstantial. You see, it is this: the good can never be real and the evil unreal. This is absurd, though some persons would like it to be so. Such people are out-and-out pleasure-seekers and slaves to their own craving for the pleasant. They are fools, not wise men.
How to awaken from this world-dream
“Atman (the seer) in Itself is alone permanent, the seen is opposed to it (i.e., transient)—such a settled conviction is truly known as discrimination.”—(Aparokshanubhuti 5)—
I:12.06 The world is constantly changing and as such no permanent peace or blessedness can be had in it. The first dawn of discrimination brings us the recognition that this world is changing, unstable, unreliable in every respect. And to the extent in which we are able to break down our ego and our attachment, this whole world-dream gradually vanishes. First we see only shadows, then even these shadows and their phantom-like play stops.
I:12.07 Truth transcends all knowledge, but Truth can be directly experienced once the instrument of perception is created.
I:12.08 It is very difficult for us to think that what we call our personality is also quite unreal. Only when we blast our personality, do we become one with the Absolute and gain freedom.
I:12.09 In order to develop a spirit of non-attachment, it is very helpful to look upon the objects of the world as constantly changing. What is finite, cannot give us infinite peace and security. What is evanescent, cannot bring us any permanence.
I:12.10 To the extent in which we develop a spirit of renunciation, it will be possible for us to understand Vedanta more and more. Vedanta cannot be properly understood by an impure mind.
I:12.11 We should never think that God has given us perfect senses, and that what we perceive with the senses is real and reliable, and other things are unreal. Your radio-set receives endless electrical waves, but your senses cannot receive them in any conscious way before they have been transformed by your radio.
I:12.12 Only when we have got the powerful instrument needed, can we see. Things that we cannot perceive with our gross mind, we can perceive with our purified mind.
I:12.13 The scientist needs his telescope and microscope for some of his most important discoveries. Without these he cannot see. So without a perfected and purified instrument, we cannot see really.
1:12.14 The senses are deluding us, and the senses have only got their limited, distorted and distorting vision.
I:12.15 The spiritual man, having more powerful instruments, is able to perceive, see, feel more than others, and all this in a less and less distorted way.
I:12.16 The whole trouble is the preparation of the instrument takes such a long time, but when it is ready, you see everything at a glance.
I:12.18 So we must have infinite singleness of mind, infinite determination, infinite patience. Let us go on and on just preparing the instrument with all possible care, the mental instrument more than anything else. This means time and great perseverance, unwavering conviction that the way we are shown can take us to the goal if we only apply ourselves to it with our whole heart, will and intellect.
I:12.19 What the Great Ones have realized, can be verified by every one of us. And the means of realization lies within us always. The man of realization becomes so as the result of having verified these truths himself. Mere faith will not do, but revelation never fails. If it is a direct revelation, it always reveals Truth, and the Truth is always the same to all, if it is the Truth.
I:12.20 To everyone who follows the right process, the vision will be the same,—but all conditions must have been fulfilled in such a case. The right methods must have been applied.