I:13 - Wiesbaden, May 8,1934 - (Vol.1102-107)[CG 71-74]

Brahman, the eternal witness

I:13.01 Evolution always means that that which is simple becomes complex, that which is homogeneous becomes heterogeneous.

I:13.02 Within the domain of relativity we find this diversity everywhere. The clay elephant is very, very different from the clay mouse. The ripple is quite different from the wave. The wave is different from the ocean, and even the ocean is different from the waer-substance. The bubble can never be Ishwara, as a bubble, but the real substance of the bubble is Brahman and can realize its being Brahman. Manifestations are different. Substance is one. As long as we go on stressing manifestations, clinging to a particular form— mental or physical—in ourselves and in others, realization of Brahman is quite impossible; real growth is impossible. Brahman is the uncaused cause of all things, when seen from our side, while we are still enveloped in ignorance. On attaining illumination, we realize that It has never been the cause of anything at all.

I:13.03 That by which the mind is able to think, how to think of That? That by which everything is known, how to know That? With the help of the sun we see everything, but the sun does not stand in need of any other light.

I:13.04 We are so caught up in the net of the changing things that we are not able to perceive that which stands as the Eternal Witness and exists under all circumstances. Without that Consciousness it is not possible for us even to feel that we are. Even the ocean cannot exist if there is no water-substance.

I:13.05 Materially, our bodies are small whirlpools in an ocean of matter. Our small minds whirlpools in an ocean of mind. Our little limited souls whirlpools in the Cosmic Soul. But all this still belongs to the phenomenal. It is not the one and only Reality of Brahman.

“Brahman, being self-luminous, does not depend on the individual Consciousness for Its illumination." (Pahcadasi 7.92)

—(Vedantasara 4.176)—

I:13.06 The Absolute, Brahman is realized when the individual ceases to be. It is not possible for the poor salt-doll to gauge the depth of the ocean. It cannot retain its doll-individuality and at the same time be one with the ocean.

Do not cling to the form

I:13.08 It should be the attempt of the devotee to try to think in terms of at least the Cosmic, of which everything here is a manifestation.

I:13.09 To us, the form appears to be the only reality. So we cling to the form, want to appropriate the form of some other person, his physical or mental form or both, and then we come to grief again and again. What is the poor puppet without the person who really pulls the strings and makes it move? A poor, lifeless, ridiculous thing, scarcely worth to be looked at. But who cares for him who moves it? The form is but a shadow and without light no shadow would even be possible. And our trouble is we care not for the light, but get tremendously attached to the helpless little shadow.

“Bondage consists only in desire, and its destruction is said to be liberation. By non-attachment to the world alone is attained constant joy of the realization (of the Self)."

—(Ashtavakra Samhita 10.4)—

Who is willing to follow Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings?

I:13.07 The infinite grandeur of Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings is that he shows us how to realize all this step by step, how to approach the goal safely and efficiently. But who wants to follow him? Who really does and acts up to what he is being told by his teacher? Who performs his Japam and meditation, all his practices steadily, energetically, intensely, day by day, so that they can bear fruit? Who is willing to renounce his silly likes and dislikes, personal clinging, personal claims on others, hatred and aversion? No one wants to do it, but then they all come and complain, “Oh, I have not attained anything in spite of my efforts!” What efforts? It is not so easy as all that!

Necessity of Sadhana to purify the mental instrument I:13.11 After having studied the scriptures, a strict regular and prolonged course of Sadhana is absolutely necessary. Without daily intense spiritual practice the question of realizing anything would not even arise. Now there should be serious attempt at realization. Drop all half-heartedness.

1:13.16 You should all study these things again and again, ponder over them, think of them, make them your very own, and always try to find out the deeper meanings that may still be hidden from you. If you do, you will see what a mine of wealth they are going to yield, what a great help and what staunch reliable friends they are.

I:13.17 The greater the purification of our mental instrument, the purer our life and our will, the better we come to understand the words of the Great Ones, their real meaning, all their implications; and the greater does our longing grow to attain something ourselves, to change our life, to transform the base ore of our ordinary life into the pure gold of Divine realization.

“After realization, humility and other attributes which are steps to the attainment of knowledge, as also such virtues as non-injury etc., persist like so many ornaments.

Thus it has been said, ‘Such qualities as non-violence etc., come spontaneously to a man who has got Self-knowledge. They have not to be sought after.(Naishkarmya-siddhi 4.69)”

(Vedantasara 6.224-225)—

1:13.18 Let us be up and doing before this instrument of ours becomes too weak and too decrepit for our own salvation and for the welfare of others. There is no end of bliss in store, for all who sincerely and one-pointedly aspire after Truth, but first, all the obstacles must be removed with great determination. Think of the tremendous determination of the Buddha, that night when he sat down under the Bodhi-tree! This should be your attitude, too:

“Let my body fall, let my body perish, let it die in the attempt, but let me not give it up before I have reached the goal.

Only to those who have this sort of doggedness will realization come. Not to the laggards and half-hearted beggars who always want something from phenomenal life. This path is not for them.

I:14 - Wiesbaden, May 9,1934 - (Nothing Read)

What is the subtle body?

I:14.01 The subtle bodies are what are known as the Linga Shariras having seventeen parts.

The component parts (of the Linga Sharira) are the five organs of perception, the intellect, the mind, the five organs of action and the five vital forces.

The five organs of perception are the ears, the skin, the eyes, the tongue and the nose.

—(Vedantasara 2.61-63)—

Intellect (Buddhi) is that modification of the internal instrument (Antahkarana) which determines.

The mind (Manas) is that modification of the internal instrument which considers the pros and cons of a subject (Sankalpa and Vikalpa).

—(Vedantasara 2.65-66)—

Memory (Chitta) is that modification of the inner organ (antahkarana-vritti) which remembers.

Egoism (Ahamkara) is that modification of the inner-organ which is characterized by Self-consciousness.

—(Vedantasara 2.68-69)—

The organs of action are the organs of speech, the hands, the feet and the organs of evacuation and generation.

—(Vedantasara 2.75)—

As long as desire which is the abode of the state of indiscrimination continues, there will verily be the sense of attachment and aversion, which is the branch and sprout of the (tree of) Samsara.    —(Ashtavakra Samhita 16.7)—

Thus, through ignorance arises in the Atman the delusion of the body, which, again, through Self-realization, disappears in the supreme Atman. —(Aparokshanubhuti 87)—

I:14.03    Sankaracharya says: “That which is a power dwelling inthis physical ear, of which this physical ear is like an abode, is a special power for receiving sounds.

I:14.04    You see, for everything, the vibrations are there, even if you, owing to your faulty senses, do not perceive them. Think of your radio set or even of the telephone. Your ears cannot hear that kind of vibrations, yet they are there, and once they come to the right instrument, they are transformed, so that you can perceive them. So for the beginner everything is a question of creating the right instrument for receiving the subtler vibrations of life. Behind everything there stands a very, very subtle power, giving it life. So you should all seek to heighten your sensibility, to become very sensitive in a higher sense.

I:14.05    The Vedantic teacher goes much further than the physiologist. He says, there is something, a vital energy that makes even the brain-centre alive. The physiologist sees the material centres, as it were, but not that which makes them work, which gives them life, which makes them fit for their work.

I:14.06    This is the case with reference to all organs. There always is the subtle energy—this subtle power, the subtle sense of the ear, the subtle sense of the eye, etc.,—that is always quite different from the gross physical instrument.

I:14.07    The organs of action have also some very subtle power at their back, and the ‘organs of action’ spoken of in the Scriptures are always the subtle ones, not their gross physical manifestations.

This should never be misunderstood when reading such passages in the Vedantasara etc. Western scholars very often do not grasp this fully and distort the real meaning of such passages.

I:14.09 There is a subtle power that is connected with the subtle body, that manifests itself through the gross organ. And there is a subtle body. I can feel all the different sheaths quite distinctly.

I:14.10 To the soul, the Jiva, even all these organs are outer organs, because it has to work with all these material instruments of the body. If a thing is subtle, this does not mean that it is not material. There is subtle matter and all things mental are nothing but matter, too.

I:14.13 The Antahkarana (the ‘inner organ’) consists of Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara.3

1:14.14 It is all one synthetic energy, though it is given various names according to its various functions. Just as the same electric energy can be modified into light, heat etc., etc. It is one thing modifying itself into many things. The oneness of the energy should never be overlooked by the student.

The Self is distinct from the subtle body

I:14.15 The SELF is something distinct from the subtle body, but it has become ‘associated’ with it. Until the highest knowledge dawns on one, this complex—the ‘association’4 of the soul with the subtle body etc., will never break up.

I:14.16 According to this analysis, the ego is a modification of the inner organ. The modification rises, and then we identify ourselves with it.

I:14.17 The part of your mind that watches another part of your mind, gets, to a greater extent, the reflection of the Self. But all this is within the domain of the mind. It is not realization at all. But as a means, you must increase this faculty of the mind, this faculty of the ‘Witness’ standing aloof and watching all the bubbles and waves and ripples of thought and impulses rising in the lake of the mind. This is one of the principal paths leading to control. Learn to be wide-awake, always. Learn to discover every desire, every impulse, every thought, the very moment it begins to rise as a tiny, scarcely perceptible

3.    Cf. Vedantasara65-66 and 68-69 and note onp.49of 1949 ed.(Adv. Ashrama).

4.    Sam-yoga.

bubble, and then prick it at once. This is a very troublesome affair for most beginners. We are neither asleep nor awake. We are so dull and so impervious to higher vibrations, that it requires a lot of energy and determination to become really wide-awake and to be up and doing.

I:15 - Wiesbaden, May 19,1934 - (Vol.1107-110)[CG 74-77]

Development of the intuitive faculty

I:15.01 The purified ego is like a very bright mirror. Its reflection is very bright, but it is, after all, nothing but a reflection.

I:15.02 What is wanted is the development of the intuitive faculty that makes one realize the presence of the Divine in a direct way. Even in the path of out-and-out Jnana, what reveals the Truth is not reasoning and ratiocination at all, but direct intuitive vision.

I:15.03 When the salt-doll ceases to be, it becomes one with the ocean. When the individual gives up all the limiting adjuncts [upadhis] he becomes one with the Absolute. The Absolute cannot be known, but one can become one with IT.

I:15.04 So the knower has to transcend his mind and become one with the Absolute. The mind must be blasted, destroyed. Everything must first be thrown off.

I:15.05 The man of realization feels ITS working in all states of consciousness. His knowledge never leaves him. He has no decision to make, because for him there is no choice between two or more ways, but only one way. Everything else becomes like shadows. He is the Eternal Witness of all things.

I:15.06 It is the self-luminous Principle that does not stand in need of any other thing to illumine It.

I:15.07 The highest physical and mental purity is necessary if one wishes to attain It, and not merely that:— one must also transcend the purified mind in order to be one with the Impersonal Principle. The purified mind becomes an instrument for the realization of the manifestations of the Personal God as spiritual forms.

I:15.08 A new body, a new instrument of spiritual vision is formed in the course of one’s spiritual practice, and without this new body, no perception of the Truth is possible. Sadhana is absolutely necessary, and strict regular Sadhana at that. The body, the mind that is fit for spiritual vision must first be created, and this is the sense and meaning and importance of Sadhana. This new instrument is quite different from the ordinary body, the ordinary mind.

I:15.09 The body, the senses, the vital energies, the mind,—are all to be polarized in a certain definite way.

The Personal and the Impersonal God

I:15.10 There are manifestations of the Personal God, and these manifestations are a great help on our path. Their help is very important for every aspirant, but, always remember that the Formless is at the back of the form, that without the Formless the form could not even manifest itself. The Personal God is not separate from the Impersonal, but another aspect of the same Being.

“The manifestation of the Personal God is often a spiritual form which is seen only by the purified human soul. In other words, these forms are realized by the organs of spiritual vision, belonging to that spiritual body which is derived from the Lord. Not every one, but only the perfect man can see these Divine Forms through the grace of my MOTHER."—(Sri Ramakrishna)

“At times, when the conviction, ‘I am the body’, clings to me, I worship Thee as the One undivided God; then I look upon myself as a part of Thee—a fragment, as it were, of Divinity! At other times, I meditate upon Thee as my Divine Master, and think of myself as Thy servant. When, however, I am blessed, O Rama, with knowledge of God the Absolute, I see, I realize that I am THOU and THOU art me!"(Hanuman)—

“The wise should always think with great care of the invisible, the visible and everything else, as his own Self which is consciousness itself.

Having reduced the visible to the invisible, the wise should think of the universe as one with Brahman. Thus alone will he abide in eternal felicity with the mind full of consciousness and bliss." —(Aparokshanubhuti 141-142)—

I:15.10a This state is always a heightening of consciousness, not a falling down to the subliminal level, which is very bad and very dangerous. It is not an unconscious state, but a superconscious state. It is quite different from unconsciousness.

I:15.11 The spiritual aspirant should always see that in all his moods, he is able to establish some connection or other with the

Lord. He should never feel cut off from Him. The contact must always be kept up.

I:15.12 In every state of consciousness, attempts should be made to stay in tune with God in some form or other. This is very, very important.

I:16 - Wiesbaden, May 11,1934 - (Vol.1111-114)[CG 77-80]

The way to the Impersonal lies through the Personal

I:16.01    The way to the Impersonal is always through the Personal. We cannot go to the terrace all of a sudden. No one can see the Father who has not seen the Son. However greatly the Absolute may appeal to us, to our intellect, the Absolute cannot be reached by mere intellectual speculation.

I:16.02    The trouble is that we go on thinking that we are the garment, the vesture, the shell, in which we happen to be clothed. To what nation, race, caste, class, colour, does the SELF belong? We cannot progress as long as we go on identifying ourselves with any of these. So all these conceptions must be steadily undermined through intense spiritual practice if we ever want to reach the goal.

“The Vedas do not cleanse him who is wanting in good conduct."—(Brahma Sutras)—

The main condition for realization is purity

I:16.02a Those who do not perform their practices regularly and intensely will not achieve anything. They will just remain where they are, perhaps gain a certain widening of outlook, intellectually, not as the effect of any glimpse or realization. But that is all. They will just remain atheists. Realization in any form cannot be had without paying the full price.

I:16.04    Purity is very necessary, and what real purity means, you cannot even imagine in your present state. It is much more than a little physical and a little mental purity, much more than avoiding the grossest forms of impurity and curbing the grossest physical and mental desires. The task is very very great.

I:16.05    Only when the ego is removed, our sense of unity is realized. And without attaining unity, the goal is not attained.

I:16.06    Our whole individuality must be purified. Now, it is most impure, coloured as it is by no end of physical and mental desires, passions, instincts etc. To the purified ego (mind) the Lord reveals Himself in a flash. So what stands between us and realization is just that impurity. Nothing else. If we were pure, realization would reveal itself in a moment. Never blame anybody else, never blame circumstances, but go and blame yourselves. The fault is yours and yours alone.

I:16.08    Peace can be had only by refusing to become identified with any of the limiting adjuncts. There are friends and friends. You should make the SELF your friend and give up all false friends, however pleasant they are. The false friend always helps you in clinging to false conceptions, to false personalities, and above all to himself. This is one of the greatest obstructions we create for ourselves and it must be removed.

There should be no clinging, no aversion, no likes and dislikes, but a dispassionate aloofness, which does not exclude love in its widest sense, uncaused love radiating everywhere without ever raising any personal end, no personal object in view.

I:16:07    The conception of God with attributes but without form corresponds to the ocean. God with attributes and with form is the mighty wave. And we are the bubbles.

I:17 - Wiesbaden, May 12,1934 - (Vol.1114-117)[CG 79-81]

More experience — less talk

I:17.06 Put greater stress on your experience than on your talks, that is the central idea. Without spiritual experience no one has really gained anything. Frothy, high-sounding talks do not mean anything, do not make a person spiritual at all. These can be had without purity; spiritual experience never. But we are so beggarly, generally, that we are content with the mental form of enjoyment such talks give us; but it is after all just enjoyment, and nothing but that. You have heard so much, you know so much, theoretically. Now go, perform your practices with great intensity and realize for yourselves what you have heard. Otherwise it has all been just a waste of time, and our time might have been better employed.

All those who are sincere, can attain something, get at least a glimpse, but only if they stick to their path whatever happens, and go through their daily practices with great conscientiousness and perseverance. Not otherwise.

“An indescribable state is attained by the sage whose mind has melted away and who is free from the display of the mind, and from delusion, dream and dullness." —(Ashtavakra Samhita 17.20)

I:18 - Wiesbaden, May 13, 1934 - (No passages read)

Jnana means direct perception of Truth I:18.01    In the Kena Upanishad, we read:

“Brahman is truly comprehended by him who knows It as incomprehensible. He knows It not, who thinks It is comprehended by him. It is unknown to those who know and known to those who do not know."—(Kena Up. 2.3)—

“If a man knows It here, then there is truth: if he does not know This here, then there is the great destruction for him. The wise having realized that Atman in all beings, and departing from this world, become immortal."—(Kena Up. 2.5)—

I:18.02 This means that we have to transcend our mind, our empirical, intellectual knowing, before we can realize It. Jnana is not intellectual knowledge. It has nothing to do with superfine intellectual systems and theories, but real Jnana means direct perception of Truth, Self-realization, and can only be attained after a long and strenuous process of physical and mental purification. So many people talk glibly about the ‘Absolute’, about ‘Oneness’ etc., etc., but what does it mean after all? What do these wonderful ‘Jnanis’ know? Nothing. It is just empty, grand-sounding talk. That is all. The out-and-out dualist who has realized something is more than those wonderful ‘Jnanis’ who look down upon the dualists and their God.

“He has gained the fruit of Knowledge as well as of the practice of Yoga, who, contented and with purified senses, ever enjoys being alone." —(Ashtavakra Samhita 17.1))—

I:18.03    This is the test for the true Jnani, you see. And theAshtavakra Samhita goes on to say:

5. Comment: A man of Self-knowledge has his mind completely purged of all delusion, inertia, etc., that obstruct the vision ofthe Reality. In such a state of the mind all its functions, Vrittis, cease to operate and it is as good as destroyed. Then the final realization bursts forth of which no description is ever possible. [Ashtavakra Samhita trans. by Swami Nityaswarupananda p.143, Advaita Ashrama, 2nd edition 1953].

“Oh, the knower of Truth is never miserable in this world, for the whole universe is filled by himself alone.

No sense-objects ever please him who delights in Self even as the leaves of the Neem tree do not please an elephant who delights in the Sallaki leaves. ’’

—(Ashtavakra Samhita 17.2-3)—

I:18.04 In a way, spiritual life means breaking down the false personality and asserting the true personality.

I:18.05 If this personality is false, why not remember this all the time? Why not follow a determined course and realize the Truth?

How to purify the physical, mental & causal body I:18.06 Our whole trouble is that our physical body and our mental body are not properly prepared, and then nothing can be achieved. So in the life of every aspirant there is a long period of preparation, which sometimes lasts many, many years.

I:18.07 First the physical body must be purified. Then the mental body and finally the causal body too, which is the most difficult task of all.

I:18.08 It is quite easy to avoid impure physical contact with others and to maintain the surface-purity of the body, but it is very difficult to purify the whole organism. The deeper you go, the greater the trouble. The whole nervous system, all the nerve-currents should be so adjusted that it helps us in our spiritual striving. All the organs, even our breath, are to be so directed that they help us in our spiritual practice. A sort of ‘polarization’ is to be brought about. And then comes the purification of the subtle body through purer, holier thought.

I:18.09 You should all see that no further energy is allowed to go to the senses than that which is absolutely necessary for keeping the body in good health. All the remaining energy must be directed into different channels away from the organs of sense and expression through the senses.

I:18.10 After that, the intellect must be purified, and the will must be directed along higher channels, and all our feelings must be sublimated.

I:18.11 Manas, Buddhi, Chitta, as well as our ego, must be purified.

I:18.14 Instead of having intensity, determination, doggedness of obstinacy along the wrong lines, for the wrong things, have them along the right lines for the right things. And for that, better, more dispassionate judgment, and better, more definite knowledge is necessary.

I:18.15 The task in higher Vedanta is not merely the purification of all these three bodies, but the destruction of them all. But the purification comes first. Before we bombard or blast this personality, the encrustations must be made as thin as possible.

Procedure for Meditation I:18.16 Procedure for meditation:

•    Just after sitting for meditation, first of all feel the centre of consciousness intensely, the centre where you meditate; and think your self to be a Divine Spark, which goes to the lowest centre, the Muladhara, and from there rises again to Sahasrara.

In this, the physical body is forgotten, only the spark remains. There should be no idea of the physical body at all. Try to divest yourself of all limiting adjuncts. Think of the Infinite Divine Effulgence that fills this centre of consciousness, that fills all centres, that fills the whole universe.

[This is a very effective form of practice and meditation.]

•    As we rise higher and higher from the Muladhara centre, we take all the thoughts belonging to that particular centre with us and merge them in the Infinite Light.

•    We should think that our gross, subtle and also our causal body with all its differentiations, limitations etc., is merged in the Infinite Light.

•    And then, finally, let the spark also get merged in that Infinite Effulgence. Remain in that state if you can, thinking of the infinite ocean of light: Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. If you can remain in that state, that will be real Vedantic meditation.

•    Think, as a training for your mind, that your personality, your dear ones, your whole property, the whole world gets lost and dissolved. Try to merge everything, every thought which rises up in your mind, into the Infinite Light.

[Truth is not effulgence, not physical light, but you must have that idea, lest your mind becomes a perfect blank, which is very, very dangerous for the beginner.]

•    And then have intense Japam, just to help your meditation.

•    Create, as it were, a luminous body, a holy spark, and then dissolve them in the ocean, personal-impersonal.

I:18.25 Have this procedure as an important part of your daily meditation and, after some practice, you will find it takes just two minutes, not more. Your will-power is to be developed. We must proceed step by step. No high-flying theories without practice and realization. We are not out for intellectual enjoyment, which is but sense-enjoyment after all.

I:18.26 In the course of your meditation, thoughts of others will come. Then think of them also as luminous and merge them in the ocean. This merging is a very important factor.

I:18.27 Every day before Japam or before meditation, make the mind pass through this procedure. If anything rises in the mind, make it melt, dissolve it, merge it.

I:18.29 This process helps us in coming into touch with the Immanent aspect of Vedanta.

I:18.28 Say to all these things, pure and impure, pleasant and unpleasant: “Get merged in the ocean and be at rest! Or, meditate like me, but do not trouble me furtherI”

I:18.30 Sometimes in our thoughts we quarrel with people. Better tell them, “Get merged!”, and tell every one of them, “Realize your true nature!”

I:18.31 Sometimes some prayer also helps:

“The face of Truth lies hidden under thy gold orb. That do thou open, O Sun, that I, who am devoted to the Truth alone, may see It.”—(Isha Upanishad 15)—

I:18.32 You want to see the real Truth at the back of things and not get blinded by the splendour of Its reflections.

“O Thou, the lonely courser of heaven, the supporter and controller of all, O son of Prajapati, O sun, contract Thy rays, withdraw Thy light; may I behold now through Thy grace Thy most blessed form; I am indeed HE, that Purusha—who dwells there. Now, let my breath go unto the all-pervading, immortal Prana, and let this body too, be reduced to ashes. Remember my past deeds, O mind, remember!”—(Isha Upanishad 17)—

I:18.33 False light, as it were, covers the surface of the true light. The light of the sun prevents us from seeing the truth. Everywhere the false light, the false glamour, attracts us, and we forget even to think of the truth that is behind all this deceptive glamour.

Always have the centre of your consciousness fixed

I:18.34 You should always, under any circumstances, have the centre of your consciousness fixed. When a trouble arises, go there. When temptation in any form approaches you, go there. When any evil impulse wants to take shape, go there. When you get kicks and blows from the outside world, go there. Keep it fixed at all times. Make it your very home. Without this shifting of the centre of consciousness, it is an impossible task to gain control. And you cannot efficiently shift your centre of consciousness and keep it fixed, nor can you change the nerve-currents and make them flow along higher channels, unless you perform your practices steadily for a long time.

I:18.35 Sometimes, owing to our old habits, the centre of our consciousness goes down even if we try to raise it, and then, at once, all kinds of thoughts peculiar to that centre begin to bubble up. Always think of yourself as a soul, not as a thinking entity or a body.

1:18.36 Effective thought-currents must always be raised to counter, and break down the false thought-currents that perpetuate our false sense of personality and our clinging to it.

Post-meditation procedure

I:18.37 And, after meditation, have some set prayers that must be repeated every day. Along with these prayers also, repeat some of the fine stanzas of Sankaracharya. When repeating Sankara’s passages, when saying, “I am not the body" etc., etc., think intensely, “This body is not myself" etc., etc. The thought must have great intensity behind it.

I:18.40 All this is a combination of the negative and the positive methods of spiritual practice. Deny the body and all that, and assert the existence of the SELF, but assert it intensely, vigorously, with your whole being. However, under no circumstances should there be any blank in the mind. The mind should never be allowed to become a blank, not even for a short time.

I:18.41 For many beginners, this brings about a headache. Some even get completely unsettled for a time. But then there are so many other things that bring us headaches. Why not have this for a change, for something that is good.

The whole course of life has to be changed

I:18.42 Our nearest and dearest we have made strangers. SHE who is our very dearest has become a perfect stranger to us. But we cling instead to all sorts of miserable little puppets, to all sorts of flimsy trashy shows that won’t bring peace.

I:18.43 The whole course of our life has to be changed. We must undo what we have done. We have, as it were, thrown our friend out, and then allowed our enemies to come in and live with us. So there should be counter-actions and counter-thoughts, to undo our former bad actions and bad binding thoughts. This should be done intensely and at all times, not only during our practices.

I:18.45 The task is a long and difficult one and requires grand heroism and perseverance. Spiritual life is not a bed of roses, but real up-hill work.

I:19 - Wiesbaden, May 14,1934 - (Vol.1117-126)[CG 81-87]

The ‘seed’ of Japam

I:19.09 A seed always appears to be very simple, even the seed of a mighty tree. But if we water it, nurture it, look after it properly, give it plenty of sun, it becomes a mighty tree some day. It is likewise with the repetition of the Lord’s name, with Japam, which seems such an absurd, such a simple practice to us. Japam is like so many seeds of a mighty tree. The sound-symbol takes us to the Divine. Word and thought are inseparably connected, so is thought and substance. So the sound takes us to the thought, and the thought to the Reality.

Consciousness is an end in itself

1:19.10 Consciousness is the goal, and consciousness is an end in itself. Our present conscious range has become very narrow. It has no depth. It is like a sheet of paper. So we should increase our awareness, our sensibility. We should become really conscious. The higher state of consciousness must be brought down into everyday life. We must be able to maintain at least a little of it at all times, not only during our practices. And with steady daily practice this can be done. Then we are comparatively safe. Not before.

I:20 - Wiesbaden, May 15,1934 - (Vol.1126-138)[CG 87-96]

The awakened Kundalini Shakti

1:20.01 Some forms of Tantrika worship are very psychological and a great help in our Sadhana. Pranayama can be a very efficient means to remove lesser and bigger sins. And the aspirant feels that he has got a new personality, purified of all its dross and alloy. The called-up Kundalini-fire burns up the old, impure personality and brings a new spiritual awareness. In all cases, what comes up again is a new personality that comes from the light. Our task now is to break the false personality. It is bent on dogging us, but it can be burnt completely. It can be killed through the fire of knowledge or the all-devouring fire of the awakened Kundalini Shakti. But the process is very dangerous, and should not be attempted by those not leading a perfectly pure life, sexually and mentally. If the Kundalini falls down again, the nerves are shattered or it may even mean the lunatic asylum for life.

Why most people do not improve in spiritual life

I:20.05 Most people do not improve in spiritual life, because the old self is not resolutely thrown overboard. You cannot go on clinging to the old self and its associations and yet progress. There must be a tremendous desire to overhaul everything, to lay new foundations if necessary. The wrong foundations are to be dug up, completely, mercilessly. Throw away everything that is old and wrong. New wine should be put into new bottles. The old bottles will always keep something of the old smell.

I:20.05a Do it manfully. Bless the pain if it brings pain. Without this uprooting, however painful it may be, you cannot advance along the right lines. You cannot recover without a strong curative crisis. You should not commit fresh evil and fresh impure actions, and should forget all the old things, all old associations, all past impressions, uproot them and burn them. Let the past, good or bad, pure and impure, be forgotten, dissolved, completely effaced. The mind is the cause of our freedom, and the mind is the cause of our bondage, and finally the mind has to be transcended for good.

I:20.04 There must be relentless training of the will, sublimation of all our feelings, and enlightenment of the intellect. All this is a slow and troublesome process in the case of most people. But what we all have to do with great energy is to put our shoulder to the wheel.

Dynamic faith and realization

1:20.03 Even the out-and-out Jnani must have tremendous faith in the holy symbol and in the path that he follows. Burning faith should lead one to realization. Faith must have a dynamic aspect. Dynamic faith transforms because it is based on Truth.

I:20.06 Faith is to be verified through realization. Most of us do not feel the necessity of realization or do not think realization is possible. We wait patiently for some hazy hereafter. This form of religion is no good. What is the use of dreaming of something I cannot realize here and now? Here in this very life? Wishful thinking will not lead us anywhere. Such ‘faith’ is not really dynamic, but a dope.

I:20.07 We should try to see some tangible result as early as possible, not only at some vague future time in this life. We have to be free, as soon, as early as possible. There must be a tremendous irresistible intensity in our soul.

1:20.08 Realize the marvellous intensity of Ramprasad’s songs. How his soul longs for the MOTHER, clings to the MOTHER, is filled by the thought of the MOTHER. Ramprasad was one of our Bengali poets. He lived in the middle of the 18th century. Sri Ramakrishna loved his songs and used to sing many of them to his disciples and to the devotees visiting him. They are so full of intense spiritual longing, so full of dedication and unflagging devotion. If only we possessed the tenth part of his yearning, everything would soon be all right for us.

I:21 - Wiesbaden, May 16, 1934 - (Vol.1138-147)[CG 96-102]

Free yourselves from hatred and dislike I:21.01 It is one of the conditions of effective Sadhana to be as straightforward as possible. One should be free from all crookedness and all vindictiveness and hatred. The bent iron is to be straightened. All feelings of dislike in whatever form they may make their appearance are to be subdued and dissolved. We may salute a bad manifestation from a safe distance, but we should never feel any hatred or dislike for it. Hatred and dislike are no solution at all. They are simply the reverse of attachment and desire. You will never be able to progress as long as you cherish any negative feelings with reference to anything.

I:22 - Wiesbaden, May 17, 1934 - (Vol.1147-155)[CG 102-108]

Bhakti-Yoga specially adapted to our present age 1:22.03 If love of God is intensified, love of the world becomes attenuated, less and less strong, until it disappears completely. Bhakti Yoga is a very natural process. There is far less strain in it than in the other Yogas, and it is specially adapted to our present age.

I:22.04 The worldly-minded householder has no means of salvation. Salvation is not yet for him. He will have to pass through more incarnations, until he reaches the stage when he can begin to make some headway towards the goal. The worldly man has no place in spiritual life, neither can he really enjoy life. He has no real experience of true bliss. He is full of all sorts of anxieties, awfully anxious about many things, always running wildly after the enjoyments of life, and never really enjoying life. You cannot enjoy life, realize the bliss of life, if there is still attachment in you, if you still feel aversion and hatred and attraction and are a slave to all your bodily and mental impulses, good and bad, rising from the subconscious. No man who has entangled himself in the world, in the snares of lust and greed and power, will ever be able to live, to find fulfilment. He is always running after some will-o’-the-wisp, after the mirage that can never quench his thirst. But then, this can only be known by the man of realization, who has come to know what life really is, who has attained to Bliss.

All this is a product of Maya—and Maya Herself is unreal

1:22.05 If you address Maya as Mother, she at once becomes disarmed, and cannot look upon you except as a child.

1:22.10 Before true discrimination is born in us, we should always think that God alone is real. And this is not just thinking of the ‘horns of a hare’ or of the ‘son of a barren woman’. It is thinking of something that is. “If the hare has got horns, then this world is real” say the Upanishads.

I:22.11 All this is a product of Maya, and Maya Herself is unreal. Therefore one should not entertain any fear, and one should always think of Brahman, think that one is no other than Brahman. Even the mind with which one fears, ceases to be, is blasted.

1:22.02 When we speak of the Immanent, we do not stress the form-aspect, but the Atman-aspect, the one at the back of the many.

“Meditate that you are no other than the SAT-CHIT-ANANDA, and that this world does not exist."(Upanishads)—

I:22.12 This is the reality of the world:

“The son of a childless woman having had a bath in the waters of a mirage, carrying in his hand a bow made of the horns of a hare, putting on a garland made of the flowers hanging in the sky!"

I:22.13 All these ‘bats of unreality’ are to be driven away, first of all. In you there are many nooks and corners, and bats are always very fond of corners and darkness. The eleven bats are the ten senses and the mind. These eleven bats are making this temple of ours always dirty, full of foul smell. And the temple must be thoroughly cleansed, rubbed and scrubbed again and again.

Daily self-examination

I:23.01 The knowledge we possess is really not ours. If we have any spiritual knowledge, we have to share it with others. This is a duty. We are only trustees. No knowledge ever belongs to us.

I:23.06 Every day there should be strict self-examination: What thoughts have been cropping up, what impulses did I feel? etc., etc. This is an important part of our Sadhana. This brings greater and greater awareness and ever-growing dispassion. It teaches us effectively to stand aside as the ‘witness’, witnessing everything, but never identifying ourselves with any of them. This attitude should be strengthened more and more by all aspirants. “I am the Witness"; “All this does not really touch me, concern me." “I do not identify myself with all this in any way. ’’

I:24 - Wiesbaden, May 29, 1934 - (Vol.I159-167)[CG 111-116]

Self-effort

I:24.01 Unless we energetically try to help ourselves, unless there is intense self-effort and striving, even Incarnations are of no use.

“One has all the advantages, the Lord is pleased; one has the company of holy men, but the mind revolts. Nothing can be done."—(Swami Brahmananda)

“The worms that are born in filth and live in filth will die if they are put in syrup."—(Sri Ramakrishna)

1:24.02 That is the greatest trouble with us. We have all the advantages, but we do not profit by them, because our clinging is so very great. Shut up in this filthy prison-house, you want to stay there. You do not want to move on, you do not really want to get free. There are prisoners who never care to get out. They love their prison and would long for their prison if someone took them out! For them the time has not yet come.

1:24.03 Our mind and body are the pillow-cases. We are the pillows. If we think like that repeatedly and intensely, we are saved from a lot of trouble. The body is like a suit. There is so much false identification with the pillow-case that we completely forget that we are the pillows. One should live in the world as if one were dead. See that you get this attitude. But it is not an attitude of lethargy or indifference at all. It is opening ourselves to the influence of the higher vibrations, consciously, and then no longer caring for the lower vibrations of this world-play.

Live in the world as if you were dead

I:24.04 So, while living we should think we are dead. Hear everything, see everything, but do not react! This is the great rule for every aspirant. So many rivers and streams and streamlets and brooks enter the ocean, but the ocean does not react. They do not affect it at all.

I:24.05 There is good and bad on this plane of relativity. But what of it? There is the good wave and the bad wave, but as long as we remain on the plane of the wave, our problem is not solved.

“The world will be troubling you. Hear everything, bear everything, but stay quiet like a dumb man. ’’

I:24.07 There is a wonderful story of the Buddha that shows us the right way of not reacting. Once, when he was begging for food, the Buddha came to the house of a wealthy Brahmin. The Brahmin gave him a good scolding and said, “Get away beggar!” Then the Buddha quietly said, “My friend, if you give something to another, suppose he does not accept your gift, with whom does it then remain?” The Brahmin replied, “Naturally with the giver.” “Then, my friend, I do not accept your scolding. Let it be yours!”

I:24.08 But great care should always be taken not to be callous, not to be indifferent. Neither callous, nor over-sensitive; neither the madly scratching monkey, nor dead to all sensibility. How to be alive and yet dead, that is the task.

Minimize mental tension

I:24.09 Let every prick, every blow, every kick we get, force us towards the Divine, and remind us of the unreality of the world. Thereby all our disappointments, all our miseries become blessings. If we have any burden, bring in the Divine current and ventilate the whole atmosphere. It is good sometimes to let out the gas when a large quantity of poisonous gas has been accumulated, but let even that be only towards the Divine. You can scold Him as your friend, your play-fellow, your comrade, if you want to. He is so near if you really know how to get into touch with Him. And He is not at all offended if you speak freely to Him. You see, one great and very important task in spiritual life is to minimize the mental tension. To that extent, we grow.

I:25 - Wiesbaden, May 30, 1934 - (Vol.1167-172)[CG 116-119]

Dealing with absentmindedness at time of meditation I:25.01 In spiritual life, we should try to remove all encrustations, as much as possible. But instead of doing that, of applying ourselves whole-heartedly to that task, we go on strengthening these very encrustations. Absent-mindedness at the time of meditation and Japam is one of the surest means of strengthening the encrustations. When we find the mind is getting more and more Tamasic or awfully Rajasic, awfully restless, we should get up, and then, after a time, sit down again for meditation. Meditation must be done in an efficient way if it is to have any effect.

I:25.02 There should be a level below which the mind should never be allowed to fall. Our task is to maintain a good mood as long as possible. Our task is not to react to the pricks and blows and kicks we may be getting from outside. Our task is not to feel offended, not to feel elated. Whatever the outside world may do to us, whether it praises us or blames us, this should not have any effect, any influence on our mood. We are not the outside world, and nothing in the outside world can ever affect our essential nature. Waves upon waves rolling on eternally, shadows following shadows, but no substance—that is the phenomenal world. In it we can never find satisfaction or security. So why should we feel affected if we know its nature? If we know that nothing can ever be expected of it, why should we feel depressed?

I:25.03 The Shanta-Bhava is to be maintained as much as possible, the serene, peaceful, unaffected attitude that cannot be unsettled by anything. To the extent in which we are able to cultivate the Sattvika mood during Japam and meditation, we are able to retain something of it at other times also.

I:25.06 Sankara says, “I am neither a human being, neither a god, nor a subhuman being, nor a man or a woman. I am the SELF.” This should be driven deeply into our subconscious day by day. It should be made living.

I:25.07 Our troubles are due to the fact that we are not able to go on with our spiritual practice:— not doing it regularly, at fixed hours, well and intensely. Without this we cannot make headway in spiritual life. And just a few minutes of half-hearted superficial practice will not achieve much.

I:25.09 When you sit for meditation, think intensely that your whole body is being burnt away, that only the ashes are left, that the mind dissolves itself completely, and that an effulgent Divine spark, a mighty flame of fire is all that is left. This is very effective.

Get at the real foundations of your being

I:25.11 The ‘pillow-case’ has been thinking that it is the pillow for a long time, and then all of a sudden it finds out that it is not: this is a most painful affair for most people. Some cannot stand it and have nervous or mental break-downs.

1:25.12 You see, ever since your childhood you have been told that you are so-and-so, that you belong to such and such a family, that you are a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, that you belong to such and such a race, to such and such a nation, and thus you have been piling up endless false limiting adjuncts [upadhis] taking wrong ideas, wrong conceptions from outside, strengthening the encrustations of illusion. And this has brought about your present state. Now you must begin to undo everything and to get at the real foundations of your being. And that is a hard uphill job for all.

1:25.13 To the extent in which we give up this inordinate clinging to this petty mortal existence we rise above death and reach a plane of consciousness where death is not.

I:25.14 To the thoughtful man who takes a view of the world as it is—i.e., as good and evil—the only way out is to reach the transcendental plane of consciousness. On the ordinary plane of consciousness no problem can ever be satisfactorily solved. Wishful thinking does not bring us nearer to the solution of the problems of life.

Vedanta is not pessimistic

I:25.15 The true synthetic attitude is merciless, refuses to be deluded by the empty show of shadows, stands neither for optimism nor for pessimism, does not cover filth and dirt with silk and paint and fragrant flowers, wants to see things as they are. Everything else is just cowardly escape, and the escape-mentality will not get us anywhere.

I:25.17 We should know the true nature of the world. We should know it to be unreal, transient, fleeting, and seek the Real amidst this unreality. It can always be found. Light has got mixed up with darkness, but the light is still there.

I:25.17a It is true, the light is there for all eyes, but all eyes are not made in such a way that they can see the light in all its splendour. So we have to go from truth to higher truths, and few are those who can take up the pursuit of the Absolute from the very beginning of their Sadhana; though they can have the ideal of the Absolute as background.

I:25.18 The Vedantin does not become pessimistic, because if he says that this world is unreal, he affirms at the same time that Brahman is real and sees It shining through everything that is unreal, sees the light shining even through the shadow. It is absurd to call Vedanta pessimistic. Once a person finds a pearl of great value or a diamond, he no longer cares for trashy glass-beads. The person who has attained Self-realization, no longer finds any attraction for the glamour of the phenomenal world. But this is not pessimism. It is not nihilism, but a very positive attitude and a very positive experience.

Many westerners wholly misunderstand and misinterpret this point in Vedanta. It is not pessimism if the lower is renounced for the higher, and the higher is something very positive in true Vedanta. True, the world and all our relationships in the world are unreal, but then Brahman is real, more real than anything else— more real than any of our relationships and thoughts—and, unchanging.