I:26 - Wiesbaden, May 31, 1934 - (Vol.1172-177)[CG 119-123]
The attitude of the ‘witness’
I:26.01 Creation and destruction—all these only mean changes of state. There is no such thing as annihilation. Destruction is going back to the cause.
I:26.02 We should always take the attitude of the dispassionate witness. We should just watch the fun of this mad world, rolling headlong towards destruction. There is good and bad, and there is a state where all relative good and relative bad is transcended.
I:27.06 The ‘witness’-aspect is the central theme in spiritual life. Who can really, fully enjoy the play, the drama? Not the actors, but those who witness the play. It is most important for you to have the attitude of the ‘witness’ in some form or other. All feelings of identification must be undermined, and finally dissolved for ever. You find the wonderful description and analysis of all this in the Drg-Drsya-Viveka and the Vedantasara: separating the seer from the seen, the subject, the real subject, from the object, that is the task in all forms of truly spiritual life.
1:28.01 Cling with great patience and imperturbable doggedness to your ideal. The ideal of Ramprasad’s song (Vol.I p.182 [CG127]) is the ideal of utter detachment, the ideal of the witness standing aside and watching the mind and all its thoughts without any identification. This is so important: never to identify yourselves with what is non-self, with what is the seen, the object. Always try to separate the seen from the seer. Analyze mercilessly. Never allow yourselves to become muddled.
I:27 - Wiesbaden, Jne 1, 1934 - (Vol.I 177-182)[CG 123-127]
The sinner-attitude is horrible
“He who thinks he is free, becomes free; he who thinks he is bound, becomes bound.”—(Upanishads)
1:27.02 Always think with great intensity that you are pure and not impure. The whole attitude has to be changed: all our ways of thinking, our thoughts have to be overhauled. There should not be
any scope for vanity. But some think they are inferior and then become inferior. What we want is an inner strength that stands neither for haughtiness nor for weakness.
I:27.03 To the extent in which we are ethically pure, we feel this strength, not otherwise. To the extent in which we are impure, make the lower self strong, we become weak. There must be that inner grit, that quiet dignity, before which people will think three times before they deal with you orthink of taking advantage of you.
I:27.04 The sinner-attitude is horrible. It is weakening. It brings about sin. Swami Vivekananda used to say, “Can dirt ever be washed off by dirt?" By thinking of sin, you can never get rid of sin, but, by thinking just of the opposite idea, you can rid yourselves of all the dross and alloy that is hampering your progress. There should be no sinner-attitude in you.
I:27.05 The devotee should always think while repeating the Holy Name or the Holy Mantra that he is being purified by it. Even mechanical Japam is not bad if there is a chance that some day we may rise from the subconscious to the conscious plane. But if we remain silly parrots, there is no chance at all.
I:26.06 There should be no fear of God, but a great intimacy. Fear and respect should have no place in the life of the true Bhakta at all. I do not fear a person who is very, very dear to me. I do not fear those I really love. Fear is a very low stage of religious development.
Pray to the Lord, “You have endowed us with such a bad, dirty mind that can only send out dirty thoughts and dirty vibrations, so please bring about a change. It is your duty to bring about such a change. Take back, take all your evil. I do not want all your bad manifestations!"
I:26.05 The true devotee sees that everything is the working of MOTHER: “MOTHER, take away all your evil. Let us have real good, and good alone. ”
I:28 - Wiesbaden, Jne 2, 1934 - (Vol.1182-186)[CG 127-130]
I:28.02 Subconscious or half-awake thinking is very, very harmful. Be wide-awake, control all your thoughts, not only during Japam and meditation. The whole trouble with us is that we are so little wide-awake, that there is so much uncontrolled, random thinking. Always be wide-awake and fully aware of everything, increase your awareness as much as possible. Be always watchful, always on the alert even before falling asleep. There should be no drowsiness, no half-conscious thinking at all. Minimize all subconscious thinking. Subconscious thinking, impulsive thinking, is most dangerous for all aspirants.
I:28.04 Small things put together make up life, you see. So every single thought has its importance. It is either harmful or beneficial, even if we scarcely realize that when thinking of it.
I:28.05 If you sit reading something and you find your mind wandering, drag it back and do your reading, whatever it be, as consciously as possible.
I:28.06 On waking up, you should see that you at once become fully conscious, too. With steady, intense training the mind may be so concentrated that the upper and the lower currents become uniform.
I:28.07 The very same mind that thinks of useless things in a useless half-conscious manner, should be made to think of useful things in a fully conscious manner. Thus only can it be made to move along higher channels. This alertness is a very essential factor in all spiritual training. It develops will-power and determination and ventilates the stuffy nooks and corners of our mind, cleanses them thoroughly, brings about a new freshness and elasticity which are very necessary if we want to progress.
I:28.08 The greatest spiritual practice is to watch all the movements, all the different tendencies of the mind without any trace of identification—cutting oneself away from one’s own mind, seeing it as something separate, something strange, something that cannot affect us. This will reveal to you the necessity of overhauling your whole mental structure.
Solitude, outer and mental
1:28.09 Outward solitude is good to the extent in which it induces mental solitude and mental calmness. If it does not induce mental solitude, it is of no value whatever. Always consciously raise a protective wall with your own thoughts and see that you remain unhurt. In the case of all beginners there must be this strong hedge, this strong protective wall. Otherwise they cannot grow.
I:28.11 Solitude is the best remedy, because the desires are in the mind, and if we give play to the desires, the whole mischief is done. Therefore, first solitude. Tackle the mind in solitude without outward stimuli. Tackle all the snakes of the mind: lust, greed, anger, jealousy, envy, hatred, haughtiness, vanity etc. Then, after having conquered them, come back, and all these things will no longer tempt you. But you must first withdraw your mind from all things that tempt you. Without this, no progress is possible.
I:28.12 If you bathe an elephant he will get dirty again in no time, but if you tie him to a post in his stable after having bathed him, he remains clean. So you should consciously tie your mind to the post of non-attachment, of dispassion, of purity.
Aspiration for something higher
I:28.13 There must be deep dissatisfaction with ordinary life, and a longing for something higher and freer. As long as we are not dissatisfied with our life, the question of spiritual life does not arise at all. Never dilute spiritual life. If you do, you get the ‘Sunday-religion’ of the Christians, but that is not what we want and strive to attain.
1:28.14 When one is in the right mood, one may have the objects of temptation before one and find them all distasteful. All this means a struggle of at least three or four years of preparation, but for most people more than that. There is in everyone a sense of yearning, but if it is directed towards human beings, it becomes physical love (even if it is physical love in a very subtle sense) that brings reaction and never quenches the thirst; but if it is consciously and intensely directed towards the Divine, it brings peace, an expansion of consciousness, a wider awareness and blessedness, and quenches the thirst for ever.
I:29 - Wiesbaden, Jne 30, 1934 - (Vol.1186-195)[CG 130-136]
Do not court work, but render service
1:29.01 Whenever any opportunity for service arises, we should take it up, and that ungrudgingly; otherwise the soul shrinks. Do not court work, but render service if there is any occasion. We grow through giving, not through receiving. The receiver must be a giver, the giver also a receiver.
Never allow yourselves to become beggarly. Be detached, but fully sympathetic. Help wherever you can. But without attachment, realizing that you are but the instrument.
1:29.02 Sometimes we think that if we try to help others spiritually, that would be posing as a Guru. This is not true if there is no feeling of vanity or superiority in us. It is service, sharing with others what little we have got. It is service, and we are never allowed to shrink from such service when the opportunity or need of rendering it arises.
I:30 - Wiesbaden, Jne 4, 1934 - (Vol.1195-211)[CG 136-147]
Do not court work, but render service (Ctd)
I:30.01 Such is our perverse nature that we go on multiplying work until it absorbs all our attention and energy. We should not multiply duties. We must have leisure. We should not run after work. We should always find time for our practice and our devotion.
I:30.02 But there are some people who are ready to save the world without even knowing how to save themselves. Without solving your own problem you cannot solve that of the world. This is the trouble with most fanatical reformers. They do not really know anything themselves and yet they want to reform others.
The world is the body of God, God is its soul. (Ramanuja)
I:30.03 Even the Bhakta never says that the world is real in a primary sense. It is real, it is wholly dependent on God. Even the Bhakta wants to transcend the world and reach God.
I:30.06 In order to follow the spiritual path, we must draw the mind from the things of the world although they still tempt us. We should know that all this illusive reality draws away our soul from God, drags us into all sorts of blind alleys and by-paths that do not lead anywhere. We have to practice physical and mental self-control. To the extent in which we advance, we begin to doubt the reality of the world. We begin to have glimpses of its unreality. After realization, all this becomes unreal. No reality is left so far as the phenomenon goes. This is not a theory, but an experience.
I:31 - Wiesbaden, Jne 5, 1934 - (Vol.1211-221)[CG 147-154]
Sadhana and its reactions
I:31.01 We should never in any way brood over our past actions, good or bad. All our energy should be given to the proper directions of our thoughts and nerve-currents. To all of us these reactions come, physical and mental, and along with our spiritual practice we must increase our capacity to bear these reactions. Many people break down under these reactions. Many become completely unsettled for a time. Many become worse than they were before taking up the practice. If you want to shift the centre of your consciousness from the lower to the higher centres, you have to pass through periods of unsettlement. While people are leading a worldly life, they do not become really aware of all these phases, but spiritual practice, if properly performed, always stirs up different subconscious currents, and this again means unsettlement. Very often, in such cases, there is no strength left, sometimes there even comes a long period of mental disturbance and vacillation, of moral instability. But as soon as one really succeeds in fixing one’s centre, one comes to have much greater strength than before. During such a period of his Sadhana, an aspirant should be treated very kindly and with great understanding, because the unsettlement is not his fault, if one can say so, but the consequence of his practices. There should be real understanding on our part, not condemnation. It is a period of transition, which if properly used leads to greater strength and greater stability. We have to be kind-hearted to aspirants passing through these periods of unsettlement. We have to help them, not to judge them. After they have passed through these periods, they stand as men among men.
These periods will come to all of us, only at different times. And this is lucky, because then some of us can always help the others. Many aspirants get terrified thinking that spiritual life, if it brings such serious unsettlement, is very harmful and dangerous. It is dangerous, no doubt. Hence it is very, very necessary to increase the mental and physical stamina of the aspirant, as much as possible. An aspirant cannot be allowed to move in any company he likes, in the company of those who do not lead perfectly pure lives sexually. He is still in his spiritual childhood and adolescence, so he cannot take the risks a grown-up can take without any real danger. Do not think you belong to the grown-ups already. You do not. Do not feel too sure of yourselves!
I:31.02 The first period of Sadhana, when one has to stand all these tremendous reactions, is a period of trial. One must have patience and dogged perseverance, then better days will come. Tremendous mental energy is to be kept under control, otherwise we do not get the power to move. Even if we have a strong body and a strong mind, there comes a period for all when we feel terribly unsettled and nervous. First there is the period of strenuous fighting, then the period of less strenuous fighting, and then the period of poise, of balance, of inner harmony.
I:31.03 All the lower and higher laws of nature are to be surmounted, if you want to make any spiritual progress. Swami Brahm-ananda used to say: “Do not be in a sort of fit!" We are so restless. We want to attain realization by violence. But realization is not a question of muscles. Sometimes we become awfully greedy. All this idea of bringing about realization by sheer force is nothing but greediness. If we are able to put up with reaction, let us walk as fast as we can, by all means, after having made the body and mind strong.
Even very strong-willed and strong-nerved people have to pass through this stage. Physical reaction affects the mind and mental reaction affects the body. But you cannot avoid these strong reactions during the period of your Sadhana. If there is no reaction at all, neither physical nor mental, this just shows the quality of your practices, that there is something wrong with your meditation, Japam etc., etc. It means they are in-effective, that you do not perform them properly.
I:31.04 Our life should always be a natural life, but natural life means a life in tune with the higher vibrations, not with our lower, animal nature. It is just the opposite from what the worldly-minded understand by this term.
I:31.05 When the Lord Himself has taken charge of a devotee, He makes him pass through all these trials. Sometimes against your will you shall have to pass through these tremendous struggles. He will force you, whether you like it or not!
“If the Lord wants to kill, none can save; if the Lord wants to save, none can kill."—(Adage)
I:31.06 All of you, some time or other, shall have to pass through these reactions. So be wide-awake when they come. The form of the reaction may be different, but the reactions cannot be avoided if you really perform your practices. Stand as the witness and do not get panicky when they come, and always try to help the fellow-aspirant who is passing through the period of unsettlement. Always be kind and considerate to him.
I:32 - Wiesbaden, Jne 6, 1934 - (Vol.I - nothing read)
All can get a glimpse at least
1:32.01 If we are true to our higher nature, we can achieve something in this life.—All can get a glimpse at least. Never lose courage.
I:33 - Wiesbaden, Jne 7, 1934 - (Vol.I 222-224)[CG 155-156]
When we feel pleasure and pain
I:33.01 When we feel pain, and pleasure even, we should say, “Yes, my mind and my body are feeling these, but my SELF cannot be touched by them, my SELF cannot be imprisoned by them." Always, at all times, assert the glory, the freedom of your soul.
I:34 - Wiesbaden, Jne 8, 1934 - (Vol.I 224-235)[CG 156-163]
When we feel miserable
I:34.02 When we feel miserable, the whole mind is upset. But, when the men of realization feel miserable, they just stand as the witness. That is why they can at once give a different turn to their minds.
I:34.03 The heart of a true saint is harder than the hardest diamond and softer than the softest flower.
“He who forgetting the God who resides in his own heart, tries to find God in the outside world, is trying to run after a piece of broken glass, leaving the jewel that is in his hand." —(Adage)
I:34.06 Our sense of feeling the Indwelling Spirit in our own heart is to be strengthened. Let all our thoughts and feelings be directed towards this Divine Consciousness that is within us. Become fully aware of It! In the outside world there is so much of misery, so much of frustration, so much distress and pain! All this can never be changed. Cling to the Lord all the more and develop a spirit of genuine self-surrender to Him alone. This is the only way to peace and blessedness. It is not an escape, but an actual heightening of all your faculties of perception and feeling. It is a reality. All these outside troubles you are constantly complaining about, all this tension in the world that is bound to lead up to a catastrophe on the phenomenal plane which no one will be able to avert, should force us towards God. Let all our miseries and our troubles and disappointments constantly remind us of the constant changes in the world. There is nothing in this world that will prove true to you in the end. Clinging to our false self we want peace and security. Then quite naturally all these troubles arise. Let us not expect any pleasure from the world. God is the only source of strength to us. Let His will be done. Let us become united with Him.
“He who knows the Atman abiding in his own self is not touched by the Gunas of Prakriti, though he abides in it; and he really abides in Me."—(Srimad Bhagavatam)
I:34.07 The true devotee, the Bhakta, should be made of very heroic fibre. Only when the devotee is able to maintain an unchanging faith in the Divine amidst all his miseries and frustrations, he passes the test. Whoever cannot do this is not yet meant for the path.
“Nobody should ever enter into friendship with the changeful air, trusting it..." (Adage)
I:34.09 Devotion and worldly happiness may not go together. Never think that the devotee is better off than other people as far as his worldly prospects go.
I:34.10 Any worldly desire and God can never remain together. Just as light and darkness cannot be in the same spot at the same time.
I:35 - Wiesbaden, Jne 9, 1934 - (Vol.1235-242)[CG 163-169]
In dealing with others
I:35.01 Have feelings and sentiments as much as you like, but keep them under pressure, control them, never express them on the physical plane. Show your kindness through your conduct, but always in a very reserved way. Never become familiar with anybody. Be dignified and aloof, always. To the extent in which we are able to introduce a higher element more and more, our love becomes more and more detached, more and more impersonal. This is the only possible way of transmuting our feelings and no longer loving mere bodies, mere minds, mere personalities.
I:35.02 If we are in the company of unholy persons we ‘inhale’ some of their unholy thoughts, as it were. Their vibrations always affect us. There is something in the touch, in the company.
1:35.03 As you grow in purity, you cannot but be more sensitive to outside things as well as to your own mind. So circumspection and great prudence are very necessary.
I am not saying all this about association with others, and saying it again and again, repeating it out of mere perversity or out of a wish to tyrannize. I have trained many young monks very successfully, and I know the dangers and pitfalls of spiritual life by experience. So you can believe me when I am telling you all this.
Especially those like you here, who get more or less the training of a monk, should be very, very careful regarding the people they allow themselves to meet and to mix with.
“Association, when formed through ignorance with the wicked leads to Samsara, but, when formed with the righteous, may tend towards the severance of all attachments."
I:36 - Wiesbaden, Jne 10, 1934 - (Vol.1242-250)[CG 169-174]
Straightforwardness is required
I:36.01 It is a very rare thing to have a free and open mind, to have a guileless mind free from likes and dislikes. The Master always used to appreciate an outspoken nature, frankness, guilelessness. Very often He used to say, “Those whose words flow like water, and those who are reserved, and those who put on long veils are not to be relied upon. ”
I:36.02 The bonds of the heart are to be cut, all crookedness is to be straightened out, and the extent in which this has been done, is the test of our spiritual progress—whether we are becoming more and more straightforward and frank. Sincerity is the one thing needed, and when there is real sincerity in the heart, it always finds its expression in straight-forwardness, in straightforward conduct and perfect guilelessness. When we have to deal with such a person, we know where he stands, and where we stand.
I:36.03 This is one of the conditions for spiritual growth: to be as straightforward and free from all crookedness as possible. The bent iron is to be straightened.
Overactivity, an obstacle in spiritual life I:36.05 Again and again we come across the tendency in people
to multiply work, especially in the West with its restlessness and aimless passion. It is one of the greatest obstacles on the spiritual path.
I:32.03 Sri Ramakrishna always used to discourage the tendency in certain people to increase work, to increase their duties. It is an abnormal unbalanced mentality. It just shows restlessness and an attempt at escape. It is nothing praise-worthy. No human being can achieve anything without leisure well-used. Most over-active people lack balance, have an abnormal unsettled psychology. The activity of the monkey intoxicated by alcohol and stung by a scorpion is nothing wonderful, and the activity of these people is just the same sort of half-mad random activity, activity for activity’s sake. Then they come and complain, “Where is the time to do practice? If I only had time?” etc., etc. Fools. Restlessness is just as bad as lethargy. Passion is just as bad as dullness. So activity of this kind is nothing to make a song about. And duty in such cases is just an excuse. Very often duty is self-created as an excuse for one’s restlessness and lack of balance. We want to run away from ourselves and go on multiplying duties so that we can have a comfortable excuse for ourselves and for others. Real duty is something different. Out-and-out social functions are everywhere for worldly-minded people. There is a lot of impurity in them. Never create such unnecessary work that does neither good to yourselves or to others.
I:41.06 Those who have to struggle hard for their animal existence find it very hard to turn to the Divine. Those who can do so in spite of this struggle are very rare.
I:37 - Wiesbaden, Jne 11, 1934 - (Vol.1250-254)[CG 174-177]
Right activity is part of spiritual practice I:37.01. Never create such unnecessary work that does no good to yourselves or to others. Everyone needs leisure well employed. Always try to do the Lord’s work through prayers, through Japam, through meditation and deep studies and other forms of spiritual practice. Try to have as much time as possible for these. Work should be perfectly unattached and should be looked upon as a means, not as an end.
I:38 - Wiesbaden, Jne 12, 1934 - (Vol.1254-273)[CG 177-190]
Act as instrument
1:38.01 The instrument also acts, and we should have the idea that we are instruments in the hands of the Lord while we act. Then the whole attitude would change, and then our work, too, becomes part of spiritual practices, of service unto the Lord. Work is always to be directed towards the Lord. This must be our conscious attitude whatever work we may happen to do. Thereby certain kinds of work will have to be eliminated.
“That person is really dead, though breathing alive, whose activity in this world does not tend towards Dharma and thereby to renunciation and to the hallowed feet of the Divine (Hari)."
I:39 - Wiesbaden, Jne 13, 1934 - (Vol.1273-274)[CG 190-190]
Develop your individuality and transcend it I:39.01 A new sense must be developed, a new power of seeing must come. Intellect must become purified-intellect; feeling must become purified-feeling; will must become purified-will. And then we have to go beyond them, transcend them, and reach the Turiya-state. When That which is indicated by saying, “Not this, not this" is realized, then all intellect, feeling and will are transcended.
I:39.02 Impure intellect, impure will and impure feeling take us down and down, and steadily go on increasing our slavery. The purified intellect, purified will and purified feeling take us up, almost to the terrace itself.
I:39.03 Real Jnana, real knowledge is the direct perception of Truth. It has nothing to do with intellectual knowledge and cannot be attained before the intellect is transcended.
I:39.04 The individual must be able to move in any way he or she pleases. We should not be a slave or a creature of circumstances, nor of moods. Real individuality means this. The trouble with most people is that they are just like wobbly jelly-fish without any individuality at all. You have to develop your individuality, just to break it up, and to attain to your real individuality, that is not individual, but Cosmic.
I:39.07 Clinging to the lower self in any form is irreligion. Giving it up is religion. The principle test of spiritual life is selflessness, nonidentification. Wherever there is clinging to our personality, there is no religion.
I:39.08 We must be very strong and retain our higher individuality but at the same time we have to put down, to eliminate, the lower individuality. Later, even good is to be transcended.
I:39.09 There can never be any spiritual life without intensive thinking. There must be liveliness, creativeness. Dullness and inertia are the greatest dangers on the spiritual path. The aspirant must develop his intellect and will. Instinctive life is very dangerous. We should never allow ourselves to be driven by our impulses. There must be regular, intense drill of the mind. Thinking random thoughts won’t do. The mind must be made to undergo strict discipline if it is to be made fit for higher thinking. What we think we should also feel, and then act up to it.
I:40 - Wiesbaden, Jne 14, 1934 - (Vol.1274-279)[CG 190-194]
1:40.01 The Bhakta does not want to sit quiet, but he wants to devote as much time as possible to meditation, Japam, prayer etc. He needs leisure for these. But he is intensely active, active on the thought-plane, not on the physical plane.
1:40.02 Regular studies form a very important item of our spiritual discipline. We must select passages and study them day by day and then think deeply over their meaning. The purer our intellect becomes through ethical culture, the better we shall be able to understand the deeper meaning of such passages. And it is very important for us to dwell on such holy thoughts and truths, to occupy our mind with them, because if the mind does not think higher thoughts, it will naturally think lower thoughts and go down and down to one of the lower instinctive centres of consciousness. This is very harmful.
1:40.03 Creative we must be, and if we are not creative on a higher plane, we become creative on a lower, physical plane, on the plane of the senses and create something awful, hideous. But creativeness there should be, always.
I:41 - Wiesbaden, Jne 15, 1934 - (279-287) [CG 194-200]
I:41.02 The time factor is always to be considered. No one can profit by all these instructions unless his time has really come.
We take medicine but the disease is not cured at once. There may be periods of adverse Karma, and before this adverse Karma is exhausted, we shall not be able to profit by the instructions we get.
I:41.03 It always takes time for the mind to have a new adjustment. We should not be unnecessarily impatient or unnecessarily depressed. You see, the tree first has blossoms. Then appear small, tiny unripe fruits which cannot be eaten. Then these fruits begin to grow and develop. And then you can eat them, not before. The medicine may begin to take effect, but we do not see any manifestation in the outside world, at least not yet. We cannot judge what is taking place in our subconscious.
I:41.04 Some people take the medicine in a good mood, but then they vomit it out again. Nothing can be done in their case. Their time has not yet come, though there may be some real effect later on when the period of adverse Karma is over.
I:41.05 If the system of the patient cannot assimilate the medicine, then “neither the teacher, nor the teacher’s father can do anything", as we say. Spiritual life is all a question of making our body and our mind fit, all a control of the body and of the mind in order to make us fit for the assimilation of the ideal, but this assimilation takes time. Do not get impatient, do not brood, do not get depressed. Wait. Proceed doggedly with your spiritual practice, day by day, at fixed hours. The process is very slow, so very slow that we cannot watch our progress from day to day, but something is taking place inside slowly, imperceptibly, in all.
Contemplation is inactivity in appearance only
I:41.07 If a man does nothing outwardly, if he appears to be an idler judged from the worldly standpoint, and is despised by the worldly-minded for his apparent uselessness and inactivity, he is doing a very great service to the world, a greater service than can ever be done by the over-active, greedy, restless worldly person. Everyone should have his hour of leisure for the developing of the higher life in him. Modern notions are so crude. The infra-red and the ultra-violet rays are there, though we do not see them, and they have a very great effect. The vibrations of the spiritual man are terribly intense, though outwardly there is no gross manifestation of them.
“Those who, with devotion but without any desire for consequences, contemplate Thee, in whom the world is woven and who art in the form of both the cause, the effect and still different from them. Those who are thus of ripe Yoga and have controlled their breath, senses and the mind, and thereby secured Thy grace, do not suffer discomfiture from any cause. ’’
Dangers for the aspirant
I:41.08 There are certain aspirants who make some progress during a certain time, especially in the beginning, and then they become dull. All progress stops. There is no liveliness, no higher thinking, no intensity in them. This state is very dangerous, and often such aspirants fall down and become much worse than they were before taking to spiritual life.
We must train the intellect. Spiritual life without developing the intellect and purifying the feeling is not possible. It can never be. So we should see that we have our daily readings after our practices and then think about what we have read, deeply and steadily. Our practices alone without reading and without developing the intellect will not do, because, after all, our practices are such a very small thing, and we give them the name of ‘meditation’ only out of courtesy. They are all broken, half-hearted, disjointed attempts, very different from real meditation. And as we cannot have any real meditation in our present state, we must have our daily readings, our daily studies, and develop our intellect along positive lines, because this will lead us to real meditation. If I cannot think deeply on a problem or a subject, if I cannot sit down quietly and think quitely, reflectively, deeply, I can never have any real meditation. There must be intensive higher thinking. Without whole-hearted, one-pointed striving, nothing can be achieved in spiritual life. But mostly we are too dull to do this.
I:41.09 We must be very careful about what impressions we allow our mind to take in. Very often, in unguarded moments, out of a lack of sensitiveness we take in some impressions which the spiritual aspirant ought to avoid. And this impression comes up later on and becomes a source of great trouble to us. We must rid ourselves of all the old filth and not take in any new filth, and in order to do this, we must develop a certain amount of true sensitiveness, not the pathological kind. We must be aware of the approaching danger, the approaching unclean impression, and then do everything to avoid it. Many troubles arise out of this lack of sensitiveness, because we do not realize what we are doing or what we are allowing our mind to do and to dwell on. We are half-asleep. We are not fully conscious beings at all. Without getting the right, healthy kind of sensitiveness, nothing can be done in spiritual life. We must be fully conscious, wide-awake, fully aware of all the movements of our mind, full of liveliness in spiritual life, if we really want to make any progress. If we are not, we are just impulse-driven slaves even if we are quite unconscious of this fact. We do not see how our impulses, clean and dirty, arise and come to the surface of our mind; we do not know how to guide them, how to control them, how to reject those we do not want, effectively and decisively. We do not keep our mind busy with serious studies and higher thoughts, we do not make it creative and intense, but we go and have useless gossip, useless sight-seeing, useless driving about for hours, always stuffing the mind with useless or even harmful things. This is not the way to make progress.
I:41.10 The trouble is that many people always talk of their troubles but never care to follow any method by which they can get rid of them. If we do not develop our intellect, feeling and will harmoniously, we cannot achieve much. But mostly we try to avoid the strain of higher thinking, the strain of creating new channels of thought, and become dull, instinctive, impulse-driven, and then no spiritual life is possible.
“Without drinking the water that is in your own hand, you want the water that is in the cloud. ”
“Without caring for the cooked food that is near you, you go about like a beggar, begging for food. ”
I:41.01 I have nothing against sight-seeing as such, but let us associate the sight-seeing with the Divine and profit by it. Sightseeing as a means to give some distraction to our mind should not be encouraged at all. Such a kind of sight-seeing is just restlessness, an attempt at escape, a running away from ourselves. It does not lead anywhere and is even harmful.
Before reforming the world, reform yourself I:41.11a Never try to solve the problems of the world or of society before being able to solve your own individual problem, before freeing yourself from all the instinctive trammels that bind your every thought and deed. No one who cannot reform himself, will ever be able to reform others. It is so pleasant and so easy to think about beautiful reforms and so difficult to bring about a real change in oneself first. We have no use for all such wonderful reformers at all. How can anybody who has not studied deeply the laws and the nature of his own being, bring about a change for the better in the world? But that is what many are trying to do, and then instead of creating a beautiful statue of a god, they just create a hideous monkey! That is all.
I:42 - Wiesbaden, Jne 16, 1934 - (Vol.1287-290)[CG 200-202]
Strive for unity with the Divine
“Therefore, O Uddhava, cease to experience the sense-objects through the outgoing organs. Look upon the delusion of plurality as caused by the non-perception of the Atman."
—(Sri Krishna & Uddhava)—
“O Lord, as long as a man may continue to see this body and others as different from Atman—a notion which has its strength in Thy Maya appearing as Indriyas and their objects—this Samsara may not cease to be, though baseless, and it will continue to bring hosts of miseries, as consequences of action.
O God, even Rishis fall into Samsara who, here, regardless of devotion to Thee, have by day their senses and organs wholly occupied and tossed about in seeking after worldly objects, and who by night immersed in sleep are every moment disturbed by thoughts of their fancied objects, and whose labours to attain their objects are thwarted by Providence. ’’
I:42.01 The Bhakta’s ego is connected with the Divine; our ego is separated from the Divine. We think we are free, but our freedom is more or less the freedom of the animal. Sri Ramakrishna feels free because of his unity with the Divine.
1:42.02 We must meditate in the space of infinite consciousness of which our own point of consciousness is only a point.6 In order to get to the terrace, a narrow staircase is enough, but the terrace itself is very vast.
I:42.03 We should always, consciously, expand our consciousness, to come in touch with the vaster consciousness in which we are included.
I:42.04 Retaining the purified individuality, we become conscious of the Whole as well as of all others that have a place in this Whole.
However, we presently have too much body-conscioousness— impulse-driven and impulse-bound. Minimize your body-consciousness first of all. This can only be done through leading a perfectly clean life and through raising the centre of one’s consciousness and making the energy flow through higher channels.
Depend on the Lord but stand as erect as possible
1:42.05 Once upon a time there was a very clever scholar famous for his scholarship. One day, his wife had to go out to do some shopping while the lentils were boiling on the hearth. So she asked her husband to look after the lentils until she returned. After a time, the lentils began to boil over. Then the scholar went and prayed to God, “O Lord, stop the lentils boiling over, please. Help me, O Lord.” Naturally, this did not help matters very much. When the wife returned and saw what had happened, she asked her husband what he had done. “My dear”, he replied, “as soon as the lentils began to boil over, I prayed to the Lord for help.”— “Prayed?” answered the wife. “You fool. Why didn’t you just pour a little cold water into the pot?” This very often happens in our case, too. Never blame others, and never blame the Lord for your own foolishness and lack of insight.
I:42.06 Depend on the Lord, but stand as erect as possible. If He wants, there will arise wonderful opportunities for you all, if you are sincere and really dedicate your life to Him alone. He created different situations, forcing you into them even against your wish. When the Lord makes a plan, and you really become one of His agents, you feel that a certain thing is going to take place and that you are going to be an instrument. But then, we should work consciously, and not only live on our instincts as we do when we are on the animal plane.
There is no freedom on the animal plane. There is no freedom while we are content to remain in our half-conscious state.
Study your mind!
1:42.08 In most cases, our personality is a chaotic mass of half-conscious or unconscious impulses. First of all, we must rid ourselves of all likes and dislikes brought about by unconscious impulse and prejudice. Only thus can we acquire an individuality that can be joined to the universal.
There is nothing grand in having strong irrational feelings bubbling up from the unconscious. Passionateness is not the sign of manhood at all. Hatred and dislike are nothing but weakness and self-excuse.
The fun is we live on impulses and say we are free. Where is all this wonderful freedom of the modern man or woman? A passion-ridden slave calling himself free!. What fun!
I:42.09 Most of us are like awful poisonous whirlpools, full of complexes and venom. Break up these complexes, first of all, be one with the current, and your whole life would be full of blessing for yourselves and for others. The task is not an easy one. It requires real heroism and tremendous steadiness.
Nature of habit
I:42.17 Habit is formed through practice. Habit can be changed because habit never is an essential part of our being, but only our second nature. Habit has been created through wrong thinking or through lack of consciousness, through our not being fully awake. Harmful habits can never be formed in the fully conscious man or woman. It may be difficult for us now to change our habits, but it has to be done, and it can be done if we are really sincere and do not shrink from sustained self-effort.
I:42.14 Habit lies in the body, the mind and nerves. Now change the attitude, change the habit. Rise above all the likes and dislikes that bubble up from the subconscious layers of your minds. The emotions must be completely purified and made healthy. There should be no sickly, romantic sentimentality and there should be no form of aversion.
I:42.16 Hatred and lust are the two great obstacles on the way of the spiritual aspirant, and hatred—any form of aversion or dislike —is just as bad and impure as lust. So we need not feel proud of our hatred, our dislikes etc.
I:43 - Wiesbaden, Jne 21,1934 - (Continuation of previous) How to bring about a change of habit
I:43.01 The method to change our second nature is to raise very intense counter-currents of thought. Then after a lapse of time, the whole life will begin to be transformed. All our reactions will change.
I:43.02 As a result of past thinking along certain lines we have brought about some physiological changes and mental changes. So now, this body and this mind have to be re-formed, formed anew.
I:43.03 All the harm, all the injury that has been done to the body and to the mind has to be repaired.
I:43.04 Progress will be quick to the extent in which we are able to bring about these necessary changes rapidly and effectively.
I:43.05 The nature of the mind is to think. It is for you to choose whether you want to think along right lines or wrong lines. By yielding to your passions and impulses and cravings, you lose this freedom of choice and in the end are forced to assert your lower tendencies. This is very dangerous. In very bad cases, no change can be brought about at this time. In spiritual life, the slave must first be able to give up his slave-nature. Old people cannot change as a rule. So it is very important for young people to change their habits in time. The young alone can really achieve something.
I:43.06 The first task is to have external control. After that, bring about a mental change, a change in your thought-world. Then slowly, the difficulty vanishes. It is very hard to change the second nature, but all habits can be changed, as I said, because no habit ever forms part of our essential nature.
I:43.08 Feelings, will, intellect, understanding, must be stimulated vigorously, again and again, then there will be physiological changes also and corresponding physiological action.
I:43.09 Only thus can the required physical and psychical changes be brought about. These changes are real. The whole nerve-current is changed and made to flow along different channels and through different centres, upwards. It is not just imagination. A new kind of polarization takes place in the body and in the mind of the aspirant. There is nothing occult about all this. It is real training, the creating of the new necessary instrument which naturally requires a certain technique and perseverance. That is why you will not be able to advance unless you perform your practices intensively and doggedly for a long time to come. The practices, the regularity of your Sadhana are most important, but here in the West, the whole tradition has been lost. So people do not know what to do, and we see the effects of this deplorable state all round us. Everywhere on the benches in this town I see old people sitting there aimlessly, just waiting for death. There is nothing left in their lives but this aimless waiting and their impulse-driven and impulse-fettered impure thoughts, vitiating the atmosphere. They have become less conscious instead of more conscious. I feel such a pity for them. You should see that you have attained something, at least a glimpse of the Reality, before you grow old. Even old age with all its infirmities becomes a pleasure then, because the spirit is never affected by the defects of old age.
I:44 - Wiesbaden, Jne 22, 1934 - (Vol.1290-295)[CG 202-206]
Transformation and true freedom
I:44.01 Unless feeling transforms a man altogether and makes him live a better life, feeling has no spiritual value. Unless knowledge transforms a man altogether, knowledge has no spiritual value. Unless work transforms a man and changes his life, work has no spiritual value at all.
I:44.02 Any form of Sadhana must bring about a complete transformation of the life of a person, a complete transformation of ourselves in all our aspects. It must bring about a new attitude towards everything, towards all problems, all questions of life, and make us stop all unconscious thinking and acting and transform us into wide-awake, living, fully-conscious individuals. Everything else only stands in the way of our spiritual evolution. And the real importance of Sadhana is this transforming power of the spiritual practices, when they are performed regularly, doggedly, intensely, for a long period of time, day by day, without any break.
I:44.03 If our subconscious is not dissolved, real progress is not possible. No end of bubbles continually rise from the depths of the subconscious and make us do things we should not do, think thoughts that should not be thought, keep us in a state of perfect slavery. We have not yet become responsible beings at all.
1:44.04 We live on impulses and think impulse-driven and impulse-rooted thoughts, and, guided as we are by impulses and animal reactions, we still believe that such a state is freedom!
I:44.05 Vedanta always puts great stress on consciousness, purified consciousness, consciousness that has really become conscious in ourselves.
I:44.06 There must be a thorough, merciless, dispassionate, overhauling of all our conceptions of freedom. Licence has nothing to do with freedom. Sex-indulgence has nothing to do with freedom or true manhood. A person is a slave to his senses and thinks that he is free, that he is a man. That is the fun! When a helpless slave believes he is free and behaves in a slavish manner, there is no hope for him. Freedom is very different from all this.
I:44.07 No one is free who has not developed his higher faculties and become master of his subconscious. We cannot just act as if the subconscious did not exist!
I:44.08 The way to freedom lies not in becoming helpless and being guided by desires and passions, by all sorts of animal cravings, by likes and dislikes, but by consciously controlling all desires and passions, all feelings of attraction and aversion, and remaining wide-awake at all times. If we do not do this, no amount of reading will be of any avail.
I:44.09 Most people are scared away if you speak to them of continence, of the idea of control, but real freedom can only be had through control. Our life is very often not a life of control, but a subconscious life. We resent anything that forces us to rise above this subconscious sort of mentality. To think that it is freedom to lead a subconscious life is absurd. Can anything be more awful than this? If you dispassionately look around you, you see the effects everywhere. Yet people feel proud of all the progress that is being made. When we do not know how to make use of our freedom, our freedom lapses into licence, and licence always is the sign of a slave.
I:44.10 Ordinarily we are creatures of the impulses and tendencies that rise from the subconscious to the conscious plane, and the task of spiritual life is to rise above all nature’s laws, to rise to the transcendental plane, where alone we can enjoy freedom. As we rise from the lower laws to the higher laws of nature, we get more and more glimpses of true freedom.
I:45 - Wiesbaden, Jne 23, 1934 - (Vol.1295-300)[CG 206-209]
Prayer, Renunciation. Expansion
1:45.03 Renunciation is the very foundation of spiritual life. Devotion, Bhakti, always implies control, renunciation, not yielding to the senses and their different impulses.
I:45.04 That is what we find in Christ, in Buddha, in Sri Ramakrishna etc. They all express the highest ideas in simple and clear words. And their words have direct appeal, because they are words of free men, of beings who have really attained freedom and become real men.
I:45.06 Non-attachment is not merely negative. Non-attachment means distaste for the world and love for the Divine.
I:45.08 As a result of spiritual practice and meditation, one comes to be more and more God-intoxicated.
I:45.09 Expansion of consciousness and expansion of heart is the mark of true spirituality. If the heart is not expanded, if consciousness is still the consciousness of the body-bound, mind-ound person, the man has not grown spiritually. If there are still likes and dislikes, if he is still swayed by attractions and aversions, the man has not attained any spiritual vision. This expansion of the heart does not mean emotionalism or sentimentalism at all. It is just the opposite of these for they are based on attachment, on feelings of likes and dislikes and only enslave a person all the more. Real feeling, higher emotion is very, very different from these.
I:46 - Wiesbaden, Jne 25, 1934 - (Vol.1301-305)[CG 210-213]
I:46.01 Unless the right time arrives for a person, spiritual instruction will be of no avail. The time-factor is very important. We can appreciate food only when we have an appetite. Unless there is real soul-hunger, spiritual instruction is of no use. It may even be harmful.
Curing this world-fever
I:46.03 People who have had enjoyment are later on in danger of a terrific on-rush of the old impure ideas and experiences. The moment they stir the subconscious mind, all their impure impressions begin to bubble up and try to sweep them off their feet. So they must be very much on their guard and increase their power of resistance. If they have not learnt how to control themselves and their impulses, this terrific on-rush of the old ideas and thoughts and experiences will overpower them completely. They will not be able to stand it and fall off, and, in many cases become worse, morally, than they were before. We have seen many cases like that.
Our world-fever may be likened to malarial fever. The best preventive measure is to sleep under mosquito nets. It is very bad to have world-fever. There must be preventive measures, protection against being injected by worldly mosquitoes, and then take the right medicine. It takes time. The disease cannot be cured all at once. The reaction would be too strong. In the process of the cure, the disease will be at its highest. And the patient must be able to stand all that. Awful reactions will come, physical and mental, all the old tendencies, all the old cravings and ideas. Then, after that, the fever begins to go down. You should never get unnerved if the old tendencies assert themselves all of a sudden and attack you most fiercely. Take steps to strengthen and calm the mind and still the passions. Unless an amount of dispassion has been born in ourselves, we can never even take to spiritual life. When worldliness is very strong, we can never think of the Divine. Attachment has to be lessened. Now is the right time to give Vedantic injections, mercilessly.
“By him who has no likes and dislikes, and who regards everything equally and is filled with intense devotion to the Lord, the Divine attainment is realized."—(Srimad Bhagavatam)
I:46.04 Especially when they are in a state of depression, people tend to give up all spiritual practice instead of vigorously increasing it. If they do, they are gone, spiritually. They cannot avoid a nasty fall from which they may not even be able to recover. So, giving up one’s spiritual practice at such time is very bad and very dangerous. Cling to it all the more. Try to make it more intense, more effective.
I:46.05 Spiritual life can be cultivated. Time may be hastened. Spiritual hunger can be stimulated, and thereby the necessary time can be shortened. But you have to pass though all the states and through all the reactions and painful mental transformations, though you can pass through them very quickly instead of taking a very long time.
I:46.06 Never think you can avoid the reactions. And if there are no reactions at all, something is wrong with your practices. No one can avoid them, although they may be different in everybody.
1:47.06 To the extent in which one tries to be really one’s own self, one becomes more and more free from covetousness, hypocrisy, lust etc. Sincerity and simplicity are the test for all aspirants.
I:47 - Wiesbaden, Jne 26, 1934 - (Vol.1305-312)[CG 213-217]
1:47.03 Never think you are helping somebody, never get it into your head that you can help others spiritually. The Lord alone does this through His instruments, but never the individual. The idea of helping others is a very wrong notion.
Spiritual life is not identical with happiness 1:47.04 The clearing of our doubts always means a very special grace of the Divine. Without this grace, no doubts can or will be cleared.
1:47.05 We want to enjoy the happiness of meditation, but unless we train ourselves strenuously for years and years together, we cannot have it. There is no kind of bargaining in spiritual life. And spiritual life does not mean that henceforth the spiritual aspirant is going to be happy. In many cases he will suffer more than ever before in his life. All his Karma, as it were, becomes condensed into the period of one life. So the suffering is going to become all more acute and painful.
“When the mind, like a flame, is withdrawn from the objects of senses and thereby becomes free from all attachments and attains Nirvana, i.e., becomes one with Brahman, the Purusha or Jiva in this state, released from the force of the Gunas, realizes the SELF immediately [without anything as a medium, without the distinction of the seer and the seen]."
I:48 - Wiesbaden, Jne 27, 1934 - (Vol.1312-318)[CG 217-222]
Some are born with favourable impressions 1:48.01 Some are born with dispassion and renunciation. It is not necessary for all to pass through the bitterness of life and to experience its vanities and disillusionments.