2. READINGS ON THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA VOL.II (English Edition. Madras, 1922) by Swami Yatiswarananda
II:01 - Wiesbaden, Jly 20, 1934 - (Vol.II 1-4)[NY 112-117]10
11:01.02 As you grow, you become more and more sensitive, although you get greater power, greater capacity to withstand outer influences. Sometimes the vibrations of other people who do not lead pure lives become unbearable to you and you have to avoid their company—not out of goodness on your part, but in order to avoid the pain they cause you, physical pain.
II:01.03 Those who have got good tendencies should always be on their guard because they have got bad tendencies too, which should be kept at arm’s length. If we tumble over a precipice, we must reach the ground. By slipping your foot ever so little, you may go down a long distance and may never be able to recover completely. So much harm is done to our spiritual evolution by our easy-going ways, by taking dangerous things to be harmless, and never even suspecting their bad influence on our subconscious.
II:01.05 Bad desires may still arise in the mind, but do not allow them to affect you. Dissolve them with the help of your Ishtam.
II:01.07 You may think I have told you all this often during our readings, but if I saw no need to tell it again and again, I should not do it. You do not realize the harm you are doing to yourselves by being too little careful. Stains and wounds always take time to heal up, and the scar remains.
II:02 - Wiesbaden, Jly 30, 1934 - (Vol.II 4-8)[NY 112-117]
Work as an instrument only
II:02.01 Any work that helps us towards the higher evolution is good. Any work that retards it is bad, no matter what it is.
II:02.03 Work as an instrument only. Work as an instrument in
10. Pages of New York Gospel (published 1942) are from Mr.Koch’s post-World War II compilation.
the hands of the Divine and offer all the fruits of your work to the Divine. Never have any selfish motive in your work. One can actually feel that one is an instrument in the hands of the Cosmic Energy.
11:03 - Wiesbaden, Jly 31, 1934 - (Vol.ll 8-12)[NY 112-117]
Apply the theories to your life
“If dwelling in this house of filth you do not come to have any spirit of renunciation, there is no hope for you."—(Upanishads)
“Having (thus) realized the absence of causality as the Ultimate Truth, and also not finding any other cause (for birth), one attains to that (the state of liberation) which is free from grief, desire and fear."—(Gaudapada Karika 4.78)
II:03.01 Purification of the ego always implies purification of the mind and of the senses.
II:03.02 The whole trouble is to apply these theories to your own life. There must be one-pointedness, a real filtering of ideas. You must have one, not two parallel lines of thought. All your thoughts must be filtered, as it were, and only those that are good for your evolution must be allowed to pass.
II:03.03 We must know how to work out the full sum. Now, 40% of your mind is occupied with something, 60% with something else. This is not the way to advance. Thus you will never attain anything. Never have two equally strong trains of thought. One must overpower the other.
II:03.04 Impulsive life is dangerous, even if the impulses happen to be good ones. If I am guided by my higher impulses, then one day I shall be guided by my lower impulses.
II:03.05 Through sincere, steady, sustained effort, we can draw the mind away from the evil path and make it follow the right path. But sincere striving alone will not do, we must follow the right method. You must take the right sort of food, and this cannot be standardized. There is no work so important as your Sadhana.
II:03.08 After having accumulated heaps and heaps of filth and dirt, why is the mind not pure after removing only a bit of dirt? What a silly question: Cart-loads and cart-loads must be removed before it begins to reflect the truth in a better way. How many days have you practiced that you now expect results? And how have you practiced?
For how many lives have you gone on accumulating filth and dirt? Be a little realistic in your thinking. The attainment of purity is not so easy as all that.
II:03.09 How many years of aimless thinking, how many years or days of consistent thinking have there been in your life? How much of random, unconscious thinking and how much of conscious thinking? This subconscious cerebration we have in sleep, we have also in our waking state. It is our greatest enemy. Even now we do a lot of aimless thinking.
We do not want to perform our daily practices regularly, with steadiness. We do not care for our daily studies. We are not careful enough in our associations. So why expect results? Let us rather change our easy-going ways.
II:04 - Wiesbaden, Aug 1, 1934 - (Vol.II 13-21)[NY126-130]
The meaning of “I am He”
II:06.02 As long as we cling to our little body, God will only appear to us as having a body. Then there can only be Divine manifestation through human form and human sentiments. In order to realize God we must rise to the Divine plane as the Tantrikas do. If you want to realize God the formless, you must rise above the plane of form. But first everyone must realize the Immanent. No one can come to the Father but through the Son. The Incarnation is necessary for most people.
II:04.01 The Tantrika instruction is: Worship God by rising to the Divine plane. Unless one rises to the Divine plane, one will not be able to worship God.
II:04.03 Even if one does not care for the anthropomorphic form of God, one can meditate on God as light, the light of millions and millions of suns and moons. Then this light merges into the light of consciousness: that is at the back of our own existence, and of our experience of the things in the world that we perceive with the help of the senses.
II:04.04 When the wave loses its form it becomes the ocean, when it retains its wave-form, it does not become the ocean; so, the wave can never become the ocean and at the same time retain its wave-form. “I am He" does not mean that the wave as wave, with its wave-form, can become Brahman, the Absolute. Only by dropping the limitations of name and form can the relative be transcended and true being attained.
II:05 - Wiesbaden, Aug 2, 1934 - (Vol.II 21-24)[NY126-130]
Pure company or none
II:05.01 The brain can get very easily muddled in a bad atmosphere, in bad company. Our consciousness then, as it were, becomes hardened.
II:05.02 When we go to a bad place from a pure atmosphere, we feel troubled; but, after some time, when our sensibility has been deadened, we do not feel anything, we begin to lower the ideal and allow ourselves to be in bad company.
II:05.03 If we associate with worldly people, we come to have worldliness quite automatically. We lower the ideal quite naturally, we move away from Truth. We should not hate wordly people, but the tender plant is to be hedged around always. Raise a hedge. There is always the danger of your lowering the ideal by mixing with people who do not lead perfectly pure lives. We should alway see that our inner sensibility is not deadened, that our ideal is not lowered.
If you cannot find pure company, remain alone in the company of your Ishtam. He is always there to help you and befriend you. Your Ishtam should be your constant companion and friend. Have him near you, talk to him, ask for his help, ask him to remove the obstructions and dangers threatening your spiritual life. Trust him, cling to him, and renounce attachment to the little dolls and puppets of men and women.
Help to create a good atmosphere
II:05.05 We are always radiating emanations, whether we are silent or speaking. Thoughts, in particular, always affect the atmosphere and influence ourselves and others. Speech is not necessary, and thoughts are even more dangerous than speech. They can poison a place completely.
II:05.06 People who are not of one mind with us will feel very uncomfortable in our presence and try to go away. They feel ill at ease without being in any way treated unkindly by us.
II:05.07 At one time you create the atmosphere, and then you enjoy it at another time when you happen to be in a bad mood. But if
you always go on taking something from the environment without contributing anything, you rob it.
II:06 - Wiesbaden, Aug 3, 1934 - (Vol.II 25-38)[NY145-154]
The receiver must always be a giver
II:06.01 The receiver must always be a giver. This also holds good for the spiritual atmosphere there is in a place. If you do not contribute your own share to the atmosphere created in this flat, orthis room where we are having our studies, but only go on taking from it, it is mere robbery. In the West, the whole spiritual atmosphere is, as it were, exhausted. Nothing has been contributed. So many cathedrals have been built, so many pictures painted, etc., but no one has again contributed to the spiritual store through his practices. So the store is exhausted, and other powers have gained dominion. The environment should help you. The atmosphere in a room or a flat should help you when you are in a bad mood or in danger of slipping your foot, but then you, too, must consciously contribute something. This is very important. Such a fine atmosphere has been created in this flat through ourreadings and meditation and studies. Seethatyou keep it up also when I am not here. Do not steal. Be a giver in this also.
II:06.03 All our religious or dogmatic troubles and quarrels are due to our partial visions. We rise to a certain plane only, get our vision from that plane, do not realize that it is only one aspect of the Truth, and then begin to quarrel with others who have a different vision, a partial one, just as ours is. Only by rising to the Absolute can we realize Truth as It is, and then give to each partial vision the place that belongs to it. Partial visions are true on a certain plane, but they are not the whole truth.
II:06.04 Different people having partial visions speak of their visions as the only truth, because they have not known and not experienced other paths. Hence all the terrible bigotry in the religious field. We in India have been more fortunate because our earliest sages realized that ‘Truth is one’, but that ‘It is called by different names’. So, as a rule, we had less of dogmatic squabbles and persecution and did not fall into the pitfall of standardizing spiritual life or proclaiming only one Incarnation as the only True One. This narrow-mindedness was the spiritual death of the West.
The blessing of uncertainty
II:06.05 From the spiritual standpoint, it is good to remain amidst great uncertainty. It is good if everything you rely upon is taken from you. It is good if all old valuations and allegiances, everything you believed safe and secure, collapses around you, and you are forced to cling to something that does not depend in any way on the phenomenal world, or on your kith and kin. But this experience is very painful. You see, not one of you here knows what the future is going to bring to you and what it is going to be like. You cannot rely on anything you think safe. So the only thing you can do is to cling to your Ishtam with all your might, to pray to Him to help you and to protect you, to be your only support and guide. And this is good. You will realize the truth of this one day. Pray, “Show me the light, guide my understanding, be ever at my side." Poverty and uncertainty, even misery are not bad, they are to be welcomed, if they make us turn to God, bring to us disgust for the world and infinite love for our Ishtam. For most people they are absolutely necessary, otherwise they will never change their easy-going ways. Amidst all this, perform Japam intensely, with great doggedness.
II:06.06 Sometimes I pray to the Lord to send the devotees misery and trials, to make them suffer, so that they may come to their senses.
“In the household life characterized by deceitful feelings and activities, the person who regards as his high purpose his sons, wife and wealth, is really foolish, and he does not attain the purpose, but only remains wandering through the various courses of worldly life [Samsara]." —(Srimad Bhagavatam)
II:06.07 Since we are going to have unpleasantness anyhow, it is better to have it connected with some higher life. Unpleasantness there will be anywhere. You cannot escape it. In our present state, pain, troubles, misery, suffering, are unavoidable and necessary. Let them be a goad to make us move towards the Lord. Let us make use of them for attaining our goal. We should neither court misery, nor should we court pleasure, but always seek to attain to that which is eternally beyond both and from where both are recognized as belonging to unreality.
Let us make the most use of our time even in the present uncertainty.11 When the powers of evil have become so strong, they must exhaust themselves mutually before better days can dawn. But that is no reason why we should not strive for the higher life, though knowing that the catastrophe cannot be avoided. Let us make the best use of the Divine Grace given us and try to attain something reliable, something that cannot be taken away again by anything, whatever happens. There can never be peace and rest in the phenomenal world, so do not deceive yourselves on that point. The phenomenal world will ever remain what it is. If you take pleasure you must take pain also. If you accept relative good, you must accept relative evil also. If you do not want this, go to another plane where there is neither pleasure nor pain, neither relative good nor relative evil, where all the pairs of opposites are fully transcended.
II:07 - Wiesbaden, Aug 5, 1934 - (Vol.II 38-47)[NY145-154]
Raising the whole of the mind
II:07.01 Sri Ramakrishna speaks of the raising of the whole mind. When we speak of our ‘centre of consciousness’, we only raise a bit of our mind, although even this is not a small thing for the beginner. The real raising is something more. We should always watch the centre of our consciousness, because it is the key to our whole spiritual development. It is most important. Without raising his centre of consciousness, no one is able to lead a pure life. Even when we dwell on the higher plane we should always be careful not to fall down. There is always the tendency to fall down, unless one is already very firmly established in one of the higher centres.
II:07.02 Teaching may be done as a form of service, not with a feeling of superiority. Never have the attitude of a teacher, but always that of a servant. My teacher, Swami Brahmananda, always felt a great reluctance to teach, but he was always willing to share his spiritual experience with sincere devotees, and this attitude of service he had, made us all follow him. When he scolded us, he did so very quietly, calmly, without any excitement, and then, like good boys, we began doing what he said.
11. The period preceding World War II.—Publisher
II:07.03 Some are bent on teaching others, some are too shy. Both are wrong.
II:07.04 All this is due to false conceptions, manifestations of our ego. Some are afraid of being caught in the net of Maya if they teach others even as a form of service, but this very fear is also a net, wherein they are caught just as nicely. Fear too, belongs to Maya.
Establish a firm relation with your Ishtam
II:07.05 Life does not mean only smiles and joy and pleasure. All have to pass through acute pain, troubles and tribulations, and no one is safe unless he has got a firm hold on the higher life, unless he fully relies and communes with the Divine and cherishes greater love for the Divine than for any of the human puppets and dolls that surround him and try to charm him into being their slave.
Try to establish a very intimate relation with your Ishtam. This is not something imaginary at all. There can be a real relation. You can speak to your Ishtam, and your Ishtam instructs you, once you have established the relation. But this needs tremendous one-pointedness, tremendous sincerity, tremendous purity. Do your Japam intensely, fill your whole being with the Divine vibrations, dwell on the thought of your Ishtam again and again, offer everything to Him and cling to Him alone. Then the result will come of itself, and you will see what bliss it is. He is infinitely merciful wherever He sees real sincerity and real yearning. He always comes to meet us as soon as we have dropped our manifold playthings and want Him alone. As long as the child goes on playing happily with its toys, the mother does not come to it. She knows she is not needed.—But when it cries for her, she comes.
II:08 - Wiesbaden, Aug 6, 1934 - (Vol.II 48-60)[NY163-174]
Rush towards God
II:08.01 Oil your own machine, make it run smoothly and do not think so much of oiling the machine of others. Everyone must follow the path himself. Nothing can be done vicariously.
II:08.02 The more we come to know people with all their meanness, their pettiness, their greed, their lust, their crookedness, the more our shallow optimism vanishes, and we run the risk of becoming pessimistic. That is the great danger. But there also comes a time when we come in touch with really good and pure souls. See the dirt, keep it at a safe distance, do not allow yourselves to be affected by the badness or goodness of people. Follow the path without troubling about the bad sides of others. The many will always continue to wallow in every kind of filth, physical and mental, and rejoice in it.
M:08.03 Sometimes when walking through the streets I feel shocked when I see some people. There is so much lewdness and greed in their faces and even their vibrations hit me when I pass them.
II:08.04 You should try to develop a mood that always forces you to rush towards God.
“Those who always rely on (attach themselves to) separateness can never realize the innate purity of the Self. Therefore those who are drowned in the idea of separateness and who assert separateness of (entities) are called narrow-minded.
They alone are said to be of the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the Self, unborn and ever the same. This, ordinary men cannot understand. ’’
—(Gaudapada Karika 4.94-95)—
II:08.05 If our central idea is God, we feel everything just forces us to move towards the Lord. The bent of our mind should be: “All is unreal, God alone is real". Let everything always remind you of the unreality of the world. This attitude is very, very necessary if you sincerely want to lead a spiritual life.
“But one who has not mastered his passions, whose intellect—the guide to his sense-organs—is wild, and who is devoid of discrimination and renunciation—such a man taking up the monk’s triple staff for the sake of subsistence, is a destroyer of religion, and cheats the gods, cheats himself, and Me, who reside in his self. With his impurities unconsumed, he is deprived of both this life and the life to come."—(Sri Krishna & Uddhava 13.40-41)—
II:09 - Wiesbaden, Aug 7, 1934 - (Vol.II 60-77)[NY163-174]
Spiritual life is elimination of upadhis
II:09.01 The task of life is to get rid of upadhis, the limiting adjuncts, to remove all the layers of upadhis. Any limiting adjunct is an upadhi. Spiritual life is elimination of upadhis, physical and mental upadhis and upadhis connected with the causal (ego). Our task is to control the senses, body and mind, and, at the same time to raise counter-currents of thought when mental impurity is rising within.
The first task is not to accumulate fresh impurities that come through sense-enjoyment, gross and subtle, and through uncontrolled thinking. But then there are also the old impurities lying hidden within. It is therefore also necessary to purify the thinker himself. Sankara’s form of Sadhana, “We are not body, not the senses, not the mind” etc., is a great help in this. It is no joke to feel like this. These Vedantic meditations are meant for purifying the ego and making us give up our false identifications and superimpositions.
11:09.03 Since we in our present state cannot help having upadhis, let us then have the upadhis of a holy man. “I am the child of the Lord.” He who intensely and sincerely thinks like this, cannot stoop low.
II:09.04 Associate yourego with the Divine in some form orother. Think you are a part of God, a servant of God, a mode of God. The root-cause of this ego perishes only with the highest spiritual illumination. This is no loss of personality, but realization of one’s true personality, assertion of one’s true personality.
“Of all blessings here, wisdom is the highest blessing, as it leads to heaven; for he who sails in the raft of wisdom crosses the impassable sea of misery.”—(Srimad Bhagavatam)
11:09.05 Vedanta is chiefly concerned with raising the centre of consciousness. Ordinarily we have no control over the centre of our consciousness. But if you are in a very elevated mood, you find the centre of your consciousness is higherthan otherwise. Ourconscious and subconscious efforts should always be to remain on the higher plane and not to allow ourselves to be brought down by any stimulus. If we have to live in very bad environments, we should try to live above them. Wheneverwe remain unaffected, we are on the higher plane of consciousness.
“How wonderful is Thy love, O Beloved, and wonderful is its power.
The night of the world seems day to me, Beloved, and the bright day of the world is my night.
The stranger’s land have I made of my hut, my home is the land of the Stranger.
So I have become a stranger to myself—
and the Stranger has become I."
No false humility
II:09.09 There is very little place for false humility in true spiritual life. Mostly, the so-called humble person is terribly proud of his humility. “Oh, I am so humble!” But if you are proud of being the servant of the Lord, you cannot do anything ignoble, anything impure, because you find it beneath your dignity to give in to your evil tendencies or to associate with low people. The right form of pride is a very great help, and the wrong form of humility makes you commit all sorts of low actions.
II:09.10 In Mahatma Gandhi’s case you find right humility. He is always ready to confess the ‘Himalayan blunders’ he has committed in his search for Truth. In his case it is not the self-complacent humility of the ordinary devotee, but the humility of the man of knowledge who knows the difficulties of the path and the greatness of the task to be achieved.
“O Lord, look not upon my evil qualities!12 Thy name, O Lord, is Same-sightedness,
Make of us both the same Brahman!
One drop of water is in the sacred Jumna,
And another is foul in the ditch by the roadside,
But when they fall into the Ganges, both alike become holy.
So, Lord, look not upon my evil qualities!
Thy name, O Lord, is Same-sightedness,
Make of us both the same Brahman!
One piece of iron is in the image of the temple,
And another is the knife in the hand of the butcher,
But when they touch the philosopher’s stone,
Both alike turn to gold.
So, Lord, look not upon my evil qualities!
Thy name, O Lord, is Same-sightedness,
Make of us both the same Brahman."
12. The song sung by a Jeypore nautch-girl in reply to Swamiji’s refusal of the Rajah of Khetri’s invitation to attend an entertainment—which reminded Swamiji that ‘all is Brahman’. (Life ofSwami Vivekananda p.283-4, 4th ed. 1949).
II:10 - Wiesbaden, Aug 8, 1934 - (Vol.II 78-89)[NY174-180]
The ‘knots’ of the heart
II:10.01 Sometimes we think that cunning and deceit are inseparable from intelligence. It is very difficult to be perfectly straightforward and this requires tremendous intelligence. It means great strength and fearlessness.
II:10.02 With the vision of God, the ‘knots of the heart’ are cut asunder. These knots are: duplicity, attachment, likes and dislikes, lust, hatred etc. But straightforwardness does not mean foolishness. Truthfulness is the greatest spiritual practice in this age.
II:10.03 If you find a spiritual man is awfully selfish, there is something seriously wrong with all his so-called spirituality. Never trust him. Selfishness and spirituality do not go together, just as wherever there is impurity in any form there cannot be spiritual attainment. This is a sure sign, however beautiful the outer appearances may otherwise be. Do not allow yourselves to be deceived on this point.
II:11 - Wiesbaden, Aug 11, 1934 - (Vol.II 89)[NY174-180]
The world’s only usefulness: as a discipline
II:11.01 To the person who really wants to move along spiritual lines, the world has its use only as a discipline.
II:11.02 We take our false personality to be real, and then there comes misery, again and again. Misery can come only when we take the false to be real, when we cling to what is fleeting, what is transient, what has no ultimate being or reality. Reality is something other than this. Something wholly different. The world has its use for the spiritual aspirant too, but only if he is aware of its true nature and uses everything that meets him as a discipline to help him in freeing himself from all his illusions and false conceptions.
II:12 - Wiesbaden, Aug 12, 1934 - (Vol.II 89-91)[NY174-180]
II:12.01 Almost always you find money and low morals go together. The morals of the idle rich are mostly far lower than those of the lowest classes, because they have the means and the leisure to fulfill all their lowest worldly desires and are ever out to invent new stimuli for their worn-out nerves. That is why in most cases money is a curse and stands in the way of Self-realization. But if it is taken as a kind of trust, if the owner is conscious that he is only the trustee of his possessions, then it can be a help also.
II:12.02 Unless we try to be perfectly pure, we cannot have the discrimination of which Sri Ramakrishna speaks. A person who lies, who does not lead a sexually pure life, whose impulses are not controlled, cannot have discrimination.
“If I tell lies, if I lead an impure life, physically and mentally, then what does it matter if it is all Maya?” You often hear such words from impure people. But this is a very hypocritical attitude. As long as this wonderful Maya is real to you, and you want to enjoy it, as long as your anger, your likes and dislikes, your aversion, your hatred, your greed, your lying, your lust, is real to you, you cannot talk about its being ‘Maya’. If you knew it to be nothing but Maya, then all these things would have no attraction whatever for you.
II:12.04 If we get a glimpse of the reality beyond Maya, Maya can never again attract us. If we see only Maya without recognizing it to be Maya, Maya attracts and enslaves.
Mental renunciation is a change of attitude
II:12.13 To the extent in which we are drawn towards what is real, all our attachments fall off. To know what is really real is also to know what is unreal.
II:12.14 Discrimination is to be practiced by all, not merely with reference to ‘Woman (Man) and Gold’, but also with reference to your own true Self. A person who identifies himself with the false self, with his man-body or woman-body, with his mind, can never have any real discrimination. Never think of yourselves as a man or woman, as old or young. We are not bodies, not senses, not minds, but spiritual entities. To a certain extent we must be able to realize this even at the beginning.
II:12.14a Learn to face life dispassionately, without identification. Whatever happens, your Self remains always, and no harm can come to your Self. So try to attain Self-realization now, in this very life, then all problems will be solved for you once for all. Without steady practice, without any real consecration to the path, Self-realization cannot be had.
II:12.14b Before Self-realization there will not be any security in your lives. You will go on being tossed about by all sorts of waves and storms, and finally lose all energy for dogged striving. If you want to wait for better times, you might just as well wait for the day when there will be no waves and ripples in the whole ocean. Then spirituality is not for you.
Ideals and ideologies
II:12.14c It is much more important to live one’s ideal than to cling to, or support any ideology. Ideologies are dangerous, the ideal that is really lived, is not. Christian ideologies have brought great suffering and ruthlessness to the world during many periods, the Christian ideal truly lived, never. The same holds good in all cases. Ideologies are very cheap things and create the worst types of fanatics, the ideal that is lived is never cheap.
II:12.14d Dogmas, doctrines, arguments, all these belong to the realm of Maya, are in fact Maya. And as long as we go on quarreling about them without first realizing God ourselves, we cannot reach a higher plane of consciousness from where everything falls into its own place quite naturally. The first experience is that you see the Real shining through the unreal, the light through the clouds. The sun is always there, it is always steady, but the clouds come and go. Even the darkest cloud is visible only because of the light.
“Knowing for certain that adversity and prosperity come in (their own) time through fate, one is ever contented, has all his senses in control and does not desire or grieve.
Knowing for certain that happiness and misery, birth and death are due to one’s fate, one comes to see that it is not possible to accomplish the desired things and thus becomes inactive and is not attached even though engaged in action.
One who has realized that care (alone) breeds misery in this world and nothing else, becomes free from it, and is happy, peaceful and rid of desires everywhere.
13. The mysterious power of Karma.
14. The preceding two verses indicate that suffering comes through Karma and is thus inevitable. If however, we can detach our mind from it when it comes, it will not affect us. By dwelling on it, we intensify it. (Trans. and notes by Swami Nitya-swarupananda.)
‘I am not the body nor is the body mine. I am Intelligence itself’—one who has realized this for certain, does not remember what he has done or not done as if he has attained the state of Absoluteness.
‘It is verily I from Brahma down to the clump of grass, ’—one who know this for certain, becomes free from the conflict of thought, pure and peaceful and turns away from what is attained and not attained.
One who knows for certain that this manifold and wonderful universe is nothing, becomes desireless and Pure Intelligence, and finds peace as if nothing exists."
—(Ashtavakra Samhita 11.3-8)—
II:13 - Wiesbaden, Aug 13, 1934 - (Vol.II 91-93)[NY174-180]
Balance is to be sought for
II:13.01 One should try to rise: with the help of feelings, beyond feelings; with the help of knowledge, beyond knowledge; with the help of love, beyond love. One is the approach through knowledge and discrimination, the other through feelings and sentiments which are sublimated and transmuted. There should be balance. Each type should have something of the other, though a particular bent may be predominant. The ideal is to have balance as much as possible. Balance between these two, but the truly balanced soul is very rare. There should never be any one-sided development of knowledge at the expense of feelings, and feelings at the expense of knowledge. The world is already full enough of all those one-sided types. The one-sided type is always stunted in it’s growth and never attains full manhood.
Absolute-Ishwara-Incarnations-We [All one, as Substance]
• Absolute = Water
• Ishwara = Ocean
• Incarnations = Waves
• We = bubbles
II:13.02 As substance, as water we are all one, but as ocean and waves and bubbles we are different. The water-substance in me and the water-substance in the ocean and in the waves are one, but we, as a tiny bubbles, are never the ocean or the waves. Here there should be no mistake, otherwise there will be no end of misunderstanding of the whole position of Vedanta. The “I am He" of
Advaita does not mean that I as a tiny bubble am Ishvara or an Incarnation or the Absolute, Brahman. Only when the bubble-form is dropped and the substance stressed and fully realized, does this “I am He" become a fact.
II:13.03 Head and heart go together, but when the heart predominates in a certain type, we call it the path of Bhakti, of devotion. When the head predominates, we call it the path of Jnana, of knowledge and discrimination. Unless some feeling is called up, there can never be any meditation. Meditation without feeling is impossible. The thought of the Infinite fills one’s heart, brings to one a sense of presence, of vastness, which always implies a certain amount of feeling.
II:13.04 Our ideal should be to co-ordinate the intellect, feeling and will, the different faculties of the mind, and to purify them all.
II:13.05 Think that a part of the All-pervading Light takes shape as your Ishtam. After all, it is all one water-substance that has taken all these different forms. Really speaking, there is no such thing as idol-worship.
II:13.06 When you feel the finite consciousness, you feel your finite consciousness as a manifestation of the Infinite. After meditation, you stand as your own witness, as it were. As we approach this Infinite more and more, we begin to set the same value on all these different forms. In a certain mood we can feel the presence of many. And this is not mere imagination, but actual feeling of something that exists. Ordinarily, our centre of consciousness is so fixed on this petty little self of ours that we do not get this vision.
II:13.07 Ordinarily, the ego is the centre of our consciousness, but in the higher mood the Infinite becomes the centre of our consciousness. ‘Cosmocentric’ means ‘immanent aspect’.
II:13.08 There is a method, a certain order to be followed. Everything is to be done step by step. People must be taught the technique. We should lead people to themselves and see whether they get drowned or not. They may have some dips, but when they are in danger of getting drowned, we should come to their help. If you get some nice dips, it does not matter, but see that you do not get drowned. Beware!
II:13.08a Try to be very steady in your practices and your studies. You do not yet know their effectiveness. Japam seems to you a very simple thing, of no great consequence perhaps, but real Japam, Japam properly preformed, is most effective in all cases. Only among thousands of repetitions there may be perhaps just one done properly in your case. That is why you are asked to repeat the name of the Lord or the Mantram so many thousand times. Otherwise just one repetition would be enough.
II:13.15 Meditation is a technique, trying to induce a mood of systematic concentration in a systematic way. It is a method with a long tradition but we must know the method. Ordinarily, people just want stimulants, tea or coffee etc., but the less we depend on any form of stimulant, the better. A reliable self-starter is always better. Most people want to be driven. They become like so many motorcars out of order! Avoid anything that tends to muddle your brain, even if ever so slightly. That is why all intoxicants are forbidden. You may not be drunk, but your brain is not in a normal condition through the influence of alcohol and other drugs and intoxicants. Never go near them.
II:13.17 It is very difficult to induce the higher mood in ourselves, but we should make the attempt, again and again, in a systematic way, with dogged determination.
“The sage should not be vexed by people nor vex them himself. He should put up with vilifications and never insult anybody. For the sake of the body he should bear enmity to none, as beasts do."—(Sri Krishna & Uddhava 13.31)
II:13.17a Any spirit of retaliation or vindictiveness is very low and very bad. If others are blind and act in a bad way through their blindness, there is no reason at all why we should do the same.
II:13.11 For a time, it may even appear to you that you have become or are becoming much worse, much dirtier than before. In such a case we should develop the ‘sense of vastness’. The sense of infinity is potential in all of us. This is a step towards Advaita, but theistic.
II:13.13 Where the aspirant’s discrimination stops, there he reaches the Absolute. But he should never stop halfway, imagining that he has reached the Absolute.
II:13.14 Forms are real, but real only in a secondary sense, for the devotee. To the Advaitin they become unreal, some time or other, and are recognized to be no more than empty shadows.
II:13.20 Many people are not able to stand the Divine Grace.
Once there was a tiny mouse in the hermitage of a sage. The sage took pity on it and transformed it into a cat. Then some dogs tried to tear the poor cat to pieces, so he made it become a dog. The poor dog was persecuted by a leopard and in great danger of being killed. So the dog was transformed into a tiger. But when he became a tiger, he wanted to kill the sage, so the sage said, “All right, just be the old mouse again.”
There are many such cases. Divine grace is showered on them and purifies them to a certain extent, but they become like the mouse-tiger and instead of profiting by it, they become insolent and are thrown down again to their former level. It is a very rare privilege to be allowed to follow the spiritual path and to get instruction through Divine Grace, but then, what happens is this:- when you are given certain advantages, then you do not make the proper use of them. So they are taken away again by the Divine. Later, some day, when a better sense will have dawned, you are going to lament for not having made better use of the rare opportunities given you by the Divine. But then it will be too late. Grace is always taken away if the aspirant does not make use of it in the right way, and it may never be given again.
II:13.21 When you realize this, you will feel very sorry, for you do not understand what a rare privilege is being given you and what wonderful progress you could make if you only knew how to use it.
II:13.22 Everybody should always remember that he should give no reason to the Lord to say, “Just be the old mouse again!” When the Lord gets displeased, He takes away all the advantages, all the opportunities, and then what can you do? Just continue to be a little miserable mouse, a little helpless whirlpool without peace and rest. And then you will not be able to attain the goal and will regret your carelessness and half-hearted ways. But most people will not listen to such a warning until it is too late.
[Last Reading before Ascona, Switzerland]
II:14 - Wiesbaden, Nov 14, 1934 - (Vol.II 94-98)[NY182-184]
[First Reading after Ascona (Eranos Meeting) & Poland]1 Incarnations
II:14.02 The question of the Incarnation has given rise to many bigotted dogmatic and senseless quarrels in religion. In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord tells Arjuna that whenever there is a decline of Dharma and a rise of Adharma, He Himself incarnates in order to re-establish Dharma and destroy Adharma. And in one of the Upanishads, Indra, the God, tells his disciple Medhatithi, “With my miraculous powers I again and again assume birth in the world in a thousand different ways, purifying it from all quarters.” If we fully realize the implication of such words, there cannot be any quarrel among the followers of different religions, if they are sincere followers of the Lord; the Lord cannot be tied down to just one form, to just one Incarnation, as the fanatic would have it. If anything is blasphemy, this is it.
II:14.03 You can prefer your Ishtam, your Incarnation to any other Incarnation because certain aspects, certain qualities of your Incarnation appeal to you most, but never dare to claim any exclusive rights for your Incarnation. It may be the best for you, but it may be quite wrong for another aspirant. No Incarnation is the greatest, though a particular Incarnation may be the greatest for you, and suit you more than any other. You cannot limit God to make Him conform to your ideas.
II:14.04 Many think they are going to be Kripa-siddhas16 and do not struggle. They want to have vicarious atonement. There is indeed such a thing as Divine Grace descending on people all of a sudden, but such cases are rare. So you will have to struggle, however much the idea of being Kripa-siddhas may appeal to you.
II:14.12 Shava-sadhana is a Tantrika practice in which the spiritual aspirant sits on a corpse in the cremation ground and performs his spiritual practices sitting on the corpse. This creates tremendous dispassion and fearlessness.
15. To Locarno, in southern Switzerland for the Eranos Group Meeting, at nearby Ascona (Aug 8-Sept 4), to Vienna (Sept 5-9), to Poland [Cracow, Warsaw etc] (Sept 10- Nov 11), returning to Wiesbaden via Poznan and Breslau. [Publisher]
II:14.13 Why not see the world as it is? We love the cradle but we shudder when we think of a corpse. Why? If we accept the cradle, why not accept the corpse, too? Both belong together. As boys, in my childhood, we used to go to the cremation ground for our meditation and Japam, before we joined the Order. Meditation is very effective on the cremation ground. If this is life, why not face it in all its aspects? Why always wish for the pleasant? There is the terrible aspect in God. You cannot have the pleasant God only, even if you want only Him. Christians very primitively think, “Oh, the soul is going to sleep nicely after death till the Day of Judgment.” We make fools of ourselves, avoiding to think of what is really taking place: Worms eating a nauseating corpse, horrible decomposition, disgusting to look at. There is nothing nice about the reality. You see, Shava-sadhana may sound horrible to you, because you are all bent on covering the hideous with nice, fragrant flowers and then trying to make yourselves and others believe there is nothing hideous and disgusting about it. Shava-sadhana is just a means to remove this attitude and to learn to open one’s eyes to the reality in all its aspects. On the cremation-ground you can learn what real dispassion and fearlessness are, though not every aspirant has to do his Japam and meditation sitting on a corpse. Learn to be realistic. Do not always crave for nice things, but learn to long for Truth and for Liberation from everything phenomenal, from the beautiful as well as from the hideous and disgusting. Then you will be able to make good progress.
“While practicing Samadhi there appear unavoidably many obstacles, such as lack of inquiry, idleness, desire for sense-pleasure, sleep, dullness, distraction, tasting of joy, and the sense of blackness. One desiring the knowledge of Brahman should slowly get rid of such innumerable obstacles."