II:15 - Wiesbaden, Nov 15, 1934 - (Vol.II 98)[NY182-184]
II:15.01 Sri Ramakrishna used to say very nicely that we all pass though a life-long education, through various stages, various experiences that build up and model our life. It should always be a march towards the Truth by passing through various stages. It should be an onward march towards liberation, not a move towards bondage and ever-growing slavery of body and mind. We have consciously to build up our inner life, and this inner life can only be built up through life-long struggles.
II:15.02 Moral education should always form one of the most essential branches of education. It is far more important than mere intellectual drill. Then alone the right course of action becomes possible for the pupil. Intellectual education lacks roots and tends to make a man amoral.
II:15.03 Very little success can be attained in the field of education without first educating the educator. A slave cannot make another man free. The educator should always show the path by example and precept, by his whole mode of life and conduct. You cannot really educate others with theories. You cannot make them develop their full moral and ethical manhood unless you, too, have developed yours. So what we need more than anything else is education of educators. Then alone better forms of education would become possible. How a man who himself has no control—over his impulses, desires, passions and moods—can make another self-controlled, is a riddle! The mere idea is absurd. An uncontrolled person is always most dangerous for himself and for the whole community.
II:15.04 So, education should be a training of individuals to will and to feel rightly and efficiently and to become free from their impulses and desires.
II:15.05 It is quite impossible to formulate a definite system of education before having a definite conception of the being that is to be educated. It is enough for our scheme if we regard the students under our care as separate soul-entities, possessing an inner organ, the mind, with its faculties of intellect, feeling and will, capable of being trained and evolved into efficient instruments of feeling and thought.
II:15.07 Education means an all-round culture, physical, intellectual, moral, artistic and spiritual! And whenever these elements are not present, there is no education, whatever else it may be. Development of the body, control of all sense-impulses, acquirement of knowledge, sublimation of feelings and instincts and sentiments, development of the will along right lines, sense of duty, and also intense soul-culture must be taken into account, an intense soul-culture that removes the darkness and enables us to rise above our false illusory personality. All this implies a balance and harmony between a perfectly developed body, mind and soul. Mere intellectual knowledge will only create havoc.
II:15.09 Now we are half asleep and half awake, and our task now is how to become wide awake, fully conscious, how to become free men. By constantly and intensely thinking we are pure by nature, we become pure, but at the same time we must strictly follow the right code of conduct. Thus we free the mind of all its evil propensities.
II:16 - Wiesbaden, Nov 16, 1934 - (Vol.II 98)[NY182-184]
Hints for meditation
II:16.03 Those among the aspirants that feel an inner consciousness as they sit down for Japam and meditation, can take it as a rope to hold on to. It can be a great help.
II:16.04 Spiritual experience is something that can be had only by drawing ourselves within and cutting ourselves away from all stimuli. A little attention on the breath is permissible if it takes us deeper and makes us withdraw from outside stimuli.
II:16.05 Sitting posture during Japam and meditation is usual. Squatting is naturally the best posture for those who can learn to do it without feeling any strain. Any posture must be a steady posture. And we should always have two postures which we use only for Japam and meditation so that they become associated with these practices in our mind. Then, during long meditation, we can change from one posture to the other and then come back again to the first when it become painful or begins to cause us any discomfort.
II:16.06 We should pay some attention to posture, otherwise our body will divert our attention from the practices.
II:18.27 The ideal is that the body should not be moved, that it should be held perfectly still and poised. So much of our energy is lost by movements and physical and mental restlessness. We cannot afford to lose that if we wish to be successful in our practices, so we must minimize the waste. We will always find that people who go on moving some limb, are not properly concentrated. The concentrated person is perfectly still, like a statue. It is very bad to move any limb during our practices, except the movement necessary for telling the beads of our Rudraksha-mala while doing Japam.
II:16.07 The body should therefore be in a state of perfect balance and rest, at least as much as possible. But the beginner will not be able to attain perfect rest for some time. To make the body steady, breath must be perfectly rhythmic. This is the usefulness of Pranayama. In most people, a quiet mood and rhythmic breath go together.
II:16.08 Inhale purity, exhale all impurity, inhale calmness, exhale all restlessness, inhale strength, exhale all weakness, inhale compassion, exhale hatred. Fill yourselves with Divine Energy. Give these suggestions very strongly before your practices. As a result, the body becomes pure, the mind becomes pure, if this positive process is continued steadily, without any break, for some time. Such suggestions are very helpful, they are not just empty imaginations.
There is also a negative process: Draw your mind away from all that disturbs you. Bring your scattered mind back to yourself.
II:18.29 Then comes the question of holding the mind on a particular object.
II:18.30 Sri Ramakrishna used to apply a kind of imagination during the early period of his Sadhana. He said, “I had tied my mind with a fine silken thread to the feet of my Ishtam", or, “I used to think that I had cleaned my whole mind till no dirt was left. And then I tied my mind to the feet of the Lord". If you succeed in giving such suggestions very intensely and vividly to your mind before taking up your practices, it will be a great help.
II:16.09 Spiritual practice is successful only if we have the right spiritual mood. In order to worship the Divine we must rise to the plane of the Divine. We can never worship It from the plane of the phenomenal, from our plane, remaining where we are. In order to understand a Buddha, we ourselves must become a Buddha.
II:16.11 We can also think of ourselves as so many points in an ocean. First of all think we think of ourselves as so many points of dazzling light, and then we melt our bodies, love, hatred, affections, aversions, home, country, friends, relations, everything,—into a vast ocean of brilliant light. This is a very good practice with which to loosen our different attachments and false identifications, if done with intensity and steadiness for a long time day by day. Your whole attitude towards yourselves, people and things becomes different. Your consciousness begins to expand, and slowly new light is thrown on many aspects of life. But even this practice requires great perseverance. It is not so easy to bring about the necessary change in the beginner. Sankara has many fine passages for meditation that can be used for this form of practice.
“The liberated one neither abhors the objects of the senses nor craves them. Ever with a detached mind he enjoys the attained as well as the unattained." —(Ashtavakra Samhita 17.17)—
“All this is Brahman, beginning, ending and continuing in It. One ought to meditate upon It calmly." —(Chhandogya Upanishad)—
II:17 - Wiesbaden, Nov 17, 1934 - (Vol.II 98-104)[NY186-194]
Behave as spiritual entities
II:17.04 The hardest thing is how to sublimate our ideas, never to think of ourselves and others as men or women, never to think of ourselves and others in terms of body, of sex, of age, but only as spiritual entities. This point must be reached by all.
II:17.05 What Sri Ramakrishna says about the attitude men should have towards women, is true with reference to women too. It holds good wherever there is any mutual attraction. When talking to women, Sri Ramakrishna always changed ‘Woman and Gold’ into ‘Man and Gold’. He always warned women against man. The Master never ever felt any contempt for women or gave them a lower place.
II:17.06 You should frighten people away by stressing morals and purity so much. We want to frighten them away, because all those who are not prepared to pay the full price should stay away and not come here. So these points can never be stressed too much. We do not want others to come. In the West you have got the obsession of numbers. What we need is not numbers, but aspirants, who are willing to dedicate their all to their path, not superficial parasites who are looking for some dope or other.
II:17.07 People should be very guarded if they sincerely want to lead a spiritual life. If they slip, they fall down to the very bottom, deeper than any worldly person ever would, because of their greater concentration. A strong thought-wall should always protect us from coming into too intimate touch with others. There should always be a kind of mutual respect, a true regard for the soul of the other person.
If we strongly believe and feel that we are spiritual entities, and others also, it is best.
II:17.12 Good knocks are to be given to this body-consciousness of ours. Let us think of ourselves as effulgent sparks dwelling in this body. We are constantly living on false ideas and false ideals. All our misery is due to that. The root-cause of our pain are the false relationships of our life, all this thinking that we are a man or a woman, all this earthly attitude, these earthly relationships of so-called love and friendship which cannot but bring pain because their whole foundation is wrong. No one should ever take up direct relationships with others. The relationship through the Divine is always safe. We are always related through the ocean, through the substance, but there should be no such thing as a direct relation with another bubble in the aspirant’s life.
II:18 - Wiesbaden, Nov 19, 1934 - (Vol.II 104-111)[NY186-194]OM
II:18.05 The Word is Brahman in its vibration- or sound-aspect. “Worship this OM as Brahman" (Upanishads).
II:18.06 In the Gospel of St.John you find a similar idea, where he speaks about the Word, the ‘Logos’.17
II:18.07 Many aspirants cannot have just a sound-symbol without any personality. Others again do not care for any personality, and then this limited sound-symbol takes them to the cosmic sound-symbol. And this is not mere imagination. Through the vibrations and with their help, they get to where all vibration ceases.
II:18.08 OM (AUM): a = the gross; u = the subtle; m = the causal; and ‘m’ melting away into soundlessness = the Absolute. Or, a = waking state; u = dream state; m = deep sleep; and ‘m’ melting into soundlessness = turiya, or super-conscious state, beyond all relativity.
When meditating on the symbol OM, you should always think of these (aforementioned) steps. It is a very grand symbol, once it is really understood. In this form of meditation, personality has no place at all. Such aspirants want to reach the Principle without the help of any Divine Personality. There are many people who can intellectually
17. John 1:1
appreciate this, and do so, but when the question of Self-realization comes, they are not fit to follow this path and must be given a different path altogether, despite the fact that the idea, as such, appeals to them so greatly. Realization is something wholly different from intellectual appreciation or understanding.
The Divine Personality and the Advaitic background
II:18.08a I am always rather amused to find so many ‘Jnanis’ among the aspirants. So many care for the Absolute, love the Absolute, do not want the Personality. But what do they attain on the practical side? He who worships the Divine Personality also realizes the All-pervading, Absolute aspect. These are simply two different approaches, but few are those among the aspirants who can, from the very beginning, pass through an out-and-out Advaitic Sadhana. It is not so much a question of what appeals to any one of you intellectually, but of what he can do from the point where he stands now. But with many, I have to wait till they themselves see that they do not make any real progress, because only then are they ready to accept what I might have told them before, but to which they would not have listened. Sometimes it takes many months or even years until a person finds this out and is ready to accept another path on the practical side. The ideal of the Absolute can always be at the back of his mind and remain the goal to be reached, but there must be stepping-stones and working ideals while we are on the way. Without the practical side, there is no sense whatever in our studies.
If it is rightly understood, the Advaita background makes a person tolerant and sympathetic towards other paths. So there should always be this idea even if on the practical side we have to follow quite a different Sadhana for the time being.
II:18.10 When we worship Christ, we come to have Christ-consciousness. When we worship Krishna, we come to have Krishna-consciousness. When we worship Buddha, we come to have Buddha-consciousness. When we worship Sri Ramakrishna, we come to have Ramakrishna-consciousness. And again, this means absolute consciousness, for all the Great Ones had attained the Absolute.
Ordinarily, people want to force some personality on others in their religious life, and thereby they are constantly doing untold harm. If the Christ-personality does not appeal to me, I cannot profit by worshipping Christ, and my whole spiritual life becomes a failure. I must always take the Great One who suits my bent. Any other will be even harmful to my evolution, but I must know that it may be the right one for someone else. The person who should follow Buddha, cannot be made to follow Christ without serious harm being done to his spiritual growth and evolution. And the man who should follow Christ, cannot take up Sri Krishna as his ideal etc. This is very important. The spiritual life of a person who takes up the wrong ideal is sure to be a failure. This, the fanatics who do not even know what Religion is, do not recognize. They are themselves blind, and want to make and keep others blind. All these Great Ones are the expressions of the same Divine Principle, but not every expression may suit my particular bent of mind and make me grow. There is not just one saviour for all. This is a most pernicious idea. So we should each have the Great One that suits us, but at the same time realize that He is not the Greatest of all and not in any way truer than all the others.
II:18.11 Advaita Vedanta is far too rich a food for weak stom
achs and for weak brains, too. The Absolute may appeal to us intellectually, but the out-and-out Advaitic Truth and Advaitic Path may be quite wrong for us and our present evolution. We must have a working ideal first. So, for most people, an Incarnation is absolutely necessary for their development. They can consider it to be a manifestation of the Absolute that appeals to them so strongly. “No one can come to the Father except through the Son!"
II:18.12 Even the Advaita Vedantin must realize the immanent aspect—in some form or other—as the way to the Absolute, to Nirguna Brahman, lies through the Immanent. In the West, so many people I meet speak about the Absolute, but do not realize what the Absolute really means. They have become sick of the Personality because the same Personality has been forced on all instead of considering their particular bent, and now it is very difficult to make them realize that they will have to return to the Divine Personality if they really wish to advance.
To some devotees, I can tell this only after a very long time, years sometimes, after they have found out that they cannot attain the Absolute in the way they desired. Then I can really begin to talk to them and to give them instructions about their Sadhana.
II:18.13 Patanjali says, “To obstruct thoughts that are dangerous, contrary thoughts are to be brought in." (YS 1.33) What should we do if we are angry? Raise a strong contrary current of thought. Sometimes we want to fight the enemy face to face, but that we can do only if we are exceptionally strong. Now we cannot give him a frontal attack—but still, he is to be fought. What shall we do? We must take the help of a friend, and this friend is the good thought. If you take this good thought with you, you can risk to fight the enemy. The best way to control an unpleasant thought is just to raise the opposite thought. This is a rule we should follow under all circumstances. It is not easy!
II:18.14 It may be that at the first attempt we do not succeed, but we should go on struggling. There are very many obstructions to leading a higher life, and they have to be uprooted and annihilated in their gross, subtle and very subtle aspects, before we can really progress to any extent.
Instead of being angry with certain unpleasant manifestations, change your own vibrations and, by doing this, contribute to a better atmosphere, to the creation of a better soil. Wailing about brutality, feeling shocked18, is no solution if this only wakens in you the same brutality, the same intensity of hatred and aversion and dislike. Learn to be reasonable first of all.
Sexual licence and brutality
II:18.17 In the West, particularly, the moral ideals have been lowered so much and to such an extent that it becomes very difficult for Westerners to live such a life. They meet such tremendous resistance on all sides, because licence has come to be considered a legitimate expression of freedom. It is an expression of slavery and brutishness.
II:18.18 Sexual licence and brutality always go together, and wherever you find the one you find also the other. They are inseparable.
II:18.19 The first steps in the practice of Yoga are the cultivation of chastity and all the other moral virtues—i.e., everything that falls
18. Probable reference repressive actions by the Gestapo, the infamous Nazi Secret Police, with whom the Wiesbaden group too, had a passing brush.—Publisher.
under the head of ethical culture. Yoga without continence becomes highly dangerous and can lead to the lunatic asylum.
II:18.20 Unless we change our ways, there may come a time when it will be too late, even if we want to do so. Divine Grace can be taken away any moment. Unless early in life we give up the bad habit, the bad habit will dominate us to such an extent that we shall no more be able to rid ourselves of it, even if we sincerely wish to.
The story of the blanket
II:18.21 There is a funny story, illustrating this in a symbolic form. Once upon a time, two beggars standing on the bank of a swollen river, saw something floating past which they took to be a fine woolen blanket. So one told the other to jump in and bring it to the bank. He did so, swam to the apparent blanket, but then did not come back. His comrade cried out to him, “What are you doing, you silly fellow! Bring the blanket and be quick about it.” But the poor beggar shouted back, “I cannot. The blanket won’t let me go!” You see, the apparent blanket was a bear swimming past, and now tightly held the beggar in its jaws.
II:18.22 That is what actually happens many times in our lives, when we have become slaves to certain desires, to a certain code of conduct, to certain prejudices. Then that blanket we have got hold of does not let us swim back to the shore either. If you give in to your lust, your anger, your likes and dislikes, if you do whatever you please and consider this to be freedom, you, too, are fast becoming hopeless slaves. Habit becomes one’s second nature, but habit is always formed through practice. With great persistent effort habit can be changed, because habit is never one’s first nature. But, the second nature may have become very strong through our carelessness, and then it is a very hard task to change it!
Swami Vivekananda’s credo Swami Vivekananda says:
“We believe in one God, the Father of us all, who is omnipresent, and omnipotent, and who guides and preserves His children with infinite love. We believe in a personal God as the Christians do, but we go further: we believe that we are He! That His personality is manifested in us, that God is in us, and that we are in God. We believe there is a germ of truth in all religions, and the Hindu bows down to them all; for, in this world, truth is to be found not in subtraction but in addition. We would offer God a bouquet of the most beautiful flowers of all the diverse faiths. We must love God for love’s sake, not for the hope of reward. We must do our duty for duty’s sake, not for the hope of reward. We must worship the beautiful for beauty’s sake, not for the hope of reward. Thus in the purity of our hearts shall we see God. Sacrifices, genuflections, mumblings and mutterings are not religion. They are only good if they stimulate us to the brave performance of beautiful and heroic deeds, and lift our thoughts to the apprehension of the Divine perfection.
What good is it, if we acknowledge in our prayers that God is the Father of us all, and in our daily lives do not treat every man as our brother? Books are only made so that they may point the way to a higher life, but no good results unless the path is trodden with unflinching steps! Every human personality may be compared to a glass globe. There is the same pure white light—an emission of the Divine Being—in the centre of each, but the glass being of different colours and thickness, the rays assume diverse aspects in the transmission. The equality and beauty of each central flame is the same, and the apparent inequality is only in the imperfection of the temporal instrument of its expression. As we rise higher and higher in the scale of being, the medium becomes more and more translucent. ”
—Indian Religious Thought—
(Brooklyn, Sunday, December 30, 1894- CW4)
Shed light instead of criticism
II:18.22a There is too much criticism, too much condemnation of things and others in you.19 Even if they are bad, the attitude is wrong. Negative condemnation is wrong. Negative condemnation does not lead anywhere, but increases the waves of physical and mental brutality sweeping over the world. This does not mean accepting what is evil, but instead of condemning, we should not allow any aversion, any hatred, to enter our hearts, but first of all improve our own reactions, and then through our Sadhana and the greater purity of our vibrations, improve the atmosphere. If we are just as intense in our aversion as the most brutal of those we condemn and feel called upon to criticize mercilessly, we support him by our very vibrations,
19. Reference, once again, to the Nazi regime.—Publisher.
instead of helping him and the world that is suffering under the onrush of such waves of violence. By becoming ourselves more transparent glass-globes, the Divine Light in each of us may shine forth unhindered and sweep away the darkness of ignorance. Instead of criticizing and condemning, we had better employ all that time by performing our own practices intensely, thus increasing their effectiveness. This is a most important factor in our own progress and in bringing about a better state of things.
Whenever you feel inclined to criticize and to condemn, go and sit down quietly and at once begin to do your Japam, offering all your thoughts and your impulses to your Ishtam, to do with them as He likes. This will bring about a wonderful change for the better and much greater reasonableness and detachment.
“This world consiWtlHAfTrWeE BEdlEVEnNfypes and temperaments. Live with allby Smitmi WxWagapoiaiives to be like accidental meetings of boats on the river. Be indifferent to whatever good or evil the world may do, you have only to sweep and clean your dwelling place. I have made a search for evil-doers, but I found none. When I looked into myself, I saw none so wicked as myself." —(Tulsidas)
I agree with you so far that faith is a wonderful insight and that it alone can save; but there is the danger in it of breeding fanaticism and barring further progress.
Jnana is all right; but there is the danger of its becoming dry intellectualism. Love is great and noble; but it may die away in meaningless sentimentalism.
A harmony of all these is the thing required. Ramakrishna was such a harmony. Such beings are few and far between; but keeping him and his teachings as the ideal, we can move on. And if amongst us, each one may not individually attain to that perfection, still we may get it collectively by counteracting, equipoising, adjusting, and fulfilling one another. This would be harmony by a number of persons and a decided advance on all other forms and creeds.
For a religion to be effective, enthusiasm is necessary. At the same time we must try to avoid the danger of multiplying creeds. We avoid that by being a non-sectarian sect, having all
20. Written to a disciple on March 3, 1894, from Chicago. (CW4)
the advantages of a sect and the broadness of a universal religion.
God, though everywhere, can be known to us in and through human character. No character was ever so perfect as Rama-krishna’s, and that should be the centre round which we ought to rally, at the same time allowing everybody to regard him in his own light, either as God, saviour, teacher, model, or a great man, just as he pleases.
We preach neither social equality nor inequality, but that every being has the same rights, and insist upon freedom of thought and action in every way.
We reject none, neither theist, nor pantheist, monist, polytheist, agnostic nor atheist; the only condition of being a disciple is modelling a character at once the broadest and the most intense. Nor do we insist upon particular codes of morality as to conduct, or character, or eating and drinking, except so far as it injures others.
Whatever retards the onward progress or helps the downward fall is vice; whatever helps in coming up and becoming harmonized is virtue.
We leave everybody free to know, select, and follow whatever suits and helps him. Thus, for example, eating meat may help one, eating fruit another. Each is welcome to his own peculiarity, but he has no right to criticize the conduct of others, because that would, if followed by him, injure him, much less to insist that others should follow his way. A wife may help some people in this progress, to others she may be a positive injury. But the unmarried man has no right to say that the married disciple is wrong, much less to force his own ideal of morality upon his brother.
We believe that every being is divine, is God. Every soul is a sun covered over with clouds of ignorance, the difference between soul and soul is owing to the difference in density of these layers of clouds. We believe that this is the conscious or unconscious basis of all religions, and that this is the explanation of the whole history of human progress either in the material, intellectual, or spiritual plane—the same Spirit is manifesting through different planes.
We believe that this is the very essence of the Vedas.
We believe that it is the duty of every soul to treat, think of and behave to other souls as such, i.e., as Gods, and not hate or despise, or vilify, or try to injure them by any manner or means. This is the duty not only of the Sannyasin, but of all men and women.
The soul has neither sex, nor caste, nor imperfection.
We believe that nowhere throughout the Vedas, Darsanas, or Puranas, or Tantras, it is ever said that the soul has any sex, creed, or caste. Therefore we agree with those who say, “What has religion to do with social reforms?" But they must also agree with us when we tell them that religion has no business to formulate social laws and insist on the difference between beings, because its aim and end is to obliterate all such fictions and monstrosities.
If it be pleaded that through this difference we would reach the final equality and unity, we answer that the same religion has said over and over again that mud cannot be washed with mud. As if a man can be moral by being immoral!
Social laws were created by economic conditions under the sanction of religion. The terrible mistake of religion was to interfere in social matters. But how hypocritically it says, and thereby contradicts itself, “Social reform is not the business of religion.!" True, what we want is that religion should not be a social reformer, but we insist at the same time that religion has no right to become a religious law-giver. Hands off! Keep yourself to your own bounds, and everything would come right.
Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.
Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
Therefore the only duty of the teacher in both cases is to remove all obstructions from the way. Hands off! as I always say, and everything will be right. That is, our duty is to clear the way. The Lord does the rest.
Especially, therefore, you must bear in mind that religion has to do only with the soul and has no business to interfere in social matters; you must also bear in mind that this applies completely to the mischief which has already been done. It is as if a man after forcibly taking possession of another’s property cries through the nose when that man tries to regain it—and preaches the doctrine of the sanctity of human right!
What business had the priests to interfere (to the misery of millions of human beings) in every social matter?
You speak of the meat-eating Kshatriya. Meat or no meat, it is they who are the fathers of all that is noble and beautiful in Hinduism. Who wrote the Upanishads? Who was Rama? Who was Krishna? Who was Buddha? Who were the Tirthankaras of the Jains? Whenever the Kshatriyas have preached religion, they have given it to everybody, and whenever the Brahmins wrote anything, they would deny all rights to others. Read the Gita and the Sutras of Vyasa, or get somebody to read them to you. In the Gita the way is laid open to all men and women, to all caste and colour, but Vyasa tries to put meanings upon the Vedas to cheat the poor Shudras. Is God a nervous fool like you that the flow of His river of mercy would be dammed up by a piece of meat? If such be He, His value is not a pie!
Hope nothing from me, but I am convinced as I have written to you, and spoken to you, that India is to be saved by the Indians themselves. So you, young men of the motherland, can dozens of you become almost fanatics over this new ideal? Take thought, collect materials, write a sketch of the life of Ramakrishna, studiously avoiding all miracles. The life should be written as an illustration of the doctrines he preached. Only his—do not bring me or any living persons into that. The main aim should be to give to the world what he taught, and the life as illustrating that. I, unworthy though I am, had one commission—to bring out the casket of jewels that was placed in my charge and make it over to you. Why to you? Because the hypocrites, the jealous, the slavish, and the cowardly, those who believe in matter only, can never do anything. Jealousy is the bane of our national character, natural to slaves. Even the Lord with all His power could do nothing on account of this jealousy. Think of me as one who has done all his duty and is now dead and gone. Think that the whole work is upon your shoulders. Think that you, young men of our motherland, are destined to do this. Put yourselves to the task. Lord bless you. Leave me, throw me quite out of sight. Preach the new ideal, the new doctrine, the new life. Preach against nobody, against
21. One paisa—1/16 of a rupee.
no custom. Preach neither for nor against caste or any other social evil. Preach to let “hands off", and everything will come right.
My blessings on you all, my brave, steadfast, and loving souls.
Here you see the greatness of the man. Swamiji never thought of himself but always of the work of the Master. It is such a dedication that at least some of you here should develop if you wish to become His true children. “What do I matter, it is all you, all you!", this should be your attitude. Be steady in your practices, remove all the layers of likes and dislikes, of condemnation of others and be His, wholly His. Then everything will be all right. So much can be gained if you only know how to be steadfast and truly dedicated. Let these ideas throb within you day and night, let them become living, intense, let them come to life in your own life and all its expressions, no matter how small and unimportant they may seem to you.
II:19 - Wiesbaden, Nov 20, 1934 - (Vol.II 111-124)[NY194-197]
Only gentlemen and gentlewomen can become Sadhus II:19.05 Hypocrisy in spiritual life is the greatest danger. The peacock never wants to show its ugly legs. It always shows its feathers. The legs are so ugly and dirty. In spiritual life, inside and outside should become one, whereas we usually lead a double life. In spiritual life, one of the signs of progress is whether one has developed a sense of proportion, knows how to behave differently with different people, avoiding some and allowing others to approach, according to temperament, conduct of life etc. If there are no pure people where we are, then we will have to stay quite alone. This is the only thing we can do. You have no idea how important this point is during your Sadhana.
II:19.07 And there is another very important point. Before you can become a Sadhu, a spiritual man, you must become a gentleman or a gentlewoman in the real sense of the term. Only gentlemen and gentlewomen can become Sadhus. I always tell people again and again: before becoming an aspirant, before even thinking of taking up the spiritual life, see that you become a gentleman or a gentlewoman. And the aspirant is able to be a gentleman or a gentlewoman when he has been established, at least to a great extent, in the preliminary practice leading to a spiritual life. Sometimes we find people behaving in a most undignified, uncultured way. Then they are neither fish nor fowl. The gentleman and the gentlewoman are necessary stages on the path. Necessary for all. All have to pass through these different psychical and even physiological changes. There is a time when the child does not know its real status, and behaves cumbrously. But sometimes people remain cumbrous and undignified all their life, because they are not able to have the right adjustment, the right attitude. All these phases come, every man has been a child, but naturalness and ease in our dealing with others only comes through inner growth, inner freedom, when we have already advanced to some extent, and are no longer swayed by all sorts of desires and impulses.
II:19.11 We should act in such a manner, we should live in such a way that we make no impression at all on others. That they do not see us, as it were. We are able to lead such a life, the only life that is natural, when we are to some extent established in spiritual life. Otherwise there will always be tension, there will be fits, outbursts of anger, etc. We shall be sometimes calm, sometimes terribly turbulent, sometimes in a very bad, irritable mood etc.
II:19.10 It is not enough that strangers know that we are good, but we should also see that those who are near us know us to be good and perfectly controlled. It is very easy to show a smiling face to strangers. We should always value the opinion of those near us more than that of others whom we only see once in a while.
The building up of our life is an obstacle-race
II:19.12 This building up of our life is a very difficult task. Tempests are raging within and without, and you must be able to withstand both. Then only the building up becomes possible. You all will have to pass through very difficult times on the way and some will fall down by the wayside and be left behind. Your troubles will even increase for a time. Everything will become worse, as it were, and even the outer obstacles putting themselves in your way will grow and become harder to conquer.
II:19.13 Sometimes even the body begins to revolt in every possible way. The mind becomes full of tension and revolts. The nerves begin to revolt. Old tendencies, old impurities, old desires, get greater strength and want to find expression on the physical plane. If we want to lead a spiritual life, we shall have to pass through terrible ordeals, through long periods of serious unsettlement, through terrible struggles with ourdesires and passions, before they are subdued and know who has become the master. The whole thing is like an obstacle-race. There are no end of obstacles to be overcome, and no respite is given us for a long time. Everyone who intensely and sincerely follows the life will experience this. Great strength and energy are needed. So no one who does not fulfill the conditions of Yama and Niyama will be able to stick to the path to the end. His energy is too small to enable him to stand the stress and the pressure bearing down upon him from all sides. That is why no aspirant can afford to waste energy unnecessarily through physical and mental channels. The old teachers knew perfectly well why they had to prescribe the disciplines of Yama and Niyama, why they had to be so strict. If they are not fulfilled, only a nervous breakdown can be the result, a greaterweakening of all our powers, a greaterslavery. Do not think these are mere theories. We too, have passed through the life, we have experienced it, and we have seen and heard so much from our great teachers. This is not mere book-knowledge found in some musty old volumes of old traditions.
II:19.14 There should be a calm, steady, one-pointed and dogged performance of all the necessary practices coupled with strict fulfilment of ethical culture, and then everything will be well in the end. All those who do not do this will be eliminated, sooner or later; they will never be able to get anywhere near the goal.
II:20 - Wiesbaden, Nov 21, 1934 - (Vol.II 125-129)[NY198-200]
Vedantins vs. Naiyayikas
“Those that give up this highest and purest Brahmic consciousness live in vain and, though human, are like beasts.
They that have realized this consciousness and, having realized it, develop it more and more, are the best of men, fortunate and venerable in all the three worlds.
They in whom this consciousness grows and also fructifies, attain identity with the eternal Brahman, and not those others, who merely fight about words.
Those that are clever in their talk of Brahman, but are devoid of this consciousness and are swayed by strong passions, are, indeed, the most ignorant among men, and they again and
again pass through births and deaths. ”
II:20.01 Mind is the inner instrument, the senses and the body are the outer instruments of the Atman.
II:20.02 The Naiyayikas say: “The soul, as such, is unconscious, distinct from mind and senses. It only becomes conscious when the mind is attached to it”. Vedantins are very much against this idea. They only accept the logic portions of the Nyaya philosophy, but not the others.
With the highest illumination there takes place a separation between the soul and the mind. So with the highest illumination, when there comes this separation, the soul is practically unconscious. Empirical consciousness is due to the connection with the mind, but there is a higher consciousness, quite different from our conception of empirical consciousness, which the Naiyayikas deny.
II:20.04 There are different thought-planes and if we come in touch with a particular thought-plane, all these spiritual ideas crop up quite naturally. This, however, should always be an intelligent, fully conscious process.
Seeing God in all beings is a great Sadhana
II:20.06 Trying to see God in all beings is a great Sadhana. Lust, anger, greed, aversion, and all these can be controlled by just seeing the Divine. First of all, we take the best manifestations, but some day even the worst ones have to be taken also and the Divine to be seen in them. Otherwise the problem is not solved at all. A cloud sometimes takes a most beautiful form, sometimes a very ugly form, but both are only permutations of water. All permutations of matter, you see. Sometimes a most beautiful, enticing, sometimes a most ugly, hideous, repellent form, but there is really no difference.
It is all Mother’s Lila, Mother’s play. The one Reality in it is Mother. To the extent in which the mind becomes really pure and strong and dispassionate, we can take this view if we are able to stand aside as the witness without any identification or desire. By giving these auto-suggestions, the truth will be revealed as It is. It may be imagination for the time being, but it is an imagination that is real, no hallucination.
The satisfaction of the enlightened (from Pancadasi)
“If an enlightened man happens to be in the midst of persons engaged in the performance of works, he must do all actions by his body, speech and mind, so as to be in accord with them.
If on the other hand he is in the midst of those wishing to acquire true knowledge, he must condemn all actions and give them up also, to set an example to them and encourage them.
It is right for an enlightened man to act in accordance with the ignorant men when he happens to be with them, just as a father acts in accordance with the wishes of his little children. (7.287)
He does not feel angry or sorry when his children abuse him or beat him, but on the other hand he caresses them. (7.288)
When praised or blamed by ignorant men, an enlightened man does neither praise nor blame them in return, but acts in such a way as to awaken a knowledge of the real entity in them. (7.289)
A wise man should adopt that course of action which is likely to help the cognition of Brahman by the ignorant and there is nothing else for him to do. (7.290)
Having done all that has to be done and obtained all that has to be got, he feels satisfied and is always engaged in thinking as follows: (7.291)
‘I am supremely blessed in having a direct knowledge of Brahman and in having brahmic bliss plain to me. ’ (7.292)
‘I am supremely blessed, for I do not feel the miseries of worldly affairs and all my ignorance has fled I know not whither. ’ (7.293)
‘I am supremely blessed, for I know nothing that remains to be done by me and I have realized all that one can wish for. ’ (7.294
‘I am supremely blessed, as there is no earthly felicity to be compared with my bliss and as nothing is wanting to my bliss. (7.295)
II:20.07 There is this whole mental ocean. Different kinds of bubbles rise, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, but all bubbles are but manifestations of this mighty ocean of thought,—just as all beautiful and ugly forms are but manifestations of this mighty ocean of matter. To the extent in which the mind becomes dispassionate, free from desires and cravings, we are able to stand as the witness and then we see the Truth as it is. The attitude of the ‘witness’ without any identification is most essential in spiritual life.
II:20.10 Neither be afraid of ugly things, nor care for beautiful things. It is our task to have this balanced mind, unruffled by anything. We want peace. Where is the peace when the ugly thing is able to create pain and the beautiful thing to create pleasure and passion? Then comes disillusionment, breaking of the heart. Wonderful romance!
Control through dissociation
II:20.11 It is good to think intensely that we are standing apart from the body. Leaving your body, just stand apart. Watch it. See what it is doing. Let it be someone else’s body. A dispassionate view of perfect non-identification is necessary. This attitude of the ‘witness’ with reference to our thoughts, feelings, impulses, and ideas is very necessary for all spiritual aspirants. It is the way to the goal.
II:20.12 If we practice this for some time, then even at moments when our mind is very much distracted, part of it just stands aside as the witness and watches its mad ravings. And the part that stands aside, that is calm and dispassionate, then keeps the mad part under its control. When your mind is disturbed, go on quietly doing Japam, repeating the name of the Lord and standing apart from your mind and body. Then at least the part that is doing Japam will not get identified with the disturbed part and will be able to control it.
II:20.13 The attitude of the ‘witness’ is one of the great secrets of success in spiritual life.
There should be conscious non-identification at all times. See your body standing and lying and walking, watch it. Watch the mad gambollings of your mind, but remain calm and dispassionate. Look at it as something that does not belong to you and that can be easily controlled, for the very moment there is dissociation, control becomes a very easy thing. Never identify yourself with any of the desires of your mind or body. The body or mind may desire this or that, but you are the witness, and there is no need to identify yourself with the wishes of your body, or of your mind. With practice, great progress can be made in this attitude, which again makes our advance along spiritual lines easier and less susceptible to reverses and falls. Our whole trouble is our perfect identification with what we are not.
“No division in Consciousness is admissible at any time as it is always one and the same. Even the individuality of the Jiva must be known as false, like the delusion of a snake in a rope. ’’
“The false idea of a serpent in a rope is the cause of one’s running away from it. When the false knowledge of its being a serpent is destroyed and a true knowledge of its being only a rope arises, one feels ashamed that one’s fear was groundless." —(Pancadasi 7.235)—
II:21 - Wiesbaden, Nov 22, 1934 - (Vol.II 130-138)[NY200-210] The power that lies in Brahmacharya
11:21.01 This is what is gained through practice and ethical culture: that one can never fall into error.
II:21.02 Swamiji [Swami Vivekananda] used to stress the point that tremendous energy comes through the practice of unbroken continence [Brahmacharya] for many years. When one of his devotees once asked him how others could ever come by his marvellous powers, he answered:
“You don’t know? That power may come to all. That power comes to him who observes unbroken Brahmacharya for a period of twelve years with the sole object of realizing God. I have practiced that kind of Brahmacharya myself, and so a screen has been removed, as it were, from my brain. For that reason, I need not anymore think over or prepare myself for any lectures on such a subtle subject as philosophy. Suppose I have to lecture tomorrow; it so happens, all that I shall speak about will pass tonight before my eyes like so many pictures; and the next day I put into words during my lecture all those things that I saw.
So you will understand now, that it is not any power exclusively my own. Whoever will practice unbroken Brahmacharya for twelve years, will surely have it. If you do so, you, too, will get it. Our Scriptures do not say that only such and such a person will get it and not others!"
II:21.03 And this is not mere tall talk on the part of Swamiji. Anything can be achieved through real Brahmacharya, physical and mental, if it is strictly observed for a considerable period of time. The incontinent person cannot achieve anything in the spiritual path, nor can his brain ever acquire the fineness of discrimination that is necessary for getting real glimpses of the Truth. If the brain remains very gross, finer vibrations do not touch it, as it were, and it can only judge of gross things and take gross things to be real.
II:21.04 Some people develop a marvellous intelligence through unbroken continence. I myself have had some aspirants among the novices in the Math who were not at all bright when they came, but who developed great intelligence after some time. The stored-up energy creates a finer sensibility in the brain, makes it more receptive, more elastic, allows it to reflect more light.
II:21.05 The state of transcendental morals is to be reached.
Be properly rooted in spiritual consciousness
II:21.06 Spiritual consciousness should be an extension of our individualized consciousness. We must stand firmly on the ground of our own consciousness and then have spiritual consciousness. The point22 must first be a very definite point and then be in tune with the whole circle. Without very definite point-hood, no experience of the circle is possible. Only when I am, God is. I am the spirit free from all troubles. This ‘I’ is to be strengthened. The other ‘I’, the limited one, that continually creates troubles is to be eliminated. We must retain our consciousness, but our centre of consciousness must be shifted from the false ego to the true Self. We must always be rooted in our higher consciousness. Sometimes we want to float in the air without being rooted in our own consciousness. There should never be a time when we remain uprooted. Our roots must be struck somewhere. When we remove our roots from the false ground, we must at once take root somewhere else, not allow ourselves to remain uprooted.
II:21.07 Amongst Jnanis usually there is greater balance, fewer periods of crisis, but the devotee, the Bhakta, is in greater danger. As long as there is the very least speck of lust in him, there can be no such thing as love. Of course, the Jnani, too, has his own difficulties.
Connect your consciousness with Ishtam’s consciousness
II:21.08 When the devotees think of their preferred object of meditation and see the form vividly, they must be also able to establish their relationship with it, otherwise they float in the air.
II:21.09 One must be able to connect one’s consciousness with the consciousness of the Ishtam, one’s object of meditation. If one does not do this, serious troubles may follow, there may be a general unsettlement, and the object of the practice is not attained.
When doing one’s Japam or one’s spiritual practice there comes tremendous unsettlement, when one is not able to connect one’s own consciousness properly with the consciousness of the Ishtam. If you do not have the positive living presence of your Ishtam, you feel you float in the air, and you become uprooted. Your own consciousness loses its basis. There is no doubt at all that you should uproot yourselves from the false ground as swiftly and as decisively as possible. Badly planted plants sometimes appear to be dead for some time. Great stress is to be laid on the positive presence of your Ishtam. Then you also feel an inner peace. The Ishtam is not an imagination. The presence of the Ishtam is something real after you have made the form vivid. This is a very, very important point. If the practice is performed in the right way, you feel infinite strength and calm and stillness, a deep inner sense of peace, the heart feels like a pot that has been filled to the brim, such a feeling of tremendous peace. Nothing can in any way ruffle you.
II:21.10 Many of the present bad effects of your practice come from your making the form of your Ishtam vivid, but then not establishing the necessary relationship, not connecting your own consciousness with the consciousness of your Ishtam.
II:21.11 In spiritual life there always comes such a crisis. It comes to all if they really advance and really do something energetically. No one is spared this unsettlement and this crisis, but then they should ask me what to do and have talks with me on their practices.
II:21.12 If no crisis comes at all, there is something wrong. Then the practices are not effective.
II:21.13 In the path ofJnana, the crises are less virulent. There is more of balance and discrimination, though there too some crises are sure to appear. But always remember, both for the Bhakta and for the Jnani, our spiritual consciousness must under all circumstances be an extension of our individualized consciousness. As we said, there must be a direct and very intimate connection or relationship between our consciousness and the consciousness of the Ishtam and the Divine.
II:21.14 There is something which, to us, appears as the world, but our reading of this something is not the ultimate reading. As we go on putting on different coloured glasses, this something appears to be different. If you do your visualization properly, the visualization of your Ishtam will teach you great lessons. Visualization has its great use. You will find that through visualization a so-called reality can be produced, and this again will help you in doubting the reality of the world. At the back of the form there is always that which takes form. At the back of the wave there is the water-substance. The bubble should not put so much stress on the bubble-form but on the substance, if it wants to progress. We should never forget the consciousness associated with the form of the Ishtam. If you do, the effects will be very bad, because your own consciousness becomes uprooted, as I said.
II:22 - Wiesbaden, Nov 23, 1934 - (Vol.II 138-140)[NY200-210]
True humility. Hatred and ‘righteous anger’
II:22.01 Think of the case of Hanuman. He was only a small monkey, but yet what tremendous strength he got through his love and devotion for Rama! It enabled him to cross over to Sri Lanka and to see Sita, while the others could not get there without a bridge. Ha-numan’s case is this: When the ego is related to the Divine, it gets tremendous strength and energy, tremendous power, but in spite of that it cannot do any harm. It will never make a bad use of this strength, but only use it in furthering righteous causes.
II:22.02 A humble man feeling so proud of his humility! Wonderful! All this marvelous so-called humility is hidden ego, ego hidden under the cover of humility and an outwardly self-effacing life! Real humility is something that comes of tremendous strength. For all aspirants there must be these two characteristics:- tremendous calmness and real humility, not passivity, but they must be people remaining calm in the midst of all difficulties, without hatred, without aversion, without attachment, people who maintain their humility when there are the greatest provocations, who keep themselves away from all forms of hatred, even when there seems to be a cause for so-called ‘righteous anger’—a thing that does not exist. There is no such thing as a righteous anger, there is no such thing as ‘righteous hatred’. We have not to hate anything at all.
II:22.03 What generally makes us hate, is something that frustrates our own desires and wishes and hopes. Thus all hatred is always rooted in ego and self-seeking, in whatever form these may appear.
II:22.04 If anyone of you absolutely insists on hating, then let him hate his own hatred. Hatred is only revelling in one’s own emotions, enjoying one’s emotions, and is very similar to lust.
Karma [work] and knowledge
“Before the dawn of knowledge one has many duties to perform for acquisition of worldly and heavenly pleasure and also with a view to obtaining final emancipation. But after knowledge of Brahman is got there is nothing for him to do as he feels the satisfaction of having done all duties. (7.253)
With the feeling of having done all that has to be done, he unremittingly meditates on Brahman and thereby enjoys supreme felicity. (7.254)
An enlightened man will think as follows: ‘Miserable and ignorant people engage in worldly concerns with desire for wife, children etc. With what desire should I who am full of bliss engage myself with worldly affairs?’ (7.255)
Those who desire pleasures in the other worlds perform ordained work. What is there for me to do seeing that I am one with all that exists?" (7.256)
11:22.05 Sankara says: “Karma cannot achieve the highest
Brahma-jnana.” Karma here means work, naturally.
11:22.06 Knowledge is, exists, it is not something that can ever be ‘created’. Karma [work] just removes ignorance. It does not create light, but removes darkness—only when it is absolutely selfless work that never looks to the fruits. The highest knowledge is never the ‘product’ of anything. It dawns when that which stands in the way of the highest illumination is removed.
“Dissociation from worldly passion is the shield, and knowledge the sword, with which holy men have annihilated the ene-
mies—lust, greed and attachment—having obtained the victory of Lord’s devotion." —(Tulsidas)
Western carelessness in association between sexes II:22.07 In the West, you are very careless with regard to your associations with the other sex. Swamiji [Swami Vivekananda] once said:
“When I look about me and see what you call gallantry, my soul is filled with disgust. Not until you learn to ignore the question of sex and to meet on a ground of common humanity will your women really develop. Until then they are playthings, nothing more. Your men bow low and offer a chair, but in another breath they offer compliments. They say, ‘Oh, Madam, how beautiful are your eyes!’ What right have they to do this? How dare a man venture so far, and how can your women permit it? Such things develop the less noble side of humanity.
We should not think that we are men and women, but only that we are human beings, born to cherish and to help one another. No sooner are a young man and a young woman left alone than he pays compliments to her, and perhaps before he takes a wife, he has courted 200 women! Bah! If I belonged to the marrying set I could find a woman to love without all that!
When I was in India and saw these things from the outside, I was told that it is all right, it is mere pleasantry, and I believed it. But I have travelled since then, and I know it is not right. It is wrong, only you of the West shut your eyes and call it good. The trouble with the nations of the West is that they are young, foolish, fickle and wealthy. What mischief can come of one of these qualities, but when all three, all four, are combined, beware!"
II:22.10 These words may shock many people, but Swamiji had his eyes wide open and was not prepared to call a festering, nauseating sore a fragrant flower when he saw it. He was fearless in denouncing both the evils of the West and those of India.
II:23 - Wiesbaden, Nov 24, 1934 - (Vol.II 140-151)[NY200-210]
The inordinate clinging to life’s creation-aspect II:23.01 Life always means destruction, as well as preservation and creation. They always go together. so why do you shudder at the idea of destruction? There is no sense in clinging to life and yet refusing to accept it in its entirety. Either reject life in all its three aspects and transcend it, or accept them all. Be consistent. There is no sense in crying, “O Lord, how beautiful is thy nose!”—and then shuddering at death and destruction and decay.
II:23.03 We must, above all, know how to die. I find such an inordinate clinging to the cradle, to the aspect of creation, which is senseless.
“O Tulsi, when you were born, others laughed and you cried. Live in such a way that when you die, others will cry and you smile. ”
11:24 - Wiesbaden, Nov 25, 1934 - (Vol.ll 152-164)[NY219-211]
Make the mind dwell in its own abode!
II:24.01 The mind must have some stay, and we should see that this stay is within us, not outside. If we do not, our balance may be shattered at any moment. There is a long period of preparation, and especially beginners in spiritual life get tremendous reactions, physical and mental.
“O my mind, dwell in your own abode. Do not go to anybody else’s house. In the inner appartments of your own house search for the Truth! It is there. ”
II:24.03 To make the mind dwell in its own abode, does not mean making one’s little ego the centre of one’s consciousness, but it means consciously contacting the vaster consciousness within. As long as we do not feel at least a bit of that inner consciousness, we can never be steady in spiritual life. The moment you look within and establish the contact, you are calm and steady whatever happens. And that contact is brought about neither through the intellect nor through the heart, but through something deeper that moves both the intellect and the feelings. And through this intense relationship with God, through this tremendous fire, all passions and desires are burnt away.
“Standing at the foot, boys, Looking at the sky,
How can you get up, boys, If you never try?”
II:24.04 So you should begin to move forward. It is such a splendid adventure, you see!