"After our youngest son had seen Star Wars for the twelfth or thirteenth time, I said, "Why do you go so often?" He said, "For the same reason you have been reading the Old Testament all of your life." He was in a new world of myth." Bill Moyers, interview with Joseph Campbell












CONTENTS11. Living in Tune with the Infinite  






               11. Living in Tune with the Infinite




     Now, to recapitulate the important points dealt with in this book on 'Some Guidelines For Inner Life'.

     What is the goal supreme? It is to realise God, one's real nature. The question arises as to who is drawn to this goal supreme. The answer is: first, he who hears a call from within. Secondly, he who feels a conflict within. Unless we have this inner conflict - a tug-of-war, so to say, between the two opposite tendencies, our inner urge for the higher life and the instincts which take us downwards - it is not possible to feel drawn towards the Inner Life.

     In this world there are different kinds of people. There are those who believe in the grossly materialistic way of life. They do not bother about the Goal Supreme and so they do not have any conflict within also. There is no hope for them until they begin to feel this inner conflict. The spirit wants to comprehend the Absolute, the Infinite, but because of the way our body is constituted, we are often pulled down by the attractions of the objects that the senses contact. It has been rightly said, 'The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.'

     Human birth is a rare opportunity. Though we may have such an opportunity, we must first of all have a genuine desire for liberation and then be fortunate enough to get a competent spiritual master to show us the way to God-realisation. Even after getting all these, we may not be eager to take real advantage of them, because we do not want to undergo any hardship. The fact is, only a few are ready to pay the price for self-unfold ment. To realise God, the entire mind is to be given to Him. The mind cannot be divided into different compartments. We cannot give some pait of the mind to the enjoyment of worldly things and the rest to God. No, God wants to occupy the throne alone. He is in this sense a very jealous God. Therefore, if we want to realise Him, we must give our whole mind to Him. We may be practising spiritual disciplines. Whatever we have been asked to do by our spiritual master, we may be doing. But we are not really serious as far as spiritual life is concerned. Half-heartedly and mechanically, we do a little japam in the morning and in the evening. We find time for all kinds of works, desirable or undesirable, but for God we cannot find time. Remembering God a few minutes in the morning or evening cannot be termed as spiritual life. Unless we constantly practise the presence of God, unless we bring God into every moment of our existence, spiritual unfoldment is not possible. Swami Vivekananda wrote in a letter to Sister Nivedita, 'My ideal can indeed be put in a few words: to preach unto mankind its divinity and how to help it to manifest that divinity in every movement of life.'

     Now, in order to assert our divinity, is it sufficient that we meditate on God, our beloved Ishtam, when we sit for meditation in the morning or in the evening, and forget Him during the rest of the time? No, since we are all divine, we should practise to see divinity in every moment of our life. We attend discourses on spiritual themes and read inspiring books on the subject. From this we gain some understanding, but soon we get unsettled. We gain something only to lose it again. Here is an example to illustrate this. There is a certain kind of weed which grows over a pond. We go to the pond to drink clean, cool water, but we find its surface covered by the weed. If we want to drink water from it, we must remove this weed by hand, and having done so, we may somehow manage to take some water and drink it. The weed, however, has a tendency to cover the surface of the water again. Similarly, we feel elevated for the time being when we listen to spiritual discourses or read scriptures, but such are the temptations and allurements surrounding us that we again forget everything we have heard or read.

     One of the most fundamental obstacles is what is called Moha or Pramada, i.e., carelessness. It means negligence in the matter of having steady attunement with one's real nature. This inadvertence is as good as death for a spiritual aspirant after Truth. Sometimes we have tremendous obsessions. We may be born with very bad Samskaras. When we sit for meditation, so many evil desires assail us. We feel this life is going to be a failure and there is absolutely no hope for us. Against such thinking, we should have positive thoughts. If one suffers from evil thoughts at the time of meditation, one must have done some bad deeds in the past. That is why they are coming to the conscious level at the time of meditation. Man is the architect of his own self. If a man is what he is today, be it with evil propensities, it is certain that he can mould his future by making the right use of the present. So let us not dwell on the past.

     It sometime happens that after we meditate or do Japam for an hour or so and then return to our active life, we relapse into the so-called secular activities. No spiritual progress is possible unless there is spiritualisation of our everyday life. We must bring God 'from the altar to the market place' in our day-to-day activities. The emphasis laid is on this - that at the time of meditation and Japam, we should try to keep our minds at the lotus feet of our beloved Ishtam and that we should try to sustain that mood during the course of our day-to-day activities too. Otherwise, we expose ourselves to an endless spiritual crisis. When we are in the temple, we are in one mood. When we come out of it, we are in another. We become guilty of what is called double movement. Let us avoid all kinds of double movements.

     This concept of double movement requires further explanation. We meditate on our Ishtham (Chosen Deity). We keep the senses indrawn at that time and feel temporarily elevated. We are on a high plane of existence. We get some mental peace and bliss. Later, we also yield to the temptations of the outside world. Now one is on a high level, on the plane of Atman; but after sometime one is again on the plane of body-mind complex. We forget all about the pious resolutions that were made. This tendency to allow ourselves to be tempted by the snares of the senses is what is called double movement. To be saved from double movement, mere discussions of theories and philosophies will not do. We must be in deep and abiding contact with our innermost reality. More often than not, undesirable thoughts come out from our sub-conscious mind during meditation, and we find they prevent us from making further progress. Is there any remedy? Yes, there is a proved remedy. That is Japa Sadhana. By the repetition of the Divine Name (Mantra), one can overcome all evil propensities. What is important and what counts most is purification. By continuous repetition of the Name of the Lord, all our evil Samskaras or propensities are uprooted by the spiritual vibrations generated through the concentrated repetition of the Divine Name. By the continued practice of this we can overcome our evil tendencies.

     We may be taking vegetarian food, but if our mind is polluted with unclean thoughts, vegetarianism alone can do us no good. So, let our sense impressions be pure. Sometimes when we have a certain kind of excess energy, we must take recourse to occasional fasting, vigil and special prayers, and we must give up all excessive speech and indulgence in regard to food. Inasmuch as a man panders to his taste, he is deprived of spiritual bliss. If we go on eating even beyond satiety, we may suffer spiritually. So we must practise moderation in eating.

     We have to face constantly a tug-of-war or an 'unseen warfare' in ourselves. But let us not give up the struggle. If we give up the struggle, then there is no hope for us. We may fall, but we should remember the testimony of realised souls that we fall to rise again. If we fall and think there is no hope for us, then we are perhaps doomed. If we keep up the struggle, then it means that we are trying to proceed towards God. Once we give up the struggle, what happens? We fall away from God and from His grace, then we go outside of godly life and get steeped in bodily life. To save ourselves from this, we are to keep up the struggle and we must pray ceaselessly.

     Most of us are extroverts, that is, outward-going persons. No extrovert can reach the Goal Supreme. We must take pains to stop the tendency of the mind to endlessly wander outside. Instead of allowing the mind to go out of the inner circle and move about in the pettiness of the ordinary outer nature, we should learn to live within. We should try to withdraw the mind from the outside world and keep it fixed at the feet of our beloved Lord.

     In conclusion it is worthwhile pointing out once again that the goal of human life is to obtain everlasting peace and happiness. We can have peace and happiness, provided we can go to the source - the Atman. Swamiji once said, 'Why seeketh thou, the pleasures of the world? Seek God, who is the fountain-head of all bliss'. Again Swamiji also said, 'Life on the plane of the Atman is the only joyful state of existence.' If we really aspire for this joyful state of existence, then we must shut out the external world and step into the internal world. For that we are to meditate constantly and ponder over thus: 'Oh mind, why do you give so much importance foolishly to the body-mind complex - to the temptations of physical life? Are you just a lump of flesh? You are wasting your valuable time by being enamoured of the body. It is all transient. This body is going to die and it will be taken to the cremation ground and burnt and reduced to ashes. Why foolishly be enamoured of it? In this life, if you are careful enough, you can find the fountain-head of bliss. You are not a mere lump of flesh and bones. You are Pure Consciousness. You are 'Caitanya Vigraha'. Instead of dwelling on your divine nature and on the fact that you are eternally free, Sat-chit-ananda-swarupa, you foolishly think of the so-called pleasures of the world and waste your human life. Why do you attach yourself foolishly to the non-self, to the complete neglect of the eternal in you, the Atrnan?'

     In no scripture is it said that the goal of human life is to marry and beget children. In no scripture is it also said that the goal of human life is to become a monk. But it has been said again and again that the goal of human life is the realisation of God. 'Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.' Realise yourself and be free.

     Lastly, let us end with the following few words of Swami Virajanandaji, the Sixth President of our great Order, from his valuable book 'Paramartha Prasanga'. Swami Virajanandaji observes, 'Brothers, we came out of the mother's womb naked and alone'. Let us all think about this. We all come naked and alone and one day we are going to depart from this world naked and alone. When we depart from this world, none is going to accompany us. The members of the family are happy when we are born, and when we die, the members of the family are unhappy, and we also feel miserable. Virajanandaji says, quoting Tulsidas, that we should behave in such a way that when we die, unearthly bliss should well up from our countenance. Let others weep but let us depart from this world with a smile. Who can do that? One who has been able to realise that he is 'Caitanya Vigraha' and not this body. This body is perishable, it will die. But something in us is eternal, non-perishable, birthless, deathless. Only he or she who realises this supreme truth becomes free in this life.

     If we aspire to reach the Goal Supreme, then, as Virajanandaji says, we must shake off attachment to all that is unreal, and we must take pains to attune ourselves to our divine nature. Our goal will be easier to attain, if we are helped by a Sat-guru, a true Teacher.

     May we take up spiritual life seriously and may we realise the Inner Life in this very life! Let this be our prayer to our Holy Trinity - Sri Ramakrishna, the Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda.

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International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015






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